United airlines seemed to have run out of funds to pay for gates at Frankfurt. We were at a gate (Z22) where we checked-in, got our boarding passes security stamped, etc. But there was no plane at the end of the jetway. I looked, it was a regular sized jetway with double gates – the type used for wide-body aircraft, but they still had no plane. We were made to walk down two flights of stairs to buses. Those took us mid-field to our 777 parked near a taxiway. It was snowing and most of us did not even have jackets on us. I had checked mine in, not expecting to need it till I landed in the US.
It took a lot of time and a lot of buses to fully board the sold-out 777. It was very frustrating, for the staff too I assume and for all the passengers. The were several elderly folks in wheelchairs who had to walk up the stairs to the aircraft.
While no United staff member gave me an answer on why we were mid-field and not at the gate, my logical deduction (watching too much ‘Elementary’?) is that the incoming plane was late and they de-iced it mid-field and had no time to tow it to the gate without delaying the flight. Or, they were too cheap to pay for the tow…
Is this common-place at Frankfurt? I have experienced this once before boarding a 747 at Heathrow, no less. But this was a first forme at Frankfurt. What I could not get an answer to was why the aircraft was not at the gate? The jetway was available and capableof handling a 777. If anyone has experienced such a boarding before or knows the reasoning, please leave a comment.
The only good part was I got some excellent shots of aircraft operations at FRA. Enjoy the photos.