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Walk me through arrival at Venice Marco Polo airport

Walk me through arrival at Venice Marco Polo airport

Jun 26th, 2012, 08:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 87
Walk me through arrival at Venice Marco Polo airport

Hi all,

My mother will be travelling alone to meet us in Venice and she is a bit nervous. She'll be arriving on a Delta flight from New York so I know her flight crew will speak English. I also know from a google search that signs in the Venice airport are in English and that many or most airport personnel speak English. That being said, I think my mother would be nervous travelling alone within the US or to another English speaking country.

Can you walk me through what happens when you arrive? I will be waiting for her in the arrivals hall (I'm not terribly worried about myself, but if you have any advice for me on where to wait or how to find her, I'm all ears!) We are not arriving in Venice by plane so I won't be familiar with the airport, but I should be able to figure things out. What will she have to do before she gets to me?

I don't travel internationally often, but from what I remember from my last (Caribbean) trip, you go through immigration, then get your bags, then customs. Then I should be able to meet her, correct?

I might give her notes on what the translations are for these things. Google translates says:
customs - dogana
immigration - immigrazione
baggage claim - ritiro bagagli
bathroom - bagno

Somehow I feel like these are not right! Please feel free to correct me.

Thanks in advance!
cboris is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 08:40 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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As in most airports for an international arrival the place is configured in such a way that she will eventually HAVE to reach the Immigration screening area and after that she will be funneled to the bag claim and the only way OUT of bag claim is going to be by going through some sort of Customs portal.

Unless she holes up in a bathroom along the way the process/progress is pretty much inevitable. Some of the interior airport signage may be slightly confusing but I wouldn't worry too much.
You might want to take a look at the airport website (choose the English version)


for further info.

And you can reassure here that Marco Polo isn't nearly as big as some airports such as JFK for example.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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She should follow the crowd. Everyone from her plane will be going to the same place - passport control (she will go to the non-EU line), baggage claim, and then the exit. She can't go wrong if she does what the rest of the passengers do.

You'll be on the outside of the exit door waiting for her. She couldn't possibly get lost.
adrienne is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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All signs at Marco Polo Airport are in English as well as Italian. There are also picture signs--little suitcase for baggage claim, etc.

As adrienne reported above, everyone else on your mother's flight will have to go through Immigration, get baggage (unless connecting to another flight), exit. Tell her to follow the crowd.

There is no way your mother can get lost. Italy would not allow her to exit without going through Immigration!

Everyone at Marco Polo speaks English.

Italian word for exit: Uscita! (U-Sheeta)

Arrivals at Marco Polo are at ground level.

I was just at Marco Polo two weeks ago.

Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 344
I agree that she shouldn't have any problems, though I've not been through Marco Polo before so can't offer specifics. Two points though, if she has checked baggage make sure she knows to follow those signs (seems obvious, I know), but if she happens to follow several passengers who are all carry-on only, could she miss the baggage claim? Also, is Marco Polo similar to CDG, for example, where you're not out of the restricted area until you've walked through frosted glass doors? Something like that might be a good landmark for her. I was once meeting someone arriving at CDG (I was already in Paris) and they got confused and were looking for me/waiting for me before clearing the secured area, while I was standing outside the doors.
Sidny is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Marco Polo is really small and really easy. There is no way she will miss the baggage claim - unless she takes 8 ambiens or similar on the flight. If it helps, there is only one bar/cafe in the airport (outside security) so you could tell her to go there (again, pretty hard to miss) if she doesn't see you when she gets out of the baggage area.
rialtogrl is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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If you have never been to Marco Polo before, why are you commenting?

Also, even people with carry-on luggage on that Delta flight have to go through Immigration. Baggage comes after Immigration.

Stop making the OP nervous. We who have actually been to Marco Polo have all said that mother will have a cake walk.


Thin--posting in Fodorville for 10+ years
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Thank you everyone! I did already tell her to just follow everyone else. But Sidney raises some great points. I'll make sure to stress that some people may just have carry on luggage.

Can anyone clarify about the theoretical frosted glass doors? I'm guessing there will be a number of people waiting at arrivals with me, including (well, I was going to say limo drivers, but I guess they're water taxi drivers??) people with signs. So maybe I'll tell her until she sees a group of people waiting, she's not all the way out yet.

I really do trust that it'll all work out fine, but if I can give her some information about it, it'll soothe her mind a bit.

Thank you all!
cboris is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Macro polo is a small airport and even with carry on only you still are funnelled through the baggage claim (like every airport I can think of) because the doors to get out funnel you through a customs area which is after the baggage claim area.

