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

105 posts in this topic

11 hours ago, fraufruit said:

Sounds great if you don't have a connection to make in 20 minutes at the other end of the airport.

 

Yes, and that's one of the problems. If you don't know your way around it's very badly signposted, and changing terminals is horrible. You cannot take your trolley with you from one Terminal to the other, if you are using the skytrain thing. You have to unload your luggage, put it on the train, unload it onto the platform, take it down to the next level in the lift, and then fiddle about with the trolley machine which only takes German credit cards of a certain bank! How do foreigners even cope? That was our problem, and I am not even a foreigner.

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1 hour ago, katheliz said:

 Schipol, in Amsterdam, after almost forty years, is still my favorite.

Schiphol is not so pleasant anymore like in the past.  Especially, going through customs where you can have large queues. Also, security check can take long. This is because of extreme growth in recent years. Schiphol (6 runways!) already overtook Frankfurt in number of passengers and soon Charles de Gaulle as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_busiest_airports_in_Europe

 

It's a bit much for our tiny country.

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16 minutes ago, arunadasi said:

 

11 hours ago, swimmer said:

 

Schengen flights are usually a breeze.  Off the bus through security in about 10 minutes often, if already checked in.   The amenities are terrific - swanky stores, underground mall, unlimited free hot drinks (from Lufthansa but for all, including on arrival if in the right place) and papers, wifi, yoga,rest seats, the inter-city connections.  .

 

 

Where are these unlimited hot drinks???

 

 

Yes, Lufthansa used to offer unlimited hot drinks in the Schengen boarding area. The machines were hidden from view from the main corridor but if you got close to the gate you could see the machines. The free machines were replaced by years ago though. Now it costs money to get a coffee.

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I've been to 103 different airports!

 

Most of my favourites are Asian airports, DUS I don't mind but it depends which part you are leaving from (although I haven't been there for many years).

FRA is my local airport now and it is a love hate thing.  I think for transfers it can be a nightmare.

MUC is very easy for transfers.

TXL is always chaotic! 

 

CDG is horrid.

AMS is nice, but sometimes you have a reeeeealy long walk. (Also haven't been there in many years), although not as long as in Brussels.

Belgrade is not very nice, the same as a lot of airports in the Balkans.   The old one at Skopje was terrible, the new one looks nice but is inefficient and has slow bad, rude staff.

 

I find a lot of USA airports are hit and miss.  Customs/immigration and security are generally not so nice.  O'Hare international terminal is horrid, others can be a breeze and nice. 

JFK varies depending on the terminal, and is not good for transferring.  Dallas Forth Worth is easy for transferring, and I had no wait at immigration when I last went through.  Denver used to be good for transferring, but seems to have become far too busy.

 

 

Stansted has turned into the worst airport that I have been through for a long long, maybe even ever!  

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In South America you have some airports like Montevideo where you must go through a huge duty free shop to get to your luggage. There is a suffocating smell of perfume hanging around there and all female sales staff wear too much perfume as well, so I basically hold my breath for one minute to pass through :). It's like standing in an elevator with an (elderly) lady who went berserk with the perfume bottle.

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25 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

In South America you have some airports like Montevideo...

I have to do that in Frankfurt and Brussels as well (hold my breath) - those are the two I spend most time at, I can't remember how it was at all the others. There is no way to avoid going through the shop. I sometimes hope that one day they will stop me and ask to look in my bag (there are signs in Brussels that they reserve the right etc.) because by now, I have collected so much hate at the stink that I will probably go on a 5 minute rant. The worst is when you have a headache anyway. Or at 6 am...

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1 hour ago, Smaug said:

 

Yes, Lufthansa used to offer unlimited hot drinks in the Schengen boarding area. The machines were hidden from view from the main corridor but if you got close to the gate you could see the machines. The free machines were replaced by years ago though. Now it costs money to get a coffee.

