German airports are **** - sorry, user-unfriendly. Discuss and vent.

95 posts in this topic

OK I mean Frankfurt and Munich specifically. Had an unpleasant adventure the other day.

We -- myself, daughter, and her fiancé -- were just about to leave my home for Frankfurt airport when she discovered she had forgotten her passport -- in Freising! Meanwhile the car was waiting to take us to the station (taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn etc) to get to Frankfurt. We got to the train I time but still not knowing what to do.  She had neither passport nor ID. Just drivers license. Someone said that Easyjet accepted license for international travel but a call to Aer Lingus established that they didn't so we sent her to Freising from Mannheim, to join us the next day in Dublin.

 

So, Tony and I travelled on taking her suitcase. That meant that we had three pieces of hold luggage and 2 hand luggage. Which  meant that we'd need a trolley at Frankfurt Fernbahnhof. When we arrived Tony said he'd just go and "grab" a trolley. He was gone about 15 minutes with me guarding the luggage. The reason being you cannot just grab a trolley. You have to pay to get a trolley. 1 Euro. but not with a coin. No you need a credit card, and only a German card would do. T did not have a German card. Luckily some Afican guys turned up who had a German card and he got the trolley. Then a long trek to Terminal 2. Nowhere was it stated that we'd have to take the shuttle train. We suddenly found ourselves at the statio right at the top of the airport. Trolleys not allowed on the train, so all luggage unpacked and loaded in the train. Trolley gone.

The airport worker who grabbed the trolley began speaking to Tony telling him not to get off at the Terminal 2 but stay on the train till the next stop, then we'd get a free trolley. He spoke so quickly it was unundestandable why, so I told him  T does not speak German and please repeat. He repeated, but I still didnt get it so we did get off at Terminal 2 as I did not understand. There were no free trolleys so I ran off to grab a paid one, another 1 Euro of course. The machine was impossible. It did not accept my Volksbank card and also not my Visa card. It just said follow instructions on the screen, but there were none.

 

I fiddled with the machine for about ten minutes, wondering where T was. I never got a trolley. eventually T found me -- he had free trolley. apparently the free trolleys are simply the paid trolleys people leave behind when they find they can't board the train with trolleys. Long story short, to change terminals you need to go through the unresponsive trolley system twice, paying 2 Euros.

 

Now why in God's holy name would it occur to anyone to create a trolley system where you cannot use 1Euro coins??? ONLy credit cards, and only German credit cards, and even then you can't figure out how to make them work??? (I use machines and ccards all the time but never encountered such an unresponsive machine.) At an AIRPORT.

 

Our odyssey wasn't over. We checked in ( nice agent who accepted daughter's hold luggage as ours) and continued to the Gate. Which was closed. about 50 people standing or sitting on the floor in the corridor outside the gate. I refused to stand or sit. I sat down on one of the security staff counters. A staff member told me to get up. I said no. I said I need a chair and I am not going to stand or sit as both are painful to me. Anyway that seemed to do the trick as he spoke to someone who opened the gate and we (everyone) were able to enter and sit down.

 

Meanwhile daughter arrived home in Freising, picked up her passport and left for Munich airport next morning. Which is the most badly signposted airport ever, as I found out when I flew  to Sri Lanka from there earlier in the year, and as my daughter complained after queueing for 15 minutes only to be told to go somewhere else at the last minute.

 

I know these are 1st world problems but don't anyone tell me how efficient everything in Germany is! Traveling is hassle enough without things that should be easy (like machines that accept coins or proper signs) being made difficult. Should have posted in the Vent I suppose.

Feel free to vent about other airports.

 

On the way home we stopped off in Drogheda and went to the church where Oliver somebody's head has been preserved since the 17th century. How weird.

 

Very cold here. Rents are fairly high but buying a house would be cheap. You can get a nice 2- bed for 50 grand. Might even do that.

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It's St Oliver Plunkett's head. Why is that weird? Look into the history of it, ffs.

 

Drogheda is a bumfuck town, with absolutely nothing to recommend it except traffic on the way North or to Dublin. I sincerely doubt you can get a decent house for 50K - the houses shortage in Ireland has reached epic proportions. Perhaps in a slum area, where you will get shootings, stabbings and joy riders a plenty.