In Europe these are three different coloured custom 'hallways' green for nothing to declare (tell her to go through this one), blue for when you arrive from another eu country and the last one for declaration. Everyone has to walk through this area to get out.
jamikins is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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If you do have some experience of arriving from abroad in the US, it's worth bearing in mind that there really isn't a Customs check the passenger's aware of in Europe.

Your mother will be given no forms to fill in on the plane, and won't need to fill any in when she lands. She'll go through passport control have her passport looked at and almost certainly not stamped, collect her bag, then walk, unmolested and without queueing, through the green Customs channel. It's 99.9% certain that no-one will intercept her going through Customs or take any interest in what's in her bags.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 10:25 AM
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Look, NOW you are obsessing about YOURSELF and NOT your Mother. I have this funny feeling she is going to KNOW when she is "all the way out" but if it makes YOU feel better make a sign with her name on it and hold it up.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 10:32 AM
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It's a breeze. And Thin is right; Marco Polo is not CDG. I've been dealing with CDG for over 30 years.

Marco Polo airport is very small. One of my best, American friends lives outside of Venice now and drove to meet a friend and me at Marco Polo and we had no problems at all.

A Parisian friend and I flew there from Paris though as I had flown, non-stop from L.A. to Paris, and then he joined up with me at the gate for the Venice flight out of CDG. We flew on to Venice together. But, I can't see it being a problem flying into Marco Polo from the States. Friends do it all the time and have never had a problem. Just follow the signs. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 10:43 AM
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I don't remember any frosted glass doors at European airports, and I'm sure I've never seen frosted glass doors at CDG. I've seen lots of ugly green doors. I think you're making a big deal out of nothing.

Everyone has to go through the baggage claim area (as stated above) even if they do not have checked bags. It's the same in the US when you return home. I'm sure your mother will know when she's in the terminal (lots of people milling around, shops, cafes, police, bright lights rather than the dim lighting of the baggage area, etc.) and out of baggage claim. Has she never been to an airport before?
adrienne is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 11:02 AM
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Dukey, you made me laugh out loud.

Adrienne, my mother has been to many airports, she's just very unsure of herself in everything she does, not just travel. My father died 2 years ago and she has literally never been on a plane by herself. He helped her navigate everything; that was the nature of their relationship. Not how MY marriage works, but that's how she lived. She just needs to build her self-confidence and this experience will definitely help her do that. It's so reassuring to hear how straight-forward this airport is.

Ok, I'm going to stop worrying now!
cboris is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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I was there last month and as others have said, it is a very small airport and you can't go wrong If she has flown before, she will know about picking up luggage etc. If she is anything like my late mother, she will have chummed up with the nice woman in the next seat. will leave the plane with her and proceed chatting nineteen to the dozen to the airport.
MissPrism is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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Do I take you mother is an elderly person?

The Marco Polo airport process is not different from other international airport and everything is written in English.

The order is:
- Immigration / passport control
- Checked luggage retrieval
- Customs (which is a 5 second walk thru for those who have nothing to declare)
- exit into the unsecure area where you will be waiting.

The only possible foul up is the checked luggage retrieval. If she exits out to the unsecure area in her excitement to see you but has not yet picked up her luggage, then it would be difficult to re-enter into luggage carousel area.

Also if she is not familiar with how airports assign carousel to different flight, she might need to be explained there is always a display: central panel as well as per carousel display showing for which flight and from where the luggage circulating the carousel are for. Of course, the others who also have checked luggage would go to the same place.
greg is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 11:34 AM
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I think the real preparation she'll need is be for JFK and not Marco Polo.
zoecat is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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I am trying to recall our arrival... and cannot remember! This means, nothing memorable, nothing bad. I don't speak Italian (yes, I had a dictionary with me) and didn't need it in the airport.

We just followed the signs in English, on the plane filled out a form (English/Italian questions).

If I didn't get lost in the aiport, nobody will

Now, the vaporettos are a different thing...
Dayenu is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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Glad that your mother is getting out and about. That will help her confidence!
adrienne is offline  
Jun 26th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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Faina, Keith and I just flew into Marco Polo on May 27, 2012. We flew from JFK. We did NOT fill out any questionnaire, any forms.

The only time I have ever filled out a landing card when flying to any European country is when flying into the UK from the US.

Why did you have to fill out a questionnaire??

I don't understand since Italy is a Schengen Country.

Pepper_von_snoot is offline  

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