  

At FIA, there's now little yellow machines at many gates usually used by Lufthansa (so mainly T1).   Usually by the table and seating area by the window, and often facing that way, so not immediately obvious.  I know Munich less well but we found a whole block (near the kids' play area) when we had a snow delay in transit recently.  Sometimes they have not been set up early morning, but otherwise pretty reliable.    Completely free, as much as you want, no need to be a passenger at that gate, no catch.  I know most people do not know this, but it is a really absolute top traveller's tip.

 

It's not like they are even the usual poor quality token vendor stuff - good quality tea bags, some name coffee brand I forgot, milk etc.   But then coffee is one of those things that's becoming a freebie (or at least piad for in what you buy).   It's the modern free biro or free paper.

 

It is one reason that airport is so good. I have no trouble spending time drinking tea, reading the papers, free wifi if I need it, watching the planes go.

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Thanks for the clarification @swimmer. I don't know about Munich, but I haven't been able to find any free hot drink machines in Frankfurt for a couple of years now. I go to the hidden corners where they used to be and I find only pay machines.

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49 minutes ago, Smaug said:

Thanks for the clarification @swimmer. I don't know about Munich, but I haven't been able to find any free hot drink machines in Frankfurt for a couple of years now. I go to the hidden corners where they used to be and I find only pay machines.

 

You kind of have to spot them.  Scrutinise the area round the gates, especially stands and shelving between the registration point and the windows.  Spot the little cups being held or on the table. (Dallmayer possibly, if I think about it?).  There's a lot of them in the LH favoured bit, not like you have to hunt widely.  And, like I said, as FIA is an open airport, that may include on return when a hot drink is often even more welcome, before even picking up your bags.

 

I've never had to simply ask "Where's a drinks machine?" but we could obviously just do that, too.  Possibly I would if I were in Munich again.

 

As to other airports, modern amenities I think mean the experience is better.  I tend to use the same ones.  I think the issue with Belgrade is that it's not got much choice on things like cafes, but it's hot on admin like ordering taxis, and accessing money.  I occasionally transit CDG and I quite like the retro feel of the Air France bit I end up in, and it has some good concessions for modern variety of food (inc veggie concession Eksi) plus free papers etc.   

 

You remember random stuff.  I remember sitting in a nice coffee shop at 6am in Yerevan recently and the airport PA was playing The Smiths.  Many Gen X'ers like me will have that, thanks.  That'd make a good airport.

 

 

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I had a 2.5 hour wait for my case to be delivered at Cologne airport after a flight this weekend. Unbelievable.

 

The whole baggage hall was full of people because no cases were being delivered. Not a single announcement about what was happening, nothing. Just the creepy "see you soon" tannoy announcement over and over again. 

 

2.5 hours for an airport as small as cologne. Only in Germany. 

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3 hours ago, Adem137 said:

I had a 2.5 hour wait for my case to be delivered at Cologne airport after a flight this weekend. Unbelievable.

 

The whole baggage hall was full of people because no cases were being delivered. Not a single announcement about what was happening, nothing. Just the creepy "see you soon" tannoy announcement over and over again. 

 

2.5 hours for an airport as small as cologne. Only in Germany. 

 

I recently flew into Cologne early on a Sunday afternoon and it took an age for the baggage to appear. The airport wasn't busy so I suspect they just didn't have enough handlers working at this time.

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I grew to quite like DUS over the years of flying back and forth from London. Main things:

 

- Apart from the main Flughafen station, there's the smaller Flughafen Terminal stop for the S-Bahn right under the main building; a much quicker connection for the S11, which gets you around a few of my key destinations

 

- When you're past security, you can freely move between the terminals, so you can pick a short security line in one terminal to get around a longer line going to the one you need

 

I do wish there weren't so many flights that needed bus transfers from the apron, though. Especially when you can see plenty of open gates after you land.

