Frankfurt Airport Guide

FrankfurtAirport Guide

Recently, as part of a trip on the Lufthansa Global Fare, we flew out of Frankfurt Airport after a few days enjoying the city. Arriving at the airport is very easy either by taxi, train or bus. Taxi’s from the city take between 20-30 minutes to get to the airport.

Arriving at the airport the first thing you notice is all of the check-in counters and the huge screen with all of the flights and corresponding check-in counters. Like most airports check-in at the airport opens at 3-4 hours before departure, but if you have checked in online bag drop may be open (depending on your airline). 

Lufthansa baggage drop
Lufthansa baggage drop

Before moving through security, you might want to take some time and have a look at the area behind the check-in counters, which is full of shops, cafes and restaurants.

Shopping and cafe options outside security
Shopping and cafe options outside security

When you are ready to proceed through security you will need to go to the corresponding gate area to your ticket – A, B, C, or D the letter will be in front of your gate number on your ticket, for example, for gate A19 you would proceed to security area A. Security can get busy at Frankfurt Airport, and they only let a certain number into the gate area at one time. When I tried to go through it was too busy and after waiting about 5 minutes a group of about 20 of us were taken to a different security gate which was much quicker. 

After going through security you are greeted by duty-free, cafes, restaurants and other shops. There are more shops and cafes closer to the gates but there is more variety here. The duty-free closer to the gates only has a selection of alcohol and cosmetics this bigger one has everything.

Frankfurt Airport Duty-Free
Frankfurt Airport Duty-Free
There is a huge range of restaurants and cafes including delicious german pretzels
Smaller duty-free shops are closer to the gates as well

The terminals are quite long but luckily moving walkways about every 100 metres or so make getting to your gate as easy as possible. There is also clear signage for the gates throughout the airport making it is very easy to navigate your way around.

Inside the Frankfurt Airport Terminals
Inside the Frankfurt Airport Terminals
Frankfurt Airport displays with gates are located throughout the terminals

Frankfurt Airport has a range of different lounges throughout including –

As well as these lounges inside the airport there is also the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge right outside arrivals. Read our review of the Lufthansa Welcome Lounge here.

Transfers

It is very common to transfer at Frankfurt Airport to go on to another part of Europe. There is clear signage with estimated walking time  displayed throughout the airport making finding your next gate a breeze. If you like to be prepared you can visit frankfurt-airport.com or use the Lufthansa app which has up to date flight information.

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Frankfurt Airport Guide

Our Top 3 Tips For Frankfurt Airport:

1) Enjoy your transit in the LUXX Business Class lounge for EUR30

2) Utilise ‘fast lanes’ at security for short transits where departurs are in less than 30mins

3) Showers are available for EUR6 including amenities

Frankfurt Airport is Germany’s major international airport, serving more destinations in the world than any other. Passenger traffic in 2012 was measured at 57.5 million and is expected to reach 90 million by 2020. It has a significant history as the home of the Hindenburg airship, and as the Luftwaffe base during World War II. Recent upgrades have given the Frankfurt Airport capacity to handle the Airbus A380 aircraft regularly used by Lufthansa.

Directions

Arriving by bus or train – The airport has two train stations, one for regional services and another for long-distance journeys. You can travel with German Rail (Deutsche Bahn) from anywhere in Germany or Europe to Frankfurt Airport and vice versa. You’ll find more information on schedules and fares here: German railway / Deutsche Bahn. To get to the airport from Frankfurt or elsewhere in the Rhine-Maine region, you can take advantage of local bus services. You’ll find more information on schedules and fares here: Linked transport around Rhine-Maine.

Taxis – The time required to get between the airport and central Frankfurt is generally between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on traffic. If you are making your way to the airport, let the driver know which airline you’re travelling with to be taken to the correct terminal and dropped off near your check-in counter.

Shuttle services – Lufthansa operate their own shuttle buses between the airport and several destinations outside of Frankfurt, and you may use this service regardless of the airline you are travelling with. Boarding at a central point, there are buses available out to Mannheim, Heidelberg and Strasbourg. The coaches have air conditioning and bathroom facilities, plus there is drinking water and a choice of newspapers on board to make your journey more comfortable. Passengers with advance reservations receive priority service and other passengers may be allowed to purchase a ticket from the bus driver if seating is available. You can book tickets for the Lufthansa Airport bus at lufthansa.com.

