We were disappointed to learn that our flights back to Canada had been rerouted so that we would have a short hop to Frankfurt from Madrid and then a very long (10.5 hours) flight from Frankfurt to Calgary. When we flew to Spain in September 2009, it was relatively painless, flying from Calgary to Madrid with a change of planes in Toronto. To make matters worse, we had bad memories of the only other time we’d been in the Frankfurt airport. We had five-hour layovers each way on our trip to the United Arab Emirates in January 2006.
A long layover is bad enough, but smoking was not yet banned in the airport and the low ceilings seemed to trap the smoke and we choked our way through the five long hours there. We never managed to find a place to sit, without having a smoker puffing away beside us. It was one of the worst airport experiences we’ve ever had, and we’ve been through a lot of airports in our travels.
To my surprise, the first sign that greeted us as we walked out of the airplane and into the airport, was a sign stating that Frankfurt airport was now a ‘smoke-fee’ zone. I couldn’t have been more delighted. We had a much shorter layover this time, just over two hours, and before we knew it we were settling into our seats on our Air Canada flight, feeling relatively fine, and certainly, not reeking of second-hand smoke. The sooner the whole world becomes a smoke-free zone, the better.
Even the news that the temperatures in Calgary were hovering around zero and it was snowing didn’t dampen our spirits too much. We were heading home to see family and friends, and to recharge our batteries before setting off on Year Five of our travels at the end of the summer.