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Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

Chalfont...
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Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

I will be making my first non-direct flight to Europe this summer and have no idea what to do at the Frankfurt airport. My travel agent keeps giving me conflicting info so I'm literally giving myself a headache over it.

I'll be on a US Airways flight landing at 6:25 a.m. in Frankfurt and then taking a connecting flight to Florence after a 5 hour layover. I'll be flying business/Envoy class if that will make any difference to procedure.

I get off the plane and then do what?

My thinking is: I deplane, head towards baggage claim and along the way encounter passport control. Go through it, continue to baggage claim, then have to reenter the airport, stand in line like a "new" passenger to check my bag and re-do security. Right or wrong?

My TA seems to think that I don't have to re-do security, but I have no idea how I'd get from rechecking my bag to my gate w/o going through security. Is there a special baggage claim for those with connecting flights that takes you through a "back door"? She previously told me I wouldn't need to claim my bag, but now says I have to.

Explain it to me like I'm an alien, because that's how all this makes me feel :)

Thank you for all replies.

94 replies to this topic
Leicester, United...
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21. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

"Even passengers flying from one Schengen country to another (say Germany to Italy) have to clear customs at their destination."

Indeed. Not everyone does things the same way as the USA. ;-)

Each country in Schengen retains control over the goods you can bring in, even from another Schengen country. For example, Switzerland restricts meat to 500g per person per trip. This is to dissuade people in border areas from shopping in France or Germany where prices can be lower.

So as others have said, since your bags will be checked through, Germany has no interest in what's in them since they aren't staying in Germany and won't be under your control while they are there, so you won't be able to import anything.

So you will go through passport control and security in FRA but not customs, so you won't have to claim your bags.

In Florence customs is painless (unless you get stopped!). No forms to fill out. Just three channels to choose from. Green for nothing to declare, red if you have something to declare, and blue for arrivals from the EU. Go through the green assuming you aren't declaring anything, as your bags are technically arriving from outside the EU.

And show this thread to your TA for future reference! I can't count the times I have transited FRA and I have never had to reclaim my bags. Endless security lines, yes. Bags, no.

Edited: 31 January 2013, 17:34
Nannup, Australia
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22. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

<<And show this thread to your TA for future reference! >>

Please don't. While I don't dispute the accuracy of what has been said here a travel agent's responsibility is keep up to date with OFFICIAL information, which can (and does) change amazingly quickly. Trip Advisor is not an official source of information.

Leicester, United...
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23. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

"Please don't."

Huh? Clearly the TA is receiving wrong information somewhere up the line, or is misunderstanding what she is being told.

For the sake of her other customers who may not, like you, know how or be able to check what she is telling them, please let her know that the info she has been given is incorrect. Yes it is her responsibility to keep up, but if she is not made aware that she is giving out incorrect info, she will not do anything about updating it, assuming that she already knows the answer.

Nannup, Australia
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24. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

OP has already told her agent that the info is incorrect and if she is professional she will follow that up.

Perhaps it's the 'for future reference' bit that has me worried - things change. I and others have posted out of date info in this forum. Fortunately others have corrected out errors, but that may not always be the case.

Well intentioned, but out of date info counts for nothing when standing in front of a border protection/customs/whatever official.

Portland, Oregon
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25. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

I don't see any reason not to pass on the advice to the travel agent ... as long as it's done politely and constructively**. Agents haven't necessarily traveled to every part of the globe and so can't be expected to know everything about airlines, airports, connections, etc.. So giving advice is giving help.

I frequently share advice and my experiences with my company agent (not just flights but hotel and ground connection experiences), and she offers her advice in return (ground transport advice between HKG and Shenzhen was a godsend). A good agent (and my agent is very good) should be able to take the advice, become the wiser for it, and be better equipped to serve the next customer, or you next time.

** - seeing as this thread included comments such as "find another TA", you might not just want to point them to this thread. :)

Nannup, Australia
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26. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

As a former travel agent I agree with everything USBT says. OP reports that her TA has checked with the airline and got the same incorrect info there, so it's not just the agent who needs educating!

When I started in the travel game I was told: 'remember nothing - check everything every time'. I still have the scars from the times I forgot that advice.....

Leicester, United...
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27. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

Clearly it is the agent who needs educating. She needs to learn to check with immigration authorities and not rely on what someone at the airline tells her.

Sorry she clearly doesn't believe she is giving out wrong into - for whatever reason. It needs to be impressed upon her that she is. Otherwise others will get that wrong info because it's what the agent "knows".

Surely that's preferable to having an irate customer come back and complain because they were misled?

Edited: 31 January 2013, 18:56
Nannup, Australia
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28. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

We're all agreed that the agent needs to know (as does the airline rep). My concern is that people then lock into info that may become dated if it is filed 'for future reference'. In this case both agent and airline rep seem to be projecting how things are done in the US on to the Schengen countries - a coalition that has changed significantly since I first went into the travel game..

Leicester, United...
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29. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

Yes of course, you should always be asking yourself (whether you're a traveler, an agent, an airline employee etc.) is what I experienced in the past or knew to be the case once still true? So from time to time you double check. And hopefully a good agent will be reading all the advisories (not relying on what an airline employee tells her) and will be alerted to any changes.

But for now, and the foreseeable future, these are the rules as they pertain to Schengen, and the agent should know that, rather than what she thinks she knows.

Edited: 31 January 2013, 20:24
Chalfont...
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30. Re: Frankfurt airport transfer, what to do?

My TA is supposed to be going to Florence before my trip. I am hoping her experience with the airport then will also enlighten her :)

She was just there in October and said I wouldn't have to claim my luggage, but then changed that statement this week.

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