arrival and departure in prague

Arrival/Departure Considerations Prague

1. Luggage. This is the first time that I traveled with only carry on luggage to Europe. I am a heavy packer and love to bring a different outfit for every day. Not the most practical obviously, but I like to dress well on vacation. After trying so many different pieces/combinations of luggage, I finally came to the best solution for me. On this trip, I utilized the medium size carry on from Delsey with a 40L backpack from eagle creek. In my backpack, I brought along a duffel that folded down to nothing to bring back souvenirs. I recommend not bringing along large luggage if you are planning on train travel. Previously, I have traveled with larger luggage on a train without too much issue. However, this time, there was only room for carry on luggage on the train from Prague to Berlin. If you get annoyed waiting for your luggage in the airport like I do, don’t let this be a concern in Prague. It took so long to get through customs that your luggage would likely be waiting for you as soon as you make it through.

2. Transfer to hotel. Ahead of time, I noted in several places that cabs in Prague can be corrupt and not the best way to travel. We utilized Uber from the airport to hotel without any issues. Free Wi-Fi is available in the airport that we used to request the Uber. I then did a screenshot of the driver information. The visitor desk directed us to the Uber pick up area outside. You will exit door D and cross the street until you see the number 8. Right in front of this island, the Ubers will pick up. We did lose Wi-Fi when we walked outside, but we were able to locate our driver without any difficulty. The pick up area is easy to find and a short walk.

3. Weather. In the summer, my assumption was that Prague would be rather hot. That was not actually the case. Although, Prague was the “warmest” of the places we visited. In the evening time, a light jacket is adequate and necessary. I brought along my black leather jacket and this was sufficiently warm in the mornings and evenings in Prague. It warmed up to the 70s during the day. Karlovy Vary and Berlin were actually rather chilly. In Berlin, I wore pants both days with a summery top and brought along my leather jacket. Karlovy Vary was actually colder. In the evening, I ended up wearing a coat that I happened to purchase while in Berlin. I didn’t buy it for the weather specifically, but I actually needed it in Karlovy Vary. Highs averaged in the 60s-70s during the day with lows in the 50s at night as an average for all three places. Prague was consistently in the mid 70s during the day.

4. Customs. This will suck up the majority of your time when you arrive in Prague. The line moves extremely slow. We happened to use our systemwide upgrade from American Airlines to travel in business class. For business and first class passengers, there is a different line you can go through for customs. Even with a short line, the line moved very slow. My estimate would be if you arrived in economy class it could easily take one hour to make it through the customs area dependent upon other arriving flights. We watched individuals in the other line not even move forward by the time we went through the express line.

Initially, we considered immediately taking a train from Prague to Berlin on the day of arrival. Given our flight delay leaving Philadelphia in addition to additional unknown time in the airport on arrival, I would never make any advance plans to leave the same day with these unknown variables.

5. Departure from Prague. An unknown is always how long it will take to make it to the airport and to your gate. Of all the cities I have traveled to in Europe, Prague was one of the more user friendly airports for a departure. It took us about 20-25 minutes to arrive at the airport from Old Town Prague leaving the hotel at 7:45 am. There was no traffic; however, it was a Saturday. Our flight was on American Airlines from Prague to Philadelphia. The morning of our departure (around 4AM), we received notification that our flight was cancelled. We were able to re-book by calling AA, and we were put on different flights before arriving at the airport. Because we did not receive a seating assignment when we re-booked, we arrived to the airport early. British Airways was our carrier for the first leg of the flight. They did not open their check in desk until 2 hours before flight departure. American opened their desk about 3 hours prior to departure. Even though I was on British Airways only for the first leg and American for the next two, American Airlines would not check me in. Many people were experiencing the same issue as the plane we were going to be on never made it from Philadelphia. After check in, there is a short line for checking your passport. Security is at each individual gate. The trip home was ultimately uneventful after this, but it was an unfortunate ending to an otherwise great trip.

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