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Report on Assistance at Frankfurt airport - warning

I recently transited through FRA on my way back from Johannesburg to LHR on Lufthansa. I had booked assistance as I’m awaiting a hip replacement and can’t walk for long distances. The service was organised and the staff pleasant , but it took all of the 2 1/2 hours in between my flights to get from the arrival gates A in Terminal 1 to the B gates, also in Terminal 1. We had to wait for about 1/2 hour for the cart to collect us, take us the long distance to the area near the transfer tunnel where we had to wait again for a guide to walk us onto the train and take us to the B section. We then waited for another cart to take us from the tram to the B gates security, another longish wait and long journey. Having got through security, I was then supposed to wait for another cart to get me to my gate. I was getting anxious about the time by then and fortunately realised that my gate was close by so I was OK to walk there by myself, arriving about 15 mins before they started boarding.

I was grateful for the help as I really couldn’t have walked it, but I was shocked at how long the whole process took so this is a warning to anyone else who needs assistance at FRA - make sure you have a lot more time than you think you need to make the transfer. I was impressed, though, that when each driver dropped us off and told us the next person would come to collect us, that this did happen smoothly even though it took so long.

And by the way, no problems with luggage transfer at FRA, they seem to have sorted out the summer problems. My outbound flight from LHR to FRA last month was delayed 2 hours because of thunderstorms over FRA and we just managed to make the connection to Cape Town, but our luggage didn’t and had to be sent out on the flight the next night. It was delivered safely to me the next day. Well done, Lufthansa, and super well done to the genius at FRA who made sure that our late incoming flight disembarked 2 gates down from where our outbound flight was boarding - we had 15 mins to get onto the Cape Town flight but everybody made it!

Posted by
32 posts

Thank you for taking the time to write this report, and sharing the good and the more stressful aspects of navigating FRA these days. Sounds like progress since the summer mess.

Posted by
9206 posts

Thank you Amanda for this very helpful info.

Posted by
18942 posts

Unless you were arriving from another Johannesburg (inside Schengen), that I don't know about, you would have arrived at a Z gate. Your entire transit of FRA would have been what they call airside - out-of-Schengen. You would not have had to go through immigration (passport) during this process. Z gates are one floor up from the A gates, level 2. In fact, I suspect you might have arrived one floor up from the Z gates, on level 4. That floor is just for arrivals from "dirty" non-Schengen countries, countries where the Germans don't trust the security for boarding there; you can't board from the gates on that level; they are only for deplaning. You have to go through security before getting down to the out-of-schengen level and the departure gates for Z, level 3. Level 4 also the level for the Sky Line train that would take you to the B gates.

In the A/Z concourse building of Terminal 1, there are 6 levels, U2, U1, 1, 2, 3, & 4. Levels 2, 3, & 4 are where the gates are; A gates on level 2, Z gates (boarding and arrivals) are on level 3, and dirty arrivals and the Ske Line station are on level 4.

There is a You Tube video made by a couple coming in from Bangkok and leaving for Denmark. It shows them arriving on level 4, gate Z69, and walking down the long hallway with only arrival doors at each gate, no waiting area. When they reach the "hinge" of the A/Z concoures, they go through security to get to to level 3, then go through immigration to get down to level 2 and their A gate to leave for Denmark.

So, Amanda, is it true that you used the Sky Line train to go from the building with your arrival gate to the building with your departure gates, and that you didn't need to go through security to get to the Sky Line train, but you had to go through security in the B building to get to you departure gate?

Edited: to correct "Skylink".

Posted by
9955 posts

Thank you for sharing your experience. I had something similar happen 3 years ago. I took my 84 year old at the time uncle with Alzheimer’s to Germany to see his family, who live there. When we were going home the man who helped us check our bags suggested assistance for my uncle. Although he had no trouble walking I know it’s a huge airport, so I agreed. We arrived at the airport 3 hours early and the flight was boarding when we arrived at the gate. To say I was stressed out is an understatement. It took so long for the same reason you mentioned, waiting for one cart after the other.

Posted by
7898 posts

My wife has been mobility challenged the last couple of years, but it didn't stop us from going to Europe twice and to Las Vegas and 3 National Parks.

She has a Luggie portable scooter that runs faster than I can walk. And it has a 10 mile range. It folds up, and I just throw it (48 lbs) into the car trunk. She rides it through the airports and to the door of the airplane. The airlines "gate check" it and bring it back up to the airplane door as we are departing.

She's now recovering from major back surgery, but we continue to use the Luggie inside the house and getting out to the car. I don't know what we'd do without it. She also has a large electric wheelchair supplied by Medicare, but it weighs 250 lbs. and is too heavy to travel with. We don't use it at all.

Posted by
244 posts

“ So, Amanda, is it true that you used the Sky Link train to go from the building with your arrival gate to the building with your departure gates, and that you didn't need to go through security to get to the Sky Link train, but you had to go through security in the B building to get to you departure gate?”

Hi Lee,, you’re probably right, we would have arrived at the Z gates above the A gates. As for your comment above, yes, we used the Sky Link train to get from one section to the other. I’m fairly sure the only security we went through was in the B section, although since this was at 5am, I might have forgotten another security check. Passport control was at Heathrow.

However, the point of my posting was to warn people how long a transfer can take if you need assistance, rather than a guide as to exactly what the process is.

Posted by
3487 posts

Good reminder. I requested it for a friend in June for domestic trips on Delta - it just never showed up for 3 of 4 legs (within a reasonable time) so she toughed it out and walked. Because of that, I seem to be noticing people waiting on their assistance in a variety of airports.

Posted by
18942 posts

My partner is mobility challenged and has trouble walking long distances, so she gets wheelchair assistance at the airport. In 2017, we were flying home from FRA, on Lufthansa, from Terminal 1, Concourse A/Z. After checking in, she was wheeled to security into the A concourse. The wheelchair attendant met us after security and took us to a bench at the hinge (where the two wings of the concourse meet). We sat there for maybe 20 minutes with another couple until the cart came to get us. First, he took the other couple to their gate, about as far out on the old wing as the gates go, then brought us back to where we had started and then another, maybe thirty feet to where the emigration passport check area was and elevators/escalators to the Z level were. From where they parked us, and were we sat for 20 minutes, we could not see the sign for emigration, or we could easily have walked the 30 ft.