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Frankfurt International Airport (FRA)

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      02.10.2013 21:52
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      Overall a great international airport but allow extra time to get from A to B, you'll need it.

      I arrived in Frankfurt Am Main Airport at 0905 on a saturday morning. Even at this hour the airport was very busy with buses, trucks, planes and vans zipping around all over the place with as much German precision as anything German. I had flown in on a Lufthansa flight from Birmingham International so our docking station was some way from the terminal. Needless to say the flight was early and we were quickly loaded onto a bus and were whisked away to the terminal building. The trip to the terminal itself took easily 5 minutes with us weaving our way across the airfield, under airport buildings and through an array of airport zones. It was a great way to get to see the sheer expanse of the airport and for any plane enthusiasts to see a great variety of planes all the way from small, short-haul airline all the way through to the massive A380 Airbuses largest commercial aircraft (quite a spectacle to see).

      Upon arriving at the terminal building it's into the numerous corridors guiding you to passport control and baggage collection. Passport control was conducted with all the efficiency that would be expected of an international airport. Next was on to the exit (I didn't have to collect luggage as I was travelling with hand luggage). Needless to say this is not the sort of airport to elect to walk through if you have walking or other health problems as it is a long way to exit the terminal. I would certainly recommend anyone who has and problems to pre-arrange assistance as they will meet you off the plane and escort your through. For someone who has never visited this airport before this visit the signposting was very clear and easy to negotiate with everything in German and English.

      Once I made it through to the main exit it is clear how enormous the airport is as I exited through B4 which is mainly for Lufthansa passengers. As you would expect from an international airport there were a number of duty free shops as well as cafe's and bars. Fortunately I was being met by a friend who found me and we made our way to the car park. The car park is vast so anyone who is parking at the airport is well advised to allow extra time to get from the car park to the terminal as it can be a decent walk.

      On the return journey I arrived an hour and a half before the flight. I would recommend allowing this extra time to cover the walk from check-in, through passport control and security to the various gates. Check-in was easy enough although the 3 huge boards displaying the departing flights are quite overwhelming and can take a minute or so to check through for your flight. The extra time allowed me time to find my check-in desk. As with everything in the airport it is vast so simply allowing the extra time will save rushing around like a headless chicken.

      Upon checking in I was issued with my ticket and made my way to departures. As always passport and flight card were checked again and then it was on to security. Allow time for this as they are thorough and will not hesitate to stop you for a proper check. I set the alarm off on the scanner with the zip on my shoes. Needless to say I was taken to a side check area where I was asked to remove my shoes which went through the scanner. This was followed by a proper pat down and scan with a metal detector from top to toe, and I mean literally top to toe. What is very reassuring is that there is a marked police presence with armed police not more than a few steps from the security check. Some might see this as overkill but with Frankfurt Airport being the 3rd largest in Europe the heightened security is more of a comfort than a threat.

      Upon passing through security it's on to find your gate, do not make the mistake I made and walk to the signed toilets on air side. It is a heck of a walk and each set of gates has access to toilets so just go there and use them, it'll save you lots of walking time. Duty free was worth a visit for a purchase of Gin and Southern Comfort. Both litre bottles and coming in at a respectable 35 euros. Make sure you have your passport and flight card to hand as they are required when purchasing at duty free.

      My only criticism of the airport is that there is a whiff of drains, not all over the airport but it is noticeable. Reading other posts on here this is not a one-off thing.

      Overall the airport is very smooth and efficient but is vast so do not be afraid of asking for help as it can be difficult to negotiate.

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        29.08.2010 00:23
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        it won't put me off my trip but I would rather not go there, especially with a long layover.

