Summer Spain itinerary plan - ideas?

May 12th, 2009, 08:16 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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maribel - your resources are beyond the pale. I checked out the flight stats website. What a wonderful source of information. Thank you for that link. I am bookmarking it for all my future travels.

Now, I realize you do not actually have abilities to see into the future (you don't, do you?), but I have a question for you. I found a flight on Air Europa that leaves Vigo at about 7:30 a.m. and arrives in Madrid (terminal 2) at about 8:35 a.m.
(I don't have exact to-the-minute details in front of me right now, but that's close)

Our flight back to the US leaves Madrid at 11:30 the same day. That leaves us a 3 hour layover. We will have carry-on only. The flight status website says "very good" ontime record for this flight.

The million dollar question --- Would you feel comfortable with this situation?

I am leaning toward returning the car the night before in Vigo, taxi-ing to the airport in the morning, and assuming we will be okay with the connection.

The downside - our transatlantic flight tickets were purchased through a consolidator and we have absolutely no recourse if we miss that flight, other than to buy same-day full-fare one way tickets home. Can you imagine the cost?

Since you seem to have plenty of experience with this type of travel, I am just wondering what your take on this is. Of course, the decision is completely my responsibility - just looking for a little input. Thank you.
scdreamer is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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Hi scddreamer. I am sure that you will get responses from more knowledgeable people but just wanted to put in my two cents. Back in March I considered booking that Air Europa flight from Vigo to connect with a Continental flight leaving Madrid also around 11:30. Eventhough Continental is a partner with Air Europa they wouldn't guarantee that I would be protected in case I missed my connection (the Aie Europa flight would have been a separate ticket for some of us). Also, poster(s) in the forum advised me that in the early morning Vigo is frequently fogged in and it doesn't dissipate fast. However, the stats you have obtained seem to disprove that point. In the end we opted not to connect from Vigo.

What is your carrier back to the US? Do you know if it departs from the same terminal where Air Europa lands?
cruiseluv is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Who would guarantee a connection unless you flew with the same company?
From the official Spanish airports website it seems only Air Europa and Iberia fly Vigo-Madrid.
I have also heard about the fog at Vigo but not during the summer. If that is the case the flying from SdC should be the option to take. But one can never guarantee the weather anywhere.
Here is the link for Barajas airport.
It works best in IE rather than firefox
ribeirasacra is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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I guess I didn't explain myself well ... What Continental couldn't guarantee was that they would put me on a flight from Mad to US the next day at no cost to me if I missed my connection. Therefore, I wouldn't be "protected".
cruiseluv is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 10:48 AM
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The dilemma is that since the Galicia airport-Madrid and the Madrid-US r.t. tickets weren't booked TOGETHER, and the transatlantic tix were purchased through a consolidator, as you say, you don't have any recourse if your flight from Galicia arrives late and you miss you US bound flight.

And although 3 hrs. seems ample, it will be whittled if you have to change terminals from T1-2-3 (landing at 8:35) to T4 (the 11:30 flight will board at least 50 min. before).

Does your US bound flight leave from T1 or T4? The switch between T1-2-3 and the new T4, door to door, can take 40 min.

And you'll still have to check in at the counter for your US bound flight.

I have Gold status, so I go to the first class/business line without a wait.
But the lines in August for coach class check in at Barajas can be extremely long.
Mighty glad I don't have to stand in them anymore!

I've learned from experience re the problem with booking a round trip in and out of Madrid and then later adding on a separate connecting flight. There's always a risk involved.

If there's a problem, it's up to you to solve it and to absorb the expense, so it's tricky.
I try not to take that risk anymore.

I've learned it's only completely safe when I book my summer tickets Seattle-Madrid then back Bilbao-Madrid-Seattle all on the same Star alliance (US Air/Spanair) so that I'm protected and so that I can check my luggage through.

And when I purchase my tix for the fall, I'll purchase the r.t. to Madrid and the connecting flights to/from Santiago (or an open jaw SdeC-A Coruña or Vigo-SdeC) all together, on carriers of the same alliance- either One World for Iberia or Star Alliance for the Spanair.
That way, I'm protected.

I don't use Air Europa because that alliance doesn't work for me.

When cruisluv was planning her return from Galicia to Madrid, I read the post here about the fog delays at Vigo, so I checked them with flatstats for that week. And for that week, that early flight from Vigo to Madrid did arrive on time.

But that's no guarantee, of course. I've been delayed for 90 min., from Madrid to Pamplona because of fog in Pamplona during the summer! One never knows.

So....if the Air Europa flight reaches the runway at 8:35 and you have to switch terminals via the shuttle bus, check in, go through security, and the boarding for your 11:30 flight to the US begins at 10:40 you don't really have a big cushion. That would give me pause.

Hope this helps you to decide.
Maribel is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 03:05 PM
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Reading these postings by you guys who fly to and from Spain with internal connecting flights does make me think. My wife had a flight once from Amsterdam back to SdC with Iberia. The flights connected in Madrid. The first leg was delayed, so she had to rush for the next flight, she made it with a few mins to spare but the luggage did not. Iberia sent the luggage on the following day. Telling this story also reminds me that at Madrid sometimes the gate for the flight is not clear. Terminal 4 is also very large. I have never used any of the others.
ribeirasacra is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 04:20 PM
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For us in the US who cross the Gran Charco regularly to Madrid and immediately on to various points of Spain, it's a bit complicated.

If I want to check my luggage straight through and be protected, in case a delay in my connecting flight causes me to miss my transatlantic flight (or vice versa), I buy my two tickets together, and the airlines need to belong to the same alliance so as to check baggage through to final destination.

(If I fly Iberia from Santiago to Madrid, then US Air to PHL, Iberia won't check my bags through, so I collect and haul them from T4 to T1 myself).

US Air (to Madrid from USA) and Spanair (for internal flights) belong to Star Alliance

American (to Madrid) and Iberia (internal) are both members of One World

Continental & Delta (to Madrid) and Air Europa (internal) are partners in Sky Team

I MUCH prefer arriving and departing from T4, where American & Iberia operate.
Yes, it's immense, but it's also well signed, is filled with natural light and is airy, has varied shopping and decent cafes/restaurants.

T1 is being renovated, slowly, but leaves much to be desired compared to the marvel of T4, I think.

if you travel back from Galicia to Barajas on Iberia, you'll land at T4

If you take an Air Europa or Spanair flight, I think you'll arrive at a gate in T2
T2-2-3 are all connected-walkable.

Now, I hope the above hasn't totally confused you!
Maribel is offline  
May 12th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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Thanks, Maribel. I think maybe we should consider just flying back to Madrid the night before and staying there. I've stayed at an airport hotel in Madrid before and it wasn't awful. It does mean losing one last night in Galicia, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be getting much sleep anyway, worrying about that connection.
scdreamer is offline  
May 15th, 2009, 05:35 AM
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Definitely going to fly back to Madrid the night before. The two flights arrive and depart from different terminals at Barajas, and I had forgotten there is and extra layer of potential delay with the extra security check at the actual departure gate.

Even flying back the night before allows more time in Galicia than our initial plan to drive back, so I am fine with it.
scdreamer is offline  
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