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Passport control and Customs in EU with Connecting Flights

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Jun 26th, 2013, 12:01 PM
  #1
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Passport control and Customs in EU with Connecting Flights

I have a flight going to Poland from the U.S. that has a connection in Berlin Tegel. The flight is a single ticket, but the flight to Berlin is operated by United and the flight from Berlin on is operated by Lot. The connection is a little tight (although the airline says anything over 45 min is enough). The airline also says I will have to go through "Customs." I'm wondering if anyone has experience there and if I will need to go through passport control only or full customs. I'm trying to decide if it will be faster to check my bag (which it would if they will check it all the way through to Poland) or if they will make me pick up the bag to go through customs like they do for connecting flights back to the U.S. and then check it again, which would make carry on luggage easier. Any suggestions?
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Jun 26th, 2013, 12:15 PM
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You will go through passport control in Berlin since that is your point of entry into Schengen. You go through customs, which generally is a non event, in Poland. You just go through the green channel and walk straight out, assuming you have nothing you need to declare. You can check your bag through, no problem.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Your luggage should go straight to Poland - but do check with your airlines

What will take time is Immigration - which can be time-consuming for non-EU citizens if more than one plane lands at the same time.

I would want a longer window than that - but don;t know if you have any options at this point.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 10:59 PM
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Just to point out that Schengen is not the same as EU - there are non-EU countries that are members of Schengen and EU countries that aren't members of Schengen.
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Jun 27th, 2013, 01:33 AM
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Yes, Schengen and EU are not the same, but both Germany and Poland are part of both. I've usually connected through the U.K. in the past, which isn't a schengen country, so I wasn't sure how Germany would handle the luggage thing. I would like to have a longer layover, but unfortunately, there were some issues during booking, so I didn't realize the layover was so short until it was booked and the airline won't change it without a steep fee, because they claim it is enough time to get through immigration.
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Jun 27th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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As long as it's one ticket - then it's the airline's problem. But I would be prepared with info on following flights out so you have info to work with the airline with in case you don't make it.
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Jun 27th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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If it's a legal connection as defined by the airlines, then why worry. If you make the connection, fine. If not, it's their job to get you on the next flight which most likely you would have booked anyway (although yes it's theoretically possible there may not be an available flight for 3 days but that rarely if ever happens).
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Jun 27th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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The times that are worry about tight connections are:

* If there aren't any more connecting flights that day

* If I have something specific planned upon arrival - someplace to be, a drive that I don't want to do later, a train connection, etc.

* I have checked luggage (I or the luggage might night make the tight connection) and will not be at my destination long enough for the luggage to catch up.

Otherwise I may risk the tight connection and have the airline just get me on a later flight if I miss it.
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