Hot dog, Frankfurt Airport
This is probably the jetlag speaking, but I feel like I should say something about Frankfurt Airport. Bear with.
I knew I'd probably be flying via Frankfurt weeks in advance of going to Japan. I had a lot of options - quite a lot of them taking over 24 hours. Wait 9 hours in Beijing? No thanks. I'd end up watching all of those millions of bicycles until my brain shut down. So Frankfurt it was.
Naturally, I did very thorough research into how great/awful Frankfurt's airport is. I wanted to be sure I'd done my homework. If the armchair reviewers and planespotters are anything to go by, it's not somewhere you want to try and change planes. I trawled for hours, and all I found was tales of woe and nearly-missed connections.
You take a gander online at ideal connecting times for Frankfurt, for example. Everyone will say the same thing - you've got an hour, forget it. It'll take you an hour minimum. 90 minutes is pushing it, best aim for 2 hours to be safe. And you're going to walk further than you've every walked in your life. They were talking in kilometres, as if the moving walkways barely made a dent in the distance covered.
My connection took a whopping...
...16 minutes. Ish.
See, a lot of people complaining about the connections come from Schengen countries within Europe and carry on their trip to a non-Schengen country. So even if you went through security at the first airport, you still have to formally leave Schengen in Germany.
That means having to go through extra airport security, usually twice and sometimes 3 times depending on which bit of the terminal it is. It's not hard to see how that would nark someone right off. Doing screening thrice more when you went through all that before you got on the first plane? Yeah, everyone loves that.
The UK's non-Schengen. Japan's non-Schengen. So rather than queue to have my passport glanced at yet again, I breezed up a couple of escalators and straight to my departure gate.
I wish I knew how a handful of disguntled Americans and Europeans have managed to steamroller Frankfurt's reputation so badly. The streamlined experience didn't just apply to me - everyone else on a non-Schengen connection breezed through. And I imagine that happens quite a lot from the UK.
If that level of reputational damage happened to a person, they'd probably delete all social media accounts and hide under a rock. Keep on smiling, Frankfurt. You got a lot of passengers where they needed to be this week.