 

People who live in Co Louth have to commute horrific distances in order to get a job, so if that's where you are planning to be, I'd think twice. Plus health service is abysmal.

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25 minutes ago, camlough said:

It's St Oliver Plunkett's head. Why is that weird? Look into the history of it, ffs.

 

 

 

 

i know the history. Tony told us and I read about it.

It is certainly interesting but a shriveled head, even that of a martyr, imo has no place in a church but in a museum. 

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26 minutes ago, camlough said:

 

 

Drogheda is a bumfuck town, with absolutely nothing to recommend it except traffic on the way North or to Dublin. I sincerely doubt you can get a decent house for 50K - the houses shortage in Ireland has reached epic proportions. Perhaps in a slum area, where you will get shootings, stabbings and joy riders a plenty.

 

People who live in Co Louth have to commute horrific distances in order to get a job, so if that's where you are planning to be, I'd think twice. Plus health service is abysmal.

 

 

We are not looking at houses in Drogheda or near Dublin, but further north, near the border, in villages.

Also I am not looking for a job and neither are they.

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2 hours ago, arunadasi said:

Last OK I mean Frankfurt and Munich specifically. Had an unpleasant adventure the other day.

We -- myself, daughter, and her fiancé -- were just about to leave my home for Frankfurt airport when she discovered she had forgotten her passport -- in Freising! Meanwhile the car was waiting to take us to the station (taxi's waiting, he's blowing his horn etc) to get to Frankfurt. We got to the train I time but still not knowing what to do.  She had neither passport nor ID. Just drivers license. Someone said that Easyjet accepted license for international travel but a call to Aer Lingus established that they didn't so we sent her to Freising from Mannheim, to join us the next day in Dublin.

 

So, Tony and I travelled on taking her suitcase. That meant that we had three pieces of hold luggage and 2 hand luggage. Which  meant that we'd need a trolley at Frankfurt Fernbahnhof. When we arrived Tony said he'd just go and "grab" a trolley. He was gone about 15 minutes with me guarding the luggage. The reason being you cannot just grab a trolley. You have to pay to get a trolley. 1 Euro. but not with a coin. No you need a credit card, and only a German card would do. T did not have a German card. Luckily some Afican guys turned up who had a German card and he got the trolley. Then a long trek to Terminal 2. Nowhere was it stated that we'd have to take the shuttle train. We suddenly found ourselves at the statio right at the top of the airport. Trolleys not allowed on the train, so all luggage unpacked and loaded in the train. Trolley gone.

The airport worker who grabbed the trolley began speaking to Tony telling him not to get off at the Terminal 2 but stay on the train till the next stop, then we'd get a free trolley. He spoke so quickly it was unundestandable why, so I told him  T does not speak German and please repeat. He repeated, but I still didnt get it so we did get off at Terminal 2 as I did not understand. There were no free trolleys so I ran off to grab a paid one, another 1 Euro of course. The machine was impossible. It did not accept my Volksbank card and also not my Visa card. It just said follow instructions on the screen, but there were none.

 

I fiddled with the machine for about ten minutes, wondering where T was. I never got a trolley. eventually T found me -- he had free trolley. apparently the free trolleys are simply the paid trolleys people leave behind when they find they can't board the train with trolleys. Long story short, to change terminals you need to go through the unresponsive trolley system twice, paying 2 Euros.

 

Now why in God's holy name would it occur to anyone to create a trolley system where you cannot use 1Euro coins??? ONLy credit cards, and only German credit cards, and even then you can't figure out how to make them work??? (I use machines and ccards all the time but never encountered such an unresponsive machine.) At an AIRPORT.

 

Our odyssey wasn't over. We checked in ( nice agent who accepted daughter's hold luggage as ours) and continued to the Gate. Which was closed. about 50 people standing or sitting on the floor in the corridor outside the gate. I refused to stand or sit. I sat down on one of the security staff counters. A staff member told me to get up. I said no. I said I need a chair and I am not going to stand or sit as both are painful to me. Anyway that seemed to do the trick as he spoke to someone who opened the gate and we (everyone) were able to enter and sit down.

 

Meanwhile daughter arrived home in Freising, picked up her passport and left for Munich airport next morning. Which is the most badly signposted airport ever, as I found out when I flew  to Sri Lanka from there earlier in the year, and as my daughter complained after queueing for 15 minutes only to be told to go somewhere else at the last minute.

