Help!!! when to drop bags? (Longhaul trip but with shorthaul 1st leg)

(30 Posts)

I've checked in online so all we have to do is drop bags - we don't still have to be there 3 hours ahead, do we? 2 hours should be plenty? (It's an 8am flight & the airport is an hour away, I'd rather not leave at 4am if I can help it!)

Flight is to US via Düsseldorf, both legs with Lufthansa - will we have to reclaim bags & recheck them at Düsseldorf? Stopover is only 1 hr 40 mins max

TIA

BaconSarniePlease Fri 02-May-14 12:29:35

There should be some information about when the gate opens and the last bag drop time in your booking. I would say two hours is more than plenty as you will be doing most of the US extra security stuff at Dusseldorf. That said, you will probably need to confirm the address where you're staying in the US at the UK airport, and they'll ask you if you have an ESTA (as they will in Dusseldorf, among other extra questions)

You won't have to recheck bags at Dusseldorf, that will all be taken care of.

Happy flight!

Thanks, sarnie smile

I'm just a bit concerned about how much time there'll be at Dusseldorf to get off the flight, go through security & get on the onward flight (though I am hoping for traditional Teutonic efficiency!) The online check-in process included US address & a tick box for the ESTA but they have to actually see it, I suppose

Ah - I've just had a look at the small print on the boarding pass (duh!) - it gives the drop-off counter number & says 'check luggage in at least 40 mins before departure' - boarding time is 0730 (departure 0800) so if we're there before 0630 that should be ok?

but the onward flight pass also gives a drop-off counter number, & says 'check luggage in at least 30 mins before departure' as if it's up to us - is that just a standard instruction for new passengers, which doesn't recognise that you've already checked your baggage?

(never done an international transfer before <wibble>)

Check carefully what it says on the ticket; you should have a printed copy of it giving final bag drop time and the latest time that security should be cleared.

The security checks will all be done at the initial airport (hence having to get there around 3 hours beforehand (sorry), this is also because the airline has to send a passenger manifest for all flights to the US to the US authorities.

You will likely remain airside at Dusseldorf.

The desk staff should confirm your final destination in the US and the checked bags will be tagged with the final US destination on it (do check). Such checked luggage will be sent through to your final destination; you will not have to re-check them at Dusseldorf.

Check in desks in this country at least for international/longhaul flights open around 3 hours before departure (check in desks for international
flights from the USA to Europe actually open around 4 hours before).

Flights to the US usually require you to check in (even though you have done this online) around 3 hours before departure.

Christelle2207 Fri 02-May-14 12:57:53

You will be able to check luggage through! Promise. Just check with the person you check your bags with in the UK in case you get someone dozy and you'll be fine. Not sure about Düsseldorf but in many European airports security is at the gate rather than "central" which makes it easier so in theory all you'll have to do is find the next gate and you will have security and passport/esta check there I would expect.

If you are transitting at Dusseldorf you will likely need to follow the signs for transit passengers once arrived. You will more likely than not as well remain airside so clearing security again will not be an issue. It will only be that if you have to physically leave one terminal and enter another one that you would have to go through security again.

Do check with the staff though at your initial departure airport and use one of their standard check in desks.

Christelle2207 Fri 02-May-14 12:59:54

You don't have to be there 3 hours before,I have done this several times flying to US via Paris and Amsterdam and arrived about 1h before. Of course the airline will tell you otherwise because they would be in trouble if everyone arrived 40 m before.

Thanks, Attila smile

The eticket/receipt is from an agent & that does say report to check-in desk a min of 3 hours before departure - but as we've already checked in online I was hoping that didn't apply. It doesn't give bag drop/security clearance times

We have to factor in parking shuttle time too (but it's a place we've used before, they were pretty efficient then, but I seem to recall they went to a different terminal first)

Looks like back to a 4am departure from home then. Bugger.

At least the traffic should be lighter!

Christelle2207 Fri 02-May-14 13:01:07

And sometimes I've done it hand baggage only and gone straight to gate having checked in online.

You do not have to show the airline staff a copy of your ESTA (but it is mandatory to have both the ESTA and API completed before travelling to the USA).

