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Barajas is a nice airport
Our arrival in Madrid was after a 3-hour flight to Toronto, followed by a 7-hour wait there before catching a 7-hour overnight flight to Frankfurt and then an almost immediate a 2.5 hour flight to Barajas airport, arriving just before noon at our hotel. We continued onward the next afternoon and did not return to Madrid until 19 days later. At least we had two nights in the city on our return trip, so made use of the extra time to do a bit of exploring.
On the initial booking of our flights from Canada to Spain, we had ended our flight reservations in Madrid. I was thinking that I would pick up a rental car there and enjoy a scenic countryside drive to the coast somewhere in the Malaga area, similar to what we had done in Lisbon, Portugal five years earlier. However, when my wife's sister booked her flight from England to meet us way up the coast in Alicante, I realized that too much driving would be involved.
After debating whether to take a train, bus or flight from Madrid to Alicante, I came to the conclusion that a flight would likely be the simplest and fastest way to go, given our lack of Spanish while trying to figure out all the details of the other modes of travel. Surfing the internet, I managed to find the "EDreams" website based in London - an outfit that offers cheap tickets for sale. They were fast and efficient, charging me 32 Euros (including cancellation insurance) for the booking fee and securing us two round-trip seats on Spanair for another 98 Euros. The total price of 65 Euros each for round-trip tickets seemed quite reasonable by Canadian standards!
The flights themselves were on-time and smooth with very good service on the McDonnell Douglas MD-87 aircraft servicing this route, with a flight time of 1-hour. I was really pleased that we decided to fly to the coast - had some great views coming into Alicante as well.
- Historical Travel
East of the city is Madrid’s busy Barajas Airport - around 13kms (9 miles). It is Spain’s busiest and largest airport. It was opened in 1928 and new runways and terminals were continually added over the years. Today the airport has 4 terminals and services major airlines such as American, British, LAN, Air Europa and Spanair to name just a few. It was voted the Best Airport in 2008 in the Conde Nast Traveller Reader Awards.
- Historical Travel
biggest in Spain
The Barajas airport is located 12km away from the city center. There are 4 terminals. The 4th terminal is a beautiful new terminal, a bit further from the others and usually the airlines I use go there. There is a free shuttle bus between T1,T2,T3 and T4.
How to go to the center:
-taxi. I never used one but it’s useful when there is no bus or metro. The cost is about 25 euros to Puerta del Sol.
-bus. There is bus that takes you to Colon square for 2,50 euros 4:30am-02:00am but also local buses that go to Avenida de America bus/metro station.
-metro. The best and cheapest option. 6:00am-01:30am. Take the pink line(N.9) and change at Mar De Cristan for the brown line(N.4) or at Nuevos Ministerios for the blue (N.10) or grey(N.6) line.
The metro ticket costs 1 euro but the best options is the metrocard that costs 6.70euro for 10 trips (metro or bus). Have in mind that going/coming to/from you have to validate an extra ticket that also costs 1euro. I took the metrocard from the machines and the menu is in English so there was no problem using the touch screen. I always travel light so I don’t have any problem with escalators, many changing lines but if you have a lot of things maybe it’s not the ideal transfer for you.
If you use Iberia for oversea flights go to the “Madrid Amigo” desk (T4). Usually, because they offer free transfer/accommodation for those who have to wait the night there for their transit flight.
Transiting Terminal T4 with a Cane
Arriving in Madrid from the US, I was alerted to the fact that the time that I thought we landed was off by an hour when I saw the large clocks (photo 5) that there are everywhere in the terminal. There were stairs (escalators), trains and elevators to get us to immigration where they stamped our passports and took the top half of the form we had to fill out. Then we went through security again to get to our next flight.
On the way to that flight, we went down two flights of stairs to a bus, the bus took us to the plane, and we had to walk up a flight of stairs to the plane.
On the way back to the states, we came into Madrid from Venice the day before we were to fly out. Photo 4 is the terminal from the plane as we landed. The baggage collection places (photo 2) were in the new T4 terminal where we arrived and we retrieved our luggage without a problem.
The next day when we flew out, we had to be sure that we told the taxi driver which terminal to take us to, as they are fairly widely separated.
After we found the AA airline counter, we got into a long line of people waiting to check in. I sat on my cane and we waited. Eventually one of the line herder ladies came and asked me if I wanted a wheelchair. I said I thought I'd be OK. So she went away. A little later, she came and asked again, so I said I would surrender to the wheelchair.
The wheelchair lady took us to the business class check-in. First we had our passports validated that we had had our baggage for "years, months, days" and we said years, and that we packed them ourselves etc. She put a sticker on the passport. Then we actually checked the bags and got our boarding passes. The wheelchair lady then walked us very fast up elevators and down corridors (where yesterday we just rode the people-mover photo 3) to security. She horned us into the front of the security line.
Here for the second time at Madrid, when my grandson went through the magnetic doorway, it beeped. The procedure seems to be that they ask me how old he is (in Spanish so it takes me awhile to figure out what the question is and then they look at his passport to verify), and then ask my permission to search him. Then they pat him down - they don't use the wand. I don't know why he sets the detector off here as he has not done so anywhere else even wearing the same clothing.
