Looking forward to the blue sky

At the airport, the number of passengers is slowly increasing again. Many have waited a long time for the trip, but not everyone flies with a good feeling.

Ready to go: queues are forming again at the departure counters of Frankfurt Airport - keeping your distance and wearing a mask are part of it.

Ein a few plush bunnies can be seen through the glass doors. Next to it are plastic daffodils, colorful Easter eggs and green artificial turf. The lights in this souvenir shop at Frankfurt Airport have probably not been on for weeks. The back of the shop is completely dark. But cuckoo clocks and jumping jacks could soon be over the counter again.

As of this week, the federal government’s travel warnings for the member states of the EU and other European countries have been lifted. On Monday morning it is still quiet at Terminal 1. In the huge reception hall, people are slowly pushing their suitcases next to them, looking at the information boards. Most of the check-in counters are not yet manned. Nobody seems to be hectic here. There is only some movement in the group in front of the counter in Athens. Two airport employees in green vests try to divert the crowd into an orderly row. Everyone must keep the safe distance. An announcement repeatedly refers to the obligation to cover your mouth and nose at the airport.

Business in the air

An elderly man in a shirt and mask is standing in the queue. He is traveling to the Greek capital for business reasons and has specifically chosen the flight on Monday. “I was constantly following the first possible time to enter,” he says. Today it is so far that you can fly to Greece without having to do a test after arrival and go into quarantine. He has no worries about the corona virus in Greece: For example, the hotels do not offer breakfast, only rooms. “I see the aircraft more as a risk factor,” says the businessman. Close to other people – he is curious to see how the airline will regulate the safety distance.

A sporty woman with a large hiking backpack is unconcerned. You have absolutely no concerns about any risk of infection. She only booked her flight a few days ago. “I’m not staying in Athens, I go hiking in the mountains,” she says. “I will only meet sheep and not people and I look forward to sun and blue skies.” She is also not afraid that she might be stuck in Greece after a renewed increase in the number of infections: “In an emergency, I’ll run home.”

The retail sector lacks customers

According to a Fraport spokesman, a total of 335 take-offs and landings with around 23,000 passengers were expected on Monday at Frankfurt Airport. “We assume that there will be more little by little in the coming weeks,” said the spokesman with a view to the lifting of travel warnings by the federal government. However, operations remain significantly below the previous year’s level.

The retail trade at the airport is also feeling this. Many shops are still closed. A saleswoman in a women’s clothing boutique sorts some brightly colored dresses. She says they only reopened the shop two weeks ago. Now she do all the things that were left behind. “I do my work here and leave the door open if someone wants to come in,” she says. But actually there are no customers. “You can tell that there is a little more life at the airport, but the people no longer have the nerve to go shopping,” she says. You can also feel that the Fraport employees are on short-time work, because they make up a large part of their customers. “It will take a little time to get back to normal,” says the saleswoman thoughtfully.

A young woman is standing in front of the shop with a baby in her arms. She wants to travel to Portugal with her family. “So that they can get to know the child too,” she says. The young mother had doubts about how things would go at the airport, whether there would be long waiting times, but in the end there were no problems.

Later in the morning there is already more activity in Terminal 1. Two airport employees cycle past a group of travelers. Elsewhere you can hear a dog whimpering in its travel crate. The rows in front of the check-in counters have become significantly longer. So also for a flight to Reykjavík. At the end of the queue there is an elderly couple with two large suitcases. “We actually booked the trip for a year,” says the woman. They should have postponed their vacation by four days. And what are you most looking forward to? “That Iceland will be so empty now,” replies the woman and the beaming eyes suggest a smile behind the mask. Even the lady in the travel agency was jealous that she could now see all the sights without a large crowd.