        I have just recently flown with Lufthansa, from USA to Croatia with a single stop over in Frankfurt.
        Considering that this airport should be the largest in Germany and third largest in Europe I was quite disappointed. At least when it comes to the Terminal B.
        We were unloaded off a plane and had to get onto those little buses which were the usual, open, stinky and stuffed to the hilt with passengers.
        While fairly easy to navigate, the toilets and the lack of AC in the Terminal B were absolutely dreadful. I don't see how you can allow such a high trafficked area, in the middle of summer, to get to a point where the toilets reek. You get slightly nauseous just going in them from the heat and stench, and on top of that it seemed as if the cleaners just recently "did their job" as well. The queues for the toilets (the women's ones at least) were also ridiculous.
        The passport check lines are slightly confusing as there are too many open lines and people aren't being directed well, but it gets sorted and you move through quite quickly. Oh and you DON'T need to take your shoes off...just saying so someone else doesn't end up feeling silly!
        The PA system around the Croatian Airlines could also have done with a bit of work. Well, either the system or the announcer as you couldn't understand a bloody word that was said without running up to the customer service desk to ask someone to repeat.
        The shops there are the usual suspects you would find at an airport. Random food and coffee shops littered the place.
        There were quite a few shiny colorful duty free shops as well, however they were all too pricey for me. And the mean looking shop keepers mixed with hardly any lack of moving room only made me run right back on out.
        Maybe it is not just the case with this airport but with all of them, however even their food and drinks were ridiculously expensive. It wasn't anything fancy, just the likes of cold sandwiches, water, and juice...not even anything such as Coke (at this particular shop at least) just sprite.
        The cheapest price for such drink (bottle of plain, to me unfamiliar brand of water) was 3.99 Euros.
        I skipped even thinking about food after I saw a pretzel alone for 6 Euros.
        All in all the place really disappointed, but hey its just a passing point in a trip and it does the job.

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          19.06.2009 21:13

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          good airport

          I use Frankfurt on a regular basis as a transit point to get to Berlin. The airport is huge and you must allow a good hour to transfer here. If you are arriving at terminal A you face a good 10 minute walk to terminal B plus queue time to get through passport control. Shopping facilities are the usual high class shops where you look in and think of teh lottery winnings - does anyone ever buy from there ? Lots of duty free shops with wide range of spirits perfumes and tobaccos Bargains none at the moment due to the very strong pound euro exchange rates. If you are coming from Birmingham the transfer is by bus and you get a good sight seeeing tour of the airport good if you are a plane spotter. Passport control generally quick. Security check usual hassle of laptop out belt off etc etc but at the end of teh day the guys are doing their job to protect you. Use frankfurt it is a modern clean airport

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          07.08.2008 03:26
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          Frankfurt Airport must be one of the most depressing, boring airports in the world. It is rare for an airport to be architecturally inspiring but whoever designed Frankfurt airport seems to have aimed to squeeze every possible ounce of warmth and humanity out of the place.

          When airports like this one are to be built it must be like manna from heaven to the suppliers of grey marble. There are 2 terminals, Terminal 1 is the main flying hub of Lufthansa and the second terminal known with subtle originality as Terminal 2 is used by some of the other international carriers including BA. As those who may have read my review of Lufthansa will know I hate Lufthansa. In fact I hate Lufthansa with a passion rarely seen in public. I therefore have to say the sight of this grey mausoleum which is Terminal 1, with banks of the po-faced jobsworths that Lufthansa call 'staff', is a vision of what hell must be like.
          Let us consider for a moment the word 'impersonal'. Impersonal means cold, faceless, remote, dispassionate. All these descriptions and more aptly describe this dismal edifice. The huge high ceiling seems to be a metaphor for the emptiness of the experience flying out of or into Frankfurt is.

          Wherever you go in the shops (average) the toilets (adequate) the seating (typically uncomfortable) or visit the bureau de change you are met with people who seem to wish they were somewhere else, seem to wish they were doing something else, anything else. The job selection process for people wishing to work at Frankfurt airport must include a test for whether you can be a smiling helpful assistant. And anyone who shows any remote chance of being so is rejected immediately.
          There is a sky train which runs between the terminals. It glides silently in and along the tracks and is punctual to the second. There is no driver of course, that would be far too personal. In many parts of the terminals there are new cars parked about as advertisements but with no-one in them or near them it adds to the feeling that the place is a ghost town. As though the drivers had driven in by mistake realised what a place this was and ran away, and who could blame them. The bars are functional but have the same funereal atmosphere as the rest of the place.

          Its just all too grim.

