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Travelling to Italy with layover in Frankfurt, Germany

Travelling to Italy with layover in Frankfurt, Germany

Old Jul 24th, 2011, 07:42 PM
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Travelling to Italy with layover in Frankfurt, Germany

My first flight is within the US so I'm not concerned about it but my second one is from Philadelphia to Frankfurt operated by US Airways. Then my connecting flight to Italy is operated by British Midland Airways. This is my first time out of the United States and I would just like to know how everything is going to work. What do I do when I get off of the airplane in Germany? Am I going to know where to go? Should I ask somebody on the plane to help me navigate?(stewardess?) Do I need to get my luggage and check it again because it's a different airline? I wish I could just take carry-on but I'm staying for a few weeks and it wouldn't be possible! I would appreciate A TON of information because I'm terrified!
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 07:50 PM
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No need to be terrified. Airports in Germany work just as they do in the US; in the case of Frankfurt, probably more efficiently.

First, check your bags through to your final destination.

When you exit the plane follow the crowd and look for signs for transiting passengers. Look for the displays that give departure information for your next flight. You will probably have to go through passport control and then through security again to get to your departure gate for Italy.

It is so easy you'll wonder why you worried. Just remember...if you can find your gate in Philadelphia you will be able to find your gate in Frankfurt.
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 07:56 PM
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BTW - if for some reason you cannot check your bags through to Italy then reclaim them at baggage claim, go through security, and then find your gate.
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 08:00 PM
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Thanks a ton! It definitely calmed me down quite a bit! Are the chances of me being able to check my bags to Italy good or bad? Will passport control & security slap me in the face or will I have to look for it? Thank you for the help
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 08:11 PM
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BMI and Lufthansa are both Star Alliance partners so you should be able to check you luggage to the final destination.

I travel thru FRA often, with the latest one this April. Unlike the previous poster, I find FRA layover to be more of a hassle. It is a huge airport with very dynamic gate assignment process. The continuing flight gate assignment in FRA printed on a boarding pass in the U.S. has never been correct. Asking a ground crew more than one hour before the departure at FRA would gave me correct info about 50% of the time. The only gate assignment I could trust is what appears on the digital display - but not until about one hour before the departure. Concourse A/B, B/A transfer is time consuming and requires carry-on luggage security check. If you flight is really tight, the Lufthansa staff could help you get expedited to your connecting flight. Once the ground staff tells me it is concourse B/A, I would move to that concourse but don't trust the gate number until I actually see it displayed on the screen. Depending on who you ask and where, you will be told to use a tram or a people mover to do concourse A/B transfer. Both are right answers.

Regarding carry-on only, you will get many postings on this. Many folks here travel only with carry-on luggage even for multiple week trips. The amount of luggage is less to do with the length of the trip but rethinking what you actually use (not what you thought you needed) and selecting the content that meets your need without adding to the bulk. It does not mean wearing the same thing everyday.
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 08:30 PM
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So pretty much there are "concourses" and within the concourses are the gates, correct? So I just need to know which one I am at and then from there check the digital screen for my gate number? As long as I can check my bag through to Italy I won't be worried. I'm really not sure I could fit all of my things in a carry on size bag. Thank you for the help!
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 08:41 PM
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Here is a plan view of FRA, http://tinyurl.com/4yrttuy.
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Old Jul 24th, 2011, 09:02 PM
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Both airlines are Star Alliance so your luggage will be checked through (pay attention when it's getting tagged to make sure it has the correct airport code). Just find your connecting gate when you arrive.
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 01:12 AM
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>

You won't have to look for it. They will both be between you and where you want to go. Just as you can't get to your departure gate for your first flight w/o going through security.

Don't worry about things that will become evident when you get there.

Something has me puzzled and perhaps you could clarify - why are you only concerned about Frankfurt? You're not concerned about security and finding your gate in Philadelphia and your originating airport or upon returning from Italy. And you're not concerned about finding passport control and your bags in Italy or Philadelphia (upon return)?
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 02:32 AM
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What you should be worried about is that you know the airline and flight number of your connecting flight.

BMI does not fly from Frankfurt to anywhere in Italy so you will have difficulty finding your flight without the correct info.

