It’s rather difficult to describe Frankfurt without availing oneself of language unsuitable for social media and the web. The place is way too big and quite simply a mess.
TRANSIT IN FRANKFURT
Mode of transport: Automated Skytrain on the roof of Terminal 2
Frequency: Every two minutes during peak times
Journey time: Five minutes
Fast track for security: Yes, for First and Business Class passengers
The Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong arrives at Frankfurt’s Terminal 2. My onward connection to Basel will be departing from Terminal 1’s A gates. The quickest was to the A gates from Terminal 2 is via the Skytrain located on the roof.
The final stop of the Skytrain is for the Z and A gates of Terminal 1. But first I have to go through security. There is a dedicated line for First and Business Class passengers, which is considerably shorter than the Economy Class queue.
From security you should theoretically be able to head two floors down to immigration to enter the Schengen area. But not this morning. The stairs have been cordoned off. Apparently the queues at immigration are too long. So instead, we’re advised to walk all the way to immigration near gate A 26, five minutes away. In theory there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, I’ve just spent nearly thirteen hours on a plane without any major physical activity. However, given that I’ll have to backtrack all the way once I reach the Schengen area on the lower level to reach the Senator lounge is, the whole thing does seem awfully dumb really.
Location: On the Schengen level, in the atrium of the new A+ gates
Type of Lounge: Senator lounge
Facilities: Washrooms, showers, public computers, buffet
Internet: Free, unlimited WiFi; there is no password
Where on earth have all these people come from? Haven’t they got anything better to do on a Sunday morning than hang around at Frankfurt airport? The lounge is absolutely packed when I arrive, the only places left to sit are the bar stools. Well, I guess at least this will keep me from falling asleep. I get myself a caffé latte and continue working on my trip report.
Priority Boarding: A69 is a bus gate, there is no separate bus for Business Class passengers
Thank God I decided to walk all the way to the Senator lounge once I’d reached the Schengen area. Initially I’d contemplated using the Business Class lounge right behind immigration, but eventually figured it would be more convenient to take a lounge located in closer proximity to my departure gate. Even so, it’s still a ten minute walk from the Senator lounge to gate A 69 at the very end of the A+ pier.
I arrive to find the gate already deserted. I head downstairs and even though I’m holding up the proceedings and the bus, I still have to give in to my impulse to take a picture of the B 747-8 parked right in front of us.
Our Embraer is parked right behind the threshold of runway 18, at the far end of the apron. The journey by bus to get there takes 10 minutes to complete with all the stopping and starting.
Configuration: 2 + 2
Seat: Standard economy seat with one of the seats on the row of two kept empty
Facilities: Hook to hang a jacket
Audio and Video: Nil
The cabin looks very cleared up, although with all the grey it also looks a bit bland. There are seven rows of Business Class on today’s flight, with fourteen passengers in total. In the back there are only about another twenty passengers or so.
At least the good thing of parking in such a remote spot is that we don’t have far to go to reach the departing runway.
There are two female flight attendants working the flight. The purser is a middle-aged, friendly woman. The other is also female, younger and exudes about as much charm and warmth as a visit to the dentist.
Hot Towels Before the Meal: No
Pre-meal drinks: None
Delivery: Individual tray
Appearance: Metal cutlery, crockery, glassware and a paper cup for the coffee
Type of Meal: Continental breakfast
- Natural Yoghurt with berries and almonds
- A cold plate with cheese and smoked meat
- A selection from the breadbasket
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- Tea or coffee
The quality of the meal is very good and the presentation is also nice and appealing. Furthermore, it’s quite a substantial meal, particularly given that the flight time to Basel is only 35 minutes!
We approach the airport from the north, passing over the Peugeot factory in France. In the background there appears to be snow on the hills on the other side of the Rhine in Germany.
From the gate it’s just a short walk to the luggage reclaim area. As I reach the luggage carousel for my flight, I’m somewhat surprised to find that apparently the suitcases for our flight are expected in 12 minutes, which seems awfully long for such a small airport. Eventually though, we end up having to wait a full thirty minutes before the first bags start arriving. At least both of the suitcases I checked in made it back to Basel with me.