Some links to products and partners on this website will earn an affiliate commission.
Last Sunday, 3 April, Brussels airport reopened, albeit with a lot of extra security measures, and substantial limitations on people that want to drop off family or friends at the airport. As such, please bear in mind that although Brussels Airport is open again, it is currently running on limited capacity.
So what do you need to keep in mind when travelling through BRU airport?
How long in advance do I need to be at the airport since the reopening?
It is recommended you are at the airport 3 hours prior to departure of your flight, especially for flights outside of the Schengen zone. Due to the increased number of security checks in and around the airport, the waiting times have increased. Since the reopening the police have also been scanning the number plates of all cars and even carrying out random vehicle checks.
To enter the terminal building you need to park your car at Parking 2 and then continue on foot to the Connector building. Upon entering you will need to show an ID and ticket or boarding pass, everyone will need to pass through a metal detector and all luggage will be scanned with an X-ray machine. You will only reach the check in desk after going through all of these checks.
The temporary departure hall is located at the bus station on level 0. The following picture gives an overview of the current situation at the airport and for more information concerning departing flights you can follow this link.
For flights arriving from a Schengen country, nothing much changes because you arrive at the gates of the A terminal and just follow the signs to the exit and luggage claim. Afterwards you exit as usual through the arrivals hall.
However, if you’re flying into Brussels from a non-Schengen country you will arrive at the gates of the T terminal and then be transferred by bus to the B gates and passport control. From there you just proceed (as before the attacks took place) and enter the luggage claim area after passing through immigration. For any further information concerning arriving passengers, you can check out the dedicated webpage from Brussels Airport and if you are transferring flights at BRU airport, you can have a look here for detailed information.
What about paperwork?
Since the reopening you need to bring your ID or passport and make sure you have either your printed boarding pass or e-ticket with you. Make sure these documents are printed as the police currently do not accept boarding passes on your smartphone (as it causes delays). Rhe online check in for Brussels Airlines is currently unavailable.
How about luggage?
In theory you can bring luggage as long as it’s within the pre-defined limitations from the airlines, but you’re currently advised to bring a little less luggage to speed up the flow through security. This advice is valid till the airport returns to running on full capacity. Also make sure your carry on luggage in not too heavy as for now you need to carry it up 55 stairs to reach the check in desks in the Connector building. There is an elevator to go upstairs, but this is being kept for families with children and disabled people.
How can I reach the airport by train?
Well there is a simple answer to that question… you can’t. Until further notice there are no trains arriving at or departing from the train station which is located under the airport. So you will need to find an alternative mode of transport to reach BRU airport.
According to the NMBS (Belgian Railways) it will be a matter of days before any train activity will be resumed. Oh and for those that want to take the bus, you can forget that option as the bus station is currently serving as a temporary departure hall.
Can I drop off or pick up family/friends?
If you want to drop off family or friends at the airport, you will need to drive into Parking 2 and literally let the people get out and drive away. You are currently not allowed to accompany them into the departure hall. It is still unclear when business will return to normal… The arrivals hall is still open as it was before, the only limitation is that you can’t bring any bags or backpacks with you when you want to wait for your family or friend(s) to arrive.
According to the airport you’re allowed to park for free for up to 10 minutes at Parking 2, but from what I have heard from several people that have been there the past few days, they still had to pay for the parking. The 10 minutes should give you just enough time to drop off people, get their luggage out of the car and say your goodbyes.
Since the reopening this past Sunday not all taxi drivers know exactly where to go at the airport to drop off people, so make sure you tell the driver he needs to take you to Parking 2! In some cases they get lost and need to return again to the first security check point…
Will Brussels Airport resume activities as normal by summer break?
CEO Arnaud Feist told the media on Saturday that they hope to have as much capacity as possible by then. All required renovations to the departure hall seem to have started on time and are on schedule so far. However, he wasn’t able to give a specific time frame so it remains uncertain as to when BRU airport will be running at full capacity again.