When you arrive or depart Madrid by air, you’ll need to go to Barajas International Airport. This airport is one of the biggest in the world and consists of five terminals. You need to know in advance from which terminal your flight departs. Your terminal depends on your airline:

  - T1: is the oldest and one of the biggest terminals. Right now (this information may change, although it's not very likely) the airlines that operate there are: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Air Plus Comet, Air Europa (non Schengen flights only), Air France, Air Madrid, Air Malta, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Blue Air, bmibaby (from 16/06/08), British Midland, Bulgaria Air, Continental Airlines, Cubana de Aviación, Delta Airlines, Easyjet, Futura, Germanwings, Helvetic Airways, Hola Airlines (non Schengen only), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lloyd Aeroboliviano, LOT, Lufthansa, Malev, Meridiana, Monarch, My Way, Pluna, Pullmantur, Portugalia, Santa Barbara, Scandinavian SAS, Spanair (non Schengen only), Swiss, Thai Airways, Transavia Holland, Travel Service, Tunis Air, US Airways and Varig.

  - T2: Air Berlin, Girjet, LTU Intl Airways and TAP Portugal for all their flights. Air Europa, Hola Airlines and Spanair for Schengen destinations only.

  - T3: The smallest. Currently, only Lagun Air operates here.

  - T4 & T4S: Opened early 2007, it's the biggest terminal. The building was designed by the famous British architect Richard Rogers and it's impressive. Iberia is located here, and also Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Algerie, Air Cairo, Air Nostrum, Air Senegal, American Airlines, Avianca, Czech Airlines, Egypt Air, El Al, Finnair, Lan Chile (T4S), Lan Ecuador, Iberia, Iberworld, Japan Airlines, Luxair, Sterling-Maersk Air, Olympic Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian, SN Brussels, Syrian Arab Airlines, Tarom, Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine Int, Virgin Express and Vueling.

After check-in at T4, passengers with the above airlines and flying to non-Schengen (UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania & Bulgaria) or non-EU destinations need to proceed to T4S, via the underground rail link. Only passengers with valid boarding cards can board this train. Passport control occurs after disembarkation from the train at T4S.

 Getting to and from the city

The airport is extremely well connected to Madrid and there are several ways to get to and from the city.

  METRO (Subway): This is the best and cheapest way to get to the city centre. Madrid subway is very modern, fast, clean and efficient, and the journey only costs 4.5€ (for up to 5 stations, 5€ for over 9 stations, rising 0.10€ from 4.50 for each additional station in between). The pink line runs to and from the airport (line 8). The station name is "Aeropuerto", and it's located at terminal 2. It's easily accesible from terminals 1, 2, and 3, while there is a seperate station for terminal 4.

Once in the subway, go to the end of the line 8, and change at Nuevos Ministerios to line 10 (normally you will need to take this one) or line 6, depending on where your hotel is. Another option is to change to line 4 at Mar de Cristal, but this is not recommended, as this is a slower line, with many more stops. 

 METRO/BUS combination: The best way to get to hotels along or near the Paseo del Prado or Paseo de Castellana (these are basically the same road--a major street that runs north and south on the east side of the center of Madrid)  is to take Metro number 8 from Terminal 2 at the airport (has elevators and escalators for easy movement of luggage) and get off at the end of the line--Nuevo Ministerios.  This metro stop also has an elevator and escalators.  Exit to Paseo de Castellana and on the west side of the street there is a bus stop shelter. Take a bus south--Bus 14 and bus 27 both go south as far as the Atocha train station.  The 10 ticket metro pass (6.45 Euros) can be used for both the metro and busses.  This avoids carrying luggage up and down stairs in the metro stops, most of which do not have elevators and escalators.

  BUS: Bus lines to the airport are now changing. More information should be available soon.

  TAXI :There are plenty of cabs. Take only official ones, which are white with a red stripe at the door. Make sure they turn on the meter when you hire them. They shouldn’t charge you more than 30 € to the centre, but it depends on the traffic and destination. Avoid them, if possible, during rush hours (8-9 am, 1:30-3 pm and 5:30-8 pm) from Monday to Friday, as the traffic can be congested. Note that there is a supplement to the meter for trips to/from the airport - 5.25€ as at April 2008.