I walked through the doorway and was fine. We did not have to take off our shoes anywhere in Europe. We repackaged ourselves and the lady, walking briskly took us to the gate and said she would be back in 40 minutes. It was now 9:45. They pulled us out of the regular line at 9:00, and with priority handling, it had taken us 45 minutes to get to the gate. So I was glad that I had opted for the wheelchair.
- Family Travel
When coming to Madrid by plane, Barajas is where you're most likely landing. This is the biggest airport in Madrid and Spain when it comes to traffic and a lot of airlines fly to and from here: Air Europa, Iberia, Spanair, Lufthansa, Vueling, etc.
When I visited Madrid, I landed on Terminal 1 (Lufthansa from Munich) and from there I walked to Terminal 2 and to the tourist board office to pick up my Madrid travel card (Abono Transporte Turístico). From Terminal 2 you'll find the metro line 8 towards the city. Just take it until the end of the journey at the stop called Nuevos Ministerios and from there take another metro line to your final destination. The journey from T2 to Nuevos Ministerios takes about 15 minutes.
As Madrid-Barajas is a big hub for intercontinental and European flights, try to come in with enough time for you to check in and go thru security check because the lines are LONG. Check if you can check in online or at check-in machines at the airport to save some time (Lufthansa has machines where you can check in).
Going to the airport from the city costs 2€ on a single ticket from any metro station and 2.75€ on a single combined metro ticket if taking the metro from any station in MetroSur, MetroNorte, MetroEste, TFM and Metro Ligero Oeste because you need to change lines. These prices include a 1€ supplement that is to be paid when you come to the airport. More info about it on Metro de Madrid (only in Spanish). This supplement is already included in their period cards and Abono Transporte Turístico (read my separate tip about it).
There are daily flights from Málaga to Madrid Barajas, it takes about 50 minutes and the air companies that runs are, Iberia, Spanair, Air Europa and Vueling, (the last one only on summer). Prices are ok if you book in advance
Hay vuelos diarios desde Málaga al aeropuerto de Madrid Barajas, el vuelo tarda unos 50 minutos, las compañias que operan son Iberia, Spanair, Air Europa y Vueling, (esta última solo en verano). Los precios están muy bién si lo reservas con antelación.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
The Madrid airport Barajas is located 13 kilometers from the citycentre. The arrival hall of the international terminal is located on groundfloor. from there you can take the metro to all metro stations in Madrid. Outside the airportbuilding the busses arrive, which take 20 minutes to town. the bus starts from Terminal 1 to plaza Colon. they ride every 12 minute and cost 3 euro. There ar also taxis which take 20 minutes and cost approx 15 euro. If you want to fly inside Spain, Iberia has frequent flights to Barcelona. at an automate you can purchase tickets upto 15 minutes before departure. Span Air and Air Nostrum fly between Madrid and the regional capitals.
Madrid Barajas Airport - New terminal
When we arrived in Madrid earlier this year we arrived at the new terminal 4. Opened in 2006 this airport now has two new runways and also a fabulous state of the art terminal. It is full of glass and tubular steel. Shops and restaurants and plenty of seating areas.
It is amazingly quiet and it is also very peaceful
One drawback at the moment is that the metro does not yet run this far so you have to allow time to take the courtesy bus to terminal 2 and then a long walk to the metro.
Luggage takes ages to retrieve and the place is lacking in good signs at the moment. I am sure all that will change though.
Aerocity transport from Airport
We pre-booked a mini van for five people with AEROCITY to get to Madrid from the airport - the price was good 37 euros for all of us - BUT - our transport arrived nearly TWO HOURS late. We spoke to the representative about 5 times but nothing helped. If we had cancelled and gone a different way they had our credit card number and would have charged us. Since then although we have written several emails - no answer of course!!
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Taxis are plentiful, in good repair, and reasonably priced. The airport is pretty far, and a trip to the center (or Atocha) will cost E30 and up. You can arrange for a shuttle pickup from a hotel, and this will be just over E20.
Airport is very nice and modern. It is large with four terminals, so if you have to make a connection, it might take you some time.
It can be reached by metro, except for the terminal 4 which is where Iberia is located.
Metro to the T4 terminal
Since May 2007 there is a metro line (8, pink) to get to/from the airport to the centre of town. The ticket is 2 euros (double than normal tickets) and, changing lines you can reach any part of the city.
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Barajas airport is in the north east of the city, about 15 km from Madrid. The most convenient way to get there is by metro to Aeroporto. It can be quite a long walk from the metro stop to the correct terminal.
A visit to Terminal 4
As a result of a 2 hour flight delay, we arrived at Madrid Barajas at well after midnight. We must have been one of the last, if not THE last flight to arrive that evening at T4. There was little help from the airline or airport, and we had a long trek to a poorly signed train, which took us to the baggage hall, where we had a one hour wait for luggage.
There seemed little interest from any of the staff on duty. The new terminal looks good but, some of it's facilities and services are really poor!
New Airport Terminal - Barajas "T4"
Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) is Spain's busiest airport, handling more than 40 million passengers a year between Spain's attractive capital city and hundreds of domestic, European and international destinations.
Madrid Barajas International Airport is located 13 kilometres (eight miles) north-east of central Madrid. Road links to all terminals have recently been revamped; the Madrid Metro is easy to access from Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and reasonably easy from Terminal 4; buses provide an effective service; taxis are always available, with a journey time to the centre of Madrid in under 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
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