Any chance of staying at one of the airport hotels the night before?.

oh Christelle, sorry, your posts weren't there before! Thanks for that too - good point about everyone arriving with 40 mins to go grin

The eticket doesn't give terminal inf for Düsseldorf, either arrival or departure, I should be able to find those on the airport website though?

I will watch the bag drop person very carefully!

Airport hotel would have been lovely but too much to do here today unfortunately

Christelle2207 Fri 02-May-14 13:07:32

www.lufthansa.com/uk/en/Check-in-Information

This should reassure. Doesn't matter that you have an onward flight.

oh, it looks as if all Lufthansa flights use the same terminal so that should be fine

BaconSarniePlease Fri 02-May-14 13:10:23

In my experience, extra security checks involved in flying to the US happen at the airport where you get on the plane that flies directly to your destination, rather than the first plane. The people who perform these checks are employed by the US government, not the airline, so to have them at every connecting fight would be impractical. I've not once had to go through these checks at the UK airport if I'm not flying direct.

When I do fly direct to the US, I have never arrived more than two hours before the flight. Each airline has it's own guidelines as to when to arrive so check yours out. For connecting flights, just follow what it says on your booking. Flying from the UK to Dusseldorf follows the airlines internal EU flight rules, not EU to US ones.

1 hr 40 mins between flights should be fine. If it wasn't, they wouldn't have booked you on that connecting flight. Go straight to the gate, mind, as those extra security checks can take some time, but if you're there at the gate, the plane isn't leaving without you.

Don't forget to take some printed our evidence of both your hotel booking (if appropriate) and a copy of your itinerary for your flight back. You may be asked to show this when you arrive in the US.

Flying back is a totally different experience, much more relaxed. You've already been security checked on the first part of your journey in. They just want you out!

BaconSarniePlease Fri 02-May-14 13:12:21

You'll most likely get the boarding card for your second plane at your check in in the UK, with the gate number at Dusseldorf printed on it.

Christelle2207 Fri 02-May-14 13:12:26

PS agents always say 3h, they just dont want to be blamed if you miss you flight!

that's a very useful link, thanks, Christelle!

it agrees with what the boarding passes say (min 40 mins for Manc, 30 mins for Dusseldorf) & I also checked Newark & that's min 60 mins for the return journey

it even has a helpful link for starting the online check-in smile

we haven't got a hotel booking, we're staying with our daughter - put her address on the check-in form - might we be asked about that?

Christelle2207 Fri 02-May-14 13:16:38

Don't leave it till 40 m though as I am a Manchester airport user and the security queues can be horrendous (or very quiet). I would main to get there between 1.5 and 2h before just to minimise any stress.

the onward boarding passes were generated along with the first leg ones, sarnie, so we have the gate number already

we won't have much carry-on luggage either as we have a whole 23kg hold luggage allowance each! (we usually share one when we have to pay extra for it & use cabin baggage to take up the slack)

BaconSarniePlease Fri 02-May-14 13:17:55

One more thing (promise!)

You will still have to go through security at the UK airport, as everyone who is flying anywhere does, but when you arrive at Dusseldorf, you won't have to go out and back in again, if you know what I mean, you'll stay in the secure area.

However, the extra checks for the US I am talking about are a little different. At the gate for your second flight, you'll get asked some questions by some serious looking people in suits, who will then take your passports away to a computer terminal (a few feet away from you) and scan them in. They then ask you some extra security questions and depending on the airport, you and your luggage might get scanned again. It's all perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. It is a bit daunting the first few times, though.

BaconSarniePlease Fri 02-May-14 13:21:13

Yes, you will be asked about that. You'll need to orally give the address where you're staying at bag drop (even if you've already filled it in online) and then when you arrive in the US, they will ask you the purpose of your visit and you can mention then you're visiting your daughter. I have been coming to the US regularly for six years and this part still makes me a bit nervous!

Can I ask where in the US you are flying to?

oh we know about the queues at Manc, Christelle - esp early doors. We had a horrendous experience once flying with Jet2 when they had about 4 flights in a single queue which hardly moved - we stood in it for over an hour before it dawned on them that they needed to pull the people on the first flight out & process them sharpish!

another time we were flying to Marrakech with easyjet & the baggage inspection people decided to inspect almost every passenger's carry-on bags veerryy slooowwwly hmm

this is Terminal 1, we've used both 1 & 2 in the past but I can't remember which is worse

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