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Short connection time in Brussels airport

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Feb 14th, 2006, 10:38 AM
  #1
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Short connection time in Brussels airport

DH and I are off to Rome next month. We fly from Chicago to Brussels/Brussels to Rome. The flight going over has a one-hour layover in Brussels. I'm a little concerned about this, as I know that its a very tight connection. I just have a few questions about the Brussels airport, since I've never been and the website hasn't really been much help. Is the airport easy to navigate? If we are arriving from the US and departing for Rome will the gates more than likely be really far away from each other?

We recently had a 4 hour layover in DC on the way to Paris and still managed to miss our connection, so needless to say I'm a little on edge about this one.

Thank you,
Tracy
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Feb 14th, 2006, 01:43 PM
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ttt
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Feb 20th, 2006, 04:44 PM
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Hi Tracy,

I am actually in the same boat as you. AA flight out of O'Hare, arriving in Belgium at 8:35 and departing at 9:35, right?

Since we have to go through customs after landing, we can pretty much assume that we will not make the connection.

I contacted AA to ask how the situation is normally handled. The rep I spoke with was surprised that the connection was actually a "legal" connection, but she confirmed that it was. She said that in her opinion we would not be able to make the connection. Instead, she thought that we would be placed on the next SN Brussels flight at 2:55. I plan to call back later and try to receive some more information as to how this will be handled.

If there is sufficient time, I may take the train into Brussels (20 minutes from the airport) and attempt to do some sightseeing, however brief.

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Feb 20th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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I believe that the airport was voted the best for business travellers at one point. It's not a big airport (I think that there're only two terminals A & B -- or is it 1 and 2?), but every time I use it I get a little confused. However you're probably lucky that you're connecting at this airport and not a larger airport. It's not as easy to navigate as the Amsterdam airport, but since it's not that big, it's not horrible.

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Feb 20th, 2006, 10:52 PM
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Brussels airport is indeed not large but it's not easy to navigate. If you arrive at the far end of pier A it may take upto 20 min. to get to the arrivals hall and another 20 min. to the far end of pier B!
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Feb 21st, 2006, 12:21 AM
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Myriam's right. It depends on which gate you land at. If you're way out at the end of Terminal A (the new terminal), you'll have quite a hike. So hope for a closer gate than that.
Assuming your gate assignment isn't too grueling, it should be ok. Immigration at Brussels isn't usually that bad and if your luggage is checked through, you should make it. No time for dawdling tho.
If you do miss your connection and you have a few hours free time, you could take the train into the Gare Centrale, see the Grand Place (and maybe the Sablon), have a drink or snack, and head back.
If you've already seen those and want to see something a bit different, you could catch the airport express bus, which goes past NATO headquarters and drops you off at the Rond Point Schumann, which is in the heart of the EU megaplex. You could take a quick stroll in the Parc Cinquantenaire, see if there are any interesting demonstrations in front of the EU, again have a drink or snack and head back.
(Apologies in advance if this post multiple times, our Internet connection has been wonky today.)
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Feb 21st, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. I am quite nervous, as we are picking up a car at FCO and were hoping to arrive at our apartment in Umbria before sunset. I did check the SN Brussels website, and it looks like the next flight is at 12:55 (or something to that extent), which would be doable. I'm wondering if I should call AA and see if they could change our flights to put us on the next available flight. I don't really want to land in Brussels, miss our flight to FCO, and find out that the next flight is completely booked. Any thoughts on this?

BTilke, thanks for the advice. We have never been to Brussels, and would love to go into town for a quick visit if time allows.

Thanks!
Tracy
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Feb 21st, 2006, 08:32 AM
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Why not call them, explain the situation and see how full the next flight is? If the flight is not that full, it seems like they should be able to put you on the next one if you miss this one.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 07:06 AM
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I'm back from my trip and I thought I would respond and share my experience, mostly with slug who will be in the same situation.

Our flight left half an hour late from O'Hare, so we would have missed our flight BUT there were 40 people on our flight who were also going to Rome so they held the plane up for us. Apparently there aren't usually non-stops from Chicago to Rome, at least not during this time of the year, so most people going to Italy have to fly through Brussels. There was a similar situation with people going to Venice. The airport is very large though, and it took about 20 minutes, running, to get from our gate to the departure gate.

Tracy
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Jul 12th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Tracy,
How did your layover in Brussels go? I'm thinking of booking a flight that has a 2 hour layover there on the way to rome and then just an hour and 20 min. on the way back. Is that too short? I don't want to miss the connection.... thanks!
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Jul 12th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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Nevermind! If I had read the entire thread I would know what happen. Guess that bodes well for my situation. Thanks for posting your comments.
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