Munich layover squeezed to just 40 min

Old Aug 8th, 2019, 07:59 AM
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Munich layover squeezed to just 40 min

Hi, all! We're traveling to Rome via Munich next spring and Lufthansa just shortened our already stressful 50 min layover to just 40 min (we're flying LUF on both flights). I've heard Munich is very organized and efficient. We're flying in on an Airbus 350 to Munich which I imagine will take some time to unload. Do we have any chance to make our flight? We bought the absolutely cheapest, no-refund/middle seat/etc... tickets... with this change, can we ask them to switch us to a flight that has a longer layover in Munich?
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 08:17 AM
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We recently did a similar flight. USA to MUC, MUC to FLR. We had a 1hr 15min layover and were at the departure gate within about 20min of arrival. Our incoming flight was early, and we had front of plane seats which helped give us a buffer.
Walking through MUC airport was a long walk to the other end of the terminal to immigration on the arrival level, down one flight, then back to the other end of the terminal to departure gate. Immigration was fast. We had checked bags which made the connection no problem.

Based only on this recent flight and prior experiences I'd say your chances of making the connection are good, but not 100%. One hiccup on the incoming flight, including silly stuff like waiting for a free gate to park at, or a headwind, or needing to circle the airport before landing, etc can cause havoc on your plans.

If there is a different connection (eg earlier flight to MUC, later flight to Rome, or alternate connection through Frankfurt) you know you'd prefer, I'd ask LH to change the flight. Even with your ticket they should do that for you, but you won't know until you contact them. Do your homework on options first.

There are LH agents right inside the terminal when you arrive - they'll have a list of connecting flights, gates, etc. I would definitely talk to them as soon as you get off the plane. They may be able to radio ahead to the departure gate to (try to) hold if for you or at least let them know you're on your way, or maybe have a different way to whisk you through the airport. Unlike domestic US airlines I've always found ground agents in Europe to do whatever they can to help you.

Last edited by J62; Aug 8th, 2019 at 08:22 AM.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 08:31 AM
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I don't know where you are flying from or what kind of ticket you have that is "absolutely no refunds" but that doesn't mean you can't change flights with a change fee usually if you really want to. And middle seat doesn't usually change what it costs, just depends when you book as to your seat selection. I've never seen that kind of fare.

It depends if the flight you want costs more or not, probably. They aren't going to change you to a more expensive flight for free just because their schedule changed 10 minutes, I imagine.

But I don't see why you'd change your flights (although if there are flights every hour to Rome, sure why not). Lufthansa obviously thinks you can make the flight, and if you can't, aren't they obligated to put you on the next one, anyway? I was just through there and I think it took me less than an hour to do that for sure. But I suppose it depends how far apart your gates are, my incoming flight was on United but departing on Lufthansa. If there are frequent flights to Rome, you could have done that to begin with though, if you wanted a longer connection. I know I can choose my flights when I book, I had a choice for a connection at MUC between 1.5 and 3 hrs, and chose the latter just to be safe (this was coming in from a long flight from the US, I wouldn't have for a local flight).
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 08:55 AM
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Your flight is not until next Spring. The schedule could change 4 more times between now and then. You are protected and if you miss your connection, they will re-book you on the next available flight so don't sweat it - I know easier said than done.

ps: and If you do change flights now -- THAT schedule could change between now and then and you might end up back on the original flight.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 09:09 AM
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<<We bought the absolutely cheapest, no-refund/middle seat/etc..>> You already know you have middle seats?

Anyway, LH would not have booked you on a connection that is not physically possible, Secondly if you do miss your connection, they will rebook to the next available which might not be the next flight, however there are several LH flights a day from MUC to FCO. Thirdly, it's too early to start worrying, as janisj says, you are likely to have a couple more sched changes between now and next spring. With most sched changes, if you don't like what they've changed it to, before accepting the change, it never hurts to ask for an alternative flight. Lastly if you make the connection but your luggage does not, LH will send it on to you on another flight, not necessarily the next one.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 10:01 AM
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janisj's advice is the most helpful at this point.

FYI, minimum connecting times are set by the IATA (Int'l Air Transport Assn.), and airlines are not allowed to book connections any shorter than prescribed, even if arrival and departure gates are adjacent to one another. For Munich, your MUC-FCO flight will depart from Terminal 2. If your flight into MUC arrives at the same terminal (which it probably does), the connecting time is 30 minutes. If the first flight is late, and you miss the connection, it's up to Lufthansa to get you to Rome on another flight.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 10:12 AM
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If it is all on one ticket, do not worry. Lufthansa is great about handing things. We were on a flight delayed from Italy to Frankfurt. Lufthansa met us at the plane with a small bus that took us directly to our next flight. We never went into the airport. I could not believe it!
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
If it is all on one ticket, do not worry. Lufthansa is great about handing things. We were on a flight delayed from Italy to Frankfurt. Lufthansa met us at the plane with a small bus that took us directly to our next flight. We never went into the airport. I could not believe it!
That wouldn't work for OP as presumably Munich is where they are entering Schengen, so they have to go through passport control there.
It is too early to worry about it, and if it's on a single ticket you are protected anyway.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 01:31 PM
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First of all: What janisj wrote.

