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JoeyandDavid

Flying to Europe?

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Having NEVER flown to europe I had a couple questions

Our I flight for our Mediterranean cruise flies out of LAX to LHR and then arrives At BCN at 7:30pm.

My first two questions are these:

1) What should we expect once we leave lax in regards to changing plains in London? I.e. security etc.

2) If we arrive at 7:30pm Approximately what time should we expect to have cleared customs and be on our way to the hotel? Does it take hours???

Thanks

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While I can't give specific information on those two airports, in general European airports handle immigration and customs better than the U.S. Expect to clear immigration before your bags arrive, and to zip through customs on the green line (nothing to declare) in no time at all once you get your bags. If the plane is on time, you might be on your way by 8 p.m.

Try to get a small supply of Euros before you leave (say, 100 Euros or $100 worth of Euros) at AAA or your bank, and find out whether your bank has correspondent banks in Europe. That will save you from having to go to banks or ATMs in the airport--and banks probably will be closed at 7:30 p.m. (They'll be open in the London airport, but that will be useless, since the U.K. uses the pound, not the Euro). If you are a Bank of America customer, there's a Barclay's bank branch near the pier in Barcelona, and others in town. Use of the ATM will not incur any charge. Ditto Paribas banks in France (but there is no Bank of America correspondent bank in Italy).

Let CC members know whether you'll be at Gatwick or Heathrow in London, since security may be different at the two airports. I've been at both, but never changed planes in either.

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Hi Joey,

We have changed planes in both London airports, no hassle whatsoever. All I can remember about Barcalona is that it was raining cats and dogs when we were on our way to our ship. We had planned to do the Rambla until we saw the weather.

All of Joe's advise is correct concerning currency and ATM's. Do not other with traveler's checks they are a pain in the you know what to cash in some places and are heavly discounted, so you lose money in the exchange process. ATM's are everywhere. The only time we were slowed down at Heathrow was when the immigration officer noticed we had our passports stamped in Israel. That prompted some questions, but no big deal.

It's a long, long flight from LAX to LHR, so plan on trying to sleep or at least bring a good set of head phones to listen to the music and watch the movies.

You are in for a great time!

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Joe and Skipper thank you both so much ... I get a bit antsy when trying something new for the first time... we use lhr going and lgw coming home.

Im sure it will all be fine.. and Joe your explanation made me feel a whole lot better thanks I really do appreciate it. :grin:

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Joey - hope you and David have a great time. We've never flown into Heathgrow (yet!) but have flown into Germany. Not one problem with anything. We rented a car because we were just doing the tourist thing for two weeks and then we were off.

We flew out of Canada and had to go thru customs when we got back from our trip and our luggage didn't make the flight. We went to the airline desk and they said it would be on the next plane and it was.

I think air travel to Europe is easier than air travel in the continental US. It seems to be a lot less trouble. Just my opinion. Have a Blast!!!!

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Which airlines are you flying? We have flown British Airways twice to Barcelona and United/Iberia once. Three different experiences.

BA to Heathrow and BA from Heathrow to Barcelona. No sweat, easy, check in luggage at LAX and pick it up in BCN. No changing terminals at LHR.

BA to LHR and the BA from London Gatwick to BCN. Not as much hassle as I thought, but not the best way. Check you flight itinerary to see which airport your connection is. We had to pick up our luggage at LHR and transfer to Gatwick, about an hour drive away.

United to LHR and Iberia, LHR to BCN. No problem with luggage, but we had to change terminals at LHR. It's a bit of a hassle but it's well organised. It takes about 30 minutes to change terminals.

Clearing customs in Barcelona is even easier than in the UK. From getting off the airplane to getting your luggage and being outside in the taxi line should be less than 30 mins.

I don't like using ATM's in Europe. We were limited to 200 euros a day and when touring with a group there was little time to look for ATM's, especially if you are on a ships tour. I prefer to take them with me, and supplement our needs by using the exchange on the ship. It may be a little more expensive, the Brilliance was charging $1.26 last October and the ATM's and credit card exchange was $1.23 I'm on vacation and my time is much more valuable than 3 cents on the dollar.

Make sure you do have some small bills when you arrive. Taxis will only accept euros and don't like to make change.

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Jbond,

We fly American from lax to lhr.. then BA/Iberia from LHR to BCN

Out of VCE we fly BA to LGW and American from LGW to home.

I had planened on taking 200 euros in cash that should do us until we get on board or to a bank .. we spend 2 nights in barcelona (but the first night we get in the evening)

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Did you look into getting business class, or even first class seats? A quick look suggests you are on the flight leaving LAX at 605pm, arriving just after noon the next day right? That's almost 11 hours, and a long time in an economy seat.

At the very least, make sure you pick your seats, and grab the window/aisle, and not get stuck in the middle section. American still has their 777's set up as 2-5-2. Being stuck in 24E for that long would be hell LOL.

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Hi Joe,

Good thing with AA/BA is the codeshare usually means that they will do all your luggage transfer for you so you will not see your bags until you arrive in BCN. It does appear that the AA flight from LAX arrives into T3 at LHR and the BCN flights leave from T1 so do allow at least 30 mins to change terminals.

There is a Metro link from BCN airport into the city which is quick & cheap but I wouldn't recommend this if you are not 100% confident in negotiating the metro map or city centre, taxis are not really expensive so a good way to go for 1st time visitors.

You will prob have enough euros for the 2 nights so wouldn't worry too much about that side of things. :grin:

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Dan you are oh so right as to seat assignmentswe leave at 8:40ish pm and we have seats 24 a and b

Karen they tell me a taxi is 25e from the airport to our hotel, but they also say .....CONFIRM with driver before getting in!

PLUSwe have 90 minutes between flights in LHR

Thanks guys... I am feeling a little more comfortable

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