Thunderstorm closes Frankfurt Airport

Yesterday evening I was flying back from Madrid to Frankfurt with a Spanair flight, which was already an hour late, when the flight was suddenly diverted to Stuttgart!

The reason for the diversion was an unusual event in Frankfurt – the airport was closed for all starts and landings.  This was due to a thunderstorm over the airport.

What this meant for me was that instead of landing at 21:05 in Frankfurt, the plane landed at around 21:30 in Stuttgart, having circled over Frankfurt-Hahn for a while.  Here it re-fuelled, and later flew on at 23:30 to Frankfurt, arrived just after midnight and coming to a stop far away from the terminal, leaving the passengers to be taken by bus and wait another 45 minutes for the baggage to arrive.

Whilst I appreciate that it was better to continue the journey on the same aircraft to Frankfurt rather than being put onto a train or even a bus, the information available to the passengers could have been better.

Firstly, when we landed it was announced in Spanish and English that we would be going to the terminal and then await further instructions – which was translated into German as “wir fahren erstmal zum Terminal und dann… keine Ahnung”.  Keine Ahnung did not go down well!

Then at 22:25 we were told to fasten our seatbelts as we would be flying in 4 minutes – those 4 minutes turned into an hour.

JK127 from Madrid - via Stuttgart

JK127 from Madrid - via Stuttgart

What really took the biscuit was the answer given to a passenger who asked – in Spanish – about compensation for the late arrival – I don’t know whether they missed a connect flight, or were just enquiring.  They were told that it was a weather problem, and so not covered by the usual rules.

BUT if we had taken off on time, we would have landed before the storm, but we didn’t even board on time!  How do you explain that, Spanair?

I have filled out a EU complaint form (Regulation 261/2004 being the important number to know at such times!) and see what happens.  I didn’t find “I hope you had a pleasant flight” quite so appropriate last night.

About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

Comments

  1. This sounds like a real adventure of not knowing whether you are coming or going.

    Have you filed your compensation claim yet? It should only take a week to get a response.

    I wonder if you will get a box of three bottles of wine like I did. Hope you like red wine…:)

  2. This sounds like a real adventure of not knowing whether you are coming or going.

    Have you filed your compensation claim yet? It should only take a week to get a response.

    I wonder if you will get a box of three bottles of wine like I did. Hope you like red wine…:)

  3. I filled in the form yesterday and sent it off today, but the Spanair office in Frankfurt told me that I had to send it to their head office in Spain, so it may take a little longer to get a response.

  4. I filled in the form yesterday and sent it off today, but the Spanair office in Frankfurt told me that I had to send it to their head office in Spain, so it may take a little longer to get a response.

  5. Madrid – The Capital of Spain, several-millions city located in the heart of the Iberian peninsula, almost in its geographical center. I like this city and can tell this is my favourite place all over the world. Great architecture, great style and great people.

  6. Madrid – The Capital of Spain, several-millions city located in the heart of the Iberian peninsula, almost in its geographical center. I like this city and can tell this is my favourite place all over the world. Great architecture, great style and great people.

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