 

I know these are 1st world problems but don't anyone tell me how efficient everything in Germany is! Traveling is hassle enough without things that should be easy (like machines that accept coins or proper signs) being made difficult. Should have posted in the Vent I suppose.

Feel free to vent about other airports.

 

On the way home we stopped off in Drogheda and went to the church where Oliver somebody's head has been preserved since the 17th century. How weird.

 

Very cold here. Rents are fairly high but buying a house would be cheap. You can get a nice 2- bed for 50 grand. Might even do that.

Last time we travelled via ff airport, right at the entrance of terminal 1 there was an airrail check in counter. We dropped our luggage there , got the boarding pass , then we travelled without any luggage to terminal 2. It was very comfortable even with a toddler.

 

Anyway this does not address the problem you mentioned about trolley vending machines

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Try Newcastle airport in the summer...

I understand your experience but I find it is relative with airports and a worse experience elsewhere doesn't change the one you had.

 

As long as people work there it won't change.

Come to think of it, even if it was manned by robots it would be the same as people would be writing the programs behind everything.

 

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8 minutes ago, jubinjohn said:

Last time we travelled via ff airport, right at the entrance of terminal 1 there was an airrail check in counter. We dropped our luggage there , got the boarding pass , then we travelled without any luggage to terminal 2. It was very comfortable even with a toddler.

 

Anyway this does not address the problem you mentioned about trolley vending machines

 

That only works with Lufthansa and a few other airlines. No longer with Condor, which is what I usually fly from Ffm.

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16 minutes ago, AnswerToLife42 said:

I limit the weight of my luggage to the amount I can carry.

I only use my duffle bag without weels.

Problem solved.

 

We were originally three passengers, one 5 months pregnant, one (me) with mobility problems (painful hip). We had originally three hold bags, but even then it was hard as neither I nor my daughter could carry much due to said problems. So when she dropped out leaving us with an extra suitcase it was impossible. And as jj said above, it still leaves the problem of stupid vending machines. Also families with small kids, old people etc do need trolleys. Other airports (Dublin!) manage to supply trolleys free of charge. Why can't Ffm? They used to.

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2 hours ago, arunadasi said:

Now why in God's holy name would it occur to anyone to create a trolley system where you cannot use 1Euro coins??? ONLy credit cards, and only German credit cards

I designed it. Ok, there were two of us: me, a cash hater who doesn't have a 1 euro coin when it is needed (50 cents, 20 cents, 2 euro - yes, 1 euro - no), and the second designer hates foreigners :P

 

You live in Germany for so long, you should now that the country works according to the principle: why make things simple, when complicated also work?

 

German sign culture is in general poor, but if you get used to it a bit, you can navigate faster. I arrived in Munich 15 min before departure once. I spent 5 minutes at the information desk, they called the plane to ensure it will wait for me. Then ran to the security and gates, boarded 2 minutes before departure. That's not the indication that Munich airport has good signs because I have been there before several times. But still, can't complain, they really helped me.

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Ouch. What a nasty experience arunadasi.

 

I can only think of one reason they do this now with the Trolleys. That maybe it is due to theft and vandalism. If you make someone use their credit card to pay, you can track who used the trolley, and it is also more of incentive to put the trolley back where it belongs. Sadly once again the minority making the majority pay for their deeds.

 

We travel regularly, but even with the old trolley system I found it to be a nightmare. All that baggage is way too heavy. We invested in luggage with wheels. We had no problems in airports with tiles but Orlando Florida USA airport was a nightmare.I mean seriously who puts a carpet in an airport? Dragging luggage across an airport with a carpet is a nightmare!

 

I did get lost in Frankfurt airport once, I spent an hour walking around trying to find how to get out. I lost about 2kgs that day!

 

I would invest in baggage with wheels. They are really worth it. We have soft and hard cases with wheels on them. Great invention and no need for stupid trolleys.

 

 

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And hence the reason that upon entering an airport (anywhere!), check the bags, I find the nearest bar and began drinking until I just no longer give a fook!

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13 minutes ago, Anna66 said:

Ouch. What a nasty experience arunadasi.

