3 security checks coming home from Prague

Just got back from Prague where we flew from Prague airport to Frankfurt to Chicago then to Knoxville, Tennessee.

We went through security at Prague before boarding. When we landed in Frankfurt we had a special bus to meet all of the Chicago-bound people on our flight. I thought this was rather extraordinary treatment to be picked up by the United Airlines bus and delivered to my connecting flight. Little did I know that the bus deposited us back into the airport where we had to go through security again. Now keep in mind the bus picked us up because we were on a tight connection and they only had 1 security checker for a whole room full of people. Neither did they have a metal detector to walk through...we all had to be manually wanded. What a huge waste of time that was! Then when we landed in Chicago they herded us through customs and then through security again. I'm astonished at having to do this 3 times. Just be prepared for long waits for security.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7433 posts

I feel your pain, out of all the airports I've flown through, including Ben Gurion (Tel-Aviv), Frankfurt has strictest security for trans-Atlantic flights. Last summer my flight back to NYC originated from Frankfurt(no transfers), and I still has to go through 3 security checks:
The general airport check, a check to get to the portion of the terminal that handles trans-Atlantic flights (this included a full body search for all passengers, and a final check at the gate. When making travel plans I try to avoid Frankfurt whenever possible.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2099 posts

I fly to Europe each summer from Seattle and have always been able to get a non-stop flight going over. I have also been able to get a non-stop flight back to Seattle except one time. That time we had to stop in Chicago (O'Hare). Not only did we have to go thru customs and security there,both of which were madhouses, but we missed our connecting flight to Seattle. While trying to reschedule our flight to Seattle, the agent at the counter said that most folks coming in from overseas and connecting thru Chicago almost always miss their connecting flight. NEVER again will I fly thru Chicago! Fortunately, one can get non-stop flights from Seattle to Europe and return.

Posted by Steve
Richmond, Virginia, USA
342 posts

Why are people complaining of security? It is designed to keep us safe! Sorry, I don't get it.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3646 posts

I think the big point here is that, since I boarded the plane with no gun, bomb, or explosive liquid, I probably exited the plane with no gun, bomb, or explosive liquid. You could make me go through 15 security checks back to back to back...but chances are the 1st security check was sufficient.

Now if you want to talk about why passengers are screened multiple times, but cargo and post comes and goes freely then that's definitely something I don't understand either!

Posted by Rick
Boston, MA, US
11 posts

Remember, Security, especially TSA is not about actually catching anything, but making it look like you are "safe".

Posted by Al
Nottingham, UK
658 posts

Frankfurt is my hub airport.

I know about and welcome airport security.

Frankfurt really is a case of overkill. If I fly from Birmingham ( BHX ) to either Prague, Athens or Malta using FRA as a hub I can go through as much as 3 security screenings in FRA and I've not exited the airport. In anyone's language that is two too many. Some of it is downright bizarre. Another thing, have you noticed that if you are flying on Lufthansa at Frankfurt you get a docking bay that connects to the terminal but if you're on other airlines you have to get a bus to the terminal ? If you can try and go via Munich ( MUC ) much nicer, quicker, friendlier and no unnecessary security screening, just a pleasant, quick, secure airport.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3646 posts

Security checks - I don't mind. But describing Frankfurt airport security as overkill is exactly correct!

Posted by Emilie
Burlingame, CA, USA
25 posts

Hi Tim,I understand what you mean; my daughter & I flew from Amsterdam to Minneapolis,we were security checked in Amsterdam; our flight landed & everyone went right into customs; we picked up our bags, in the same customs room & then had to go through a security check, in the same customs room & then were let out into the terminal to get on our connecting flight; that was silly & a waste of time; how could anyone do anything under the gaze of the customs people? maybe this is why there is free wine on international flights -- ha, ha;

Posted by Chere
Kelso, WA, USA
221 posts

no matter how you slice it, long distance air travel is grueling. For us in sw Washington state, having Lufthansa flying direct from Portland is such a great travel option! 9.5 hours direct to Frankfurt and I don't care how many security checks I have to go through; this is where using a travel agent vs. solo booking is helpful. They will know if you have enough time to make connections. And the service on LH can't be beat. It does seem silly you get checked coming off a secure plane...

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4218 posts

This really isn't that unusual. I came back to Wisconsin from Stuttgart via Heathrow and Chicago. Of course I cleared security at Stuttgart, but you still clear it again in Heathrow, and then once more in Chicago. When I flew from Wisconsin to Quebec and changed planes in Montreal, we cleared security twice. If you change countries count on clearing security. If you really want a long wait, try clearing customers and immigration coming back to the US on a train from Toronto to Rochester NY. Now that's a long wait! It's something we have to live with today.

Posted by Shannon
Chicago, Illinois, USA
131 posts

Steve - I totally agree with you! Tim -Considering I live in Chicago - a metropolitan area that has nearly 9 million people and the nation's busiest airport, I don't consider "herding" you through security at our airport a "huge waste of time." It protects me - and you.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3646 posts

So I guess from your rationale 4 security checks would be better than 3 and we should all be thankful to get 4 instead of just 3 because then we would be safer??? But then again why stop at 4? Perhaps 5 or 6 or 7 seven would make us even safer!

There comes a point when redundancy outweighs usefulness.

Posted by Shannon
Chicago, Illinois, USA
131 posts

You only had one security stop at O'Hare, right? Not 3 or 4. If I returned to the US from another country and didn't have a security stop I would be concerned.
That's all I'm trying to say. In July, on the way home from Mexico, we had a security stop in Cancun, then again in Dallas where we switched planes, and again at O'hare.