Beware Munich Airport!

Old Jul 1st, 2003, 03:12 AM
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Beware Munich Airport!

I travel to Europe at least once per month and oftentimes use Munich Airport as my trans-Atlantic gateway using United or Lufthansa. This Sunday a gargantuan new Terminal 2 opened up, making Munich now much more than a pain than Frankfurt. Airports need to be consumer friendly; this one is not! Now to transfer between terminals you must have at least 1 1/2 to two hours. There is no bus connecting terminals. Lufthansa/United are at the new terminal. All other airlines are at the old Terminal 1. In my case I transfered from a Malev flight from Budapest to United/Lufthansa. Malev lands at Terminal 1.

Here's what I had to do to get from my Terminal 1 gate to my trans-Atlantic departure at Terminal 2: Now you have to exit through the baggage area, go through passport control and enter Germany. You have to find the central area of Terminal 1 and try to follow the signs to Terminal 2. (Very poor signage.) After a 20 minute walk, you have to go check in with Lufthansa or United. Go through Security Control. I had a hassle because the German authorities were unfamiliar with a United boarding pass and I had to find and bring over United's security head to the security control area to explain that United boarding passes were different from Lufthansa's! Then through a comprehensive security search. I now entered the new cavernous Terminal 2 secure area with 48 gates all in a row. It took me another 15 minutes to find the Lufthansa Business Lounge, which was the result of poor signage.
The new Terminal area is full of shops and eateries. But when I get to an airport I do not want to lounge around, I want to efficiently try to travel between two points. Once in Terminal 2's secure area to walk through the shopping area to United's gate (Gate 48 - the last) took an additional 15 minutes. Then: surprise: Another comprehensive security check, which took another 15 minutes. These German searchers looked at everything and it was the most frustrating search I have ever been through.
In sum it took TWO HOURS to transfer flights between terminal. This terrible situation now makes Frankfurt's huge airport look good. Just make sure you have lots of time to transfer flights.
houdi is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2003, 05:12 AM
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This sounds like a nightmare. I have traveled once through Germany to Paris via Frankfurt and returning via Munich. I really liked Munich airport much more than Frankfurt's because it is new and modern. But it was simple at that time last October as compared to now as how you describe.

Thanks for the information.
francophile03 is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2003, 03:04 PM
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houdi - sorry you had such a bad experience. I have also had bad experiences when airports open new terminals - ORD, CDG and FRA all have had problems during the first few months, especially if your connecting flight requires a change of terminals.
CharlieB is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2003, 06:44 PM
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I flew to Munich at the end of August and it was exactly as houdi described!

The signage was sparse and at least in my experience wrong. I was flying Aer Lingus and the signs told me to go to Terminal 2 Area D when in fact I needed to be in Terminal 1 Area B. There were no signs directing me to the Europa Lounge (which is located in Terminal 1, section B, area 5, upstairs) but when I finally figured out where I needed to go I was shocked to find that I had to clear passport control AGAIN to get to the lounge (after having already cleared it to get into the departure area). Leaving the lounge, I again had to clear passport control, make a 15-20 minute hike downstairs with my luggage (no elevators anywhere to be found) and located my unmarked gate.

When traveling through Munich airport, give yourself plenty of time and bring your patience. Don?t bother going to the lounge unless you have a significant wait!

Also, skip the Besucherpark. It is billed as being an interesting collection of aviation stuff including a simulator, old LH planes and a viewing tower. My boyfriend is an aviation buff so went checked it out but it was very disappointing and overpriced (10-12 euros each). The simulator is nothing more than a Disneyland type movie not fit for anyone over the age of 8. The old planes and viewing platform are ok but still not worth the time or money unless you have a really, really long layover and no desire to take the S-bahn into the city. (You can get great views by walking from the Besucherpark to Terminal 1. Follow the sidewalk leading to the Airport from the Besucherpark?s parking lot. You walk right along the airport perimeter and get better views than if you had paid the 3 euros to climb up the viewing platform.)

I hope CharlieB is right ? maybe these wrinkles will get worked out in time!
stephyjo_us is offline  
Old Oct 4th, 2003, 07:57 PM
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I had both a good and bad experience this September flying into and out of Munich.
I flew in from Dublin via Aer Lingus.
We soon had our luggage and we were on our way, except I misread the Lufthansa bus stop sign and went to the old Terminal D stop which is not used now.

Leaving we went to the new T2. I had a hard time finding the US Airways counter to check in. No signs pointed to it. There were 3 of us, so we fanned out in search of it. We found it be stumbling into it.
It is nice and spacious and all that, but finding it is a problem.

Then the real silliness started.
We went through security. My reaction was boy this is different from last year. Not much too it. Wrong.
When we got to the departure area for our flight home, we had to go through security a second time. This time, we got the thorough German treatment -- shoes off, pat search, and detailed luggage inspection. I still have not figure that one out. Why twice though security? I guess the first one does not count? I thought the first one was pretty slack, but the second one sure wasn't.

bob_brown is offline  
Old Oct 5th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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After 9/11, many airports have stepped up security for US-bound flights and there's often an extra, detailed security check.
Alec is offline  
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