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          09.04.2008 13:39
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          Processing present-day passenger flows in an unmodified 1970s terminal

          Anyone expecting German efficiency at this airport is going to be sourly disappointed. What they will get is the most inefficient airport management in Europe, plus abuse. On 7 April, arriving on LH from Moscow and transferring to Paris CDG, I was sent around full circle by the atrociously confusing signposting at FRA, trying to make my way to the connecting flight at terminal 1. To my great dismay it took me a full 45 minutes to find myself again at square one, in the same hall, in front of the same border control post that I had successfully negotiated before. FRA had been bad enough up until then: cancellation of onward flight I had originally been booked on, long bus transfer, an information desk lady unable to give conclusive information when asked, 35 minute queue to receive a new boarding pass, then being assigned a false gate number, screens that did not display my flight when I tried to check the information on my boarding pass. With time growing increasingly short I realised that I had arrived in the ultimate Kafkaesque nightmare of an airport. Each time I pointed out the multiple problems to staff, I was faced with an extremely cavalier attitude that saw no problem in pinning the blame on my own presumed inability to follow the signs. Only one security staff admitted that he himself got lost in the airport's meandering corridors, while the other ten staff I spoke to during my FRA calvary were confident in their rebuttal of any criticism. What I had to conclude from this customer service experience was that nobody was seriously interested in getting me to the gate on time. Thus insult was added to injury. If I did get there in time then this was entirely due to my own initiative. The problems also have serious security implications: how I could get through border control, then security control, and from there back into the public non-security area is still a mystery to me. So not only is Frankfurt terminal 1 an insult to the passenger, but it is also unsafe. My final count was a total of three border controls and three security checks - which seemed to pop up out of nowhere behind every corner - following the inadequate and misleading signing (some of which had been replaced by indications written onto cardboard!!!!!). Due to severe overcrowding as well as non existant queue management each check involved at least a 10 minute wait - for EU passport holders (for non EU-citizens the wait was even worse). At some point I grew certain that I would never reach the gate on time. And I wouldn't have, if I hadn't picked up myself that the information on my boarding card (gate A25 instead of gate A11) was false. The procedures varied at each of the security checks, with my 90 ml jar of caviar making it through two, but then being picked up by the third security check (thus adding another 5 minutes to my schedule). Lecturing me on the new security rules, my 90 ml jar was below the limits and should have not been picked up on. Why there should be so many security checks is beyond belief anyway. This airport is the best example of a security environment where common sense and sense of proportion have been totally abandoned. When I finally reached gate 11 - after transferring for over one and a half hours - I was thoroughly dispirited. The final straw for me was an airport worker at boarding who demanded to see not only my boarding card, but also my paper ticket. I replied that I no longer had this, as I was convinced that I had lost it during one of the three preceding security checks which involved emptying one's pockets, undoing belts and shoes etc. Therefore I was unable to produce this ticket immediately, which earned me the response that I would be unable to board the flight. This member of staff then explained to me in no unsure terms that the actual ticket was what the airline made money with, equivalent to a dollar or euro bill - a message for which, considering what I had been through, I cared very little at this point. This was the one time I snapped in return, for a friendly and subtle admonishment that I search my pockets a second time (instead of a lecture on the value of airline tickets) would have been far more effective. Obviously this particular member of staff had no idea how to deal with a passenger who had been thrown off his balance, not by his own doing, but by the hellish experience of FRA airport. I did manage to find my ticket, but the limits had been reached. After my experience yesterday, 7 April 2008, I vow to never use FRA again. I do not want to imagine what the experience must be like for families with kids or for older or infirm people. The airport is possibly acceptable (but I won't take that chance either) if you are boarding a direct flight, but as a transfer hub - and every second passenger here is a transfer passenger - it is an overcrowded and undermanaged nightmare. The reasons for the mess? I hadn't used the place myself since before 9/11 - when I noticed nothing of this sort. Perhaps the increased security demands as well as increased traffic have thrown FRA off its balance. But this is no excuse. Other airports have also had to cope - and they cope well. All this is sad for Lufthansa which in actual fact is a good airline. Perhaps the lesson is to transfer through Munich (if possible), Lufhansa's other major hub.

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            09.01.2008 01:17

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            Has to be one of the worst airports in the developed world. Long line for toilets - I want to know who designed the restrooms. Hardly any place to sit in the A Gates. Most of the people were sitting on the floor.

