I have a connecting flight at Frankfurt, coming from Dulles going to Vienna. I will have checked bags and a carryon bag. Flying in on United and out on Lufthansa. First question is about passport control. Do I have to retrieve checked bags before going through passport control or do I just take my carryon through passport control? I am coming in on a 7am flight. Will I have enough time if the Vienna flight leaves at 845? How good is the signage? Is passport control signed as "passport control"? I've been reading horror stories about delays and unfriendly passport officials. Thanks.
Basically, when you get off of the plane, you need only follow everyone else, as they are also getting their passports checked. Yes, the signs are in English, and your bags should go on to Vienna, so you don't have to pick them up. You have plenty of time between flights. Of course people post horror stories, it is a fun thing to do so everyone commiserates with them. If all went smooth, no one posts about that. My experience at the Frankfurt airport is that they are efficient and friendly. The average amount of time for people to have landed, as well as picked up their luggage to walk out of the airport, is about 45 min. Of course some one will now come on and tell you how awful their one trip was through Frankfurt, but hopefully, others will post that all went well. It is a big airport, but if you look at their map, you will see it is laid out logically. http://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/frankfurt_airport/en/directions/airport_maps1/terminal_1_2.html Both your airlines use Terminal 1, so you don't have to switch terminals. I would have a look at the airport arrival and departure boards for the next few days to see which gate and arrival hall they are both using, to get an idea of where your flights may be arriving and departing. This is not set in stone though, as it can often change. Lufthansa and United usually use B-1 and B-2, but could also change to A or Z.
Jim, If you're flying on a code share flight (both flights on the same ticket), your checked luggage will go straight through to Vienna. You'll keep your carry-on bags with you. You shouldn't have any problems with a transfer time of 1H:45M. I've arrived in Frankfurt with only ONE HOUR from arrival to departure of the next flight, and managed just fine. However, I'd suggest trying to get a seat close to the front of "sardine class" so that you can disembark quickly when you arrive. When you get off the flight, just follow the signs (and the "herd) to Passport control. Your Passport will be stamped since that's your first entry to the E.U. When you're finished with that, you'll likely need to go through security before getting to the boarding gate for your next flight. I've always found the staff at FRA to be VERY efficient. The officer working security the day I went through with the one hour transfer, was about the quickest and most efficient I've ever seen. Of course, this could differ in your trip due to a variety of factors. If a lot of flights are arriving at that time, airport staff may be overwhelmed which of course will slow the proces down to some extent. If it looks like there could be a time issue, be sure to tell them that you have to connect with another flight. That may or may not help. I'll also be transiting through Frankfurt in a few months, and not anticipating any problems. I have the FRA Airport App on my iPhone, so it will be good opportunity to give that a test drive! Happy travels!
You should be fine with an hour and 45 minutes. I like others, have made a connection in Frankfurt within one hour, but it was a near thing. As soon as you exit your plane, do keep an eye out for the screens showing the departure gate for your flight. The last time I was in Frankfurt, these seemed to be in short supply and did not show all of the flights from all of the areas (I was at one point in concourse C and the screens were only showing departures from C), so I was lucky that I had checked upon deplaning and knew which gate I was headed to which was I think in B. As others have said, since United and Lufthansa are both star alliance, you should be able to check your bag right through to Vienna and therefore you will not have to pick it up and recheck it in Frankfurt. You will have to clear passport control and then go through security again. Everything has to go in a bin through security. Nothing goes on the conveyor belt unless it's in a bin. The one tricky thing that I've had happen in Frankfurt is that they kept closing off security gates and redirecting me. This happened twice in the course of one plane change. I think they try to keep the lineups a reasonable size, so that's good, but it's frustrating if you are just behind the cut off and have to find another security point. They will direct you to where you need to go however.
How do you determine the departure gate if you are not able to see the departure screen? I've tried asking the flight attendant but they always say they do not have access to the information.
@Denise, I've always found the information on my connecting flights on the departure screens. If the flight is several hours in the future, the flight may not be listed until departure time gets closer.
Our and 45 minutes? I make the odds 3 to 1 in favor. I go through Frankfurt and Heathrow each a couple times a year and would prefer Frankfurt on a tight connection. I bet you make it but with no time to spare. I have an hour and 10 minute connection in Franfurt in a few weeks and I give myself a 50/50 chance of making it. HA! Life is good!!
@James, I suspect the odds will be better than 50-50, as Frankfurt is a very efficient airport. The planets must have aligned perfectly when I was last through there with exactly one hour between flights, as I was at my departure gate for the next flight in 20 minutes (just in time to start boarding)! I asked the Flight Attendant about the short connection time, and he said that while that may be a concern at LHR or other airports, it wouldn't be a problem in Frankfurt. He did say though, "don't stop for coffee".
They don't post the departure gates until 2 hours before the flight is supposed to depart. There are touch screen kiosks scattered through out the airport though, where you can check on your flight status, and there you will find the departure gate.
Ken, my rule of thumb is something like: The plane will be 15 minutes late Getting off the plane and to passport/security takes 15 minutes Passport/Security takes 15 minutes
The run to the next terminal takes 15 minutes So to make my connection I have to be wrong about at least one of the items above; which is possible/probable. I was in the Frankfurt airport in October of last year. Processing on arrival went pretty smoothly and was pretty well organized. The dash between terminals wasnt as smooth; but i have high expectations (and a hotel reservation in Frankfurt). Where people mess up the most is the timing at the US port of entry. Why more have not signed up for Global Entry I dont understand.