A Travellerspoint blog

July 2020

Frankfurt Airport: Gateway to the Wide Wide World



Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is my home airport. Most of the (rather few) flights I have taken in my life started from here. On internet forums I see that many who consider themselves seasoned travellers hate this airport. What can I say – I am used to it. I have, for obvious reasons, never been in transit there so I cannot tell how well or not so well that works. Sure, sometimes patience is required, be it in long lines at security, or at baggage claim. But, so what.

To me Frankfurt has a big advantage: a long-distance railway station at the airport. No need for uncomfortable transfers on crowded commuter trains, the ICE takes me from Karlsruhe right to the terminal in one hour.


This airport always has the feel of being part of “the wide wide world”. Even when going for a lame inner European flight, it feels like being on big travel. Planes are departing and arriving from all five continents. The big display lists names of distant cities I’ll never see. People from all over the globe roam the terminals, a multitude of languages reaches the ear.

Yes, I am still a bit romantic about all this… you can tell that I don’t fly very often.

Early morning landing - on board Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur, returning from Australia. After a seemingly endless night flight, Frankfurt's skyscrapers in the morning sun welcome us tired travellers home.

A 380 Spotting



The A380 planes use the new Z wing in terminal 1, the back front of the bay behind the A gates. Looking into that bay is rewarding, often there are two or even three Lufthansa A380's docked to the gates. I also saw a Thai Airways one, and once at a takeoff there was a Singapore Airlines one in front of us.

I admit that spotting these big fat planes excites me. Frequent flyers may shrug their shoulders but I feel like a 10 year old again if I see them. I know it is just a matter of physics, but still amazing to see such an enormous mass of steel airborne.

We landed in Frankfurt on the way back from Stockholm and they put on a show for us. There were two Lufthansa A380's at the gates and while we waited for disembarkation, they both went out and got ready for takeoff. The disinterested rest of our party prevented me from waiting to actually watch the start and catch photos, but at least I caught a glimpse of one of them taking off.

How can this flat plump thing fly?

For Visitors: Coach Tour of the Airfield



The airport also offers something for visiting tourists. First of all, there is the visitors’ terrace on top of Terminal 1. When I was a kid, we visited a couple of times, even though this was quite a detour on our usual family travel routes.

One walks along the rooftops of concourses A, B and C to watch the planes at the terminal, the landings and take-offs. The terrace had been closed for many years but I hear that it has recently reopened.

There is a visitors’ terrace on the newer Terminal 2, too.


Another activity is a coach tour. They take you out on the taxiways, almost to the runways. You get to see the planes from close by. The guide explains how the airport works and what is going on around the various planes.

Refuelling. Looks like this is a boring job.

There is a tight security check before the bus enters the high security zone. You can take your camera but nothing else. All bags had to go into lockers. They would not even allow me to take Russell the wombat. (It is wise to carry a handkerchief in your pocket that day.)

Airplanes always have right of way

I have done this tour twice. Once, we came over with two elderly relatives, to give them a day out with something interesting to see. My boyfriend had organized the tour. So, luckily I knew about these tours when, on the day we were flying to Tallinn, we were stranded at the airport for a couple of hours due to plane delays. (Never again CSA!) We were a bunch of nine ladies – some went off to see the posh shops and have a coffee, but that’s too boring to me to while away several hours. I suggested checking whether there was a tour on, and there was.

On the taxiway

The whole affair takes about one hour. Except for the security control you stay on the bus all the time, so the tour is suitable for disabled persons.
More: https://www.frankfurt-airport.com/en/explore/airport-tours.html

Photo options are limited from the bus through the windows. Nevertheless you have the chance to catch some good shots.

Loading baggage

Frequent flyers, once more, may find this lame. But to the infrequent traveller, to people interested in how things work, to families with “techie” kids, or to people who have to fill a couple of hours at the airport like us, these tours are a fine offer.

My personal airplane beauty contest winner: Thai Airways Jumbo in the older design


Posted by Kathrin_E 11:39 Archived in Germany Tagged frankfurt Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 1) Page [1]