Passport Control in Madrid

My wife and I are traveling from Atlanta Ga, to Madrid on Delta, then via different reservations traveling from Madrid to Barcelona on Vueling Airlines. We have 1 hour and 10 minutes connection window. Will this be enough time to get through passport control and get our bags?

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
9472 posts

Scott I think you have cut it way too close,, seriously ,, its immigrations could be another plane unloaded right before you, ,, then its getting your luggage. THEN you have to find and check in at Vueling. Even if you have preprinted your boarding pass, its just not going to work. I would not have booked the Vueling flight so tight. If you can I would pay the Vueling change fee and rebook for at least 2.5-3 hours between that and my arrival from an international flight.

Posted by Arnold
Denver, CO, USA
1071 posts

The only way you can do this is to have your bags checked all the way through. Call up Delta or check on their website if they have an interline agreement with Vueling. If so, when you check in at Atlanta, present them with both tickets and tell them you want the bags checked all the way to BCN. Passport control shouldn't be much of a problem. However, if you have to wait for your bags and then go to recheck them with Vueling means you will probably not make the connection. If you can check your bags all the way through, then as soon as you arrive in MAD, go to the transit desk and get your Veuling boarding passes, go through passport control, take the train to T4 or whatever terminal that Veuling leaves from and depart.

Posted by Tom
2876 posts

I think you're going to land at terminal 1. You'll have to go through passport control. You'll have to wait for and retrieve your bags. Then you'll have to take a shuttle bus to terminal 4, where you'll have to find Vueling, check in with them, & re-check your bags. Then you'll have to go through another security check on the way to your gate. We did this 1 1/2 years ago, and I'd say the shuttle bus alone took a half hour, plus security in T4 was a madhouse that day. You might make it if everything goes like a Swiss watch for you, but I wouldn't count on it.

Posted by Carol
Atlanta, GA, USA
944 posts

No, you don't have enough time. Those terminals are a LONG way away from each other. And while I love Madrid, the airport is far from a model of efficiency. Delta does not interline with Vueling.

Posted by Scott
2 posts

Thanks for everyone's response. I just found out that the delta flight was changed to one hour later. Thanks again.

Posted by Matthew
White Plains, NY, USA
1 posts

I plan on doing something similar this upcoming October. We have a 2hr and 20 min connection window and are thinking of taking the risk due to the cheap airfare price (~50 euro). Any insight from those experienced doing this? It will be on a Friday morning FYI. Thank you!

Posted by H J
LaGrange, Ga, USA
1172 posts

Delta and Vueling are in totally different terminals, and you must take the shuttle bus or taxi between the two. Need plenty of time for this, and the layout of the terminals are completely different as well. Vueling is in the newer terminal, Delta in an older one. You would be having lots of running between the two to hopefully catch the flight. If you make it, the Vueling flight will be good. BUT, and this is a big IF, you are lucky Vueling will NOT cancel the flight and leave you stranded. This happened to me on two of their flights last May and June, even though the tickets had been purchased well in advance. So, be sure to check before leaving on your first flight that the Vueling flight is still going to fly!!! I think the scenario you posted originally will not work...not sure about the later flight...did not work out the time differences...Good Luck.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
14071 posts

Another issue you might have is that we have encountered the check in counter being closed 45 minutes prior to departure. Don't know if Vueling does that or not. But that could cut your window to an hour, 35.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6521 posts

Think about this If there's bad weather at your departure point . . . If there's heavy air traffic at your departure point . . . If there's bad weather en route . . . If there's bad weather or heavy air traffic when you near Madrid . . . If there are several jumbos unloading passengers and bags just ahead of you . . . If you're stuck on the tarmac waiting for your gate to free up . . . If half the passport agents are on a coffee break . . .
If your luggage goes walkabout . . . If only one of those happens, and all are likely, and given another 30 seconds I could come up with another 10 things that are equally as likely, you will not make a short connection. You will have forfeited your cheap tickets and be obliged to find another way to get to Barcelona. I don't know what Delta's responsibility is with regard to your luggage . . . if the baggage handlers accidentally set it aside and only find it a couple of hours later, is Delta going to deliver it to you in Barcelona? After all, their contract with you is to Madrid.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
1422 posts

One other aspect to budget airlines is that your ticket will be good only on the flight for which it was issued. If you miss that flight, for almost any reason, you will have to buy a completely new ticket to catch a later flight. I've glanced at Vueling's terms and conditions and that seems to be their policy too. So as you revise your plans, you have another reason to avoid a tight connection.