To hell with Czech airlines and Frankfurt airport!!

Pokud sedite, pripoutejte se….as it says on the fold-down table in front of me!

I always thought Frankfurt airport was pretty good as airports go but having had plenty of time to experience it now I need to downgrade its stock to “Greek” status.

It’s a mess of buildings with 3km walks involved in everything you want to do, robotic security guards, staff who don’t know what they are talking about, no announcements in the places you need them most, stinky hotels and too much wind

I arrived here yesterday at 17:45 in plenty of time to catch my 19:05 flight to Prague. The S Bahn dropped me at T1 after a simple 15 minute journey from the town centre. Having got to the airport so easily, I then spent double the train journey time just moving from T1 to T2 and finding the check-in desk!

Check-in took forever as they explained to everyone that it was windy and no planes were landing. Our flight, I was assured, was at least an hour late and I should check back again at 20:00 but no need to go to the gate.

I went to the restaurant one floor above the gates and got some food. There were no announcements. I went downstairs again at 19:45 to hear an announcement that passengers should go to gate D34 and so I headed in that direction.

Before I had even arrived at security, i.e. one minute later, another announcement calling me and one other person by name! I pushed in the security queue but the security guards decided that every single thing I owned or wore needed scientific examination so there went another few minutes.

Finally through security I ran in search of D34. The nearest gate was D22 and they are arranged in pairs with a 17km gap between each pair! Arriving hours later, exhausted at D34, the same moron that had told me to check again at 20:00 was now, at 20:00, telling me “the captain says no!”. Presumably he was late for dinner in Prague, asshole!

Of course, at this stage everyone’s attitude changes – I become extremely angry and they clam up with their only excuse for no announcements, terrible advice, long walks and idiot security guards being “You were late!”.

I retraced the 17km back to the ticket desk and was offered a delayed flight that evening back to Warsaw or a flight to Prague the next morning. Fearing a repeat episode with the Warsaw flight I took the Prague option, which would at least allow me to attend 75% of the meeting I am attending.

Next challenge then was to find a hotel for the night. Inspecting the names on the hotel shuttle bus stand I called the nearest hotel, Sheraton, who said they had a room but the rate was 259 Euro. I declined. A bus turned up for a hotel called the “Steigenberger Airport Hotel”, I got in.

The receptionist told me they had a room and a special rate of 119 Euro. I took it. Room 451 was adequate but had a terrible electrical buzzing coming from above the bathroom ceiling. Back to reception and changed the room. This time it was bigger with no buzzing but with air-con units that made the sound of a muffled washing machine on 1200 spin cycle. I gave up, unpacked, watched a film with Matt Damon (Informant?) and tried to sleep.

This morning I went through it all again. At security I took off one shoe and was ordered to put it back on again:

“But yesterday I had to remove my shoes after I went through the scanner and then wait while the guard scanned them! I’m just saving time.”

“You have to walk through with your shoes on!”.

They proceeded to scan my shoes and my sock-clad feet. First a Zippo fetish, now a foot fetish! German airport security gets stranger by the week.

Morals of the story:
1/ German airport security (still) sucks

2/ If your flight is delayed, don’t believe anything they say about when it be ready to go.

3/ Beware of dead zones in the airport where no announcements can be heard.

4/ Don’t go to Frankfurt – ever

5/ Don’t stay at the Steigenberger unless you’re really desperate.

Ho hum.

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4 thoughts on “To hell with Czech airlines and Frankfurt airport!!

  1. Unlucky Ian.

    I had the pleasure of spending 5 hours there in January as Manchester Airport was snowed in and status of flight changed every 30 minutes.

    It’s still a better airport than Charles De Gaulle but it is my least favourite German Airport.

    I’m travelling to Warsaw at the end of June so would be good to meet up for a coffee, fortunately I’m travelling through Amsterdam.

  2. Agreed – FRA blows. It’s never going to happen, but wouldn’t it be nice once the construction was complete if LH’s hubs became Berlin and Munich? Then they could chop FRA down to a more manageable size.

  3. Ian, we should be in town end of June so just let me know! Agreed about CDG, that really is the pits but being French you sort of expect that. Judging by FRA, ze German efficiency is not what it used to be.

    DC, I do like Munich airport. Probably my favourite in Deutschland.

  4. I think my favourite is probably Dusseldorf but the last time I flew through it you could smoke in the bar near the gate. Not flown through it in 2 years so I’m guessing that one has changed.

    Fortunately my change time at Schiphol is less than an hour flying out and an hour and a quarter flying back! Now they have changed Security to put a fast lane in I can go through there. Wish the UK was in the Schengen agreement and then I wouldn’t have to go through the farce of 2 security checks for a journey.

    Last time at Frankfurt I went outside to smoke and getting to the gate I had to do 2 security checks in 100 metres.

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