Krakow Stories and Tips

Disorganised and claustrophobic

I used Kraków Airport for the first time three weeks ago on my trip to UK and was surprised how far it is from the centre of Kraków. There is a bus that takes you from just outside the bus station to the airport and it takes about 40 minutes stopping at quite a few stops on the way. The driver on this day was a terrible driver so it was a bumpy ride, people and luggage were sliding around and I was gripping the rail very tightly. If you don’t want to take the bus a train will take you to a stop that is approximately 200 metres from Terminal 1 or if you want you can travel by taxi but always make sure the cab is licensed and agree a price before setting off. Most taxi drivers will speak a little English.

The bus parked up close to Terminal 1 which is the International Terminal and there are stops near Terminal 2 (domestic flights). It was a very hot day so a lot of people were sat on the wall opposite the entrance to Terminal 1 holding glasses of beer but not for long as the officers in blue came along and asked these people to sit at the outside bar or go inside. Drinking in a public area is not allowed in Poland. The majority of people rushing around and sat outside were football supporters who were returning to their countries after watching some of the matches based in Kraków during the Euros 2012.
I could see there were a couple of seats vacant at the outside bar which looked inviting as it was shady and didn’t look as crowded as inside. Before buying a pint I decided to have a quick look at the information board and I wanted to see if I could pick up a couple of those transparent bags to put creams and make up in. I asked a young girl at the Information Desk and she said that I would have to wait until boarding as this is where the bags were situated.

It seemed very busy on this level and I was so pleased that I had checked in online as the queue for check-in was horrendous and I could see people were getting irritated due to the heat and hanging around. There are a couple of coffee shops on this level, Coffee Express and Coffee Minute but I had my heart set on a cold glass of Polish beer. Also, on this floor there are a couple of duty free shops, one selling perfume and the other selling vodka and other alcoholic drinks. For the kids there is a sweet shop displaying lots of sugary colourful delights that are very bad for your teeth.

It was great to sit down with a beer and do a bit of people watching. I couldn’t take my eyes off one guy who wasn’t exactly a tramp as such but he seemed down on his luck. He had a huge shopping bag under the table filled with crushed empty cans and as soon as someone left their table he rushed over to see if they had left any empties. His eyes were like radar and he homed in on left over beer. Waste not want not is the saying I believe. This chap was in his element and in the time we were sat outside he must have downed at least two pints from left over beer.

On the top floor there is a selection of shops, a couple of bistros selling readymade meals, sandwiches, good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, souvenir shops called Discover , Kraków selling everything to do with the city and Poland, an Amber jewellery shop and other duty free shops. I wasn’t so interested in looking at these shops mainly because this floor is very pokey and cluttered. I felt too claustrophobic and couldn’t wait to pass through security control and go to the boarding gate.

I was a little cross with myself because I hadn’t kept the clear bags from my previous trip and knew it would hold things up faffing around with all my little pots and tubes. Sometimes I don’t bother to take any at all because of this reason but seeing that I was on my way to see Bruce Springsteen I thought I had better make an effort and not turn up at the concert looking like a bag lady hence the beauty creams. Talking of bags I did remember to place my handbag in the top of my rucksack so it looked like I only had one bag. This is another airport rule that drives me mad. Security here is quite strict and you are expected to take everything off that might beep including ear-rings, belts, jewellery etc. Also, don’t forget your shoes – they have to come off too. The embarrassing thing was I knew I had holes in my socks and tried to pull both socks over my heels so people wouldn’t see the holes. It’s not that I don’t own a pair of socks without holes, of course I do. I just liked the stripy socks I was wearing. I think I got away with it, nobody noticed. Nothing beeped and the security guards weren’t too grumpy.

At last we could go through to the departure lounge and to Gates 6-8. The flight we were going for was to Edinburgh and it was delayed according to the information board. There seemed a lot of families sat in the lounge with small children who were fractious. It was 10pm so I could understand this, they just wanted to sleep. We couldn’t actually see a plane outside the window whether it had arrived at another gate and was being cleaned, I don’t know. The young girl at the boarding desk made one announcement about the delay but she didn’t say how long the delay would be. I think we were hanging around for about 40 minutes when the plane rolled into sight. There was a hectic rush to board and there didn’t seem any order to the boarding procedure. Usually priority boarders go first like parents with small children, elderly, wheelchair users, business people etc. Here, it was every man for themselves and was more like a rugby scrum. I was relieved to get on the bus which took us to the plane so we could fly off to Scotland’s capital city.

I have to say I wasn’t so keen on Kraków Airport. It is too small for the amount of people passing through and is very disorganised and claustrophobic. We were lucky for most of the time that we could sit outside but I should think this bar facility will be closed in the winter which means more people will be milling around inside causing havoc.

Ryan Air, Easy Jet and Finnair operate from here as well as LOT and Lufthansa. If you want to see a full list of airlines operating from Krakow here’s a link:
http://www.krakowairport.pl/en/15/2/175/Airlines-operating-tofrom-Krakow-Airport

I chose this airport because I managed to buy a cheap ticket with Ryan Air but I think in future I will fly from Warsaw because by the time we’ve purchased a train ticket to Kraków and bus ticket to the airport the cost works out the same plus it only takes twenty minutes to Frederic Chopin airport from my home whereas the travel time to Kraków took just under 4 hours including the trip on the bus.

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