On a holiday weekend that saw 50,000 more travelers than normal, Frankfurt Airport proved unable to cope. The result was not pretty.
On a typical weekend Frankfurt Airport will handle between 150,000-200,000 weekend. Last weekend, over 200,000 flew through Frankfurt…or at least attempted to.
The huge influx of Christmas travelers departing Frankfurt caught the airport totally by surprise. A bottleneck in Terminal 1 security led to waits that exceeded 90 minutes to clear security. The result: passengers missed flights, forcing Lufthansa to delay them. Lufthansa will not transport bags on intercontinental flights without passengers onboard. When passengers failed to show up due to the long security lines, Lufthansa was forced to delay flights in order remove their bags.
Frankfurt has been plagued by security delays in the past, but is still working on a more permanent solution. An additional checkpoint is being constructed, but will not be ready until an unspecified time in 2019.
Lufthansa, placing the blame on the airport, said the airport should have seen this day coming. Extra holiday traffic is hardly unusual.
The airport’s retort is that is that Lufthansa should have forced passengers to check their carry-on bags to save passenger screening time. That’s putting the blame in the wrong place…
I’ve experienced horrific security lines myself at Frankfurt Airport. The airport must find a better way to streamline passenger security or risks far more than making Lufthansa livid.
Yes, there was a mess at FRA.
The other point I take from this post is that LH has strong rules in place to never transport checked bags without the passenger onboard, at pertains to intercontinental operations.. I always hear stories of passenger’s bags travelling without the passenger so I applaud LH for sticking to their policy no matter what.
Positive Passenger-Bag Matching is an international requirement, there shouldn’t be any international carrier that isn’t doing this.
The faster Lufthansa shifts to Munich the better. I get that Frankfurt will win the O/D traffic but jeepers Frankfurt is a shambles to connect at, and now even a shambles to depart from!
Is that shift to MUC supposed to happen??
I was there and experienced first hand. The contracted security service was the embodiment of incompetence. So called “team leaders” were standing around visiting with another instead of jumping in to facilitate the baggage check process where needed. On top of that, security lines were shut down with the comment “our employees have to go home”….at 10:30 in the morning!? If I had mis-scheduled crewing3 during a major event like this, I’d be fired the next day.
An ongoing issue that does not require an additional checkpoint to solve is the time of Terminal 1 Z gates security opening, and the number of security lanes open. This has been a problem for months. By not opening until 6:30 am, and then opening only two security lanes, we have almost missed 8:00 am flights several times in the last three months. Every morning there is chaos at the top of the Z gates escalators because numerous people follow instructions to arrive at the airport early for international flights only to be forced into a chaotic crowd waiting for the checkpoint to open at 6:30 am. It is not even clear how lines are supposed to form until personnel arrive to set up the lines, long after there is already a crowd there. Those who arrive first are not guaranteed to go first through the lines that are eventually set up. We travel internationally each month and this is consistently the most frustrating security experience we face anywhere. Solution: Open Z gates security at 6:00 am and open more security lanes.
Fake News! I was at Frankfurt Sunday afternoon and went outside security for a walk around the airport and it took me 10 minutes to get back through screening. The lines were not even that long. No more people at the airport than I’ve seen at other times.
Oh so because Sunday afternoon it was less busy for you, this news that Saturday people were delayed up to 90 minutes is wrong?
Please tell me more about your investigative research
I don’t think Deutsche Welle is in the fake news business nor is the statement from Lufthansa complaining about FRA.
And probably you won’t at the same gate where this occurred? I was at a different gate and it was smooth sailing, but I saw a crowd of people in a long VERY long long line on the said gate.
Really Mr. G, because I was also there on Sunday and it was a slow and painful process. You’re right, the lines weren’t long…but they did take forever to process. And this was in the Business/First line (which I got into only because I corrected the staff member that misread the ticket as economy). Painful. I had 60 minutes to transfer before boarding after being first off the plane and I arrived at the gate 2 minutes before boarding started. Badly designed, badly executed.
Fraport is a self inflicted disaster. I got lucky but I witnessed other people’s travel ruined by a dysfunctional inter terminal operation. The two groups employed to manage the situation work against each other. There is a powerless contractor corp trying to back manage lines as they form and a polizei corp undoing their work as they go.
I do egress and line busting for a living and I know for a fact that what I witnessed is 100% human management error.
I can’t give Lufthansa money for travel through this airport until they take control of this debacle.
TIP: Heathrow is still the leader for 1 stop travel in Europe, albeit with fewer destination choices. But the best current method of one stop travel into Europe is a stateside connection like JFK or ATL with a direct into your European destination.
Its stupid. Frankfurt and Lufthansa have a real opportunity to be a global hub and are blowing it at a level of national embarassment.
LHR a leader? Do you work in marketing for BA or something? LHR is my home airport and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to transit unless it’s on Star Alliance, the rest is appaling.
If you need to transit try MUC or ZRH or AMS, all are far better. CPH is also OK. FRA is undoubtably the worst place in Europe and probably much further. It has been poor for twenty years and is only getting worse. I avoid it even for O&D as you can connect to Frankfurt by the excellent services of Deutsche Bahn from places that are quite close very easily.
I didnt have the best experience at LHR or CDG either. Its all been a challenge. Maybe recommending them was a stretch. For American travelers the connect through an east coast hub probably serves our dollars best until the Euro hubs are forced by market conditions to step up. My goal is to shame the Germans to fix their fixable warthog at Fraport.
The three major European hubs are LHR, CDG and FRA, FRA is undoubtably the worst. I’ve found CDG fine if you are AF-AF in your connection. LHR is OK if you’re *A – *A FRA is bad no matter what.
I appreciate the economic sense of what you say but MUC, ZRH, AMS and CPH are all options that are worth trying. Any of them at their worst will be better than LHR, CDG or FRA.
Stupid question but do airports have access to manifests or other sources that would indicate pax counts?
I flew out of FRA in September 2019. We were about 150 minutes early for the flight but almost missed the plane because of security. It was really going for one line to the next for all this time. I have never experienced this in countless transatlantic flights.
My wife and I were the last to board the plane.