I'm not friends with Frankfurt Airport. This is the airport that is so large that it issues bicycles to its staff to get around...
Our flight last night was from Gate A42. The grouping of the gate numbers suggested that this wasn't going to be a gate near the entrance, but we had plenty of time, and a bag in the hold to stop them going without us, so we set off to find it. Terminal A has travelators to help you on your way. I should be able to tell you how many it has, because we used every bloody one, but I lost count after about 10. Yes, that's because gate A42 is the furthest gate of them all. But at least it has an air bridge, so there's not much travelling left.
Oh no. As they announce boarding, they use the should-be-four-letter word "bus". Having walked the entire length of the airport (I measure 1.01km on Google), and walked back to the last outpost of civilisation at gate A34 to buy tea, upon arriving at A42 and finding it to be barren, the bastards deign to tell us that now we have to get a bus to our plane. So why on earth didn't they assign it to a gate somewhat nearer the security thespians? I wasn't the only one grumbling.
Gate A42, it seems, has building work nearby, so they've brought a portable set of steps, butted it up to the end of the air bridge, and are now using it as a gate for buses. It's sufficiently semi-permanent that not only do they have heras fencing to corral us cattle, but they have attached a telephone to the fencing! So right now, every flight using this blighted gate will be a bus job. So why are they even using it late on Saturday, when there will be little pressure on the other gates?
Anyway, as well as retiring that gate until it's fixed, I have a second suggestion for the plonkers in charge. If the staff aren't expected to walk that far, and are given bikes, why shouldn't we be? Frankfurt Airport seems like an ideal place for a "free bikes scheme", but unlike the Green Bike Scheme in Cambridge, this one might actually work, as you can't usefully steal a bike if it's never allowed to leave airside. I'm sure it would work perfectly. On leaving security theatre, rows of bikes are waiting for you. You take one, put your bag in the 40cm×20cm basket on the front, and cycle to your gate. Upon reaching your gate, you stack the bike up neatly in a rack there, ready for the people getting off your plane to cycle it back to the rack you collected it from, after which they only have a short escalator ride down to baggage reclaim purgatory. Most airlines permit business travellers to have two bags, but pretty much every business traveller has luggage with wheels, so simply add a tow hook on the back of the bike, and it becomes a trailer. Or, I guess, a second 40cm×20cm basket on the rear.
I'm sure such a scheme would make Frankfurt airport much more tolerable. Until then, or they flatten it and rebuild it in a sensible shape, I propose to avoid it, and if I have to suffer airports, at least suffer sensibly shaped airports, with free wireless, such as Vienna*.
* note for Linux users. Last we knew, the Vienna Airport Wireless DHCP server issues you with a default route and then an IP address. In that order, the Linux IP stack ignores the default route, because, quite correctly, it's not valid for any IP address on the interface. It then gets the IP, and happily assigns that, but you have no routing, and hence no Internet. If you know what happened, it should be possible to "fix" your setup.