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I'm flying from JFK to Prague through Frankfurt. Where do I clear customs and how do I find my next flight?

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  • 2
    Are both your flights on one ticket with a single PNR (the six-numeral locator number), or do you have two separate tickets? Aug 26, 2023 at 21:43
  • 5
    Are you really interested in customs (which deal with goods, such as imports taxes or contraband), which most people just walk through, or passport control/immigration which deal with people and checking passport and in some cases visas, and which may take more time?
    – jcaron
    Aug 26, 2023 at 22:18
  • Which airline(s)?
    – Traveller
    Aug 26, 2023 at 22:44
  • Franfurt FRA or Frankfurt Hahn with Ryanair? Aug 26, 2023 at 23:04
  • 3
    @BernhardDöbler there are no transatlantic flights from "Frankfurt" Hahn airport
    – mlc
    Aug 27, 2023 at 0:57

1 Answer 1

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If this is a single ticket:

  1. You'll get both boarding passes in JFK when you check-in. Your luggage will be checked through to PRG
  2. You clear immigration/passport-control in Frankfurt.
  3. You find your connection gate by looking at your boarding pass or at any of the displays.
  4. Once you know your gate, Just follow the signage to your concourse (letter: A,B,C,D,E, or Z) and gate (number). Assuming this is Lufthansa or Star Alliance ticket, you will most likely arrive in concourse Z and depart from concourse A which are right on top of each other.
  5. You will NOT have to pass through security in Frankfurt. If you do, you took a wrong turn.
  6. You will collect your bags in PRG
  7. After you have your bags you will pass through customs in PRG. Assuming you have nothing to declare you can just walk out the exit unless someone stops you and asks for more information.

Overall that's a fairly easy connection to make. FRA is quite large but there are signs everywhere that show you where to go. If you're nervous about this, you can spend some time looking at a map to familiarize yourself with the general layout.

If these are two separate tickets: Things are much more complicated and you need to add as much details as you are comfortable (specific flight numbers and dates, who is the booking agent, class of service, luggage details, airline status, etc.).

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    (+1) Technically, you are now passing through customs in the first EU airport as well but only for your carry-on luggage. And FRA is the only place where I noticed any change on the ground so far. Last time I transited there, I had to walk through a small corridor with red / green marking on the floor and a lone officer standing in the middle. She did stop me and had a quick look at some stuff I was carrying in a duty free bag from outside the EU. I also had to go through security but I didn't come from the US.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 27, 2023 at 11:57
  • @Relaxed: you definitely do not go through security when you come from the US. I have never seen customs on a connection either, But yes, it's not 100% predictable so who knows
    – Hilmar
    Aug 27, 2023 at 19:27
  • @Relaxed "now" since when? Do you have the reference for the act effecting this change? If I'm reading everything correctly, it's eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/…, which seems to specify what you describe but took effect on the first of May 2016.
    – phoog
    Aug 28, 2023 at 10:13
  • @phoog Didn't have it at hand but it sounds about right. I meant “now” as opposed to things that have been true all my life (having to go through a “nothing to declare” door after picking up your luggage) or over 20 years ago (I am old enough to remember that joining the Schengen area required a lot of changes). 2016 somehow feels recent compared to those and I assumed that's why Hilmar overlooked this small detail when writing the answer.
    – Relaxed
    Aug 28, 2023 at 10:46
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    Point #5 is interesting to know. We definitely took a wrong turn back in 2018 and I almost missed my connection to LHR! We were in a hurry as our flight from ORD was late - the signage was not obvious and we did arrive on Lufthansa.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 28, 2023 at 14:34

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