 

I can only think of one reason they do this now with the Trolleys. That maybe it is due to theft and vandalism. If you make someone use their credit card to pay, you can track who used the trolley, and it is also more of incentive to put the trolley back where it belongs. Sadly once again the minority making the majority pay for their deeds.

 

We travel regularly, but even with the old trolley system I found it to be a nightmare. All that baggage is way too heavy. We invested in luggage with wheels. We had no problems in airports with tiles but Orlando Florida USA airport was a nightmare.I mean seriously who puts a carpet in an airport? Dragging luggage across an aiport with a carpet is a nightmare!

 

I did get lost in Frankfurt airport once, I spent an hour walking around trying to find how to get out. I lost about 2kgs that day!

 

I would invest in baggage with wheels. They are really worth it. We have soft and hard cases with wheels on them. Great invention and no need for stupid trolleys.

 

 

 

One of our bags did have wheels and usually I travel with such ... we have a few. In this case though it's the first trip of our relocation and we were moving two bags as part of the final Umzug... bags to stay in Ireland! 

i do get the problem of stray trolleys though but the cards didn't work at all.

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Airports in general are a nightmare. Lots of stress. Vent as much as you like! Get it all out!

 

Hope everything goes well with your move. What is your new home like? Ireland is truly beautiful :)

 

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I went through 60 airports worldwide and Munich (300+ visits) is highly efficient and works for me. I love it. I  have two pieces of luggage max. Some passengers, mostly women, carry up to 4. 

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8 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

 

I went through 60 airports worldwide and Munich (300+ visits) is highly efficient and works for me. I love it. I  have two pieces of luggage max. Some passengers, mostly women, carry up to 4. 

 

The test is arriving at an airport for the first time ever and finding your way to your checkin ASAP.  When I arrived there ( Munich) in July there was absolutely no indication of where I had to go to check in, no helpful signs. I walked up and down several routes before finding the right one. If you already know an airport of course it's not a problem! g

The easiest and most helpful airport I've used in Changi in Singapore ... or better yet, Ogle in Guyana! :)

 

 

10 minutes ago, Anna66 said:

Airports in general are a nightmare. Lots of stress. Vent as much as you like! Get it all out!

 

Hope everything goes well with your move. What is your new home like? Ireland is truly beautiful :)

 

 

Thanks... haven't done or seen much as yet apart from the drive to Dublin and meeting the future in-laws. I look forward to the final move in March though! We are all very relaxed about it, no hurry to find a place as I can stay in sil's house till I find the right place.

We are going to a big New Year party on Sunday though and I will be thrown right into Irish life!

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3 minutes ago, arunadasi said:

The easiest and most helpful airport I've used in Changi in Singapore ... or better yet, Ogle in Guyana! :)

You can't seriously compare a small air field with four airlines with the largest hubs of Europe or Asia. These are not even apples and oranges, these are apples and mushrooms. 

 

There are small airports in Germany, too. They are convenient due to small distance between the entrance and your boarding gate. In Bavaria the best one is Allgäu airport Memmingen (a low-cost airport, Ryanair and Wizzair are main airlines).

 

Regarding big airports, I have had a pleasant experience with Hong Kong, New York JFK, San Francisco, Shanghai and Dubai. These are airports where you are ok as a first time traveller. I also heard good experiences about Changi, but haven't tried it myself yet. Changi was rated as the best airport in the world in the past, so comparing it to Frankfurt is a bit like comparing Porsche Cayenne with VW Beetle. Singapore airlines were also rated as the best in the world, they are really, really good.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, yourkeau said:

You can't seriously compare a small air field with four airlines with the largest hubs of Europe or Asia. These are not even apples and oranges, these are apples and mushrooms. 

 

 

 

 

You are right and I wasn't seriously comparing them... thus the smiley! 

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3 hours ago, arunadasi said:

So, Tony and I travelled on taking her suitcase.

Why did you do that? You have a hip problem. That was bad decision.  

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16 minutes ago, franklan said:

 

 

16 minutes ago, franklan said:

 

Why did you do that? You have a hip problem. That was bad decision.  

No. She had to change platform at Mannheim, travel to Freising with 3 train/bus/taxi changes, get the suitcase up into her 2nd floor flat, the next day back to the airport etc. And she's pregnant.

We only had to stay on the train and get off at Ffm Fernbahnhof and if there had been a trolley as we expected it would have been quite simple.

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