Review: Air France Lounge Frankfurt Airport

Filed Under: Air France

I left the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport shortly after 5AM, plenty early for my 7:25AM flight to Paris. Since the Sheraton is connected to Terminal 1, I had to take the train to Terminal 2. The station for the train linking terminals is less than a five minute walk from the Sheraton.

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Train to Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2

The train arrived a minute after I got to the station, so within 10 minutes of leaving the Sheraton I found myself in Terminal 2.

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Train to Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2

Upon taking the escalator down into the departures hall, Air France/KLM check-in was located immediately to the left.

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Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2 check-in hall

There was quite a line for the check-in counter, though fortunately there were some kiosks in the center of the terminal which could process reservations for several airlines, so I was able to print my boarding passes there.

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Air France check-in Frankfurt Airport

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Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2 check-in hall

I followed the signage towards my departure gate, where I was led to a security checkpoint. Since it was still so early in the morning there was no queue, and I was through in a matter of minutes.

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Frankfurt Airport Terminal 2 airside

I hadn’t researched my lounge options before getting to the airport, so quickly hopped onto the wifi and saw that Air France has a lounge at Frankfurt Airport, located between gates D26 and D27.

That was confirmed by the signage in terminal. The lounge was quite a ways from the main security checkpoint, and the hallway was almost eerily quiet, which I’m not used to at Frankfurt Airport, as it’s usually overcrowded.

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Directions to Air France Lounge Frankfurt Airport

The Air France lounge was located towards the end of the hallway and to the right, just next to the Iberia lounge.

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Entrance to Air France Lounge Frankfurt Airport

It’s worth noting that in addition to serving other SkyTeam airlines, the Air France Lounge Frankfurt is also available to those flying Icelandair, airBaltic, Finnair, and airberlin.

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Airlines using Air France Lounge Frankfurt

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SkyTeam lounge sign

While the SkyTeam indicated that the lounge opens at 5:30AM, it in fact opens at 5:45AM, at least on the morning I was visiting. So I had to wait about 10 minutes before it opened.

There were a few people lined up to get into the lounge, but within a minute or so of the lounge opening my boarding pass was scanned and I was admitted.

The lounge itself was a bit larger than I was expecting, and was fairly well designed. There was a main room with a bunch of small dining tables, with 2-4 seats each.

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

Along the windows were some leather chairs facing the interior of the lounge, with a side table after every two seats.

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

There was also an area with high-top seating.

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

Then another part of the lounge had slightly more stylish seating, which also had more privacy, thanks to the presence of some partitions.

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

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Air France Lounge seating Frankfurt Airport

In the back corner of the lounge was a small business center with a few stations.

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Air France Lounge business center Frankfurt Airport

The buffet area was in an “L” shape, between the two areas of the lounge.

On the left side there were some bananas, mini-muffins, chips, and snack mix.

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Air France Lounge buffet Frankfurt Airport

Next to that were a few types of wine, and then also a small selection of liquor.

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Air France Lounge wine selection Frankfurt Airport

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Air France Lounge liquor selection Frankfurt Airport

There was also a fridge with cheese, yogurt, and fruit salad.

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Air France Lounge snacks Frankfurt Airport

Next to that were several types of bread and cold cuts.

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Air France Lounge bread and cold cuts Frankfurt Airport

There were also three types of cereal.

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Air France Lounge cereal Frankfurt Airport

But who needs cold cuts and cheese when you can simply spread Nutella on a piece of bread? 😉

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Air France Lounge snacks Frankfurt Airport

There was also a fridge with bottled water, soft drinks, beer, and white wine.

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Air France Lounge beer & soft drinks Frankfurt Airport

Then there was a juice machine.

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Air France Lounge juice machine Frankfurt Airport

Perhaps intended for the Chinese airlines which operate out of the concourse, there were several types of instant noodles.

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Air France Lounge noodles Frankfurt Airport

There was also an espresso machine, which was one of the better lounge espresso machines I’ve seen.

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Air France Lounge espresso machine Frankfurt Airport

There were also some delicious cookies — mmmmm.

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Air France Lounge cookies Frankfurt Airport

I couldn’t resist a cappuccino and two of the cookies, which were tasty.

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Air France Lounge cappuccino & cookie Frankfurt Airport

I spent about 45 minutes in the lounge getting caught up on work, thanks to the fast wifi connection.

Boarding was scheduled for 6:50AM, so I headed to gate D23 at around 6:40AM. The gate area was fully enclosed, meaning they scan your boarding pass as you enter the gate area, and once you’re in the gate you’re already considered to be on the plane.

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Air France departure gate Frankfurt Airport

While our flight was using a remote stand, there were nice views of the China Eastern A330 at the gate next to us.