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            08.09.2004 12:04
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            It is the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. After browsing at others' review, i believe i was in terminal 1 when i am being transferred to another plane to Italy. The waiting time is about three hours. Wow, it is so hard to spend the three hours in Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1. I was there during late July. It was dark, under-air-conditioned, old & untidy bathrooms, no internet access, even if you are willing to pay, so boring! The area is hot and dark, visitors do not have the mood to shop. The goods of the shops are ok, they are selling a lot of ethnic german stuff. The waiting area is untidy too. You see trash lying around and was not sure if it is really an international airport. oh, it's just not a pleasant place. The only thing that is good about it is the free airport map poster. When it opens up, it is a large pilot navigation scene from the aeroplane. My plane is on time and i can tell every one hurries to board the plane to avoid any more extra time in the waiting area. No matter where you go, do not choose Frankfurt Germany Airport Terminal One to be your transit area, you will regret it! Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php

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              27.11.2002 16:17
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              To include the name „Frankfurt“ in the airport „Frankfurt Hahn“ is a bit misleading. It’s takes almost as long to get to Luxembourg as it does to Frankfurt. But I knew this when I booked my flights, and I still chose to fly from there. Why? Because it’s one of the destinations Ryanair flies from. With Ryanair being, as we all know, one of the newish wave of budget airlines, I could count on cheap seats. Free in fact, but that’s another story. ____Getting There ____ Hahn is easily reached from various cities in Germany, France and Luxembourg. Bus services run to and from the airport, timetabled to coincide with departures – as a rough guide, it takes up to 2.5 hours and costs €16 to get to Heidelberg, the furthest destination into Germany that you can get to directly. There are 2300 free parking spaces if you’re driving. When these are full, fees start at €1 for 2 hours, up to €72 for 4 weeks. Shuttle busses operate from car parks to the terminal building, costing €1 per person, although if you’re not all that loaded up, you can walk. If there’s a few of you, I’d recommend one person walk or ride over and pick up the car, rather than you all paying for the shuttle. For detailed information have a peek at www.hahn-airport.de/english/01/anfahrt/f_anfahrt.htm ____Checking In ____ For once a relatively quick and pain free procedure, helped by the fact that the airport’s tiny, with Ryanair being the only carrier visibly operating while I was there (although many others occasionally fly from there – see the website). There were less than a dozen check in desks, but several were open for each flight. I wasn’t asked if anyone had tampered with my luggage or if I happened to have drugs, bombs or pressurized containers in my luggage. Luckily, I didn’t. ____Shopping ‘n Stuff____ One look
              at the range of shopping facilities shows you how just small Hahn is. On the ground level, to the left of the check in desks, there’s a newsagents / bookshop. It had yesterday’s newspapers when I was there, a range of foreign (English, Spanish and French) publications and lots of maps. They do have some good deals though if you’re there at the right time – I got a CD I was after for €5, but I only noticed it on my 2nd trip into the shop. Then comes a grocery style shop – really small, but selling a weird range of cheese, meat, chocolate, crisps and drinks, again at hiked-up prices. Finally there’s a Tourist Info office with free leaflets and buyable maps if you’re arriving in Hahn and have no idea where you are / where you want to be. Upstairs there’s a mezzanine level, offering a clothes shop, a hairdressers, a Tea shop and a souvenir / traditional German handicrafts shop. ____Munching____ Next door to the newsagents there’s a bakery café style place, with drinks and sandwiches and yummy looking cakes. The prices are higher than in the city, but lower than you’d expect for an airport. Upstairs there’s a larger restaurant / café place, and a pub. Both were open when I was there, and full but not packed. Details for these at www.hahn-airport.de/english/01/service/f_hotels.htm ____Past Passport Control____ I always call the bit in between landside and airside passport control, but in this case it isn’t really. No passports are controlled here or at any point after check in. Instead, this is where your hand luggage is x-rayed and you walk through the metal detectors. Which don’t really work – I forgot to hand over my keys, but they didn’t set the beeper off, even though I have a large chain with a front door key, a flat key, a bike shed key, a letter box key, a gym locker key….you get the picture. <
              br> Once you’ve done the x-ray thing though, you end up in the departure lounge. There are 9 gates, split up into 3 sections of 3, separated by glass screens. As well as these, there’s a duty free shop (very small – about as big as my office here, which isn’t very big) and another café bar place. Nothing else, apart from loos (fine and clean with tons of spare toilet rolls, but the scratchy recyclable kind, so not worth stealing. Not that I ever would….) ____Coming Home____ Again, nice and painless. There are only a few baggage carousels, but then there are only a few flights that land here. Luggage was available within 5 mins of disembarking – surely a record, but then we did land, or rather taxi, right next to the door. There are loos in arrivals and a lost luggage desk, but nothing more. Walk through the automatic doors (once they’ve opened, unless you want to look really silly) and you’ll find your self, oh, about 5m from where you checked in. Walk straight ahead, out of the doors and you’re at the bus stops and taxi rank. “Simple” seems a bit of an understatement. ____Layout, Structure, Design & Anything I’ve Forgotten____ If you manage to get lost in this airport, then I applaud you for achieving the impossible. The whole building takes an open plan layout, and is basically 2 big rooms with a few little cubicles off them. Simple as. The landside area is pretty unmemorable: plain, tasteful, not much to it. Airside’s a bit different. I had an hour to kill through there before I boarded, so after finishing the book and magazine that were supposed to last the entire flight, I had a nosy around. The floor is speckled-eggy through there – nice flat tiles (the calm before the cobbled streets of Pisa storm) so great for wheelchairs, but of an indeterminable level of cleanliness due to the design. It’s the sort of pattern I’ll be wanti
              ng in my home when I’m older….. The ceiling is worth a mention because it’s just so odd. At one side it looks like a weird mixture between a factory and those pipes you get going in to the see. Not sure whether it came with the building or whether they added it for, ahem, artistic effect. Look up next time you’re there, and you’ll see what I mean. ____Verdict____ There seems to be a pattern emerging here : nice, expensive airlines = lovely, well equipped airports tatty, low cost airlines = smaller, less bon airports There’s nothing wrong with Hahn, but it’s not Amsterdam, or even Frankfurt International. If you have to fly to or from here, don’t despair, but do your shopping and make your sarnies in advance. Links: www.hahn-airport.de/english/01/aktuell/f_news.htm www.ryanair.com ** I know this has been posted under Frankfurt airport, meant to be Frankfurt International and not Frankfurt Hahn. When dooyoo decide / manage to add items outside the books and music fields, and let us suggest again, I'll ask for it to be moved.

