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

105 posts in this topic

I am surprised they let you take her suitcase on board with you! Most airlines are very strict about luggage.

Sadly these days, I find I need to check the airport website for info , if not been there before. Things like trolley charges and check in counters seem to change. Plus all the self check in booths!

Good luck with new plans!

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Arriving at Munich airport by road, either from Erding or Freising / Munich direction you get large signs saying which airlines are in which terminal (1 or 2). Once in the terminal there are plenty of screens telling you where to check-in, but I agree, for total strangers it can be a bit daunting due to the spread of the airport. If she was using a taxi or limo service they should know which airlines are where.

 

You have Mobility issues?

Next time call in advance or you can even take a chance and ask at check-in for the Mobility service. It's funded centrally and doesn't directly cost you anything to use, plus they take you in wheelchair through security and on to the gate, then on to the aircraft if you need the help.

You don't need to prove any disability, anyone can ask for it, anytime.

 

Edit: this applies for all EU airports as it comes under EU Law (so possibly not UK post Brexit, but who knows?)

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I know you want to vent, that's ok. But at least the trolleys are cheap (yes, they used to be free). In the U.S they're like $5. At least it was when I was travelling there this past August.

I'm also surprised there were issues with the CCs because most airports are frequented by foreign travelers, and not everyone has a German CC. Maybe it needed a special symbol (Maestro or the like). 

 

Any case, I would be more annoyed at my DIL for FORGETTING HER PASSPORT! Come on!! Pregnancy brain and all, WTF!?!?! IMO, that's the most important thing to be taken on a flight. The rest can be bought or sent.  I'm glad all worked out in the end.

 

BTW, Changi airport has carpeting everywhere. It's a huge airport and IMO, it's not any more or less confusing to get around than FFM. The advantage is, the Singaporean airport workers are super friendly and helpful. Having lived in Singapore for 2 years, I've flown in and out of there multiple times with first an infant to now a small kid, in tow. After going through the first security to get into the airport (and clearing customs) they have these mini trolleys. Perfect for hand luggage (we also used a Trunki). 

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14 minutes ago, Elfenstar said:

Any case, I would be more annoyed at my DIL for FORGETTING HER PASSPORT! Come on!! Pregnancy brain and all, WTF!?!?! IMO, that's the most important thing to be taken on a flight. The rest can be bought or sent.  I'm glad all worked out in the end.

Passport can be bought as well, at least if you are not visiting and intend to come back in a month (more info in German):

http://www.fraport.de/content/fraport/de/unternehmen/medien/newsroom/service-news1/20171/ausweis-vergessen-oder-abgelaufen--bundespolizei-am-frankfurter-.html

 

The link says you need ID to be issued a replacement ID (sounds like nonsense), but do not believe the link, just show up at the Bundespolizei and ask since you have nothing to lose (except your flight).

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My first user unfriendly experience of Fraport was trying to get a baby bottle of milk warmed due to flight delays.  No restaurant cafe etc would give me some hot water.  After over an hour of searching for help, I approached a kindly border passport control  person who then took me to their offices to boil a kettle for me.  

 

A few years later, returning to the UK...I put my hand luggage in the security scan box only to find at the other end, someone else had taken it. It contained absolutely everything of value...cash, credit cards, cameras, moble, house and car keys, new engagement ring, inherited jewellery from my Oma etc.  And...most importantly, our passports so we couldn't travel further.  Airport security were very blasé...they wouldn't open the remaining bag in order to try to identify the owner.  After I managed to persuade them that that is surely the most logical, they relented.  No ID, just a Russian guide book and a shawl.  After more than an hour of trying to persuade them to enquire at Russia bound flight gates after tannoy requests didn't help, they finally tracked down my bag after a Russian lady opened her bag looking for her shawl pre flight. Finally got my bag back thanks to an honest person.

 

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I know it might not help in your situation here but just note that when you arrive at Munich the luggage trolleys in the luggage collection areas are free.

These are used by people who leave them all over and there's a very good chance you can find them around the airport without having to pay.

 

If you do pay, they cost €1 to use and it's real money not cards.

 

Munich airport is a damn sight more user friendly than you may think, but I agree that through my limited experiences of FRA that it isn't.

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4 hours 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. 

 

Substitute Tegel for Munich and same here, 

The only airports I would avoid if possible are Heathrow /  CDG in Paris / and Keflavik. The first two because they suck big time and the last as it is simply too small these days for the amount of people coming through it.

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@arunadasi: the most relaxing airport is Windhuk, Namibia. 2 flights  per hour. One gate, one belt. The second belt is always broke, nobody seems to care. No big screens. You walk across the air field and then stairs to the plane. Sometimes you can spot wild animals on the runway.

 

@LeCheese: I agree with Heathrow and CDG (60+ visits). No idea where Keflavik is. Sounds Scandinavian.

 

I never need trolleys. Perhaps when I get old 👻.

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4 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

No idea where Keflavik is. Sounds Scandinavian.

 

Main Iceland airport and it is packed full day and night in recent years. Tegel is way too small but it works.