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China Eastern A330 Frankfurt Airport

Not to get political, but I’m curious what you guys think about something I don’t really understand about European airports. No matter where you stand politically, I think we all agree that we have problems with guns in the US (some say the solution is to get rid of them, others say the solution is that everyone should be armed). Collectively Europe has fewer gun issues, though I find it interesting how there are consistently officers roaming several major European airports with machine guns.

In this instance there were two guys with machine guns in our actual gate area. Like, not roaming the terminal, but rather they had entered our “sterile” area, and were blocking the stairs to the remote stand. I assume the machine guns in general are intended to intimidate, though the widespread use of them doesn’t make sense to me, especially past security.

I guess I’m supposed to feel safer?

If they’re assuming passengers are being properly screened, I don’t get the point of this “intimidation” past the checkpoint. If someone did sneak something through security, they’d almost surely want to do harm on a plane, rather than just in the terminal. So I’m not sure who they’re intended to stop or how they’re intended to intimidate.

What I do know is that being around people with machine guns in public spaces makes me sort of uncomfortable. Not that I was actually scared, but I’m just not a fan of people with machine guns standing around me. I mean, it certainly doesn’t put me at ease.

Can anyone rationalize the prevalence of officers with machine guns at European airports?

Anyway, finally at 6:55AM boarding was announced, starting with SkyPriority, which included business class passengers and SkyTeam elite members.

Air France Lounge Frankfurt Airport bottom line

Of course my favorite lounge at Frankfurt Airport is the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and this lounge can’t compete with it. But that’s also not a fair comparison. Perhaps a fairer comparison would be to the Japan Airlines Lounge Frankfurt or Air Canada Lounge Frankfurt.

For an outstation lounge in Europe I thought this one was perfectly nice. It was spacious, well designed, and had a good selection of food & drinks. While I wouldn’t arrive early to use the lounge, it’s a nice enough place to kill time if you’re flying a SkyTeam airline out of Terminal 2 in Frankfurt.

Of course it paled in comparison to the next lounge I’d visit, which is one of my favorites and one of the best airport lounges in the world — the Air France First Class Lounge Paris!

If you’ve used the Air France lounge in Frankfurt, what was your experience like?

  1. Hi Ben,

    Great post. I love the blog! My thoughts on the armed guards are that they were perhaps there since this was a flight to Paris? It may sound superfluous, but I’m sure France, being in a state of emergency and having had to divert several flights since November 13 due to bomb threats etc, would like as much additional security as possible. As far as guards walking around the terminal in general, it’s a very Central European thing. You’ll never see it in Northern Europe as far as I’m aware.

  2. I never give much thought to machine-gun toting officials. I give them as much attention as I do to the vendors at newspaper kiosks.

  3. To be fair, their armed guards in security are much better trained and disciplined than average US police officers – usually French/British/German military background. And they don’t jump to their guns as often as our cops do, so I’d imagine few have actually ever used their gun on this job.

  4. Lol the guns at the Frankfurt airport weren’t loaded when I have seen them. So you can feel “safer”

  5. Machine guns are mostly a reaction to recent terrorist attacks, some people call it a security theater (especially as the first time they showed up in France they weren’t loaded), but it is a bit of a deterrent.

  6. Serious firepower in European airports isn’t so new. For some background (and some excellent television) check out the French-German production of “Carlos” (2010) about Carlos the Jackal, including attacks at Orly and OPEC HQ in the 70s.

  7. Since the November attacks in Paris, the federal police roaming the terminals at german airports (and also some major railway stations) is equipped with a machine gun. Before November this was only true for the guards at the security checkpoints. The extra security for french flights and buildings was requested by the french government. I think that’s the reason for the armed guard in the gate area.

  8. While you were feeling uncomfortable, I assume that the main purpose of having officers carry machine guns is to actually make people feel safe, especially nowadays in ISIS infested Europe.

    Being based in Tel-Aviv whose airport is one of the most threatened and secured for that matter, but without any visibly armed officers inside the terminal, I would assume it doesn’t really serve any real purpose. While on that matter, TLV is also very unconventional these days by allowing liquids through security without restrictions, so I would assume the pain of taking our water bottles and toothpaste away in most airports, is completely uncalled for.

  9. “Not mentioned, but there is no restroom in the Air France Lounge.”

    That’s something I’ve never understood airlines doing for their premium lounges. Especially at airports like this where it’s possible lots of people who use the lounge are transiting. Where would they go if they wanted a shower?

  10. “Perhaps a fairer comparison would be to the Japan Airlines Lounge Frankfurt or Air Canada Lounge Frankfurt.”

    And…which would you say is the best? And how do they all compare to the Lufthansa Senator and Business class lounges?

  11. The sub machine guns have been there a long time.
    I remember being in the toilet next to the dorian gray night club when bang bang bang on the door.
    It was german military asking if i had drugs.
    They werent interested in the fact i was in there with another man.
    They both smiled at me when they realised what was going on.
    This was 1989.
    They left and banged on the next door.

