Yeah, we're pretty excited. New airport smell is second only to new airplane smell. And there is a smelllike a freshly produced toy just unboxed. Our passport is stamped beneath an unfinished ceiling. The exuberance we feel is not unlike that of a person typing "FIRST!" in a blogpost comments section.
Right now, the A-Plus Pier at FRA is the only thing like it in the entire world. That is, a concourse dedicated to the jumbo-est of jumbos. Come early 2013, Emirates will open a 20-gate A380 terminal, but FRA beat 'em to the punch. Lufthansa is so proud of the place that they just launched a full virtual online tour.
A-Plus, with its seven gates and floor space roughly equalling 25 football fields, has two big goals: cut down average passenger transfer time from 60 minutes to 45 minutes and serve as home base for A340s, B747-400s, B747-800is and A380s from Lufthansa and 26 other Star Alliance carriers.
Now consider that each Lufthansa A380 seats 526 passengers, all of whom are milling about this new terminal for a couple pre-flight hours looking for food to eat, duty-free caviar to buy, or a comfy chair to sneak a few winks. Now multiply that passenger number by every new A380/B747/A340 planeload that's also awaiting departure. It could be a crazy place but it's totally not, thanks to good design and forethought.
For them (and you), the A-Plus Concourse has 60 new shops and restaurants, like Hermès, Porsche Design, and what we think of as a duty-free wonderland. There's a Japanese restaurant, patisseries with pretzels, a McDonald's (of course), and fivecount 'emfive new lounges. The only things there's not: free WiFi and an abundance of power outlets. You'll have to gain access to a lounge for all that.
Fun Fact: Frankfurt International Airport is the largest employment complex at a single location in all of Germany.
Another Fun Fact: If you'd like to check in to the A-Plus Concourse on Foursquare, it's listed under its German name: "Pier/Flugsteig A."
**In Part 2 next week, we'll talk a bit more about the technology and the airplanes calling Flugsteig A their home.
Disclosure: We traveled as guests of Lufthansa, but rest assured that all photos and opinions are completely our own.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]