My guess is it's a Lufthansa flight operated by CityLine or some other regional carrier. It might be a US Air code share, but chances are the plane will have a Lufthansa livery.
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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I've flown by myself before within the United States and I know how our airports work so that's why I'm not worried. And I'm not as worried about Italy just because I know I have time and I don't have to worry about a connecting flight or anything.

I rechecked my itinerary and it's BMI operated by Lufthansa.
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for explaining. All airports I've been to work the same way (although some are better than others).

If you're flying into Philadelphia and connecting to another flight in the US you will have to get your bags and then recheck them as Phila. will be your port of entry to the US. You go through passport control and customs at the airport that is your port of entry.

Looks like you're all set. Have a great trip.
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 10:20 AM
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Okay so when I come back I'm going right from Italy to Philadelphia then another flight home. So I'm going to have to get my bags in Phili & recheck them? And I have to go through all of that there? I didn't know that, thank you!
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 11:08 AM
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Although I have not done this at PHL, I have done the return to U.S. with a change at several other U.S. airports. The process worked like this:

1. The luggage back to U.S. should still be tagged to your final destination. If it gets tagged incorrectly PHL as the final destination, you will have a problem. PHL should be an intermediate airport on the luggage tag.

2. Fill out a customs declaration form on your flight to U.S.

3. Upon landing in U.S., go through immigration with custom declaration form and passport.

4. Pick up your luggage from carousel.

5. Proceed to customs with your luggage and the custom declaration form.

6. There should be a conveyer belt/cart to drop your luggage. This is why your luggage must be tagged to your final destination, not PHL.

7. go thru TSA screening to get to your departure gate.

Yes, you have to go thru all these.
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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That just really confused me, haha. What is this customs declaration? I'm feeling like a need a little more help than the internet...
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 08:12 PM
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kirstenleigh, when you return to the U.S. you need to fill in a customs declaration which asks you questions about goods you are bringing home with you. The crew on the plane will pass these out during the flight for you to fill out and sign. There will be a limit to how much liquor/cigarettes you can bring in and also a limit on dollar value of goods you are bringing home with you. You may have to pay duty if you exceed the limit.

I'm not sure what the U.S. limits are as I am a Canadian but I'm sure you can Google it or ask your travel agent if you are using one. It's nothing to worry about, but good to be prepared.
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 08:19 PM
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You got some good answers to your questions about Frankfurt airport and I just want to reassure you that you will be fine.Your luggage will be checked through all the way to your final destination.

I was just in Frankfurt airport in April and it was no problem, the airline had agents who guided us to the passport control and then onto a bus to go to our terminal.
When we transited through on the way home from Venice our flight was late so we asked the flight attendant and she told us the quickest way to get to our gate.
Everyone is helpful, just pay attention and if in doubt ask an airline employee.

I hope you have a fantastic trip!
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Old Jul 25th, 2011, 11:58 PM
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Just as it might be too obvious to get mentioned:
Signs at Frankfurt airport will be always also in English.
So getting from Gate X to Gate Y is no different than changing gates at any US airport.

Some airport layouts make changing gates / concourses easy, other airports have grown over the years into a somewhat less user-friendly facility. Frankfurt airport is more the latter.

Step 1
Get of plane, check monitors for departure gate.

Step 2
Follow signs to departure gates. You will automatically channelled thru passport control and security control.

Achtung:
Gate numbers are not unique in Frankfurt amongst concourses. For example: There is Gate A20 as well as B20 or C20, and so on. So the letter is as important as the number to find the proper gate.

Check this website for more infos on transfers at FRA
http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/con...transfers.html
Or print out this little guide:
http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/con....file/file.pdf
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Old Jul 26th, 2011, 01:21 AM
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The Customs Declaration has nothing to do with the Frankfurt airport (or any other airport). It is a US government form that you fill out on the plane, hand in with your passport, have it returned to you with the passport, and then hand it in after you pickup your bags. Have a pen with you on the plane.

You do not have to list every souvenir tee shirt and post card you bought - only the big ticket items. You can say misc souvenirs and give an amount. You have an $800 allowance, although the alcohol and tobacco allowance is minimal and is part of the $800. Just don't declare any Cuban cigars!

You'll already know about letter/number gates as you will have just been transferring in Philadelphia.

Again, don't stress about things that will become very apparent.
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Old Jul 26th, 2011, 07:21 AM
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Thank you all for the help! I'm still quite nervous but I'll keep researching and asking around!
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