As part of my Hamburg reviews it is only fair that I provide my review of Hamburg airport.
It is fair to say that the Hamburg airport is not a major hub in Germany, I often connect with Lufthansa via the hub of Frankfurt which serves the UK and the rest of the world well.
My review begins though with arrival at Hamburg airport via car as opposed to a plane. I hired a car at the airport of Hamburg so was able to return it to the rental car car park close by terminal 2. At the end of terminal 1 in Hamburg airport is a train station with trains direct to the city.
Getting between terminal 1 and terminal 2 is very easy. You just walk along the corridor with a shopping plaza.
It was whilst walking along the shopping precinct at the airport in Hamburg that I noticed something of interest. Signs were indicating that beyond terminal 1, in fact outside of the terminal is a miniature model airport. There is a small entrance fee and it can take around an hour to view. On further inspection I found out that this is presentation, in German only and is held at set times during the day (10am and 3pm). So plan your Hamburg airport arrival times in advance if you want to see the display.
If like myself, you don’t arrive in time for the display there is free entrance to the Observation Deck. You can watch planes land and take off to the right of the Observation Deck at Hamburg Airport whilst in front of you planes circle whilst heading to the runway or back to a gate.
There is also a cafe by the Observation Deck but I didn’t buy anything from here.
I returned to the main terminals at Flughafen Hamburg (that is German for the airport in Hamburg). You will find the Hamburg airport arrivals area on the ground floor between terminal 1 and terminal 2. I could only see evidence of two terminals at the flughafen.
Hamburg airport departures are based upstairs.
Taking the escalator upstairs I found a very spacious area to check in. Looking around I could see an upper level with various restaurants and bars. It is also only fair that I mention in my review of Hamburg airport is that there was also a casino visible. This brings back memories of my review of Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.
I checked in for my flight with Easyjet fairly quickly in the airport departures area and quickly proceeded through airport security. Maybe I was lucky in my timing of mid-afternoon on a Friday since the queue at security was very small.
Once through airport security I was greeted with a common sight at airports, Duty Free shopping.
There were lots of shops that immediately greeted me. To be honest, after taking so many flights I’m not a big fan of using Duty Free. I don’t find the prices particularly cheap and often don’t need to buy anything anyway. As a traveller flying within the EU to another EU country I’m also not entitled to some tax free benefits I would be if I was flying long haul.
I started exploring terminal 1 at Hamburg Airport and soon saw a leaflet available to tell me where facilities were. There are also various boards with airport maps on.
At one point I felt as if I was in an American airport as I noticed some electronics vending machines. You can buy all sorts of electronic items from cameras to iPads here without any human interaction. Yet more jobs lost to machines.
I was feeling a bit peckish and knew that there was no complimentary snacks on an Easyjet flight. On the main floor of the terminal were a few sandwich shops and the odd bar. These seemed quite busy and I didn’t really fancy the long queues or menus.
I then noticed that between terminal 1 and terminal 2 are some escalators upstairs which lead to a food court. There was definitely more space up here yet only maybe four or five different eateries to choose from.
I wondered around to look at the selections and was put off enquiring at one or two since all the displayed menus were in German. I accept that I was in Germany, however as an international airport where English is often a second language for many people I think this was a missed sales opportunity for some of the restaurants at Hamburg airport.
After I finally chose a chicken meal I switched on my net-book to check out the wifi. I was delighted to discover that there is a free Hamburg airport wifi service. It is free to register (you can do this in English) and I believe that you receive one hour’s free use per day. However I was soon very disappointed since the Hamburg airport wifi was incredibly slow. I really struggled to load my internet e-mail and gave up in the end. Come on Hamburg airport, wifi is what we international travellers are looking for so please give us a better service.
I was also disappointed in this eating area since I was unable to find any electrical sockets by tables or seats. Maybe this is in combination with the 1 hour complimentary wifi? Will the web page load before your computer’s battery runs out?
I returned downstairs to head to my gate. I noticed in the shops that there was one by the name of “Witty Knitters”. I did wonder as to how funny they are?
The main terminals have screens advising you of your gate number, there is also guidance on estimated walking time. This is handy as you can plan your time within the terminal or going for a bite to eat.
I would advise heading to your gate relatively early though. Some of them can become very busy and you’ll end up standing around if all the seats are taken.
So what is the conclusion of my review of Hamburg airport? For a famous city it is not a particularly large airport especially since it is not a hub. The terminals are modern, clean and appealing. The airport in Hamburg does have some attractions with the miniature airport and Observation Deck, however check opening times in advance.
Security during my time of visiting was very quick and typical of German efficiency. The range of refreshments is somewhat limited and would benefit from catering more to an international audience. Overall the Hamburg airport is appealing for its size but a more reliant wifi and accessible plug sockets would be a great improvement.