  12. You guys will all hate my but that’s probably an automatic rifle, from what I can see of the barrel. Please don’t mistake them for machine guns.

    And seriously? No Bathrooms? Who thought of that as a smart decision?

  13. “What I do know is that being around people with machine guns in public spaces makes me sort of uncomfortable. Not that I was actually scared, but I’m just not a fan of people with machine guns standing around me.”

    If it’s any consolation, this is how non-Americans feel wandering the streets of US cities. The difference is the European guards are less likely to open fire.

  14. Not sure why some are thinking this has to do with the Paris attacks. European airports have had machine-gun toting officers for a long while now – at least for as long as I can remember. The only variations between airports and countries from what I’ve seen is the ratio of machine-guns to handgun-only officers.

    As @Nola noted, they’re typically military and well-trained; have extremely likely never drawn their weapons, much less used them; and as @Christy noted, they’re typically not loaded. If they are, they’re loaded with less-than-lethal ammunition.

    No worries. Eventually our own TSA will no doubt try having their non-law-enforcement non-officers carry toy guns to go along with their fake badges as well.

  15. I am surprised that you think police armed with machine guns is a European thing. It is fairly common to see heavily armed police officers in NYC for example (or even military in uniform at Penn Station).

  16. @ Chris — I’m not saying machine guns in general are a European thing, but rather machine guns at airports past security are a European thing. I see the value of it in a city or in a train station, where there’s not otherwise a security checkpoint and a high risk of attack. But I just don’t see the point past a security checkpoint in a low risk area. The only area behind security where there’s a risk is on the plane, as I don’t recall there ever being an attack at an airport past security (rather I’ve only heard of them either before security or on planes themselves).

  17. The shooter in the 2013 lax incident was shooting people inside terminal 3.

    Regardless the Guns I saw in Europe at the airports weren’t loaded. The terrorists know they aren’t loaded but the average European doesnt so it’s all a show to make the masses think there’s security.

  18. For the love of God stop calling them machine guns. Just call them rifles, because that’s what they are. If you don’t know anything about guns this is your safest bet. I suppose you could’ve called them fully automatic assault death machines and scare a bunch of people that also don’t know anything about guns, but I digress. Please stick to what you know best, and what you already do very well.

  19. Lucky, please stop using the word “upon”. You use it in almost every post. “Upon” might sound fancy, but it’s not, it’s archaic. In all instances it can be replaced with “on”.

  20. @Andrew J: It’s not as annoying as the unnecessary “ofs” – it’s not that big of an airport, it’s not that good of a seat, it’s not that nice of an airline, etc.

  21. My pragmatic + realistic take: instead of guarding the passenger area, guard the crew and maintenance staff areas instead! Much easier to sneak contraband that way.
    Regardless, my trust level with a properly trained security officer >> some jamoke in certain areas of the US

  22. You did mention the train from terminal one tto terminal two but failed to mention the extremely rude staff. In February I arrived at terminal two and was berated by a disgruntled greeter or whatever he was. His job was to supervise boarding of these trains. I am quite experienced, this was my 30th arrival at FRA but my first greeting. I am following up with a formal complaint to FRA authorities. Not only was he rude and abusive but when he saw me speak to a Ploice Officer in the train he sent a friend to sit there.
    You should also note that with the NOT FREE luggage carts you need to abandon one when you board the train and then pay again after the train.

  23. Not to get too technical but that looks like the muzzle of a HK MP5, which would be a submachine gun. It fires the same bullets as a handgun, not a rifle, and is usually set for 3 round bursts. Seeing them makes me more curious than nervous, as long as its operator is well trained. Plenty of places in Las Vegas where you can try one BTW.

  24. It’s the same here in Scandinavia at the larger airports. And honestly, I do not mind. Norwegian police has killed TWO people between 2002 and today. I trust them in what they do.

  25. Is it me or are some (most?) of these lounges are lit far too brightly? This one looks like it’d be painfully bright at 5:30am.

    Higher powered weapons at European airports aren’t anything new.

    I went to London to celebrate the millennium and there was a large show of force with large guns as I got off the plane at LGW. I joked with one of the officers that I realised I was from America, but I wasn’t expecting such a warm welcome. Without missing a beat he said they were doing their best to bring me the comforts of my home country. He then mentioned that there were members of the Taliban on the flight before mine and they wanted to let them know the Brits were well aware of their presence. Kind of eerie looking back.

    I’m with you Lucky on this one — whenever I see a large # of police, especially with body armor & larger guns, I assume the area is naturally unsafe. Probably my American roots showing on this one, but I feel LESS safe with a large number of police around.

  26. The armed security doesn’t bother me one bit. Sadly even in stores here in Kansas City it’s common to see an armed security guard or off-duty police officer.

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