What you should do between now and then: Get the Lufthansa app on your phone and add your booking.
IF your incoming flight is so late that, you cannot make the connection you should get your new boarding passes for a later flight right on your mobile phone.
IF your incoming flight is late but not too late, you MAY get an "escort service" who will take you through passport control and security.
IF your incoming flight arrives on time, keep in mind that Terminal 2 in Munich is both the main terminal building as well as a satellite building. Double-check the departure gates once you see a screen in the terminal so you won't end up in the wrong building.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 03:02 PM
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I had a 45 min connection one time at Frankfurt and made it. Munich is always our destination so have never had to change flights there but it is a big airport. We have a flight in Dec that has changed times twice since buying a ticket. It is now an hour difference in taking off time. What is the legal time now for connections?
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 03:27 PM
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Macross, the minimum legal connecting time at FRA is 45 minutes regardless of whether it's international to domestic (either direction), domestic to domestic, or international to international.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 07:04 PM
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Lufthansa has been great for us

Twice we have arrived late in Frankfurt from a US city and thought we would miss our connection. Both times they had agents on the jetway holding signs directing passengers with specific connections to gather off to the side. The first time they walked us to a bus and we were immediately driven to the departure gate and boarded as usual. The second time, we were bussed to a jetway and entered from ground level onto the plane without ever interacting with an agent. There was no passport examination, no record of us entering the EU, nothing. We expected there might be a problem when we left the EU, but everything was seamless, no one ever mentioned anything. Bottom line, donít worry. Things always work out one way or another and itís not worth the extra grey hairs to spend time thinking about what might happen. Go with the flow.
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Old Aug 8th, 2019, 08:38 PM
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Do yourself a favor

don't sit waaaaaaaaay back in the last rows on that first flight
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Old Aug 17th, 2019, 06:40 AM
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We flew on Lufthansa Boston to Catania via Frankfurt. We had one hour from arrival to departure. Our flight arrived 20 minutes late. Passport control was out of control and we missed our connecting flight as no one in passport control cared we had a connecting flight we were going to miss. There were no Lufthansa employees when we arrived shuttling us anywhere.
We were than told to go to Lufthansa customer service. That line was an hour long to be told that they will only put us on a flight with an airline that honors Lufthansa. So if it is going to cost the airline money they are not going to pay. Since they could not get us on a flight to Sicily that day they put us up in an airport hotel the equivalent of a comfort inn with food that was worse. We lost our first night in Taormina. The lack of empathy from Lufthansa was pathetic to the point we would never travel with them again.
Change your flight. They do not care if you make your connecting flight and they will not pay one cent to put you on another. We flew in June 2019.
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Old Aug 17th, 2019, 08:19 AM
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You flew via Frankfurt. OP is supposed to transfer in Munich.
The airports are not the same.
Both by size and layout as well as by efficiency of checkpoints.
In addition, OP will connect to Rome. Where there will be several flights per day while I doubt that there is more than one flight per day to Catania.
When you miss a connection anywhere in the world, it is highly unlikely that any airline will put you on a flight operated by another airline. Unless they are in the same group or alliance.
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Old Aug 17th, 2019, 03:01 PM
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I came back to the US via Munich and talk about stressful. I had given myself a 1 hr 45 min connecting time. That was was shortened when my plane was delayed. While I was still on the plane waiting to exit, I checked my phone which had my flight home boarding in 45 mins. I knew i would have to rush and did. No one was waiting to help when i got off. I was fine until i hit passport control. I just wanted to throw my stuff down and cry. The line was so long and i thought there was no way I'd make it. I had to make a split second decision as I noticed to the left lines for electronic passports. I didnt know if I qualified but knew I might get through that faster. I did and got to my gate as the starting boarding. I literally had to run and no way would I have made it if traveling with my family.

I know this isn't what was asked as connecting in Europe to stay there has been so easy for me in the past. I had no idea about the return so just sharing my experience. I travel at the end of June 2019. I wouldn't think the OP would have the same problem if stating in Europe.

Last edited by sassy27; Aug 17th, 2019 at 03:04 PM.
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