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                01.10.2002 22:30
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                I travel through Frankfurt Main pretty often. Flight schedules mean that it's not unusual for me to spend two or three hours kicking around with nothing to do. The quality of airport entertainment, catering and snoozing zones therefore becomes important. As I travel with Lufthansa I have grown to know and fear Terminal One. Frankfurt has the annoying habit of loading and unloading little iddy diddy planes to/from Birmingham in the field. I know it looks good on news footage to see people walking down airplane steps and kissing the tarmac, but it's just plain irritating to have to get off the plane and on to a bus to trundle to the airport. I want to walk in one of those tube things (which you do get to use when flying across the Atlantic). I don?t suppose it?s really fair to complain that it's always grey and rainy in Frankfurt, but I will anyway. Walking into the Terminal you are confronted with a bank of monitors listing arrivals and departures. There's lots! Information throughout the airport is good with another departures board upstairs giving a total of around three hours worth of advance information. Signage is good in English and German to food, loos and gates. Loos are less good. Whilst they are clean there are far too few for the traffic in the airport, and there are even fewer sinks available which is a pain when you want to splash a bit of water about to freshen up and brush your teeth. Catering is OK, certainly nothing to write home about. There's a McDonalds with a permanent queue, but the upside of taking credit and debit cards as well as serving the full menu all day so you aren't just faced with breakfast choices when your body clock is telling you it's supper time. There's plenty of seating that allows you top watch the runways. There's also a McCafe if you just want sandwiches, pastries, beer or coffee. There's a full blown fancy pants restau
                rant which I haven't tried and a slightly more German style diner with toasted sandwiches, chicken dinners and the like at fairly reasonable prices. Expect to pay 4 to 10 Euros for a meal here, or 15 to 30 in the restaurant. Downstairs you'll find what looks excitingly like an oyster bar, but isn't, just more sandwiches pastries and booze. There's a large duty free selection for booze, fags and smellies. Other shopping is rather limited. You'll find an optician, quality watch shop, and a delicatessen selling caviar, German necessities and 'gourmet steak sauce' that is in fact HP Brown Sauce with over developed self esteem. There's two newsagents, both of the same brand and with the exact same stock, and a candy kiosk which is the only place to buy canned/bottled pop/water. If you are really bored there's a stamp machine and a post box so you can send postcards from the airport and save yourself a job later on. Staff whiz around the airport on little old lady bicycles which can be a little disconcerting. You never get to forget that you are in Germany. Each time I?ve visited there?s been a small leak or structural problem. In Britain you?d see a bucket catching drips, in the US the whole area would be closed off to prevent ?slip and fall? litigation, but here in Frankfurt there?s always a huge Heath Robinson construction channelling water away from passenger areas or supporting errant tiles. Rather meanly the catering areas do boast some rather comfy padded seats which are surrounded by signs declaring ?sleeping forbidden?. However, the gate areas are fairly spacious and if you head to the gate early you can quite comfortably snuggle down on a triple seat without fear of being moved on. Security has tightened. You will be patted down and rubbed all over with a metal detector, including two swoops to check that the metal is just under-wiring! I've been through in four diffe
                rent pairs of shoes this year after deciding that it was my 'travelling boots' that raised suspicions but each and every time I've been asked to take them off for checking. Fortunately for the most recent booty call they've added a chair for shoe removal. Overall Frankfurt is a good choice for a transit airport. It's clean and it has the stores you absolutely need without excessive consumer temptation. It's spacious without requiring you to be the kind of international endurance athlete that Schipol demands for quick transfers. If I could improve one thing it would be to eliminate the bus shuttle.