Transits

Reports from our clients regarding their transit experiences in Frankfurt airport are rather mixed. Some report an easy, quick transition with nothing to worry about, whilst others have had problems with queue scrimmages and slow, unfriendly service at security checkpoints, possibly due to understaffing. Our advice is to not spend time browsing in the airport until after your transit process is complete and you have located your next departure gate.

If you already have your boarding pass you can check the monitors to find your gate number and make your way there. If you do not have a boarding pass you will need to check in at a transit counter before making your way to the appropriate gate. In most cases, your bags will be automatically sent through to your final destination, but you should check this at your initial departure point.

Frankfurt Airport is a sizeable place and there are several options available to save you what could be a very long walk. The Skyline Train runs between Terminals 1 and 2, leaving every 2 to 3 minutes. It stops at Terminals 1A, 1B and 2. You can also look for one of the blue-and-white Terminal Express cars that serve the entire transit zone, and ride free of charge.

Something that not everyone knows: when passengers are hurrying to catch a connecting flight at Frankfurt Airport they can take a shortcut to get to their gates faster. The airport has created “fast lanes” for this at the security checkpoints. They may be used on a priority basis by passengers whose flights leave in 30 minutes or less. Display boards at the checkpoint will list the current flights for which you may take advantage of the shortcuts.

If you have a couple of hours to wait in Frankfurt airport you can take advantage of the rather unique ‘Relax Zone’ in the post-security area. Fitted out with leather upholstered lounge chairs, you can enjoy music from your ipod, read a book or magazine or check your email. There are power sockets for recharging your electronic devices. Complimentary newspapers, coffee & tea at the Schengen gates.

If you find yourself with more than four hours to fill and are feeling energetic, why not leave the airport to explore a bit further afield? A few of our suggestions include a short bus tour of Frankfurt (about 2.5 hours), or a bus to Heidelberg (about 6 hours return) for a full day layover.

Check-In

Apart from the usual check-in at the counter on your day of departure, you can check in the night before your flight to save that last-minute rush in the morning. All passengers must be present for evening check-in and you’ll need all tickets, passports and any necessary visas as per usual. If you’re arriving at the airport by long-distance train, there are check-in counters along the walkway from the train station to Terminal 1.

Pier A

Pier A is an exclusive area for use by Lufthansa at Frankfurt Airport which opened in October 2012. This will make transits in Frankfurt on Lufthansa easier than ever, with one of the most modern terminals in the worlds. Improvements and features include…

• Improved orientation with new directional guidance system
• Extra wide moving walkways, 1.2m width.
• Easy access to Piers B and C via Skyline elevated train.
• 2 market squares with a variety of dining options.
• Over 6,000 seats with power outlets and USB ports integrated into seat design.

VIP Services

VIP Packages can be booked for travellers who would like an extra level of service, security and discretion. During your stay in the VIP lounge, you are offered tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and a selection of light meals. If you would like a more extensive menu this can be arranged at additional cost. Prior to departure or while in transit, you can get to the shopping and duty-free areas of the airport at any time and you can be accompanied by a VIP staff member on request. As well as the package inclusions, VIP lounge staff can arrange transfers and hotel bookings also.

For Departures:
• Reserved parking spaces
• Reception of guests and transfer to VIP lounge
• Stay in VIP lounge, on request with food from a restaurant (at additional cost)
• Handing of all formalities such as check-in, baggage handling and customs
• Transfer of guests from the VIP lounge to the gate/plane

For Arrivals:
• Reception of any guests meeting the expected passengers at the VIP lounge
• Welcome the arriving passengers right at the plane
• Transfer of guests to the VIP lounge
• Handling of immigration formalities
• Collection of baggage and transfer to waiting car

For Transits:
• Reserved parking spaces for any guests of passengers
• Guests remain in the VIP lounge
• Handling of immigrations/emigration formalities
• On request, catering for guests from a restaurant while they are in transit (at additional cost)
• Handling of formalities with the relevant airline for the continuing flight
• Transfer of passengers from the VIP lounge to the next flight

Rates for one passenger arriving, departing or in transit on a VIP package is EUR298 (approximately AUD$415), with a rate of EUR110 (approximately AUD$155) for each additional passenger travelling with you.

