Frankfurt Airport

Souvenir Sunday at Frankfurt & Austin Bergstrom Int’l Airports

Today is Souvenir Sunday – a day to look at some of the fun things you can buy – or just look at – when you’re stuck at the airport.

This week’s treats come from Frankfurt Airport, where I ended up spending the night on my way home from a visit to Florence, Italy, where I spotted these champagne cork-shaped seats at a bar in the Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR).

At the Frankfurt Airport, I came across plenty of Christmas-themed souvenirs, including nutcrackers and ornaments shaped like pickles. Why pickles? Evidently the tradition of hiding a pickle-shaped ornament in your Christmas tree and giving an extra present to the first person who finds it orginated in Germany.

And lucky travelers on one special Southwest Airlines flight from Austin Bergstrom International Airport to Chicago last Thursday got some great souvenirs.

The airline teamed up with Austin-based jeweler Kendra Scott and gave all passengers on the flight a free drink, goodie bags and gift boxes filled with – you guessed it – jewelry! – at baggage claim delivered by a yellow-clad Santa.

If you see a great souvenir when you’re stuck at the airport, please take a photo and send it along. If your photo is featured on Souvenir Sunday I’ll send you an aviation-themed souvenir.

 

Oktoberfest at Frankfurt Airport

It’s Oktoberfest season and a good time to check out pubs and tap rooms in airports.

I’m making a list of some travelers’ favorites – so send in y our suggestions, please.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a layover coming up this month at Frankfurt Airport, you can grab a beer in the airport’s traditional beer tent and be entertained daily by Bavarian brass bands.  There’s evidently even a ‘high striker’ on site where guests can test their strength.

Restaurants and bistros throughout the airport are serving special Bavarian specialties, including white sausage, giant soft pretzels and one-liter mugs of fresh tap beer and there are some Oktoberfest-themed items in the shops, including this Minnie Mouse in a dirndl and Mickey Mouse in leather trousers.

Free movies & games at Frankfurt Airport

 

If you have to get to the airport really early – or wait around for a few hours during a layover – why not take in a movie?

You could watch it on your computer or tablet of course, but an increasing number of airports are showing movies – for free – in their own movie theaters.

The latest to add this cinematic amenity is the Germany’s Frankfurt Airport, which has set up two “Movie World’s” in Terminal 1, on Piers A and Z, to show full-length movies, documentaries and some popular series.

The screening areas don’t have rows of seats, but are set up in a living-room style, with carpeting, couches and small niche seating areas, with TV screens. Each theater can accommodate 22 people in eight separate viewing niches and, like airplane entertainment systems, travelers can choose what language to watch a film in and when to start it.

There are a handful of other airports that offer movie theaters for travelers,  including Portland International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Sinagpore’s Changi Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and some others. I’ve wrote about airport movie theaters in one of my “At the Airport” columns on USA TODAY.

No movies? How about gaming?

For those who would rather play computer games than watch a movie on a layover, Frankfurt Airport has also opened a second Gaming World offering free, controller-based, interactive games such as FIFA, NBA and racing and a variety of others. “Scientists have shown that playing video games helps overcome jet lag,” says Frankfort Airport operator, Fraport, and these games “have the extra benefit of reactivating tired limbs after hours of sitting still in the plane.”

Not sure if that’s true, but free games – and movies – are certainly welcome airport amenities.

Look for Movie World at Frankfurt Airport in Terminal by Gate A58 and Gate Z58 and find the Gaming World areas in Terminal one by Gate A52 and Gate Z54.

 

Frankfurt Airport has pink parking spaces for women

The 250 “Ladies Parking” spaces have been scattered throughout the garages at Frankfurt Airport since 2013, but suddenly they’re super controversial and in the news.

Chalk it up to the internet (someone incorrectly dubbed them ‘new’ in a blog post and the story took off) and to our collective “Are you serious?” reaction when stereotypes surface.

Here’s some of what I wrote about Frankfurt Airport’s “Ladies Parking” for USA TODAY:

There are 14,000 parking spaces at Frankfurt Airport, but if you want one that’s “bigger, nicer and closer to the terminals,” look for spots reserved for women only.

The specially designed parking sections are scattered throughout the airport’s parking garages and are easy to find: a pink ribbon of paint on the floor marks off the wider-than-average parking spots and the pink-painted walls.

Why are they there?

“In Germany, it is a legal requirement to provide these designated parking spaces for women,” said Frankfurt Airport spokesman Robert Payne.

Why are they painted pink? “For quick and easy recognition by women drivers, who are sometimes traveling with children,” he said. And to let other drivers — i.e. men – know not to park in those spot. “They cannot say they didn’t notice the bright pink area designated for women drivers,” said Payne.

Rules requiring women-only parking sections in many parts of Germany were created more for safety than for convenience back in the 1990s.

Today many consider these set-asides patronizing and truly sexist.