Proper German airports

European airports have undergone radical transformation in the last two decades regarding the provision of services. At first, it was the construction of a business centre, enabling busy businessmen to spend their time productively. Then airlines started to dedicate space for airline lounges. But slowly the airports upgraded their services not only for business travelers but for tourists: showers for the tired, long-flight travelers (for example at London Heathrow), comfortable chaise longues for those who have missed their connection (such as those in Amsterdam Schiphol), a vast array of duty-free shops for the shopacholics and, quite recently, free, wireless internet connection for the Internet savvy (such as the one at the Athens International Airport).

But what would you say is the single most important criterion with which you can judge if an airport is proper or not? Some might say the level of airport services, some for the effiency of its operations, some for the sense of security of the airport or even for its green credentials. But for German airports, I propose we use an even more simple metric, very easy to measure, unlike all of the above that would require careful auditing by a team of independent experts. I propose to judge whether a German airport is proper by the existence of a very special shop.

If you have travelled to Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg or even Frankfurt Hahn airports (to name but a few) you will probably know exactly what I mean. If you go for a stroll to the shops these airports offer, you will discover that among the designer labels, fashion accessories, electronic gadgets and book stores, there exists another type of shop you did not expect to find: a sex shop.

The Beate Uhse sex shop at Frankfurt International Airport (© LambdaPhage)

The Beate Uhse sex shop at Frankfurt International Airport (© LambdaPhage)

I was shocked to discover this the first time I travelled at Frankfurt International Airport. On exiting the baggage reclaim area, I bumped into a small sex shop among the car rental shops. My surprise was even greater when I departed from this airport and found an even bigger Beate Uhse sex shop at the departure lounge of Terminal 1. After some time, I found out that there used to be a sex cinema at the underground area of the airport, but the cinema followed the fate of the small sex shop at the arrival lounge and closed.

After I started living in Germany, I realised having a sex shop in the airport is not a big deal after all. In Greece, a sex shop is confined in certain areas in big cities, whereas in Germany, a sex shops is probably very close to the railway station of every village or city. In Greece, people visiting those shops might feel a bit of a guilt, whereas in Germany things are more normal and even families may visit. After all, sex in Germany is a very big industry, with the Beate Uhse chain being the crown jewel.

The sex shop at Munich International Airport (© Hellabella,

The sex shop at Munich International Airport (© Hellabella,

During my stay in Germany, I visited other airports and found out that they had followed the example of Frankfurt airport. Unfortunately, Stuttgart Airport and Baden Airpark, two small regional airports, did not have one.

There you have it then! I believe you can judge whether an German airport is proper by the existence of a sex shop. Funny enough, Berlin Tegel and Schönenfeld, the airports of the capital, do not have any, but I am eagerly waiting for the time when one sprouts even there.



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