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                  09.08.2001 08:17
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                  My journey from Heathrow to Frankfurt was stunning. Heathrow had of course been a nightmare, with the usual farce of walking nine million miles down a corridor before reaching the correct gate and so on. But the flight itself could not have been better. I flew Lufthansa, and it was lovely. Charming staff, and very good captain who clearly explained the scenery we were passing over; in short Germany at its best. The scenery was lovely. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and as a result we had breath taking views of England and Holland. The best bit was closer to Frankfurt. We flew over the achingly beautiful Mosel and the Rhine, just over the Lorelei. If you have not been to this charming part of the world, make plans to do so soon. The Rhine wound its slow and majestic course as we flew towards Frankfurt. And then the fun started. I had a connection to make, as I was flying on to New York. Oh dear. A complete and utter shambles awaited me. The terminal was cramped, the staff impolite, visibly uncaring and inefficient. Queues crossed over each othe and back again; it was hot, there was not enough seating and every flight was delayed. But it was the height of the holiday season, some may cry. What do you expect at the busiest time of the year? A great deal more than I got. It is the holiday season? Well der. It is hardly as if the holdiay season comes as a complete surprise to airports, with tourists turning up unannounced and in number that have never been seen before. Airports know when the season is and they should respond accordingly. There is no excuse for chaos; a good airport should not be surprised by the holiday rush. Its staff should be trained to cope, and cope they should. There was no excuse for the universal chaos I witnessed, and it made a wonderful flight end terribly.

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                    02.07.2001 22:32
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                    I had the dis pleasure of having to travel through Frankfurt airport early last year and from the look of some of the parts of the airport I think the RAF had been over and dropped a few more bombs for good measure. There was no flooring down on the floor, leaving bare concrete staring up at you. No wall covering, more bare concrete and the roofs were also bare, showing all there various ducting and piping. I know that things need to be updated now and again but there didnt even seem to be any buidling work going on to sort out these problems. Also this airport is supposed to be an International airport. Doesnt that mean that you can speak to the staff in a variety of languages. I needed information and all the staff I spoke to only spoke german. Now I'm not a language nazi who speaks only one language but I couldnt even find anyone who spoke french or spanish either. It was either German or nothing. Most annoying for an international airport. (before everyone says I should speak the language of the country I am in, I speak basic, French and Spanish and I also Speak Japanese, Germany is a country I rarely visit, hence why I dont speak german, nesides how many languages do you speak?) I dunno whether the airport has been renovated since and as I dont particularly want to go back I guess I'll never find out. © copyright 2001, Mike Porter.

