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Changing flights from T4 to T4S at Madrid Airport

Hi All,
I will be flying from Vienna Austria to Madrid airport and catch a connecting flight to Chicago. First flight from Vienna by Iberia, arrives at T4 Madrid, and I have to catch the connecting flight(It is by Iberia as well) at T4S. The layover time is exactly one hour. Here are my questions:
1. Obviously, I will check in my bags at Vienna airport. So, there is only hand carry with me when I go to T4S. But, will I have to go through security and passport control again in between this 2 terminals? If Yes, will I do that at T4 before the shuttle train or at T4S?

  1. How complicate is it to get to T4S from T4? I read some posts that signposts are not really clear. It is also a long walk. Is that true?

  2. How long will it take to go from T4 to T4S with all the walk, train time and passport control?

Thanks in advance

Posted by
5465 posts

If I recall, the difference between T4 and T4S is that T4S is a wing of the terminal that is a bit of a walk, but not bad, no trains, buses, or other changes of terminals. T4S is used for most US flights, You will need to go through Passport control (exit from the Schengen zone) and probably some type of security screening. Also, at the gate, they do additional screening as I recall, and once you move into the gate area, you are stuck there until boarding.

The airline is allowing an hour, so it must be OK, just do not take it too slow, and if you encounter a line, let them know you have a tight connection, maybe they will expedite you. They typically try hard to make sure you make the flight, even if they have to hold the plane a bit.

Posted by
11275 posts

An hour is tight. MAD is huge. Plus, flights to the US often leave from the most remote part of T4S. Expect lots and lots and lots of walking.

Paul's memory is a bit faulty. Between T4 and T4S there is only a shuttle train - no walking. The train is frequent. I found the signage crystal-clear; you just have to know which letter section of the terminal you need. The signs even have estimated travel times (for instance, it will say "M gates 10 minutes, T gates 20 minutes" or some such). I found the times accurate, provided you keep up a normal walking pace and don't stop for anything.

You will have to go through passport control, as this is your exit from the Schengen zone. I forget if you have to go through security (you definitely would on the reverse itinerary). All formalities are in T4 (that's why T4S is called a "satellite" of T4, instead of calling it T5, even though it is as large as T4).

Just keep moving. There are bathrooms and food services (both live sellers and vending machines) all through the gate areas, so there's no need to access these along the way.

Posted by
4700 posts

Harold is right. An hour to connect from T4 to T4S is not much, and you have to take the train between them. I did this last year, flying from Porto to Madrid (Iberia) and then on to Charlotte on AA. I had two hours to connect. I think our flight out to Charlotte was not full so we boarded later than expected, but it felt like a tight connection. The line at passport control (you have to go through in Madrid) was long and slow. An hour would seem too tight to me.

Posted by
639 posts

I concur that Madrid airport is huge. On your flight from Vienna, read the airport map in the Iberia magazine. Before landing, ask the FAs for the exact gate number of your connecting flight.

While Terminal 4 looks nice and modernistic, it involves lots of walking from the gate zones to gate zones. I almost missed the flight walking from the lounge to my K gate.

Posted by
1 posts

We just came back a few days ago from VCE (Venice) to MAD (Madrid) to ORD (Chicago). We connected between T4 to T4S. Flying business class on Iberia had us getting off the plane immediately. I thought 2 hours between flights in MAD would be plenty but I was wrong. We parked on the very end of the T4 concourse and our connection to ORD was on the very end of the T4S concourse. You could not get much further away.

I am older and do not walk as quickly as I used to. After getting to the T4S concourse we had to go through passport control. Unfortunately, there must have been 250 people all jammed in trying to get through. The instructions for which line to get into were obscured by the large amount of people. We got into the right line which turned out to be for citizens only so had to go back to the end of one of the other 3 lines. This took a large chunk of our layover time. After passport control it was off to the very end of the T4S concourse. We did stop at the rest rooms on the way. Getting to the gate, boarding started within 3 minutes, so we actually had a bit of time as the large plane takes awhile to board.

Madrid Airports T4 and T4S terminals are very very long from one end to the other. Even though they have moving sidewalks it seems to take forever to get to where you need to be. Hope this helps out in your planning.

Posted by
83 posts

Thank you very much for sharing your experience at Madrid Airport. I actually came back in September. Our flight only had a little over an hour. We basically ran to the shuttle train, ran to the passport control, luckily, there was not many people at passport control, then ran to the gate, which of course was at the far end. We barely made the flight to Chicago.

Posted by
73 posts

I wish i would have read this post before I flew back from Madrid several days ago. I was totally unaware of the time it would take to get to the connecting flight gate. None of my airline information was listing the connecting gate number at Madrid and I did not see any gate postings when I got off the first Iberian Express flight in T4. Finally, American Airlines sent me a text with the departure gate. I first went through Spain's passport control and there was no line. But then it was a really long walk ( I did not dare even stop to use the restroom) and a train/tram ride to get to T4S and our gate was # 1 which was the furthest out. Madrid airport seemed huge to me also. I did not know that you also have to go through another passport check at an American Airlines desk before boarding. I had a 2 hour connection time and I made it with only 3 minutes before boarding.

Posted by
4538 posts

I remember having a flight connection within the main T4 where the flights gates were at last at opposite ends. It took me about half an hour to walk the over 1 mile distance.