Paging Sir, Alfred Merhan
November 20, 2006 6:28 PM   Subscribe

12 hour layover in the Frankfurt Airport (Flughafen?), what to do?

My husband is flying back to Morocco on Thanksgiving, and will be stuck in the Frankfurt airport from approximately 10am-10pm. He doesn't have a Schengen visa, so he can't leave...any tips on where to eat/things to do etc...?

We found a couple of sites with information on good places to sleep (the hallway between B and C, for example), but people say the food is outrageously expensive, and there doesn't seem to be a place where you can rent shower time. (Schiphol, I love you.) He'll probably be in Terminal 1 (Lufthansa), but can he go across to Terminal 2 if he likes?
posted by Liosliath to Travel & Transportation around Frankfurt, Germany (15 answers total)
Reading this from the Sydney airport, I'd suggest hunting down the free internet areas and meeting total strangers at bars and striking up great conversations. It's working for me!
posted by barnacles at 6:51 PM on November 20, 2006

Response by poster: Cool, barnacles, good suggestion. have a good flight!
posted by Liosliath at 6:52 PM on November 20, 2006

The train station is right there. Go to Saxen Hausen; lots of interesting little pubs (some with international themes: American bar, Irish pub, etc.)

I speak no German, but found it pretty easy to get around in Saxen Hausen and Frakfurt in general.
posted by Doohickie at 9:22 PM on November 20, 2006

Or if you're really feeling adventurous, go to the red light district. You can get there by taking the subway at the train station at the airport, and getting off at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof). It is right outside the train station, althought I forget which end...

It's been several years since I've been there.

Saxen Hausen for sure, though. It will be a stop off the subway.
posted by Doohickie at 9:27 PM on November 20, 2006

Someone asked this the other day, and I said that with the state of air travel these days, you cannot count on that 12 hours being there for you, what with delays and security and whatnot. 12 hours, and it could be longer, actually. So prepare to be flexible.
posted by frogan at 9:31 PM on November 20, 2006

A little searching tells me the stop to get off for Saxenhausen is "Frankfurt Sud" (South Frankfort).

Here is a subway map of Frankfort.

This travel wiki may help as well (Saxonhausen = Sachsenhausen).
posted by Doohickie at 9:39 PM on November 20, 2006

Damn.... I meant Frankfurt everywhere I wrote Frankfort. You get the idea.
posted by Doohickie at 9:40 PM on November 20, 2006

Oh... I just caught the "my husband" part too. Strike the red light district thing.
posted by Doohickie at 9:41 PM on November 20, 2006

Response by poster: Well, like I said, no Schengen visa - so exploring Frankfurt itself or Saxen Hausen are out. And, er, not sure I'd want to send my husband to the red light district. ;)
posted by Liosliath at 9:41 PM on November 20, 2006

Response by poster: Gah, I should have specified - he IS Moroccan, that's why he'd need the Schengen if he wanted to leave the airport.
posted by Liosliath at 9:44 PM on November 20, 2006

Best answer: I flew in and out of Frankfurt this summer (on Lufthansa) and found the airport miserable. I'm not sure he'll be able to go from terminal to terminal.
Hopefully someone knows the airport better than I do, but my memory is this: after security, there were shops before you got to the gates. They were mostly expensive duty-free stuff, not many restaurants or good snacks to pick up. Then after the shops but before the gates there was another checkpoint. At that checkpoint they looked at my ticket and told me it wasn't close enough to my flight time, so I had to wait in the area with the shops. They wouldn't tell me when I would be allowed to go through, but I made it in about 1 1/2 hours before flight time. After that checkpoint, there were no more shops, so you were stuck with whatever you had on you.
So, if my memory (and interpretation of the situation -- I speak zero German) is correct, I think it's not likely he'll be able to freely move between terminals. On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be that much worth seeing, so he wouldn't be missing that much.

Oooh! I just remembered -- they have tours of the airport available. That be an interesting change from your average layover.
If you haven't checked it out already, here's the Frankfurt Airport website. They sure manage to make it look less miserable than I remember -- hopefully they're right.
posted by katemonster at 10:10 PM on November 20, 2006

I was in Frankfurt Airport for a good while this past May. There are lots of shops, but I don't know about transferring between terminals airside (behind security), because we didn't do that. There were lots of shops. The food wasn't horribly expensive everywhere - he will just have to look around until he finds something reasonable. I'd suggest bringing lots of stuff to read, maybe some snacks if he can, and a laptop (I think there was a wireless connection available, but I honestly can't remember where we were in the airport when I found it).
posted by bedhead at 11:40 PM on November 20, 2006

I'll be there the day before you. Yes, Frankfurt sucks, but so does the city and area around it - not worth a visit, so don't worry. The food is pretty bad - bring some sandwiches? There is not much else to do - German designers seem to feel that if you are in transit you should suffer.

But it could be worse - you could find yourself in downtown Berlin at Potsdamer Platz!
posted by zaelic at 12:49 AM on November 21, 2006

Frankfurt Terminal 1 (iirc - its the Lufthansa terminal) has at least 2 sex shops and a porn cinema - that could keep you amused. Seriously.

Shopping is generally poor - and internet access in Frankfurt airport is not that good either...its a god forsaken airport when you are delayed, even the British Airways lounge is crappy.

Good luck and god speed through Frankfurt.
posted by mattr at 1:37 AM on November 21, 2006

Actually, last time I flew out of Frankfurt [before the terrorist attacks in London] I was able to travel from Terminal D to C without problems. There are some deserted halls between those two terminals which are usually empty and quite.

Most of the airport is made up of long, crowded and noisy halls with incoming and outgoing passengers, but there's a sort of centeral area in one of the terminals, Terminal B if I remember correctly, which is a bit nicer from my quick inspection.
posted by ye#ara at 1:52 AM on November 21, 2006

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