Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

Finding Our Way Around Frankfurt Airport

Our flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt landed around 6am. I took some pictures of the airport from the plane while we taxied.

The tower behind the building says “Welcome to Frankfurt Airport”

Part of the airport for the airline Lufthansa

Frankfurt Airport

When we walked off the plane into Frankfurt Airport, we weren’t sure where to go. My husband said someone was supposed to meet us but didn’t know where. We followed everyone to an area where they check passports. There were two lines, one for European Union nationals, and one for everyone else. In the second line, we ended up talking to a couple of people who are in the military. They were already stationed in Germany and did not know where our person would be but told us there is a secure room upstairs where we’ll be going.

When we got up to the front of the line, my husband handed over his tourist passport, military ID and military orders and then called me forward. When I handed over my no-fee passport and military dependent ID, the guy had to ask his coworker beside him what the ID was because he had never seen one. After his coworker explained why my military ID from my husband, we were allowed to pass. The process was fairly quick.

Apollo and Gir in their crates on the luggage cart and not too thrilled about it.

We again followed the general crowd to get to the baggage claim area where we saw our dogs off to the side in their crates. A guy with a blue jump suit was sitting behind the counter they were in front of, so we walked up to him, and he walked away without acknowledging us at all. We looked around for a minute and saw no one, so we took our dogs and put them on a luggage cart with the carry-on baggage.

As my husband loaded the checked baggage  someone  stopped him to asked if he was PCSing (a military term for making a Permanent Change of Station). When he said he was, the man explained that he is there for us and asked to see his military orders and to fill out a form. We had to wait for others who were PCSing to arrive. While we waited, a nice lady from the airport got our dogs water, which was much-needed.

When everyone was accounted for, we went outside to wait for a bus. On the way out, the man told us he would be taking us to a secure area in the airport but that on the way we were not to mention being with the military and if others asked if we were, we were just to keep walking. When the first bus pulled up it was somewhat crowded. The guy said that we would be waiting for another one to avoid mixing too much with civilians and again cautioned us about mentioning the military if there were civilians on the bus.

On the sidewalk I noticed two things which I now know are common in Germany. They have a system for the carts where one must place a euro or quarter and then get it back when the cart is returned, and all the trash is sorted into recycling. One downside, unlike many places have adopted in America, there is smoking right near the doors of the airport, which I guess is convenient for smokers but is kind of aggravating to the lungs if you’re not one.

We took the bus over to the other side of the airport where the man lead us up to the secure room. We had to take an escalator to get there, which was kind of scary. You put the luggage cart on the step and then let the handle go and the wheels lock. I was pushing the one with the dogs on it and hoping the whole time that it wouldn’t topple on me. When we got up to the secure room, we had to show our military IDs and my husband had to sign in. Then we took all our luggage to another area of the room which was divided by the cities people would be going to.

They asked us not to lean over the balcony or stand at the edge of it, to keep the volume down and not to swear. If we left the room, they wanted us to go with at least one other person, which wasn’t a problem as I would be with my husband, and we had to sign out and say where we were going. If it was the bathroom, a restaurant, out to smoke, etc., we had to be specific and then show IDs and sign in to get back in.

Going to the bathroom was when I got to be embarrassed for the first time in Germany because I did not know whether to push a button or wave my hand to get the water on. I did not get the right place when I tried the latter, so a girl next to me turned it on for me while giving me a funny look. Downstairs there was a USO ( The United Services Organizations, Inc.) room where we were able to get a drink and surf the internet. I was posting a Facebook status to let people know we had arrived safely when I realized there was a lady behind me with a camera. It was a little awkward being filmed so I got up. She then panned over to my husband who was flipping through a book. When he realized what she was doing he put the book down and stood. She apologized and said she was done and wouldn’t tape anymore.

We took water to the dogs a few times who were rather upset. We probably could have taken them out but I was afraid that they would be afraid of the escalator and would probably be even more upset to try to put them back in the crate afterward, so I left them in there although we opened the door to give them the water and pet them. At the time I didn’t know how long we were going to be waiting or I might have taken the chance and let them out. Finally, around 11 am we were briefed and released to go to Heidelberg.

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6 Thoughts on “Finding Our Way Around Frankfurt Airport

  1. I love the look at Frankfurt airport. It reminds me always of a giant titanic:) This truly was a interesting read. I was wondering what was a no fee passport until I read your link and said, “ah okay”. Was it a lot of military people also going to Heidelberg or just a lot going to base many places in Germany? May I ask why you could not say you was with the army? I would think civilians would not mind.

    • 🙂 Glad it was interesting to you. Yay! I’m glad the links are useful. We were the only two going to Heidelberg at that time but there were other people going to other areas in Germany. It was just a security precaution. Tourists are often advised to blend in in another country and not wear things that mark them a tourist (such as Americans dressing up more, not wearing logo shirts, etc. that aren’t every day for the locale). Similarly, our military members don’t wear their uniforms off post or make it obvious why they’re in the country. Most civilians wouldn’t mind and like both tourists and military, but it’s better to blend in for the few that might like to make either a target.

  2. That camera lady is funny! Must have been very awkward indeed to be filmed, I wonder why she did that! And no reason to be embarassed about the water faucet either, you should have just given the girl a funny look back…. hehe

    • Haha yes it was. Apparently because it’s USO they have the right to tape without asking. I guess they use it for promotional purposes so people can see what they offer but it’s still awkward. Haha thanks. Maybe I should have. Oh well. 🙂

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