FCO (Rome) Airport Question

Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:17 PM
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FCO (Rome) Airport Question

Hi everyone,

I'm planning on flying to Argentina from Delhi (India). The best option I have without the hassle of a transit visa is to fly via FCO (Rome) airport. I will be flying into FCO from an international flight from Delhi (via Moscow). After that, I take an Aerolineas flight to Argentina.

The thing is, the flight into FCO and the one leaving for Argentina are not connected to each other. I'm going to have to check-out my baggage and check it in again.

My question is, I know that I don't need a transit visa as long as I remain in the FCO airport. But won't I need to pass through immigration if I want to claim my baggage before checking it again with Aerolineas? Or is the baggage claim located before the immigration and I won't have to pass through immigration at all?

I don't have and (as per the transit visa rules) don't need a transit visa in Italy as long as I don't leave the airport. I will have a valid visa for Argentina though.

Never been to FCO before so all your help is really appreciated.

Thanks,
Ram.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:23 PM
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You go through immigration/passport control before collecting baggage. Every airport I've been to is the same.

How would anyone know if you leave the airport?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:25 PM
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You don't have one through ticket that would allow you to check your bags to your final destination?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:30 PM
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Adrienne,

Thanks for your reply.

I don't have one through ticket. Infact, I opted for this route because Italy doesn't require a transit visa as long as I don't leave the airport.

You raise a valid question about leaving the airport and that's exactly why I thought I'd ask you all. There really would be no way to check where I'm going after immigration so I don't know how I am to check-out and re-check the baggage into the next flight.

Also, I would need to check-in at the Aerolineas counter anyway (which I'm assuming would be located outside the immigration right?). So even if I don't check any bags in, I will still need to pass immigration, right?

Thanks,
Ram.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 12:51 AM
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I think that if you transfer flights internally and stay air-side, you don't need a transit visa. If you pass through immigration, I would assume you will need a visa or they won't let you through. That's what 'Immigration Control' is - control of entrance into the country. If a visa is required to enter the country, then a visa is required to pass through immigration. At least that is what I've encountered everywhere else I've travelled. Most airports have a means by which you transfer internally without going through immigration - usually you follow signs leading to 'Flight Connections.' You really should check in with the closest Italian embassy for recent information before setting out.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 01:43 AM
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>>

which assumes that you and your luggage are through ticketed and hence you can stay airside.

But many countries do issue a transit visa which does allow a limited amount of time in a country purely to make a connection.

As OP describes it though I'd doubt if they'd get it as it is non-connecting flights and hence they'd be worried about what happens if the first flight is late and they miss their onward flight
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 09:00 AM
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Yes, but the OP says he opted for this routing because he doesn't want to (or can't?) get a transit visa.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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You ABSOLUTELY need a transit visa if you are a citizen of India to pass through a Schengen country. You may not if you hold a green card or have some sort of citizenship in Argentina. I don't know because you don't tell us that.

Everyone is treated differently depending upon their status.

I find it amusing that Americans, Canadians, and citizens of EU countries think that just because they don't need a transit visa no one else does.

Thin
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 08:19 PM
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Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your inputs. To answer a few questions -

1. alanRow: I'm going to have a minimum of 6.5 hours of transit time at FCO. I do feel that should be enough. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

2. julia1: I can definitely get transit visas for the US, UK, or Germany (Schengen). The problem is that the processing times for these are too much and I need to fly urgently.

3. ThinGorjus: I checked for transit visa information for Italy and the official website mentions that I don't need a transit visa "as long as I stay within the airport".

It's actually that line that's a bit confusing because the baggage claim and immigration are all part of the "airport" per se. Any case, that aside.

I'd really appreciate it if you all could help me with a couple of other questions -

1. Let's say I don't check-in any bags. I just take carry-on baggage with me. I get off my international flight from Moscow and never leave the FCO transit area. I carry on to the gate where the Aerolineas flight is to depart. Can I now check in at the Gate where they usually have airline officials sitting? Or, in an alternative case, would there be official check-in counters in the transit area?

2. Is it possible that I may have to get off at FCO at a Terminal which is separate from the Terminal where my next flight is (in such a way that I HAVE to pass through immigration)? Or are all Terminals definitely connected to each other via the transit area? My concern is that even if I decide never to leave the transit area, would logistics force me to do that?

Thanks again for all the help everyone. I really appreciate it.

Best Regards,
Ram.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 09:06 PM
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Sorry, but when you go through Immigration/Passport Control and go to pick up your luggage you are essentially entering Italy. There is nothing stopping you from walking out the door and taking a taxi into Rome.

Now, if Italy doesn't require citizens of your country to have a visa to enter the country, then you are fine.

But, if you are an citizen of India, I don't see how you can get away with not having a visa if you go to retrieve your luggage. It would be different if you were in transit and you went directly to a gate.

We, of course, know nothing of this because you have not told us your nationality.

Thin
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 09:20 PM
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Thin,

My nationality is Indian. I will only have a tourist visa to Argentina. No other visa(s).

Also, as I mentioned in my last post, what if I don't plan to leave the transit area. I do agree with everyone that immigration means that I need the visa. But if I don't leave the transit area, I can legally transit via Italy (as per the official rules).