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                    11.06.2001 00:29
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                    This airfield would be better named "Somewhere very remote in Germany" 'cos Frankfurt it ain't! Fortunately, on a recent trip using Ryan to Hahn I was in a group and we were met by a coach, so for us it was not important, but I felt for the anxious lady I sat with on the flight which was already an hour late and who was on her way to Regensburg where her daughter was in hospital having undergone back surgery following a car accident. Poor lass had no idea that she faced a 2 hour coach journey to Frankfurt rail station, she thought there was a high speed rail link. Goodness knows what time she got to see her daughter - next day probably. Frankly, I am outraged by this farcical situation. At first I blamed Ryanair marketing-speak but to my surprise, the airport itself sports this name. It is an old Luftwaffe field and the wartime installations are still present. It is 80 miles from Frankfurt and Bonn (93), Luxemburg (71), Wiesbaden (55), Mainz (52), Ludwigshaven (80) and Mannheim (82) are either nearer or a similar distance away. Sounds OK and it would be if there were any transport links, but apart from the buses laid on by Ryan (and which travel to and from Franfurt via the main airport), I could find no evidence of any links to anywhere other than Frankfurt. (NB see note added at the end, things are improving) Unless you hire a car, are met or get a taxi at goodness knows what exhorbitant price such is the remoteness of the place. In fact I didn't see any taxis, but they must surely be avilable from the local villages of Hahn or Büchenbeuren. This means that if you are using public transport, you can't get anywhere within dragging all the way to Frankfurt first. Had we not had the convenience of our own coach, it would have taken about 4 hours to get to Speyer, our final destination. The fare for the Frankfurt coach is 20DM one way, 30DM return which is not too bad I suppose, but it is the sheer cheek o
                    f saying you are at Frankfurt when you face a 2 hour journey (once on the coach) that angers me. People pointed out that Gatwick, Stansted and Luton are all described as "London" Airports - yes, and I think that is outrageous too but none of those is 80 miles from London and have half decent links to the capital! Facilities are at a minimum. There is a snack bar but no restaurant and a minute and poorly stocked shop for those wanting to get rid of the last of their D Marks but apart from the bit where you finally wait for the flight, nowhere to sit. If I want to fly to this part of Germany again, I'll use Buzz to the proper Frankfurt Airport (or Fraport as it is now to be known) unless I'm being met. Mind you, some of Ryan's bargains are hard to ignore. PS- NEW INFORMATION just released (July 2002) New bus shuttle to Heidelberg A bus-shuttle which operates three times a day between Frankfurt-Hahn airport and Heidelberg via Worms, Frankenthal, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim starts at the 15th of July. Timetable at: www.hahn-express.de This is an important improvement, let's hope it is the first of many more.

