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Layover time in Frankfurt

Checking flights from Chicago to Venice through Frankfurt and return Barcelona to Chicago through Frankfurt, are we better off having a 2 hour+ layover in Frankfurt or 4 hour+ layover? Also does it matter which flights, going or returning? Have never flown to Europe so want to make right decision. Also some flights only have 1 + hour layover, so don't want those.

Thanks much.

Posted by
1078 posts

2 hours is fine. I've had closer connections there but never missed a flight--the Germans DO know how to run an airport! Now Paris, Rome....may the force be with you!

Posted by
106 posts

I agree with Jerry. I had a 40 minute scheduled layover. My incoming flight was early and I changed concourses with time to spare.
Pam from Bath

Posted by
11294 posts

Either one is fine, so I'd go with the 2 hour layovers. I agree with avoiding a 1 hour layover if possible. You will probably make it fine, and if you don't your airline will put you on the next available flight at no extra charge, but why risk it if you don't have to?

Be aware that on your return leg, the flights from FRA to ORD require a second security check at the entrance to the US/Canada gates (they're at the end of a concourse), so don't dawdle getting to your gate.

Posted by
2790 posts

We had two trips back to the US in the last year in which we connected to the US flight in Frankfurt. The additional security check to enter the "Z" level was less than trivial, and was barely more than a wave-through. YMMV.

Posted by
809 posts

I had a not-great experience last October on a trip from Washington DC to Paris with a 75-minute connection in Munich; I had booked the short connection because there were a number of flights later in the day, and I figured if we missed our scheduled connection we could catch one a few hours later. However, the inbound flight into DC was running a few hours late, and according to United there were NO seats left on ANY of the later Munich-Paris flights. They ended up putting us on an earlier flight through Frankfurt, which was fine except for arriving in Frankfurt at 5.30 am. So I'd be a bit careful of the 2-hour connection on your trip to Europe. There are just too many possibilities for delay in the US.

On that same trip, my sister and BIL ended up spending one night en route in Salt Lake City, because of mechanical problems with their plane, and got to Paris a day later than planned. So from now on, I plan to build a lot more cushion into my travels to Europe, arriving a couple of days before any scheduled events.

Posted by
3621 posts

We 've now experienced several (4? 5?) layovers at FRA, of less than 2 hours, in fact, just over 1 hour. We made it, as did our checked luggage. I'll admit to some stress; but the airlines do seem to have figured out this one. 2 hours should be fine. Do heed the caution above about going directly to your gate. The airport is cleverly laid out to force you to walk through a large duty-free shopping area on your way to terminal Z.

Posted by
47 posts

Thank you all for your replies and great information. We will go with the 2+ hour layover as most of you have had very little if any problems. We have plenty of time to book so will keep an eye on them. You are most helpful.

Posted by
506 posts

Personally after running this gambit recently two hours will probably work, but security is really bad right now, we ate up more time this trip to Italy than ever before. Remember If you return and have to make a connection you have to pick up bags go through security recheck bags go through immigration and get to your next gate.

Posted by
11294 posts

" Remember If you return and have to make a connection you have to pick up bags go through security recheck bags go through immigration and get to your next gate."

This is true of connecting in the US. But in Frankfurt, as long as you're all on one ticket, you will have to go through passport control, but you will not see your checked bags at all. They will be checked through from Barcelona via Frankfurt to Chicago, and you won't see them again until you land at O'Hare.

When you check in in Chicago, do make sure your bags are tagged VCE, and when you check in in Barcelona, do make sure your bags are tagged ORD. (They're supposed to do this, but it never hurts to be careful). Otherwise, you will indeed have to claim and recheck them.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks again for the additional information regarding baggage. However we are going to try to do carry on this trip; the Rick Steves suggestion. We are doing a 14 day Med cruise between the pre and post cruise land portion totally about 10 days. We plan to use the onboard laundry early and late in the cruise and not do formal nights so we don't need to pack formal wear which takes up too much space. We are really looking forward to this trip even though we have quite awhile to wait. I'm a planner and want to have some idea on what to expect.

Posted by
2630 posts

I love to travel through Frankfurt, 2 to 3 hrs is perfect and allows me time to visit the Pocket Shop book store and get a snack from Meyer's.

Posted by
8 posts

To echo others' sentiments re: Frankfurt Airport. It's huge, but the Germans live up to their efficiency stereotype here! I've only flown into/out of there and not as a connecting airport, but the last time I did it, I got to the airport to return to the U.S. cutting it way close to my flight (I think I was there barely an hour before boarding), and still managed to make it to my gate okay. So, yes, two hours' layover there would most likely be just fine.