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3 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

: I agree with Heathrow and CDG (60+ visits). No idea where Keflavik is. Sounds Scandinavian.

Iceland. The worst holiday airport in my life was Heraklion (Crete). But then it's an island, coming during high season was a bad idea in general. Second bad idea was to book a hotel close to the airport (fortunately, for 2 nights only). Located exactly where all planes start and land. And they were landing/starting like every 5 minutes. Whole night. Lärmschutz, Ruhezeit? What is this? 

 

8 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

I never need trolleys. Perhaps when I get old 👻.

Amount of luggage you carry is reverse proportional to the flight frequency :)

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One advantage of flying Lufthansa when you take the train, you can check in at the Frankfurt Flughafen Bahnhof and then proceed further through the whole slightly weird Frankfurt Airport adventure sans bagage.  It is not just Lufthansa, but the rest are more obscure.

 

 https://www.frankfurt-airport.com/content/dam/airport/Dokumente/Artikel_Beitag/Flüge/Airlineregister-WP-2017.pdf/_jcr_content/renditions/original.media_file.download_attachment.file/Airlineregister-WP-2017.pdf

 

T = you can check your luggage at "Frankfurt Flughafen Bahnhof" = "Fernbahnhof"

 

 

 

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I travel very light. Never check anything in.

 

I've been through Frankfurt once or twice and found it confusing. I mostly travel through Schönefeld which is small and easy to navigate.

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1 hour ago, emkay said:

A few years later, returning to the UK...I put my hand luggage in the security scan box only to find at the other end, someone else had taken it.

I had a colleague who lost his hand luggage during a BA flight from London to Denver!  Was never found.

Cannot have been at all careful but was at least lucky that his passport etc was on his person.

 

I've been though both FRA & MUC many times & apart from having to walk/trot long distances at times & having to go

through pointless but slow security for a flight with LH to Hamburg having just come off a LH flight from Denver or other US airport

I havn't had any trouble.

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5 hours ago, RedMidge said:

I am surprised they let you take her suitcase on board with you! Most airlines are very strict about luggage.

Sadly these days, I find I need to check the airport website for info , if not been there before. Things like trolley charges and check in counters seem to change. Plus all the self check in booths!

Good luck with new plans!

 

i was actually convinced they wouldn't let us. but Tony explained the situation in his nice quiet Irish way and there wasn't a problem. 

5 hours ago, Malt-Teaser said:

Arriving at Munich airport by road, either from Erding or Freising / Munich direction you get large signs saying which airlines are in which terminal (1 or 2). Once in the terminal there are plenty of screens telling you where to check-in, but I agree, for total strangers it can be a bit daunting due to the spread of the airport. If she was using a taxi or limo service they should know which airlines are where.

 

You have Mobility issues?

Next time call in advance or you can even take a chance and ask at check-in for the Mobility service. It's funded centrally and doesn't directly cost you anything to use, plus they take you in wheelchair through security and on to the gate, then on to the aircraft if you need the help.

You don't need to prove any disability, anyone can ask for it, anytime.

 

Edit: this applies for all EU airports as it comes under EU Law (so possibly not UK post Brexit, but who knows?)

I took the bus from Freising and it just stopped at the airport and I got off; no indication after that of where to go.

 

When I came back from India I used the disability service and it was fantastic. Did you know that at Dubai  airport airport there's even a special luxury lounge for wheelchair passengers!

But at the time I really couldn't walk much. I feel silly using a wheelchair when I can walk, albeit with pain. Maybe when I get older!

3 hours ago, Elfenstar said:

I know you want to vent, that's ok. But at least the trolleys are cheap (yes, they used to be free). In the U.S they're like $5. At least it was when I was travelling there this past August.

I'm also surprised there were issues with the CCs because most airports are frequented by foreign travelers, and not everyone has a German CC. Maybe it needed a special symbol (Maestro or the like). 

 

Any case, I would be more annoyed at my DIL for FORGETTING HER PASSPORT! Come on!! Pregnancy brain and all, WTF!?!?! IMO, that's the most important thing to be taken on a flight. The rest can be bought or sent.  I'm glad all worked out in the end.

 

BTW, Changi airport has carpeting everywhere. It's a huge airport and IMO, it's not any more or less confusing to get around than FFM. The advantage is, the Singaporean airport workers are super friendly and helpful. Having lived in Singapore for 2 years, I've flown in and out of there multiple times with first an infant to now a small kid, in tow. After going through the first security to get into the airport (and clearing customs) they have these mini trolleys. Perfect for hand luggage (we also used a Trunki). 

 

The thing is, she came first to my place for a week from her home and hadn't been thinking at all of her further journey or the flight, she was thinking of Christmas and getting presents wrapped and bastelled etc. Yes, pregnancy brain; she is usually very organized. There was the thing with spilling tea on my laptop, and she also forgot an important key in Freising, which at least she was able to retrieve as well! We do not get angry with each other in our family, as it does not make things right. For me it was good to see that Tony also did not get angry. He even said he would stay back with her, but then I'd have to stay as well and she didn't want to have us all wasting the journey. trust me that she was mad at herself, and that was enough. 