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4 hours ago, FlyAugustus said:

I grew to quite like DUS over the years of flying back and forth from London. Main things:

 

- Apart from the main Flughafen station, there's the smaller Flughafen Terminal stop for the S-Bahn right under the main building; a much quicker connection for the S11, which gets you around a few of my key destinations

 

- When you're past security, you can freely move between the terminals, so you can pick a short security line in one terminal to get around a longer line going to the one you need

 

I do wish there weren't so many flights that needed bus transfers from the apron, though. Especially when you can see plenty of open gates after you land.

Wait. What? How do you move between terminals in DUS?

 

I must be blind. When you get past security, there is just that long corridor lined with a very inaquate selection of shops, tax free, and some italian restaurant, and then at the end of that corridor maybe 3-4 passport control desks. How do you get to the other terminal? I must be missing something.

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15 hours ago, paulwork said:

Wait. What? How do you move between terminals in DUS?

 

I must be blind. When you get past security, there is just that long corridor lined with a very inaquate selection of shops, tax free, and some italian restaurant, and then at the end of that corridor maybe 3-4 passport control desks. How do you get to the other terminal? I must be missing something.

 

When I get past security, there are signs to the other Terminals. (At the very least, between A and B.) There's a pedestrian walkway between them; quite handy if you have a flight from A but want to use a lounge in B, for example. Keep an eye out for the signage just after you pass security. I remember it being easiest to see from Terminal B, but once you know about the path, it's very handy.

 

If you go into somewhere like NordSee before security but behind the check-in desks, you should be able to look out towards the tarmac and see the corridor from there, and people walking along it.

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I think probably half my posts to this community are me complaining about Frankfurt Airport so I'll refrain from doing more of the same again.

 

But I hate it! It's horrible.

 

I always found Munich to be a pleasant airport and quite enjoy Hamburg but Frankfurt and all it's workers can go and kick rocks. 

 

I've been to more than a few airports in my time and seen some horrors. (CdG deserves special mention) but Frankfurt is the one I pay extra to avoid. I've seen the most horrific behaviour in that place. A few years back a local said to me "You shouldn't compare Frankfurt with Changi". Why not? I still don't understand his 'because they're totally different' reasoning.

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At DUS the airport control center changed my gate 3 times. I think they like to keep me busy :angry:. Before that passengers were treated like cattle during the security check and some passengers were almost stuck against the glass wall, because it was overcrowded. If you want to complain about Düsseldorf, here is the email address:  https://www.dus.com/de-de/kontakt/feedback

DUS.png

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I really don't understand any of the crying about Schönefeld or Tegel.  Compared to Dulles, my hometown SeaTac or even Mallorca airports, the Berlin airports are a fucking breeze and a downright delight.  You walk in, go three steps to your counter, three steps to your gate, and onto the plane.  None of this uppy downy faff, none of this getting-on-a-monorail-just-to-get-to-the-elevator-to-get-to-the-level-of-your gate kerfuffle, none of this utter chaos of big city airports.  Even if you're a Jonny NoFriends and have to take public transit to the airport, both Berlin airports are a dream.  Train or bus every few minutes basically right up to the door.  Three steps to the counter.  Three steps to the gate.

 

What's not to like?

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On 5/30/2018, 9:01:46, katheliz said:

I haven't been to lots of airports, but of the twenty I've visited in the US and Germany, Duesseldorf is without a doubt the most unpleasant.  Schipol, in Amsterdam, after almost forty years, is still my favorite.

 

I don't know how many airports are in Amsterdam, but the one we transferred over on our way over the North Pole was an absolute beast.  Enormous, difficult to navigate (we found) and the customs guy made me cry (really).

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I agree that the trolley system in FA sucks big time. I travel frequently because of my job and I never use the trolleys, for that exact reason.

In Singapore, trolleys are always in immediate vicinity for your use. Floors are carpeted to absorb noise and there’s always a place to sit and have a coffee. There’s free WiFi too. I miss Singapore comfort and convenience.

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