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Tips: FRA airport
Mar 27, 2003 10:24 PM 4245 Views
(Updated Jun 14, 2006 01:05 PM)





Frankfurt airport has excellent connections to the city of Frankfurt, as well as to other cities, by train. There is scope for some confusion here, so to clarify: (1) If you want to go to Frankfurt city and it's environs (e.g. the city of Mainz, various suburbs in Frankfurt), you have to use the ''Regionalbahnhof'' (pronounced approximately ''Reggie-oh-naal-baan-hoaf''. As you come out of the arrival lounge, you have to go one level DOWN and follow the signs to the Regionalbahnhof. Tickets are to be bought at the automats there. You have to look up the destination (look for Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof), punch in the corresponding number and pay the amount displayed (I think it's currently 3.10 Euros, one way). The automat also accepts banknotes, if inserted correctly. Usage of these automats is high, so sometimes, one or the other is ''kaputt'', i.e. out of order. WATCH YOUR BAGGAGE AND TROLLEY WHILE DOING THIS, THEFTS ARE NOT UNCOMMON. Follow the signs saying ''Gleis 1 (City)''. Go down one more level to the platform. (2) If you want to go to any other city, you can do so from the so-called ''Fernbahnhof'', pronounced approximately ''Ferrn-baan-hoaf'' (hoaf to rhyme with 'oaf'). As you pass Customs and emerge at Arrivals, you have to go TWO levels up to go to the Fernbahnhof. There are also lifts available at various places. The lifts sometimes involve a wait. The route to the Fernbahnhof also goes to the Sheraton hotel at the airport. It's a sort of overbridge that crosses the road outside. Along the way, you come to the ''Fraport Center'', which is a place with bank ATMs and an Internet cafe. The Internet cafe charges something like 5 Euros per hour, if memory serves me correctly. You can buy your ticket at the automats using a credit card. Tips on using the automat will follow in a later review. In the winter, it can get quite cold on the platform, so wait on the upper concourse till it's time for the train to arrive. This is where you can get trains via all the big cities to almost any place in Germany. When buying a ticket, remember that it's cheaper to travel by IC/EC rather than ICE. ICE costs much more, but is not all that much faster. ===== ADDED LATER====== A word about departures and, for those living outside the EU, what to do about your VAT refunds. First of all, you MUST produce the goods that you are exporting. The goods can be either in your carry-on baggage or your checked baggage. Make sure you know what is where. If the goods are in your carry-on (cabin) baggage: right after Immigration (Passkontrolle in German), there is a Customs office where you have to produce the form that the store has given you, together with the goods. Make sure you have entered your passport details on the form. Even if you don't, they usually tell you. The Customs office will examine the goods and stamp and sign the form. When you're home, mail the forms to the store and they send you a cheque/check (depending on where you are from :-)). If the goods are in your CHECKED BAGGAGE, check in as usual at the check-in counter, except: tell the check-in agent that you have VAT Refund goods. They will label the bag and return it to you. You then have to go to another counter on the same level as arrivals (I think it's opposite counter no. 555). You then have to open the baggage, show the Customs officer the merchandise, close your bags and put them on a large cart. A loader then takes the cart away.

Some months back, they've opened a renovated post office at the departures level. It's not too crowded and the folks there are quite friendly.

HOTEL SHUTTLES: If you have a booking at a hotel that has offered you a shuttle service, the best way to get there, if you are in Terminal 1, is this: As you come out of Arrivals, bear left and go straight down past the cab rank. (Even if you emerge at Arrivals B or C, it's best to go to the left towards A). There's a pillar there, with a hotel shuttle telephone. They have code numbers for various hotels, e.g. 185 for Hotel XYZ. Dial that number, tell the hotel you're waiting at 1A and the shuttle picks you up.

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Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) - Intl.