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                      27.02.2001 22:30
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                      Since moving out to Germany I have been a frequent visitor to the international airport at Frankfurt-am-Main, either collecting friends and family if they venture out to Heidelberg or making my escape for a day or two from the rigours of translating insurance software! My first experience of the airport was not the best – I flew to Terminal 1 on the morning of my interview, a little flustered and totally unsure of where to head, and if you don’t know where you need to go then the old terminal is not the best place to be. There always seem to be masses of people queuing at the lines of check-in desks and crowds of tourists milling about in the open spaces, blocking your route to wherever you need to go. The departures and arrivals information board is doubly daunting as it shows information about all flights from both terminals. It’s worse if you’ve got baggage to collect, as you come out of the airside part of the airport and have to pass through the departure lounge and then descend to a lower level to find the baggage carousels. I am pretty sure I was not the only passenger who was convinced that they had taken a wrong turning and wouldn’t be seeing their suitcase again any time soon! The only other time I have used Terminal 1 was when I flew to Brussels (again with Lufthansa) last summer for Euro 2000, and on this occasion I misjudged the amount of time I would need to check in, and very nearly missed my flight. The old terminal is Lufthansa’s headquarters and all their flights leave from there, as do most of the other European airlines (apart from BA), which means that in the summer, the place is mobbed on a daily basis and the check-in desks rarely seem to be staffed with enough people to process everyone in time. The facilities are pretty good within the terminal, however, and if you stop and take a moment to work out where you are, everything is well signposted. There are plenty of shops
                      , eateries and watering holes, a decent-sized post office and of course if your destination is outside the EU you have the luxury of duty free shopping once you are airside (and a vending machine that dispenses cans of beer, a rare sight indeed!). There are two train stations, both well signposted, one of which is served by the Frankfurt tram network, connecting to Frankfurt main station, while the other station (which only opened in 1999) is exclusively for long-distance trains. However, if your flight lands at Terminal 2 this imposing and spacious building will give you a far more favourable (not to say stereotypical!) impression of Germany. The terminal itself is noticeable clean, and the size of the building means you are guaranteed a long walk to get to baggage reclaim, and then another trek if you need to get to the train stations in Terminal 1. However, you can use the free bus shuttle service, or take a ride on the monorail (also free) so it’s not that bad. If you are being collected by car, you don’t have far to go at all, as the car parks are directly beneath the terminal building. The people collecting you will have no problems finding their way to the airport either, as Frankfurt has one of the largest and busiest motorway junctions in Germany, and the airport is well signposted from Frankfurter Kreuz. The check-in desks here are positioned far more sensibly in the two wings of the building, thus avoiding the cramped space that leads to the congestion in the other terminal, and the whole building has been designed for the growing requirements of the airport. Basically, this terminal is currently far quieter than many others you might see, but it is clear that more and more flights will be using it in the near future – indeed, the number of airlines assigned to Terminal 2 has increased dramatically in the last 18 months. British Airways are the primary airline here, followed by American Airlines, Buzz and many of the ea
                      stern European carriers. The staff here are provided with official Frankfurt Airport bicycles to get around, but the size of the terminal really isn’t a problem for me, as it makes for a far more relaxing environment – you can go upstairs to the food court, sit and have a coffee, buy a paper, and not be jostled by hordes of people rushing about in tight spaces. Terminal 1 is, like much of Heathrow, a glimpse into the past and the way things used to be, while Terminal 2 is definitely the way forward. High ceilings, plenty of light, good facilities, excellent signposting (in German and English) and, most importantly, plenty of room. All in all, a big improvement.

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                      17.01.2001 20:57

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                      I flew from Buzz in and Out of Frankfurt recently (the relatively new Terminal 2) I found the terminal modern, spacious and fairly efficient. Areas were well signposted and although it was not possible to walk to the Station for transfer to the City Centre, the transporation provided worked well. Facilities were adequate, with a range of shops and a good value duty-free shop, which had prices considerably lower than the UK even since the abolition of duty-free. Overall I was impressed with the terminal. I can't speak for Terminal 1 but found Terminal 2 pleasant enough to fly from.

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                      29.10.2000 14:31
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                      When you think about Germany you get in your mind a picture of perfect world! I am sorry but that is not real at all. Before you start to find what good or bad in one country you must live on at least 6 months. So that what I found in Frankfurt-Main airport. 1. The airport is easy to reach from highway, trains and bus. 2. First problems when you arrive by car it is that you do not find signs to reach departure or arrival . The only sign you find it is the one for reach the parking car. 3. Inside of the airport the situation it is the same. Very poor on signs not easy to understand where and when you have to go. 4. This airport is really poor on light only the area of the shops you have a good light. 5. The check-in desks are on bad position, so when you have big queues it is a war to find a way to walk trough and reach on time your flight. 6. The help desk point are really hidden inside the airport and they also hide the escalators to reach the baggage claim. 7. The maps of the airport that you find on the help desk are not clear at all. Maybe these maps are clear to the architects. 8. The exit on the custom for flights from EU are together of the exit of flights from outside EU, so I had to wait at least 30 minutes on queue. Also these exits are so close to the places where you pick up your bag,so immagine the caos. 9. The parking car are poor on light, really dirty and poor on signs to indicate wich direction you should take to get the elevator or stairs. I think an international airport must be done in a way that all people can easy understand what direction or what information need, because many times you do not have time to stay there to try to enter on the head who project and made that. Finally I had, and this it is only personal, the feeling that about security inside the airport in case of accident they going to have a big problem.

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