My questions are -

1. Let's say I don't check-in any bags. I just take carry-on baggage with me. I get off my international flight from Moscow and never leave the FCO transit area. I carry on to the gate where the Aerolineas flight is to depart. Can I now check in at the Gate where they usually have airline officials sitting? Or, in an alternative case, would there be official check-in counters in the transit area?

2. Is it possible that I may have to get off at FCO at a Terminal which is separate from the Terminal where my next flight is (in such a way that I HAVE to pass through immigration)? Or are all Terminals definitely connected to each other via the transit area? My concern is that even if I decide never to leave the transit area, would logistics force me to do that?

Thanks again,
Ram.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 10:00 PM
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I've spent some time in FCO, but generally just flying in and out, not transferring through. But I may be able to help a little here, and hope others may chime in also.

1. My experience with transfers of this sort in other European airports is that there are facilities within the air-side transit areas for checking in and getting a boarding pass. There is generally a 'Flight Connections' area or center with counters staffed by airline personnel specifically for this purpose.

2. I suspect that both of your flights will operate from Terminal 3 or T5. Many intercontinental flights use the satellite T5. Terminals 1-2 serve domestic and Shengen international flights. You should be able to get terminal information from your airlines and it will also most likely be on your tickets, whether e-ticket or paper ticket. It's unlikely you will have to leave international air-side to transfer to your second flight.

Here is a schematic of the airport (yes, I know it's mostly about the shopping but it does show the lay-out): http://www.romeairportshoppingallery.com/index.php
Click on the map below the tab reading 'Extra Schengen Flights - Terminal 3' at top left for a larger version.

Good luck, Ram.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 05:28 AM
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Julia,

Thanks for the information. I will check with the airlines about the terminal information. Just search around on sites like flightstats etc. indicates that the arrival happens at Terminal 3 and the departure at Gate area G. The map information you provided was really helpful.

I've decided for sure to not travel with any check-in bags. Only carry-ons.

I have just one doubt now. Is it ok to hang around in the transit area and just directly take the other flight without any security check? More importantly, would the other airlines be ok with this. Logically, I've already been security checked at the source and I never left the transit area.

Again, I don't mind another security check too...as long as I don't have to pass through immigration.

Thanks again for all your help.

Best Regards,
Ram.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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No one can really answer your question because it all depends on what Aerolinas Argentina requires to fly on their planes and what Argentina requires to enter the country.

I can tell you that many airlines require you to go through security again right at the gate.

If you are flying into the USA, it doesn't matter if you have already gone through security and are "in transit" you will go through security again before you get on any airplane bound for this country.

Argentina may be just as strict.

Also, because you are getting off of an airplane from Russia, which has terrorism issues, you may be more susceptible to security than others.

Thin
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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Thin,

Thanks for your reply.

A security check doesn't mean that I have to go through immigration right? Just a security check is fine with me...it's the immigration that I cannot go through.

Thanks,
Ram.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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No, as long as you don't go to retrieve any luggage from your flight OR go the main check-in counters for Aerolinas Argentina you do not have to pass through Immigration at Fiumicino.

You should definitely call Aerolinas Argentina and find out if you can check in at the gate. Most airlines do allow you to check in at the gate.

Thin
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 09:41 AM
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Thanks, Thin. I will surely call Aerolineas and confirm this again.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 12:29 PM
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Most likely you will go through a security check when entering or leaving the transit area, possibly again at your departure gate. But as long as you stay air-side, you won't need to go through immigration.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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ramsey123

To be absolutely clear: what you are planning to do is only possible with hand luggage, or if Aerolinas Argentinas can GUARANTEE that they will in fact check your luggage through to Delhi (on Aeroflot?), even though you are travelling on 2 separate tickets and with 2 different carriers. If you are travelling roundtrip, the other carrier must also guarantee this for the return flights. Even if they do, I would get to the airport extra early, in order to have time to escalate if the check-in agent does not want to check your bags through.

You will be restricted to the "sterile" transit area of Rome airport and NOT be allowed to clear immigration. I am almost certain that all the non-Schengen gates are adjacent to one another in Rome, with the possible exception of US-bound flights.

If you miss your connection - for whatever reason - you will need to remain inside the sterile area until you board an onward flight to a destination for which you have proper immigration papers. In addition, you would most probably have to pay a very hefty change fee to the carrier taking you from Rome to Delhi, or even purchase an entirely new ticket.

It is important that you are aware of the potential for inconvenience that this type of itinerary entails - if I read correctly, you will already be transiting through Moscow as well, thus doubling the risk of a missed connection. There are abundant tales of Indian nationals stranded for days on end, sleeping on benches at various European airports due to missed connections - and most of those are on through tickets, so at least they have no additional out of pocket expenses... I would never book such an itinerary, unless it was an absolute necessity (family emergency or similar).

Hope this helps,
Andre
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 02:17 PM
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Correction: in case of a missed connection in Rome, you would of course have to deal with Aerolinas Argentinas the carrier taking you from Rome to Buenos Aires, not Delhi... sorry for the confusion.

To answer your question regarding security checks: all transit passengers arriving at Rome airport from outside the Schengen zone must pass through a security check regardless of their onwar destination, it has nothing to do with immigration.

I also read above that you were at least going to take hand luggage only, which makes your itinerary technically feasible.
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