Madrid International Airport, formerly known as Barajas and recently redesignated as Adolfo Suárez with the IATA code MAD, is –with its four terminals and a satellite one –a connecting hub for domestic flights to the Spanish capital or making stopovers in it, as well as for international and intercontinental flights operated by the most important airlines from across the globe. Whether you are visiting Spain during your holidays or taking a business trip to Madrid, read our tips below so that you can easily find your way around this hub.
Also, while planning your trip you should be aware that the terminals of this airport are located about 17 kilometres away from the downtown; you can check our recommendations to find the most suitable way to commute from Madrid airport to the city centre.
Terminals 1, 2 and 3 of Adolfo Suárez- Madrid International airport
You are advised to either check your booking or call the airline you are flying with beforehand in order to confirm the terminal from which your plane will depart; this way, you will be able to go straight to the right building, therefore saving precious time. Inside Barajas T1, we will find check-in desks, boarding gates from A to C and two Arrivals halls. In T2 we are also allowed to check-in, collect our boarding passes and board through gates C and D. The terminal 3 at Adolfo Suárez-Madrid airport serves as an expansion of Terminal 2, and so it only hosts baggage claim halls and boarding gates E and F.
T4 at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez and its satellite terminal
The terminals called T4 and T4S of Madrid airport consist of two independent buildings, but we can easily get from one to the other by an underground train connecting both in just 3 minutes. They compose the most important area in the airport facilities and the one with the highest level of activity due to the travel services offered as well as the wide array of fashion shops and restaurants hosted.
The T4 is divided into different levels. On the -1 floor, we find the baggage reclaim belts for national and international arrivals, with their corresponding arrivals halls, aside from boarding gates from H to K; on the ground floor (street level), all check-in desks and the security filter through which passengers in transit as well as those departing from Madrid must pass.
The satellite terminal in Barajas or T4S houses boarding gates M, R, S and U, from which flights to countries outside of the Schengen area are operated. Most long-haul international flights start here, in the 4S. Its international arrivals hall has all the currently applicable filters and passport control stations.
The air-shuttle service between Madrid and Barcelona
The airline company Iberia provides travellers with a fast air transport service from Madrid to Barcelona and from Barcelona to Madrid. When in Barajas airport, in order to enter the customer service area, the check-in machines and boarding gates for the Air-Shuttle planes, we must access the T4 through the main entrance (landside) and go upstairs on our left to reach the second level.
Having a layover at Madrid Adolfo Suárez-Barajas international airport
If we travel for business purposes and we need to take a connecting flight in Madrid, thus having to spend several hours inside the terminal, there are several options in order to make this waiting time productive. For instance, we can do some work at the Business Centre located in the second floor of Terminal 4 for free as long as we are members of the Priority Pass programme, or enjoy a snack inside the Iberia Vip Lounges in case we are flying with this airline.
In the event of having to spend the night or during a long layover, we recommend you book a hotel room near Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport in Madrid or purchase a pass granting access to the 24 hours-open Vip Lounges in its terminals, like the Neptuno lounge (available to passengers flying outside the Schengen area), the Cibeles or the Velázquez VIP lounges. Many of these lounges have meals and drinks for travellers, offer the possibility to obtain travel Visas and personalised information on flights, along with spaces specifically designated to relax and refresh.