Frankfurt airport BULLSHIT or why I hate to travel

I am really getting tired of traveling. Every 4-5 weeks I travel ~8000miles from home to work.
It is bad enough that we are required to be at airports many hours before we have to travel. It is worse that we can’t carry simple things like a bottle of water through security even though it is almost impossible to make liquid explosives from the stuff you can carry on. And I’ve resigned myself to stand quietly while passengers in front of me set off the metal detector and go back to remove their entire jewelry collection or drag pound of change from multiple pockets, even though they’ve seen everyone before them get nailed at the metal detector for not doing so.
Yes, I thought I was immune to the frustrations of traveling figuring I had seen it all, but after traveling through Frankfurt airport for years they ramped it up to new levels to see if they could break me.
The story:
We docked at Terminal C. Which is unusual as we are normally in Terminal B. No biggy other than the fact the ramp was broken and they had to bus us from the ramp to the door. The buses are designed for people sitting in, not for people with carry on and they pack you in like cattle, but again not out of the ordinary. The Germans have a knack for packing people into small spaces, so we feel lucky it is only taking us from the plane to the terminal.
We get off the bus and go through the doors where there was a helpful person directing us to our next flight. A nice touch - “Up the stairs, to the left”. Great!
We go up the stairs and ‘Behold!’ a security check. This can’t be right? Back down the stairs to talk to the lady giving directions. Yes, it is right. If you want to get to your next flight then that is the only way to go. Okay, back up the stairs for a closer look.
There are two baggage scanners and one metal detector. There is a small area where they have a zigzag queue roped off just before the security check and then a straight hallway leading back into Terminal C. The hallway, at a guess, is 150’ long before it curves out of sight. There are people lined up all the way past the curve. The lineup is at least 3-4 people deep with no organization other than what the people in line are willing to enforce themselves. There were people trying to jump the queue. There were harried airport people trying to organize the front of the line and directing people to the back of the line. There are people trying to sneak through the line to edge closer to the front. There were people crying that they would miss their next plane (No, not me as I had a 3 hour layover although I did feel like crying at first). But I’m sure many people did miss their next plane.
When I finally made it to the front there was a guy who was intent on making my bag fit into the plastic scanning box in a manner that was suitable to him regardless as to the fragility of items in the bag. And then a wannabe SS Magilla Gorilla made me rescan my carry on bag. When I asked why his response was that I didn’t get to ask why, I just had to do it. Lovely.
For the first time in a long time I was close to losing it. What was the fucking point of having us go through a security check again AFTER we had just got off a plane which we had to go through security to get on in the first place?!! Did they think we made an unscheduled stop in the middle of the North Atlantic to pick up nail clippers, or something? Really, if they don’t trust the first security check then why are they allowing the fucking plane to fly into their airspace in the first place?

Ever go through Lisbon? I think I almost got shot by an immigration guy because I didn’t realize that once you went through passport control there is NOTHING TO DO. No shops, no nothing, and if you want to go back to shops and restaurants you have to go through security TWICE. So I tried to back out and got screamed at.

Good to know that airport insanity and inanity isn’t an exclusively American phenomenon.

Sorry about your crappy experience.

I have flown through many airports, and none so far have been worse than Frankfurt. The run-around I got there was insane. But the thing that stands out in my memory the most, are their signs. Sometimes an arrow pointing up means “go straight ahead,” and sometimes an arrow pointing up actually means “go UP” in that little elevator thingie to the left. I got so freaking lost in that place I cannot tell you. I will never again fly through Frankfurt. Ever. If you have to do it often, you have my deepest sympathies.

Frankfurt is at the moment possibly one of the worst airports…I think at least two terminals are under renovation and therefore impossible to navigate. Three weeks ago I had to fly to London - leaving Frankfurt I walked for about 30mins through corridors past offices just to get to the gate. When we got back, at 1am, 75% of the lights were out, no staff to be seen and nobody to even tell us how to get to the baggageclaim (we arrived at Terminal D and had to go to Terminal E - the signs keep telling you how to get to Baggageclaim D/E but then no more signs once you reach Baggageclaim D)…currently a total nightmare

Well, duh! Of course YOU have a rough time, your a freakin’ machine gun! You might go off!

