Talking about the five busiest airports in Europe, and the Frankfurt Airport comes fourth on that list. Operated by Fraport, it has the capacity of handling 65 millions of passengers each year. Covering 5,683 acres of land, it has two passenger terminals, four runways, and other facilities.
The airport is the main hub of Lufthansa – the largest German airline. Most of its long-haul flights either arrives or departs at the airport. In fact, Lufthansa flights are on all routes to and from Frankfurt.
This guide is a great place to start whether you are having a stopover or overnight sleepover at the airport. Get to know its history, transport system, and the best ways to kill time.
History of Frankfurt Airport
The Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft (DELAG) – the world’s first airline – built the first airport in Bockenheim, the western part of Frankfurt. It was opened for business in 1912. A second airport was built in the south-west of Schwanheim in 1935.
The base kicked off its journey as a German commercial airport in 1936. It underwent a massive reconstruction in 1940 for military use.
The airport started picking up traffic from the 1951 but it took another seven years to achieve the status of a major international airline hub. A third runway was opened in 1984 and a fourth one followed by starting operation in 2011.
The airport has two large main passenger terminals with a third one slated to open in 2022. Lufthansa exclusively operates one smaller First Class Terminal, providing access to its first class passengers and HON Circle frequent flyer members. All the terminals host both international and domestic flights.
The Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1 was opened in 1972. The passengers may feel like getting lost in a maze as it has four entrances – A, Z, B, and C – and four levels.
Level 1 is for arrivals and Level 2 for check-in and departures while Level 3 serves as an access to boarding gates and hotels. The Level 4 is food court and the Underground Level accommodates the railway station and parking.
Separated into D and E Concourses, the Terminal 2 has two levels – Level 1 for boarding gates and the Ground Level for baggage claim.
A free monorail service (departs every 2-3 minutes) and a shuttle bus (departs every 20 minutes) connect the Terminals. The transfer does not take more than 15 minutes.
Parking Options – Providing 15,000 parking spaces, the Frankfurt Airport parking lots are P2 and P3 in Terminal 1 and P8 and P9 in Terminal 2. The P4 on Level 2 of Terminal 1 and the P8 on Level 4 of Terminal 2 offer parking facilities for the physically challenged passengers. The garages provide direct access to the check-in area of each terminal.
How to Get There?
The Frankfurt Airport stands in the central area of the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main region – just 8 miles southwest of the city center. Being close to the Autobahn intersection Frankfurter Kreuz, you can easily go there by taking the A3, A 67, and A5 interstate highways.
Train – Traveling to any German airport from anywhere in Germany via the DB (Deutsche Bahn) or ICE trains is a breeze if you use the Rail&Fly service. On the other hand, you can purchase tickets online or at the Frankfurt Airport train station located in Terminal 1’s Concourse B for any local, regional, and international train service.
Bus – Whether you are getting to or from the airport, there are several bus connections available. The stops are on Terminal 1’s arrival level and Terminal 2’s Level 2.
Taxi – Calling a taxi is one of the quickest ways to get to the airport from the city center (or vice versa). The drive won’t take more than 20 to 30 minutes.
Things to Do at the Frankfurt Airport
If you are stuck at the airport or want to spend some time there, this list will come handy:
Airport Experience Tours – The Frankfurt Airport offers this 45-minute tour to anyone interested in having a first-hand experience of the activities going on there. The ticket costs €7 and it is available every day including weekends and holidays.
Lunchtime Concerts – Are you a music lover? Enjoy concert programs at Terminal 1’s Departures Hall B on scheduled dates.
Flight Simulator – By spending €79 per session, get the experience of taking off and landing at any airport of your choosing across the world.
Gaming World – Terminal 1’s Level 2 and 3 have arrangements for playing video games.
Duty-free Shopping – No kidding! The airport has plenty of Duty-Free & Travel Value shops offering perfumes, spirits, and other products at much lower prices than high-street stores. All kinds of passengers – international, domestic, and intra-European Union – will enjoy this tax-free service.
You can also spend time visiting the Visitor Terrace, and watching free movies and documentaries in the Movie World. If you are feeling hungry after all these errands, the airport has world-class restaurants and bars serving a range of culinary delights. You can go to Flavors for a fine dining experience, Meyer Frankfurt for sandwiches and pancakes, or Little Italy for delectable Italian flavors.