Many people are longing to revive their travel plans. Demand for flights, in particular, is growing. As the summer travel season begins, Frankfurt Airport anticipates a significant rise in passenger numbers and expects to welcome some 100,000 travelers daily. By comparison, in the summer of 2019 – before the onset of the pandemic – peak daily volume was more than 240,000. Fraport, the company that operates Frankfurt Airport, has responded quickly to the rebound and has reopened Terminal 2 to avoid crowding. Infection-prevention measures, such as mandatory face coverings and social distancing, remain in place. However, passengers will need to play their part by planning thoroughly for their journeys, and having all the correct documentation to hand.
Daniela Weiss of the Fraport terminal management team explains: “Even before the pandemic, air travel entailed compliance with a variety of rules – those remain in force today. But Covid-19 has seen changes to a number of processes, and some have become more time-consuming as a result.” Weiss explains that, despite markedly lower numbers compared with earlier years, passengers may have to spend more time in line: “But by making the right preparations, everyone can help keep waiting to a minimum. We want travelers to be both safe and relaxed.”
Travelers encouraged to check airport website regularly for updates
“The main message for passengers this summer is to check the guidance given on our airport website early, and repeatedly,” advises Weiss. To coincide with the approaching peak season, www.frankfurt-airport.com has a new feature: the Travel Assistant. This consolidates all important information in one place. It presents tips, advice and concrete rules in chronological order, corresponding to the sequence of steps in the passenger’s journey – from the very first planning stages, to packing baggage, to organizing travel to the airport, to preparing for the return trip. As the terminal manager points out, the guidance is extensive but, in view of the pandemic, both necessary and extremely useful. She emphasizes: “Many rules may change at short notice. So this year, everyone is advised to regularly check for updates: What do I need to do? What documentation do I require? How must I behave? And the answers may vary from passenger to passenger, depending on their specific travel plans.”
All documentation to hand
A key aspect is travel documentation. For many destinations, just a passport or ID card will no longer suffice. Depending on their personal health status, passengers may require official proof of vaccination, recovery, testing or quarantine – either in writing or in electronic form. “Many documents will have to be presented on multiple occasions, so it is advisable to have everything well organized and easily accessible for the entire family,” underscores Weiss. This is especially relevant for check-in and border control. Many countries also mandate pre-registration prior to entry. This can usually be completed digitally.
Pack right, and minimize your carry-on baggage
As Weiss highlights: “In addition to the new Covid-19 requirements, the existing carry-on baggage rules still apply and should not be forgotten.” In this context as well, the online Travel Assistant can help. There are special regulations for many items, including liquids, medication, hand sanitizer, dangerous goods, electronics – particularly battery packs, e-cigarettes and power banks. “It is science all to itself. So we really recommend that passengers make sure they know exactly what belongs where to avoid unpleasant surprises and delays at security,” she advises. Moreover: “Traveling light makes things easier. Comply with your airline’s instructions regarding baggage and keep your carry-on items to the absolute minimum. Best of all is a single item per person. That means far less hassle for you and for security staff.”
Plan your journey to the airport and your time there
As a result of the pandemic, many passengers are driving to the airport rather than using public transport. For those wanting to park their cars at the airport for the duration of their trip, it is advisable to book a space in the terminal garage in advance. This is possible online at www.parken.frankfurt-airport.com. Passengers should arrive at the terminal at least two hours before departure, and check in online before they leave home.
While at the airport, a face covering must be worn at all times. It must be either an FFP2 or surgical mask, covering both mouth and nose. These and other hygiene products are available throughout the airport. Travelers should have at least one spare face mask with them.
The easing of coronavirus restrictions means further stores and restaurants have reopened at Frankfurt Airport. Passengers and visitors can be sure of all essential products and services, including food and drink, over-the-counter medication, duty-free shopping, car hire and currency exchange. Opening hours and availability will depend on passenger volume. Anyone looking for something specific should visit the airport website for details before arriving. It is important to note that consumption of food and drink is permissible throughout the airport – but that any face covering should only be removed briefly, and a safe distance should be maintained to others.
“Similar care should be taken with other measures to prevent infection,” warns Weiss. “We have implemented multiple measures, such as keep-your-distance markers, hand sanitizer points, blocked seats and screens. But it is our passengers’ responsibility to comply.”
Testing available throughout the airport
There are now several coronavirus test centers at Frankfurt Airport. They are in both terminals, and in the pedestrian bridge to the long-distance railway station. Moreover, there is also the option of drive-through tests in combination with check-in and baggage drop in Terminal 1 on the evening before a flight. Again, the online Travel Assistant can provide further details. “However, some tests have to be booked in advance and you should make allowances for the extra time needed,” warns Weiss. She concludes: “Have you followed all our guidance? Then a relaxed trip to your holiday destination awaits.”