Frankfurt Airport

#NoFilter Frankfurt with London City Airport


London City Airport contacted me a few months back to ask if I’d be a judge for the latest chapter of a photography contest they host called “#NoFilter.”

Having been on an enjoyable and educational all-area tour of London City Airport  a while back, and knowing that the airport is innovative in its social media projects, I of course said yes.

I was even more interested when I learned that photos and blog posts I’d be judging would be featuring travel photography from Frankfurt – which is home to another airport I’ve had the pleasure of touring.

The #NoFilterFrankfurt contest asked a group of bloggers to share photos of the city with no Instagram-type filters applied.

Here’s a selection of some of the best photos from the competition, along with some of the #NoFilter photography tips and advice for visiting Frankfurt.

All the entries were great and it was difficult to pick just one winner, but you’ll see my top pick at the end.

Yolande’s #NoFilter Frankfurt


On Chronicles of Yoyo, Yolande suggests that time-pressed tourists “hop on the Ebbelwei-Express, which brings you on an hour-long journey to cover all the main sights in Frankfurt.”

Kate’s #NoFilter Frankfurt


Along with her Frankfurt photos on Relokate, Kate said that the contest not only gave her a chance to “go out and capture the beauty of Frankfurt,” but taught her that “the ‘A’ setting on my camera would automatically adjust the aperture, which I found worked best given the sunlight I was working with in most of them.”

Menorca’s #NoFilter Frankfurt


In her Europe Diaries, Menorca noted that “Frankfurt is such a city of contrasts,” with “all the skyscrapers, banks and financial institutions, and …history, old architecture, plentiful museums and parks.”

Lauren’s #NoFilter Frankfurt


On Belle du Brighton , Lauren’s suggested that “looking at your surroundings from different angles can really help to get a good photo without the need to edit. Sit on the ground, look at the ground! Get high up, whatever works! Thankfully in this day and age of digital photography you can snap away till you get the perfect photo, and sometimes the ones that you think won’t turn out okay are the best ones!”

John’s #NoFilter Frankfurt


On Continental Breakfast Travel, John let loose about those love locks. “I’ll be honest, I hate the things (and was very pleased the other week when they were removed from Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris) but I’ll admit: they do take a very good photo. I particularly like how the locks in the foreground make a heart-shape. Or at least I would if I wasn’t such a bitter person.”

Tom’s #NoFilter Frankfurt:


And on Anita’s Feast, this photo of a unusual subway station entrance by Tom really caught my attention.

“The entrance depicted against a backdrop of a modern high-rise building shows that this is ‘city art.’ Keeping the background mostly in focus allows you to see the details of the buildings,” said Tom.

This was the winning image I chose for the competition, in part because it shows two very different sides of Frankfurt: the sleek architecture associated with city’s financial reputation, alongside what is clearly a fun, artistic vibe.

Thanks London City Airport, for asking me to be a judge for the #NoFilterFrankfurt contest.


(Note: I received a small honorarium for being a judge in the the #NoFilterFrankurt contest.)

Lost and found at Frankfurt Airport

I’m tickled to be one of Lufthansa’s guests for a ride on the Airbus A380 airplane traveling from Frankfurt Airport to San Francisco International Airport on May 10th, the first day the giant airplane begins regular service to SFO.

Airbus A380 at Frankfurt

I’ll have lots of photos and details to share after my 10-hour ride, which comes after many hours spent touring Frankfurt Airport.

Among my stops today was the airport’s Lost and Found department, where Mr. Wallrodt (pictured below) was kind enough to take a moment away from his task of trying to find the rightful owner of this backpack.

Wallrodt told me that the airport’s Lost and Found department receives about 80,000 lost items a year, and an average of 300 lost laptops each month. Many of the items do end up being returned to their owners, but every three months the airport holds an auction to get rid of unclaimed items.

The strangest item Wollrodt remembers being turned into his office? A parrot that didn’t say too much and was quickly reunited with its owner.

Fun stuff at Frankfurt City Airport

Frankfurt bags

Last week, while on a very long layover at Frankfurt Airport, I spent a few hours shopping, snoozing, snacking, and hanging around the upstairs food court in Terminal 2 waiting for someone to show up at the Czech Airlines ticket counter. Just beyond the food court, there’s an outdoor Visitor’s Terrace.  And, after writing a story about the rare – but free – (for now) outdoor observation decks at some U.S. airports,  I was surprised by how many people were willing to pony up five euros for the privilege of getting on the other side of the window and just a wee bit closer to the action on the airfield.

Frankfurt termI was wondering why they’d pay extra just to see pretty much the same thing I could see for free from inside the terminal and worried a bit about how noisy it must be outside when airplanes took off and landed.

But then a bunch of kids showed up to play with this rocket ship in the middle of the food court and I realized it was probably much noisier inside.

Frankfurt Airport kid's play areaAll in all though, a fun way to spend a few hours stuck at the airport.

Prize patrol: airports and airlines giving away great stuff

Wish you could drive a cool car or fly to some cool places? Then stop playing solitaire on your computer and enter some of these contests:


Through June 29, 2009, American Airlines is running a “Capture the Flagship Experience” game.   Top winner gets two round-trip Business Class tickets to anywhere American flies in Europe, Asia or South America and a HD video camera.  21 first place prizes come from this list:  membership to the airline’s club, 50,000 AAdvantage miles or Bose headphones.

Nuts About Southwest

Southwest Airlines is giving away a family four-pack of airline tickets to any destination the airline serves.  To enter: let them know you’ve posted one of the airline’s “My Peanut and I Fly Southwest” buttons  on your blog, Facebook profile, and/or other social media sites. Contest ends May 31, 2009.


Each month through August, 2009, the folks at Airport Parking are giving away prizes (cameras, cashmere travel pillows and solar chargers) for the most creative parking lot photos. (And if you have a photo of the person who scratched my car at an airport parking lot in Seattle, let me know….)


And, for those who don’t have cool cars to take pictures of, the folks at Frankfurt Airport are giving away an Alfa Romero Spider. Go on a virtual shopping spree before May 31, 2009 to get a chance to enter.

Good luck! Let me know if you win!

Head to an airport for sales, Santas and songs

(Yummy stuff from Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport)

It may seem unnatural to blend a holiday shopping excursion with a trip to the airport, but this season many airports are working overtime to court you and your gift-buying dollars with prizes, promotions, festive décor, and lots of top-notch entertainment.

(A TSA choir -really- will perform at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)

There are plenty of other reasons to shop for holiday gifts at an airport. Over the past few years, airports have been steadily upgrading the quality and variety of their concessions. Stores generally open early and close late to accommodate travelers’ wacky schedules. And many airports impose a “street pricing” policy, which means that the prices charged inside the airport must closely match the prices at local malls. Besides, if you travel by air, you’re already spending a lot of time hanging out in airports. So you may as well be merry while you multi-task.

Where are the best deals? At the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Sacramento International Airport you can pick up discount coupon books. Oregon’s Portland International Airport has a holiday festival with food sampling, demonstrations and a drawing for tickets on JetBlue. (You can enter on-line.) And check out the Frankfurt Airport’s Web site for a chance to win a big diamond.

There’s lots more information about airports offering holiday shopping specials and entertainment in my “At the Airport” column posted today on