Travelling With Children

There are lots of opportunities to eliminate some of the stress associated with travelling as a family. Take advantage of the early check-in facilities and take care of that part of the journey either the evening before or the morning of your departure. This will mean you don’t have to wait in long check-in queues during peak times.

If you would like to take a stroller on your journey you can take it to the departure gate with you. A steward will then stow it onboard the aircraft’s cabin and retrieve it for you again when you land at your next destination. Most airlines also apply the same procedure to your child’s car safety seat.
There are 6 different play areas throughout Frankfurt Airport that are ideal for burning off your child’s energy before they have to sit down on the plane for an extended period of time. Another idea to alleviate boredom is to ask at an information desk for the colouring sheets and crayons they have ready for kids. Most of the cafes and restaurants in the airport have children’s meals on the menu and some even have play areas and fantastic views of the airfield.

All of the large bathroom facilities have baby stations with change table and feeding rooms. Also the airport has a supermarket and several pharmacies for any last minute baby needs you may have forgotten to pack.

Shop & Enjoy

Shops – A wide variety of shops are waiting for you at the airport: fashion and accessories, watches and jewellery, an optician, pharmacy and supermarket. There’s also the ‘be relax’ wellness spa, duty free stores, outlet shopping, Hermes, Mulberry, Pilgrim and Timberland.

Food & beverages – Anything from a quick coffee break to a five star meal at venues like Boost Juice, Hermann’s German Sausages, Italissimo, McCafe, Santander Bar and Temaki Bar.

Free Wi-Fi

Frankfurt Airport has offered free internet access since late 2012. Sit-down internet terminals and 100 stand-up terminals are located throughout the airport with 30 mins Wi-Fi free of charge. You can also access 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi from your own laptop or mobile. By entering any address, users automatically land on a registration page where they can request an access code. Shortly afterward the code will be sent to your mobile phone which allows you to log on to the internet. The free time is limited to once per day and automatically ends after 30 minutes. Of course, you can buy more access with your credit card for approximately $7 AUD per hour. One trick we have to get extra internet time free of charge is to text any friends who would be willing to ask for a code to be sent to their mobile phone. They can then text that code to you, allowing you to log-in for another free 30 minutes.

FRA Airport App

The airport app is free to download from the app store and probably worth getting if you are going to be in the airport for more than a couple of hours. Very user-friendly and well laid out there is plenty of information available, including locations and opening times of shops, restaurants and services such as currency exchange. Flight information is displayed in real time with updates on arrival & departure times and gate numbers. Our favourite feature is within the ‘About Flying’ section, which will use a GPS signal to guide you to your flight gate by the shortest route possible.

New Services

There have recently been several new innovations installed at the airport. Some, like the opportunity to get married at Frankfurt Airport, perhaps are not quite as useful as others! New information kiosks now allow you to scan your boarding pass barcode to be shown a map of the fastest route to your departure gate. There are about 90 of these new kiosks installed in both terminals to help travellers get their bearings.

How far is it to my gate? It can be stressful not knowing just how much time you’ll need to reach your next gate during transit. To help alleviate this there are new display boards located right behind the security and passport checks. These display boards list not only the current flight data and departure gate but also the time it will take to walk there.

Facilities At The airport

Showers – are available in both terminals from 6am-10pm at a cost of EUR6 (approximately AUD$9) and include towel, floor mat, shower gel and hairdryer.

Pay Per Use Lounges – The Sky Lounge is available 6:45am-10pm and the LUXX lounge from 6am – 9pm for a fee of EUR30 (approximately AUD$42).

Luggage Storage – The airport has a luggage storage facility available to you from EUR4.50 (approximately AUD$7). It may be handy to leave bulky or heavy luggage in storage if you’re staying over in Frankfurt for a short time or simply want to shop at the airport without having to carry everything with you.

Porter Service – No matter what airline you fly with, you can arrange a porter to assist with moving your luggage through the public area of the airport (to the security checkpoint). You can send an email to enquire about prices at [email protected].

Medical care – The airport has a large pharmacy for any last minute medical needs. There is also a dental clinic open Mon-Thu 8am-6pm and Fri 8am-4pm, as well as a medical centre open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm.

Miscellaneous – Other services include a dog hotel, dry cleaners, police, postal service, ‘print on demand’ for newspapers in all languages and rental cars.

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