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I’m flying in on American Airlines from Charlotte, NC, to Madrid with a layover in Munich, and have booked two separate flights on Iberia airlines with only a 1 hour connection. We do not have any checked luggage. I’ve read all over the internet that connecting through Munich is a breeze, but every scenario is Terminal 1 to 2 or terminal 2 to 2. Does anyone have experience with terminal 1 to terminal 1? How long does passport control take? Do we have to go through security again?

Note: This is not a duplicate of Is 1½ hours enough for a transit at Munich Airport? as:

  1. This question states terminal 1 specifically
  2. The other question does not mention being on separate tickets
  • Just saw the full answer, thanks so much Daniil!! We’re carrying on our bags so it sounds like we should be good! :) super appreciate the help! – Parker Oct 19 at 22:21
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    @Parker I am not sure which exact experience Daniil has with the passport control in Munich termincal 1, but he must have been very lucky if it 'didn't take long'. I have very poor experiences arriving from non-schengen countries there and waiting times beyond 30 minutes for immigration checks are allegedly not uncommon. I would not at all expect that a 60 minute transfer will work out. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 20 at 16:41
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    @Parker I am echoing Tor-Einar. I would not do this in your situation! – Jan Oct 21 at 16:39
  • @Jan I would never leave an hour between arrival and departure on unconnected tickets. The chance of failure is very high. How early do you have to be at the gate? How likely is the flight to be delayed by 30 minutes? By 60 minutes? Such delays are not particularly exceptional. Finally, how much will it cost (in money, time, and other factors) to recover from the missed flight? Even if there's only a 10% chance of missing it, the price of a replacement ticket could be a few hundred bucks euros. – phoog Oct 21 at 16:46
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    @phoog I personally wouldn’t entertain the idea of two tickets at all unless I have a layover over night or arrive early and depart late, so yes, I agree. – Jan Oct 21 at 16:48
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American Airlines typically arrives in area B. Iberian typically leaves from area D according to the airport’s website. Both are terminal 1 but it is one of the longest transfer distances without a change of terminal building.

Assuming you have checked luggage, the flow you will have to go through is: immigration checks, luggage reclaim, exit, go from area B to area D, recheck luggage, security check, hope that the plane hasn’t left. On two tickets, I declare this attempt thoroughly impossible with any hold luggage.

Assuming you have no checked luggage: I do not remember whether terminal 1 has any airside transfer paths and what the flow is. Considering my memory of how the area bays at Munich are constructed, I am leaning towards no. However in any case, you will definitely have to go through immigration and probably through a second security check in addition to somehow having to clear the distance between B and D.

If my assumption is correct and there is no airside transit at terminal 1 (I tried verifying this but the official airport maps are … suboptimal, and Google Maps, while being helpful, didn’t entirely confirm either side), I again call this an impossible connection, unless you are one of the first passengers to leave the aeroplane as immigration tends to get crowded quickly even on short haul flights with narrow-bodied aircraft e.g. from London – plus you cannot predict the queues at security and whether they will let you skip it. Immigration becomes more of a problem if you are not an EU citizen as they might ask you additional questions and the queue moves more slowly.

If my assumption is incorrect and there are dedicated direct lanes that bring you from area B via an immigration and a security check to area D you have a chance.

The above does not consider any potential delays your intercontinental leg may have.

If you make it within an hour, I would never again play the lottery as you have clearly used up your luck in that single hour.

Note: While I have used Munich airport often – and I thus thoroughly dismiss the assertion immigration control in terminal 1 be quick in any way, shape or form – I never had to transfer there as my home town is close to Munich. Thus my unawareness of a potential transfer path at terminal 1.

  • Munich requires security checks of transfer passengers arriving from some countries only. In my experience, passengers arriving from the US do not require them. There are certainly airside transit paths: the security for arriving passengers who need it is distinct from the security for people entering the airport. It's next to the transfer desks, which proved convenient last summer when I arrived to find my flight had been canceled. – phoog Oct 21 at 16:53
  • @phoog Ah, so there are transfer desks at terminal 1 airside. The more I learn ^^' – Jan Oct 21 at 16:59
  • there pretty much have to be, because most passengers who are not permitted to enter the Schengen area may nonetheless transit there, and such people may need such services after a missed connection. – phoog Oct 21 at 17:24
  • @phoog While that is true for the StarAlliance terminal I don’t know of many non-*A airlines that I would expect to offer extra-Schengen transfers at Munich … – Jan Oct 21 at 17:30
  • Extra-Schengen transfers are possible in Munich, even between terminal 1 and terminal 2. Thinking about it, I am however also not sure if it is possible to pass through immigration in terminal 1 when arriving from outside Schengen without leaving the secure air-side area. Aren't the passport control booths located such that you enter directly into the luggage pickup area after going through immigration? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 22 at 15:17

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