I’m always eager that my colleagues and I should fly as cheaply as possible, within reason. Where there’s a monopoly on routes from Prague to other cities of Central and Eastern Europe, such as to Sofia or Bucharest, direct flights tend to be pricey.
So, as long as flying indirectly doesn’t add undue stress or more than two hours to a journey, I’ll travel an indirect route.
Thus, I found myself flying from Sofia to Prague on Monday via Frankfurt, and it seemed all the more attractive because the time between flights was just less than an hour
My flight from Sofia landed at 3.22 pm and docked at gate B47A. See Sofia-Frankfurt.
My onward flight to Prague was due to board at 3.45 pm and leave from gate A64 at 4.15. See Frankfurt-Prague.
Time enough, you would think, for me to scurry from one flight to the other. But that would be to discount the horror of Frankfurt Airport on a very hot Monday afternoon. This was the path I had to take, about as far as you ever have to go on foot (there’s a train between some terminals).
I calculate a distance of approximately 1 mile or 1.6 kilometres, plus six flights of steps (lifts were overcrowded, and there was absolutely no time for waiting).
At passport control (entry to the Schengen Zone) there was just a short queue, but I spent fifteen tedious minutes at airport security, which at Frankfurt Airport (on Monday) was more rigorous than anywhere I have recently been (even detached camera lenses are regarded at potentially suspicious electronic devices and have to be scanned separately).
As for the walk, several mobile walkways weren’t working and there were all the other irritable and hurrying passengers to avoid.
- Arrival and disembarkation 10 minutes
- Walking: 20 minutes
- Passport control: 3 minutes
- Security: 15 minutes
Total time required: 48 minutes
Time available 53 minutes
At Gate A64 they were calling my name as I arrived, hot, dishevelled and stressed, and passengers waiting in the bus cast resentful looks. It was a miserable way to spend a hot summer afternoon.
But the worst thing of all was that the bus took me to a plane just a hundred metres from the one I’d got off an hour, and an obstacle course, earlier.