Connecting in Madrid? Pack Extra Time

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Connecting in Madrid is part of the #NoCollusion, No Albania for TPOL where I break my 100 country count mark. See the World Map for where I’ve been.


What airport is the worst for connections? Chicago? Dallas? They say that even on your way to heaven, you have to connect through ATL. I’d like to add Madrid to the list. After my Iberia Business Class flight from San Juan, I was looking forward to a few hours at the Iberia Velázquez Premium Lounge in the Terminal 4 Satellite building before my flight to Tel Aviv. But first, I would have to get there. I went through immigration quickly and took a train to the terminal where I went to the Iberia connection counter. After receiving my ticket, I had to take another train to the Satellite building and go through security screening. From there, I had to wait in a line that barely moved before finally arriving at the lounge.

While I had more than enough time to spend in the lounge and make my connection, I write this post to advise those that have a narrower window (see Points or Cash? Business or Coach? My Flight from Madrid to Tel Aviv). It does take quite a bit of time to navigate Madrid’s airport, and if you’re cutting it close, you may find yourself unnecessarily stressed like many of the passengers I encountered. 

8 COMMENTS

  1. I cannot endorse this enough! We have traveled through MAD multiple times and, while it’s a beautiful airport, the distance between terminals and flights can be massive. Also, consider the toll that that kind of distance puts on bodies. Hustling a mile through an airport with luggage and/or backpacks is not easy on knees or backs, and the elderly or those with disabilities or heart issues may really want to leave extra time for official assistance or multiple rest stops.

    When you’ve walked through a terminal, taken a train, walked, taken another train, and see a sign that says “20 minutes to Gate X”…you know you’re at MAD.

  2. Last month I flew in and out of MAD 4 times–it was such a pain. I arrived early to enjoy the VIP lounge, and felt like I hardly had any time there before my flight. Glad I arrived early.

    Also, another word of advice, if you’re flying from BCN to MAD arrive earlier than “normally” necessary. That whole situation is a cluster___ in and of itself.

  3. Don’t forget about MEX either; I missed my connection in this amazingly confusing place because a major airport couldn’t handle an early afternoon crush of arriving passengers. A two hour line through immigration for a passenger in transit is completely unacceptable.

  4. What time of day was this?

    I have a flight from NRT -MAD-ORY on IB arriving 6:30pm in MAD with a 1hr15min connection leaving at 7:45pm. the NRT-MAD is on award, the MAD-ORY on cash ticket…..

    this sounds like I’m gonna have a bad time huh?

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