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Frankfurt sucks. They misplaced my dog once and all is I could get in response was the ever so annoying patented Lufthansa shrug. They still expected me to get on the plane and continue on to Hamburg without him - which so wasn’t going to happen. I refused to board so they either had to find the dog or unload all the baggage from a completely full flight to take off my luggage. The dog miraculously appeared about 5 minutes later. Luckily most Germans adore dogs so my fellow passengers were forgiving about the delay.

That indeed sounds horrible, and I could go on and on about the evils and pointlessness of airline security theater, but I recently saw an example of it at its most stupid. Coming back from the Philippines, I departed from the airport in Manila. This was the order of events:

  1. Immediately upon entering the airport, your bag goes through a security screen. Then a guy opens it and looks through it by hand. He hinted very strongly a couple of times that my Air Force uniform hat was pretty nifty and eventually just asked if he could have it as a souvenir…WTF?
  2. After navigating the check-in and passport control lines, go through the standard issue, TSA-style metal detector, bag security check. For the second time. I’ve gotten pretty good at these things by now, and can usually just breeze through, knowing what to take off and throw in jacket pockets or the carryon, and wearing slipon shoes…so no issue. belt back on…shoes back on…watch back on…on to the flight!
  3. I then go down the escalator to the area where Northwest departs…only to encounter ANOTHER security checkpoint! Identical to the last one, with the same shoes/metal/dignity surrendering requirements as the one before. For those of you keeping track at home this is the 3rd time my bag has gone through a detector and i have had to be metal detected! And of course, not knowing this one was coming (no signs, warnings, etc…) I had to unload and de-metal completely for a second time…
    so yeah, security theater is most definitely getting out of had, and is not apparently limited to the US (although I think policies in some areas are driven by US TSA policy and a desire not to be placed on warning and off-limits airport lists…)

We had a layover in Frankfurt this past January, and got righteously pissed off after not only going through security twice on the way to the gate, but after sitting at our gate for over an hour, the security people made everyone clear out of the gate and line up to go through security AGAIN. To get into the gate. Where we had just been sitting. So we could sit there for another two hours until our plane arrived.

The security people were so forbiddingly grim I was sorely tempted to answer, “Do you have anything about your person that could be used as a weapon?” with “Only my mouth” and a wink, but sigh I wimped out.

sniffle makes me sorry that I had a great time hanging out in the Frankfurt airport a couple years ago [6 hour layover til the train to Stuttgart I was ticketed onto left]

I wandered from one end where I landed from Boston all the way past the bus terminal to the train terminal, stopping to use the whizzateria and get a bottle of water and ended up siting in the little indoor outdoor cafe doing coffee. Got chased back out briefly by the cutest little storm trooper [bomb threat] which lasted for about 15 minutes, then back to the cafe where a bunch of germans who wanted to practice english bought me breakfast, and about 20 cups of coffee that pretty much killed another 3 hours. Then I was sitting on a fairly comfy bench where another little storm trooper practiced his english with me [he even gave me his handy number ‘just in case I didnt want to stay in stuttgart and wanted to hang out in Frankfort’ :confused: ] Then he excorted me to the correct train and made sure that I got to my seat and told the [also english speaking] conductor [i guess that is what you would call her?] that I didnt speak german and to let me know when it was my station.

Did I ever mention I love Germany and would love to go back…

Oh, yeah, Frankfurt, I’ve just been through there. They have those pointless security checkpoints freaking everywhere. I’ve only encountered worse in the New Orleans Airport, where they had a security checkpoint RIGHT BEHIND the security checkpoint…

So far, Frankfurt has been the only airport I’ve ever been to where instead of giving me instructions while scanning my bag and coat and wanding me and whatnot, the security people just shoved me around. Instead of, say, “step over there”, they just glared and shoved. It was weird.

This exact thing happened to me flying through Paris - being carted to the terminal in a bus and being made to go through security again - and the same WTF crossed my mind. I was given an explanation by someone, and I am not sure how correct that is though.

