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Let's say that I'm planning to visit Schengen country-A with an approved Schengen visa. I then find out that

  • Booking my-country --flight to--> country-A is way more expensive then
  • Booking individual flights (in separate transactions) in the following way:

    my-country --flight 1 to--> Schengen country-B --flight 2 to--> country-A

Is the latter plan viable? What about cases with and without checked-in luggage.

In my case, country-a is Poland and country-b is Norway.

  • 3
    To be clear, are you considering purchasing two separate tickets or a single ticket with connecting flights? – Zach Lipton Jun 22 '16 at 23:50
  • in separate transactions; thanks, updated question to remove ambiguity – phani Jun 23 '16 at 3:12
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Schengen doesn't really enter the picture here. A Schengen visa issued by Poland does entitle you to enter the Schengen Area through one member state and continue towards another "domestically".

The important consideration is whether you book the two flights on a single ticket in one transaction or on two different tickets that you purchase separately from the airline.

With a single ticket you should be fine. You can expect that your baggage will be checked through to your final destination in Poland, and if your first leg is delayed so you miss the second one, the airline will be responsible to getting you rebooked on a later connection at no cost to you.

However, if you buy two tickets separately, the general rule is that you're on your own. If the first flight is delayed so much that you don't catch your second flight, you will be stranded in Norway with no onwards ticket, and neither of the airlines will have any duty to help you out. Arranging for alternative transportation to Poland on short notice can be very expensive.

It can work, though, especially if you plan a really generous connection time (I'd say 12 hours or more if you arrive on an intercontinental flight), but you still have to be more risk tolerant than you do for a connecting flight on the same booking.

(You would also need to retrieve your baggage when arriving in Norway and then check it in to the next flight yourself -- which would require you to clear customs in Norway and then again in Poland afterwards, since Norway is not in the EU. But that's a relatively minor issue).

  • 1
    If the flights are both on Norwegian Air, which seems possible because they often have cheap fares, they have a policy about two single tickets. "Booked two flights with us but they're not part of the same reservation? If you've left at least 120 minutes between your arrival and new departure, and you miss your flight because circumstances for which we can be held responsible, we'll do our best to book you on our next available flight." If they are not responsible for the delay, you are on your own. – Andrew Lazarus Jun 23 '16 at 1:21
  • Thank you. Would I need to go through immigration in Norway? This is my first time and I'm concerned about discrepancies between preliminary itinerary (entry points into schengen, etc.) and what I end up doing. – phani Jun 23 '16 at 3:17
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    Yes, you will go through Norwegian Immigration only, and not Polish immigration – Crazydre Jun 23 '16 at 3:34
  • @phani: Even though the Schengen visa application form has a field for state-of-first-entry, you will not be held to it. At the immigration check in Norway, all that really matters is that you can explain how you're on some itinerary that you should apply to Poland for (the border guards do not have access to your visa application) -- and as long as your actual trip is recognizably for the same purpose as the one you described in the visa application (and different flights to the same end destination is still "recognizably the same"), you won't even theoretically be doing anything wrong. – Henning Makholm Jun 23 '16 at 11:04
  • @AndrewLazarus Thanks for your comment. I'm indeed considering Norwegian airlines. I couldn't find a reference to what you stated. Could you please provide one. Thanks. – phani Jun 25 '16 at 6:06

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