 

Changi is indeed huge. but the moment we got off the plane in order to change flights there was a monitor where you could scan your boarding pass and it told you EXACTLY where to go, how long it would take, in detail, with a little map as well.

 

Then I had to change at CDG and that was the worst! 

 

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8 minutes ago, arunadasi said:

Then I had to change at CDG and that was the worst!

 

Grave mistake.

 

The second law of transatlatic flying is (or certainly used to be): Never transit through London Heathrow.

 

The first law is: Never transit through Paris CDG.

 

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1 hour ago, LeCheese said:

Main Iceland airport and it is packed full day and night in recent years.

Ah, I stopped there in 1997 or 98 on my way to NYC from Amsterdam with Icelandair. Beautiful tall blonde stewardesses. The airport looked like some kind of hangar.

 

Munich has decentralized luggage pick-up which is great. Compare that with Amsterdam where you walk more than 2 kilometers in worst case. Signage in A'dam is great, however, and awarded.

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11 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

Ah, I stopped there in 1997 or 98 on my way to NYC from Amsterdam with Icelandair. Beautiful tall blonde stewardesses. The airport looked like some kind of hangar.

 

 

Looks like 3 hangars stiuck together now, it is a very nice airport but simply too small for the masses going through it now.

12 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

Munich has decentralized luggage pick-up which is great. Compare that with Amsterdam where you walk more than 2 kilometers in worst case. Signage in A'dam is great, however, and awarded.

 

I often went / go through Copenhagen. Very similar, if you are unlucky, you walk / run for 5-20 minutes. After a couple of very sweaty runs, I gave up and just walked for future connections & let the airline sort out the new connection if I missed the flight.

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28 minutes ago, HEM said:

The first law is: Never transit through Paris CDG.

 

The first rule of Flight Club is: you do not talk about Flight Club. The second rule of Flight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Flight Club! The third rule of flight club is you DO NOT talk about Paris CDG :P

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My ex had a connection at CDG once - when going through security one of the inspectors took his very small nail clippers, looked at them angrily, opened them up, snapped off the handle, and gave them back.

 

I don't know anyone who's had anything but bad experiences at that airport.  

 

On the other hand, I've never had anything but positive experiences at MUC.  I usually travel very light, but when I arrived on moving over, I had 3 huge suitcases, a wheelie carry on, and two big crates with my cats inside.  As I was waiting for my bags an airport employee came over (unsolicited) with a trolley and helped me load it up, he drove the trolley for me to customs where they asked me some silly questions about the cats (how old are they?  what color are they???), then he guided me out to the taxi stand where I was whisked away to town. 

 

He asked me for 10 euros for his services, which I found totally reasonable as the help was much appreciated.

 

Hell, for all I know he was actually some kind of security personnel sent to ensure I went through customs :)  Whatever, it worked for me regardless of his motivation.

 

Miami airport is horrid.  Boston and SFO are great.

 

eta:  chicago is a pit of despair!  There is always "weather" in chicago.  Your chances of getting stuck there are way too high.

 

 

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I once flew from Bangkok airport and included a handmade box of cigars (two layers )  in my hand luggage -the official took a couple out, put them in hjs shirt pocket and waved me on. 

When I worked in Jakarta (Indonesia ), I often had to pick up new teachers at the airport. One day, a new teacher arrived and the customs wanted 100,000 dollars to release her luggage - which was just normal luggage, clothes and stuff. Luckily, my boss,a belligerent Australian who´d lived there for 20 years, was then informed and he made the right phone call and the luggage was set free!

 

Both are late 1980s memories. corruption and sucking on the teats of foreigners. .

 

At Miami airport: arriving with my then 7 year old daughter to go on to Disneyworld, I handed the woman official my passport, and , quick as a flash, she wanted to know when I´d last been arrested! EDIT: by the way, my daughter´s luggage didn´t arrive  so it was fun :o the next day in Miami buying a fortnight´s worth of new clothes...yes, new clothes for every day of the holiday...(But I complained when she wanted everything in pink and we compromised !)

 

Brighter memories: a friend of my mine, Tom, had a teddy bear in his hand luggage and the guy at Heathrow looked at it and said: " sleep well, Mr Galvin"...:lol:

 

And my favourite personal one: on a Sunday morning at Buenos Aires airport in the mid- 70s, I tried to buy a ticket with a Traveller´s Cheque (remember them?!! )..I was told: " we can´t accept them on Sundays ".

 

A man close to me was watching and asked me where I was going and where I was from ..I replied " Ushuaia and I´m from London ". The man said: " I´m the chief pilot for that flight (Aerolineas Argentinas ) and my daughter´s studying in London". He smiled and sorted out a bit of bureaucracy. 

 

I got a free flight and was allowed to sit in the cockpit and take great pics (slides ) with my Instamatic (cheap camera from those days! )...:rolleyes:

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