It seems that when you are transported by a bus, sometimes you are taken, without you so realizing, to a gate that is used to let in people coming from outside, or that the bus takes a route that takes it outside the secure perimeter area for some reason. In the former case, since you join the same crowd you go through the same screening procedure. In the latter, since you have had an opportunity to stay in an insecure area, there is a possibility that something could have happened that makes you a threat.

Whatever the reason, it is just as dumb as many of the other security rules surrounding flying and is a giant pain in the ass.

I can respond to this part of it - often in countries that airlines serve the airline determines that the locally-supplied security is not up to snuff and will have their own security screening set up. When I was flying for AA we had this in Haiti and Colombia that I know of, and probably more places as well.

I’m flying from Canada, not Cambodia.

I could see this, but where the bus takes you is right back to the same terminal the gate to the plane would have let you out of if it had been working. So, I’d have had to go through this totally redundant and worthless security check no matter if I had taken the bus or not.

If I was carrying my namesake at the time, I certainly would have! At least it would have proven that they needed the extra security check!

Some other general complaints about Frankfurt airport:
-I travel business class so I get to use the lounges. I can use both the first (Senator) and the regular business class lounge. They must have the worst lounges on the planet. Uncomfortable chairs (when you can find one to sit in, that is), surly wait staff, and apparently central air conditioning is something that other people have in more developed countries, but not in Germany.

-Never ever get behind someone with dark skin going through passport control. Just don’t. I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to why.

-The only restaurant that allows the use of credit cards seems to be Mcdonalds. I hate eating at Mcdonalds, but everyone else takes cash only. I don’t carry Euros because I am only transitting. The food vendors outside the airport always claim their credit card scanning machine’s are broken. It takes you 3 years to get them fixed? Fuck you, like I wanted that stale, overpriced pretzel in the first place!

-You can guarantee that if it costs $1 in the US/Canada, it will cost the same amount in Euros 1 for 1 if not more. The only thing I buy in duty free are items that I know I can’t get back in Canada and only if I am desperate.

-And finally, why doesn’t anyone who works in this airport ever smile? I can only think they are beaten on a daily basis to make them as unhappy as they seem to be. Geez, even the Canadian passport control types will smile as they stamp your entry form indicating you get the full cavity search at the next station.

I’ve never found Frankfurt to be that bad, but if I can add a little travel tip to the Kraut Krushing, have you ever thought about bypassing Europe completely? I currently transit through Istanbul on a similar journey and it’s reasonably pain free.

SAH->IST->ORD/JFK->whatever Calgary is

Unfortunately, I don’t get to book my travel, the company does.

I’m in your boat.

Wow. The Frankfurt stories here are scary. I’ve only flown to/from there once, and it wasn’t memorable in a good or bad way at all.

But if you want to get me started on the FFFFFFFILTH of Charles de Gaulle, the incompetence of Heathrow, and the MASSIVE delays and inexplicable cancellations at Philly and Newark Liberty we could have a go :wink:

I’ve been through Frankfort once a year or so for the last 15 years, never had any real problems. But remember airline ground staff are poorly paid and trained. As long as the flying publc demands the lowest possible price and the airline CEO’s get $10 million a year and pilots get their $500,000 a year there ain’t much left for the ground staff. In the US ground staff are started at $10.00 per hour given minimal training and are expected to produce. I think the rest of the world industry is the same. And anyone dealing in any public contact job has a difficult time to keep smiling. Next time you deal with someone in a menial low paying job try being nicer and see if that doesn’t get a better response. That does not include any government employee, be it TSA or Immigration anywhere. They are little people in little jobs with a tiny bit of power and for that brief moment you are under their thumb. There is nothing you can do to make the experience better.

I’m assuming from your Canadian location (when in Canada) you’re doing YYC FRA DXB and back, with a combination of AC and LH.

Depending on your corporate travel policy, and I don’t know what that is, you do have a couple of options, and might want to explore them with your travel arranger. You could do YYC LHR on AC or BA, and then LHR DXB on EK or BA. Or YYC YUL ATH DXB on a combination of AC and OA. Depends on how many connections you are willing to do. I can also think of several other crappy itineraries. I send people to DXB all the time. PM if you want more info on possible routings.