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Oct 18, 2012 04:17 PM

Connecting through Frankfurt airport - ISO of food and logistical advice

I've looked at non-food sites and can't get a clear answer so I'd like to combine this. We're flying from San Francisco to Barcelona with a three hour layover in Frankfurt. It will be lunchtime. I understand the Frankfurt airport is huge and can be confusing. First of all, are transitting passengers kept in a secure area and if so is there food available to buy? If not sequestered and assuming a second go-through of security, three hours doesn't seem like a ton of time. Any suggestions for quick but tasty food? After an 11 hour flight, something solid is going to feel very good. TIA.
PS: I understand that we'll clear immigration but not customs until we reach Barcelona.

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  1. My personal experience here (YMMV): we were transiting through Frankfurt on our way to Bangkok a few years ago when the combination of flight cancelations and visa issues meant that we spent about 12 hours total in the Frankfurt airport, during which time i had to take both my and my SO's passports through security to talk to people at the departures desk (which was outside the secure area) while i left her behind in the McCafe (can't comment on the food but they had sleepable banquettes and didnt hassel us about killing time during the interminable wait).

    We finally got our tickets resolved and i haragued the airline into at least buying us dinner - the voucher they provided was enough for a currywurst, fries and a beer, which was, as you said, a welcome relief from airplane food and the stress of figuring out mid-transit how we were getting to our destination.

    No clue as to the name of the place we went but it was a combination bar/steam table place, i think it was some weird off hour and they were doing a low volume so both the wurst and fries were prepped to order (on accoutn of the 12 hour layover we told them we werent in a huge rush to get the food).

    1 Reply
    1. re: tex.s.toast

      Oh, what a terrible tale :( The glamour of international travel!!!

      Thanks for the info. I recently had a cup of McD's coffee and thought it was pretty darn tasty. I'm not a picky eater when en route!!!

    2. If I'm not mistaken, international flights arrive in one terminal, and internal EU flights depart from the opposite end of the other terminal (ain't that *always* the way it goes!) As such, you'll have to go through security the second time, after you clear immigration.

      Frankfurt stands out as being particularly well-marked and easy to navigate, although its sheer size can be intimidating. (although I can tell you that it is possible to sprint, with a briefcase, from international arrivals to EU departures in a surprisingly short period of time....they literally closed the door on my coattails and had to re-open the door so I could sit down)

      There's lots of restaurants and shops in the airport:

      2 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842

        What a great site! Thanks, sunshine.

        We had a similar situation returning from Spain into JFK en route to SFO. They were saying "RUN" to the gate and when we got there, they were hollering "Are you Oliver and Cameron"? But the good news was the airplane was practically empty (heading to the Phillipines from SFO) so we got whole rows to ourselves.

        I'm a conservative traveler, always figuring that there will be some kind of delay somewhere. So the huge number and types of food in the Frankfort airport let me know that we'll find something acceptable. Again, thanks (and I always enjoy your posts!)

        1. re: c oliver

          You, too - was just thinking the other day I hadn't seen you around for awhile.

      2. We do the SFO/Frankfurt and connection twice a year on either United or Lufthansa. The arrivals and connection departures with Lufthansa have been in Terminal 1. If your Frankfurt to Barcelona is with a small carrier, you might end up in T2. T1 is a huge terminal but easy to navigate. You will have to re-enter security but 3 hours should be plenty of time to connect and eat a sit down lunch. Foodwise, it is one of the better airports in Europe. And there is plenty of window shopping to pass the time. Barcelona airport is a piece of cake and the train from the airport to Sant or Placa de Catalunya is easy; so is the shuttle bus.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          EXCELLLENT!!! I just checked my intinerary and both flights are operated by Lufthansa. You continue to contribute SO much to our Barcelona planning. Thanks.

          1. re: c oliver

            Just to add a comment on Barcelona - we found the train extremely crowded and very 'pickpocket friendly'. In contrast, the bus runs frequently and everyone is seated (at least were on our last 2 trips), so no jostling. However, not quite as simple on return journey to airport, as people (including me) boarded 'en route', so no guarantee of seats - but still less likely for pickpockets.

            1. re: estufarian

              Thanks for that advice. Post-Barcelona (nine days) we will cruise from there to Miami (13 nights) so we'll have a decent amount of luggage and will likely cab it. I understand that Barcelona cabs have surcharges for luggage but after being in some form of "up" for 24 hours, I think it will be worth it.

        2. Hi c,
          The airport is huge and retro (not in a good way). After a long flight, maybe consider just hanging out in the Lufthansa/Star Alliance/United lounge. They have beer, wine and some snacks. My take is you'll be stuffed with food from your flight over and will probably benefit from a little downtime prior to your Barcelona connection.

          1 Reply
          1. re: steve h.

            I hadn't looked at our itinerary in a while and now see that we're only in FRA for a couple of hours. The good news is that our connecting flight is also Lufthansa and, as I understand it, we'll arrive in and depart from Terminal 1. All I'll really want to do is sleep :) But a snack to tide us over might be nice. The plan is to get to our apt. by 5 hopefully, sleep for a few hours and then head out for tapas!

            Hope you had fun in Monterey. Our 25th is next year and I'm thinking Tomales Bay. I'll be checking your old threads.

          2. We fly from Canada through Frankfurt en route to other destinations regularly and it is my least favourite airport. Ever. Every single time we fly through there we have a delay, almost miss our flights, and so on. On our last flight we were told to go to the incorrect terminal (we questioned it because we know the airport) which unfortunately meant we missed our flight (though we were there on time - we were told the aircraft left half an hour EARLY!). If I were you I would just get to the right terminal and hang out there and regularly check the boards and counter to ensure the gate/time do not change. We have had the gate change on us regularly as well. Just a heads up.

            There are several decent eateries, however. I have celiac disease so cannot eat airport food (I take along my own) but my husband always has a bratwurst or pretzel.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chefathome

              I was thinking bratwurst or pretzel :) Thanks.