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Vienna airport is famous for its 25 minute minimum connection time and United Airline is actually offering me an itinerary with exactly that: OS to OS transfer from Schengen arrival to a non-Schengen departure (UK) with a 25 minute connection, 12:30 arrival, 12:55 departure.

  1. Does anyone has recent experience with this?
  2. Is this remotely realistic (it seems insane to me)?
  3. If I miss it, am I entitled to EU 261 compensation? It would a United (UA) ticket but both incoming and departing flights from Vienna are operated by Austrian Airlines (OS) and I honestly wouldn't spending an extra day in Vienna.

Related but somewhat old: How can a traveler challenge the "minimum airport connection time"?

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    With a single ticket and both flights operated by an EU carrier, you are most certainly covered by EU 261. That United sells the ticket means both United (and Austrian, who'd be on the hook if the connection failed), think it's doable. (Perhaps, like a recent two-leg itinerary I just took in the US, both legs are flown on the same aircraft, reducing the missed-flight risk to immeasurably small.) Apr 14, 2022 at 20:46
  • No recent experience with VIE connections in particular, but it is more than remotely realistic: Austrian uses a dedicated wing of the terminal with two floors, one Schengen, one non-Schengen. All the gates are shared, so it's just a matter of passing Schengen exit (trivial, likely queue-free around noon) and a <5min walk to get from one gate to the other.
    – TooTea
    Apr 14, 2022 at 21:33
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    A few years ago I had a one hour connection time on AMS-VIE-BKK, the plane got delayed at AMS and we landed after the scheduled departure time of the second flight. The airport was mostly empty by then as it was around midnight but one border guard and my connecting flight was waiting for me and a few other passengers from my initial flight. I'm not sure if you can expect such service for a shorter flight (we made up the delay during the long haul flight) but it indicates to me that the airline is definitely aware of scheduling and their obligations.
    – JJJ
    Apr 14, 2022 at 21:46
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    You wouldn't mind spending an extra day? Wouldn't care spending an extra day? It seems a word is missing.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 15, 2022 at 10:07
  • EU261 would only be relevant if your inbound flight was delayed. If the inbound was on time, and you missed the connection, then it does NOT cover you.
    – Doc
    May 27, 2022 at 14:45

2 Answers 2

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I had a 40 minute Schengen to non-Schengen connection in Vienna late at night last December. Incoming flight was 5-10 minutes late, we rushed a bit but had time to spare (boarding hadn't started when we reached the departure gate) so it doesn't seem completely unrealistic. Don't remember waiting much for the border check, even with a non-EU passport.

Regarding EU261, I don't find the regulation very clear but the EU Commission suggests you should be covered, at least if the incoming flight is delayed. Quoting the website:

You are not entitled to compensation if you miss your connecting flight due to delays at security checks or if you did not respect the boarding time of your flight at the airport of transfer.

Flights within the EU or departing from the EU are covered in any case, the only question is who would be responsible for handling your claim.

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If you have 25 minutes between arrival and departure, not boarding, you would have to be very lucky to catch that connection. Many airlines close the gate 30 minutes before departure. You usually have a few extra minutes while they "last call for ..." you, or not, depending on how tight the schedule to their departure slot is.

VIE isn't big, but it does have two terminals and three gate sections - labeled C, D and F/G on this airport map. If both your flights are at the same gate, and you are one of the first off the plane and you are at the gate and not having a bus transfer and your incoming flight touched down on time or even early, you may make it before they close the gate of your departing flight. But only then.

I wouldn't book such a connection, unless the airline will manage your transfer and guarantees you will make the connection or if not they will put you on the next available plane free of charge. I mean, if they pick you up at the incoming plane with a car and drive you to the departing plane - then yes. Otherwise, no.

Note: I'm not entirely sure if you need to go through outgoing passport controls in your scenario, though the few times I've done so in VIE they didn't take more than a minute or two.

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  • Many of your comments are simply not relevant for VIE airport, which actively promotes the ability to connect in 25 minutes. viennaairport.com/en/passengers/arrival__departure/transfer
    – Doc
    May 27, 2022 at 14:48
  • I fly in and out of VIE constantly. I don't transit there, but I know the layout fairly well. And if he has 25 minutes between arrival and departure (not boarding), I still don't see how he'll make it if even the smallest thing goes wrong.
    – Tom
    May 27, 2022 at 16:19

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