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Customs in Frankfort

I am traveling to Italy in April. I fly from San Francisco to Frankfurt on United and then get on a Lufthansa flight to Milan. I have 1 hour 15 minutes between these flights. I'm planning on carrying on all my luggage because I'm worried that my luggage won't make it on to the Milan flight. Do I have enough time to make it through customs and make the Milan flight? (Thank you!)

Posted by
505 posts

You don't have to go through customs until your final destination - if the airlines are part of the same 'group', any luggage would be checked through. As far as I know, the US is the only country that requires transit passengers to clear customs.

You will probably have to go through immigration because Frankfurt will be your first stop in the Schengen Treaty area and there wouldn't be border controls between Germany and Italy.

I wouldn't worry about carrying everything on - you'd have to worry about the liquids/gels rule and possibly be forced to check the bag anyway if rules change or it's too big for the second plane.

An hour 15 minutes could be tight - I hope that was booked via the airlines so they are responsible if you don't make the second flight. I remember it taking a good 15 minutes just to drive on the bus out to the plane in Frankfurt!

Kate

Posted by
4981 posts

Not to be contrary, but my experience has depended on whether I am switching from International to domestic or the flight is a continuation of international. Most of the time (Paris and Munich that I recall), I went through the equivalent of immigration (passport check) at my first Schengen Country stop (Paris for example) then no check once I reached my destination (Athens in the same example and same with Munich/Athens) My bet is that you will have your passport checked in Frankfurt, not at all in Milan. While 1:15 seems tight, I have always made those tight connections without issue, the airline will also work to make your connection. Your luggage will be transferred direct, you will not claim it then recheck like in the US.

Posted by
57 posts

I've traveled 3 times to Italy from SFO via FRA. Each time I've made sure my connections were 2 hours or more. I find FRA very confusing with distances quite long to my next gate. I've always had my luggage checked through to my final destination and have had no problems. You have to present your passport and then walk or ride a train to another terminal, then walk to your gate. Since my flights through FRA are infrequent, I usually have to refresh my memory with asking a Lufthansa representative for directions. Hope this helps.

Posted by
582 posts

I just have gone through this in November 2006. I also had a 1 hour and 15 minutes between flights. I was flying from Austin TX to Salzburg Austria. I DID have to go through customs in Frankfurt, and I missed my flight to Salzburg! The line at customs at that airport is very long. It took forever to get through it. I had to wait three hours for the next flight to Salzburg. Because I was made to go through customs in Frankfurt, I didn't need to in Salzburg. Going through this was a big pain, but my trip was so wonderful in Salzburg, it was worth going through this to be there.
I hope this will be different for you since you are flying on a different flight. But it could be the same since you are flying from the USA to Frankfurt. So be prepared, that you may miss your flight and will need to wait for another flight to Milan. But hope for the best and have fun anyway!
I may be going to Milan soon myself! Can't wait!
Salute! (To your health)
Lisa

Posted by
1520 posts

I flew from Portland, OR to Frankfurt in 2006, also transferring planes to Milan. 1.5 hours is NOT enough time - customs was a disaster (our flight and several others trying to get through) and also hot and muggy (apparently the airport is undergoing rennovations, perhaps it's better now). Probably three less-than-friendly guys checking passports for the whole mob. I had 3 hours between flights and although I had plenty of time to get to my gate after customs, I was glad I didn't have to sprint. I will say however that food and entertainment choices are few and far between. The previous poster's comments about the LONG shuttle ride to your airplane is not an understatement - I thought they were driving to Milan!

Posted by
505 posts

One clarification - you are referring to immigrations, NOT customs. Immigrations is where your passport is checked etc., customs is where they check your bags.

Kate