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If your heart races and your palms sweat and your stomach is all a-flutter at the mere thought of getting up close and personal with some big, slick airplane bodies, then you should probably check out our series on Prime Planespotting. But wait just a moment, as we've got a huge addition to it right here: the Observation Deck at Germany's Düsseldorf International Airport.
First off, even without the deck the airport is awesome. It's our favorite alternative (when the price is right) to other airports like Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, being a totally reasonable train ride away from all of those (and the airport has its own long-distance train stationchaching!). Second off, it's elegantly designed and a pleasure to travel through.
Our only issue comes from arriving at DUS from the US, which usually means tromping through a terminal at 6am, bleary-eyed and with no desire to go "explore" until hotel check-in time. What to do?!
Did you know that Düsseldorf International Airport is Germany's third largest airport, after Frankfurt and Munich? It even beats Berlin (for now)! Did you maybe also know that the New York area has a direct flight to Düsseldorf, from Newark-Liberty, on Lufthansa? Well, they do and we just hopped off of it less less than 12 hours ago.
This isn't our first time through DUS, but it is the first time we've bothered at all to log into the airport's WiFi, run by Vodafone. Warning: it isn't free. Warning part deux: it's the opposite of freeit's pretty expensive!
Yes, this is Europe and there's extra little charges to be found on everything, but Düsseldorf fancies itself a forward-thinking airport and its key traveling demographic is the on-the-go businessmen who need to be connected whenever/wherever possible. Perhaps this is why Vodafone believe it can squeeze 5.95 EUR ($7.50) out of travelers for just 30 minutes of WiFi use.
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There's been a truly amazing video hitting the rounds of #avgeeks on the internet this week and we couldn't resist sharing it as well.
The above video is a little more than 9 minutes of aircraft landing and taking off from Germany's Düsseldorf Airport during a storm, which brought with it some serious wind conditions. The crosswind landings are successfully executed by pilots from a range of airlines, excepting Condor, who had to make a second try at it.
Only uploaded a few days ago, the video from Cargospotter has already garnered over 67,000 views on YouTube, and for good reason; the HD quality and freedom from an annoying soundtrack are awesome. And, while we've never experienced landing in such severe crosswinds as this (and hope we never do), we have been to DUS and can say that, ordinarily, it's not a dangerous airport at all. Until you throw a storm into the game.
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A video example of what to expect at DUS during the Parkour championship
Have you heard of Parkour? This crazy "sport" is best described as a mixture of Monty Python's "Ministry of Silly Walks" sketch and breakdancing; in essence, it's extreme walking. Actually, the American version of The Office devoted an entire episode to Parkourgo Hulu it.
Parkour actually has a huge following and many talented athletes, even if it's a sport where you find yourself wanting to yell "you'd have to crazy to do that" at them. The focus is on body control and creativity as Parkour athletes find the most efficient way through the city environment. Or, in this case, the airport's environment. Germany's Parkour championship will be held at Düsseldorf International Airport on June 6, and the public is welcome to come and watch the masters for free, without an outgoing flight.