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I am coming from non-EU/non-Schengen and going to Helsinki, Finland. The layover in Alicante airport is 2h 20min and the flight is self-transfer (Vueling, then Norwegian or Finnair). Do I have enough time to check out my luggage and check it in to the next flight?

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  • 1
    Could be tight, especially if your inbound flight is delayed. From aeropuertoalicante-elche.com/eng/checkin-alicante.htm “The passenger should be at the check-in counter at least with 3 hours prior the departure scheduled time for No Schengen flights and 2 hours for Schengen and domestic flights.” When are you travelling?
    – Traveller
    Jul 27 at 12:21
  • I understand. I'm travelling on the 1st of September. Jul 27 at 12:26
  • 1
    When it comes to flights, I like to have ample margins when possible. I don't mind spending a little more time at the airport, I would definitely dislike missing the following flight. Why play with fire?
    – magma
    Jul 29 at 20:53
15

The check-in deadline for both Norwegian and Finnair is 45 minutes. So that means, if your incoming flight is on time, you actually only have 1h35 to:

  • deplane
  • get to immigration, queue and get through
  • reclaim your bags
  • go through customs
  • get to the departures area and the check-in area for your outgoing flight
  • queue and check-in there

There are most likely also some COVID-related checks somewhere, though I wouldn’t know where.

Now, given that a majority of gates at that airport are not sky bridges, that is likely to mean a bus from the aircraft to the terminal, which easily takes a good 15-20 minutes in most airports.

All in all, it is possible you may be able to do it with time to spare if everything goes smoothly. Whether you will actually do it is a matter for the stars. Given the risk associated (missing your flight most likely means having to buy a new ticket at last minute prices on the next available flight, possibly the next day or even later), I would definitely not recommend it, especially these days.

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  • Request people before you in the immigration queue to allow you to jump the queue as you have a connecting flight in an hour or so.
    – dezkev
    Jul 28 at 7:44
  • 10
    @dezkev I just hate people who (try to) jump queues because they can’t plan ahead and have enough margin. Jump the queue because your flight is delayed, not because you originally didn’t plan enough time.
    – jcaron
    Jul 28 at 11:28
  • Most departures that don't use a skybridge have the passengers walk to the aircraft from the terminal. The remote stands are actually pretty close to the terminal building.
    – jwenting
    Jul 29 at 7:00
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    The OP does't mention whether they're an EU citizen or not, which can be a significant difference, in terms of probability of immigration issues or additional checks. In a similar situation, on a non-EU to EU flight to Madrid, I almost lost the following flight because the person who was traveling with me was non-EU. I breezed through immigration, she was stopped for additional questioning. We made it, but barely.
    – magma
    Jul 29 at 20:47
  • @jcaron perhaps not always, but often, when your flight is delayed and it's the airline's fault, their personnel escorts you and helps expedite your luggage and your transfer to the next gate. So, it is likely that people trying to jump queues with no escort didn't plan enough time.
    – magma
    Jul 29 at 22:06
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No one knows.

If things go well, then yes, if there are any issues (delayed flight, Corona test, baggage slow, long line at immigration, extra doc checks, long check in lines), then no.

For a self transfer you carry the full risk of missing the second flight. Personally I do not do self transfers with less than 4 hours and sometimes more if there are extra risk factors.

I would not book this.

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Alicante Airport is not large, with only one terminal, and almost all flights end on a finger. Without any setback, it is more than enough time.

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    Hoe often have you done a non-Schengen to Schengen tranfer on that airport and how often on two separate tickets?
    – Willeke
    Jul 28 at 10:12
  • Walking from one end of the departure lounge to the other can take quite a while and there are no passenger conveyors. It's not a very large airport, but it's not set up well for transfers.
    – jwenting
    Jul 29 at 6:59
  • @jwenting Been through Alicante a number of times myself. Bagage handling can be VERY slow there as well. Having to wait for 50-60 minutes for your bags to show up on the belt. 2.20 is silly risky for Alicante.
    – Tonny
    Jul 29 at 13:28
  • @Tonny it can be, I've been there quite a few times myself and waiting times for baggage can indeed vary wildly.
    – jwenting
    Jul 29 at 13:30

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