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Germany: Summer Vacations to Start with Major Chaos at Airports

A big mess is expected at Germany’s main airports. In Düsseldorf and Cologne, it already happened. Now, Berlin and Brandenburg are about to start their vacations. Sound the alarm! BER Airport just sent out a long list of recommendations for passengers.

Berlin, July 2nd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — In Germany’s largest federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, the summer vacations will not commence these days because they already have. A week ago, tens of thousands of vacationers packed their suitcases and backpacks and tried to get to nice holiday destinations. When they arrived at their state’s main airports, Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn, they got into a big mess.

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Trouble with Luggage

First of all, they had to wait in extremely long lines. Flight delays and cancellations were the next problem. There was trouble with the luggage as well. In short: Nothing seemed to work. Now, the big question is the following: Was this a preview of what we have to expect at BER Airport in Brandenburg as well as at the airports in Frankfurt and Munich? The answer is yes.

Because Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania started their vacations yesterday, things did not look too well at Hamburg Airport on Friday. Long lines of vacationers were seen there. What will the situation be once Hamburg itself is on vacation on Thursday, July 7th? Take a guess. Berlin and Brandenburg commence their summer holidays on the same day.

Too Many to Handle

Berliners and Brandenburgers who intend to stay at home probably took the right decision. That is because BER Airport will be crammed. FBB, the state-owned company that runs it, sent out a statement which says 65,000 to 75,000 passengers will be there every day. All in all, 3 million passengers are expected to use BER Airport during the 6-week summer vacations, a million more than last year. In pre-Corona times, five million passengers were counted at Schönefeld Airport and Tegel Airport. Both were closed for good and replaced by BER in 2020.

There is another difference: Back then, the size of the security staff was big enough to handle it all. Now, it is not. In 2019, when the world was in a much better state, 37,000 takeoffs and landings took place during the summer vacations. This year, there will be 22,000 of them, operated by 52 airlines, to 127 destinations in 45 countries. But, apparently, these are too many to handle.

Refurbishment at New Airport

BER Airport officially says passengers should be there two and a half hours ahead of their flights and head to the security check the second they are done checking in. Vacationers who do not feel like going through all of this just before they take off can check-in their luggage on the eve of their flights, if they are Lufthansa, Eurowings or EasyJet passengers. Will this offer by these three airlines actually save time? Probably not, because those who accept it will have to go to the airport twice.

Have you ever heard of a brand new airport that is being refurbished? Well, there is a first time for everything. At BER, construction work is going on right now. The goal is to provide more room in front of the security check areas. In addition, eight moving walkways are being refurbished, according to FBB. The airport was inaugurated only 20 months ago. Oh, guess what: “The airport and its partners have prepared for the vacation time the best way possible in the past weeks and months”, FBB’s CEO Aletta von Massenbach said. But, in spite of the preparation, there would be “waiting periods and delays”. She blamed “the Corona pandemic and its ramifications”.

List of Recommendations

BER Airport says passengers are supposed to arrive ahead of time, get informed beforehand, prepare well, check in online if possible, use the check-in machines provided, drop off their luggage on the eve of their flight (if they fly with one of the three airlines mentioned above), have their documents ready and hold them in their hands before it is their turn at the check-in counters, head to the security check right after check-in and refrain from packing or bringing forbidden items. Whew. That’s it.

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