Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Europe > Europe
Reload this Page >

Best hub for LOOONG layover on Christmas Day?

Best hub for LOOONG layover on Christmas Day?

Old Oct 1, 08, 6:34 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BCN
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 1,084
Question Best hub for LOOONG layover on Christmas Day?

Hi all, I'm going to end up stopped over somewhere in Europe on Christmas Day this year, probably either FRA or LIS.

My question is, first of all, assuming I venture out of the airport, would anything at all be open at either of these? Are there any Christmas breakfasts/lunches worth recommending?

Any particular advice about which of the two would be better?
glex50 is offline  
Old Oct 1, 08, 10:32 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Programs: statusless these days
Posts: 19,370
Definitely not the U.K. (no public transportation that day). That said, I'm not sure if any place in Europe is good for x'mas. Europeans tend to make it a family thing so everything pretty much shuts down. I'm sure the Turkish community in FRA will ensure some services are available but not sure if there's public transportation. Brunch/breakfasts are not easy to find in Europe. People tend not to eat out for that. You'll need to find a hotel for that.
YVR Cockroach is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 3:18 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 7,557
There will definitely be public transport in Germany (and probably Portugal too - but I've never been in Portugal at Christmas). It's only the UK that makes everybody walk or drive to see family for Christmas. There will be a reduced schedule, but definitely not a complete shutdown.

The main Christmas celebration in Germany is on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. Christmas Day is a public holiday so shops etc will be closed but you should definitely be able to find some restaurants that are open (just done some googling on google.de which seems to confirm what I just said)
Aviatrix is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 3:46 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dusseldorf
Programs: LH M+M (dropped to blue since hardly flying with them anymore), EY Guest Silver
Posts: 541
Not knowing about Lis, some words on Germany...

Public transportation will be available, just on a very reduced schedule. the 25th is a national holiday, no regular shops will be open (kiosk, most gas stations, maybee shops in train stations and at the airport will be open).

Regarding Breakfast/Lunch, make sure you reserve up front since some hotels tend to get quite some lonely customers these days (my wife works in a hotel, and according to her X-Mas is BUSY for brunch/lunch/dinner....)

LIS might be a nice choice, considering it could be sunny and warm, would be a different setting for X-mas

Cheers
captainiglo is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 6:53 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Munich, Germany
Programs: Miles&More Blue, SPG Platinum
Posts: 3,044
Originally Posted by captainiglo View Post
Regarding Breakfast/Lunch, make sure you reserve up front since some hotels tend to get quite some lonely customers these days (my wife works in a hotel, and according to her X-Mas is BUSY for brunch/lunch/dinner....)
If you want to stay in Frankfurt stay in one of the better hotels and they will probably offer a Christmas-brunch on the 25th. It will be a pretty quite day.

On the 24th stores will close around noon. The afternoon and evening is for church for people who go there and for family and of course present opening.

On the 25th public transportation will run on sunday/holiday schedule. So instead of trains or busses every 10 minutes just every half hour or once per hour. The only shops that will open in Frankfurt will be in the main train station, gas stations and of course at the airport.

In general live will pretty slow in Germany between Dec 24th and January 2nd. We actually call this time "between the years".
flyingfkb is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 8:47 am
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BCN
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 1,084
Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Definitely not the U.K. (no public transportation that day). That said, I'm not sure if any place in Europe is good for x'mas.
Hmm...well, at this point, it looks like it will be LHR where I'll have my yule-tide layover. I was waiting for the flights to work out a bit better, and they did--this option puts my in C the whole way cuts, out the need for an intra-Europe flight, and allows for more possibilities if things open up later on (this is an award).

From what I read up, last year in London, there was a bus that ran the Heathrow express route from the airport into Paddington Station. If there isn't, I guess I'm stuck at the airport, but we'll have to see how things come together closer to the date, I suppose.

Despite the lack of public transportation, it seems like there is more happening in London than there necessarily would be in FRA, right?
glex50 is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 8:57 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: AMS
Programs: Flying Blue Gold, BAEC Blue
Posts: 1,849
Originally Posted by glex50 View Post
Hmm...well, at this point, it looks like it will be LHR where I'll have my yule-tide layover. I was waiting for the flights to work out a bit better, and they did--this option puts my in C the whole way cuts, out the need for an intra-Europe flight, and allows for more possibilities if things open up later on (this is an award).

From what I read up, last year in London, there was a bus that ran the Heathrow express route from the airport into Paddington Station. If there isn't, I guess I'm stuck at the airport, but we'll have to see how things come together closer to the date, I suppose.

Despite the lack of public transportation, it seems like there is more happening in London than there necessarily would be in FRA, right?
This thread from the UK & Ireland forum might offer some insights: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ight=christmas
bcmatt is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 9:50 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 7,557
Originally Posted by glex50 View Post
Despite the lack of public transportation, it seems like there is more happening in London than there necessarily would be in FRA, right?
Nope.

Everybody will be cooped up at home eating Christmas dinner.

Some people will be cooped up in restaurants eating Christmas dinner instead - which they will have prebooked three months in advance.

Unless you are visiting family I can't think of anything worse than being in the UK on Christmas Day.
Aviatrix is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 3:17 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BCN
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 1,084
Thanks for the link to the earlier thread, bcmatt!

Originally Posted by Aviatrix View Post
Some people will be cooped up in restaurants eating Christmas dinner instead - which they will have prebooked three months in advance.

Unless you are visiting family I can't think of anything worse than being in the UK on Christmas Day.
Well, I wasn't expecting the full London experience (in some ways, I'm counting on it!! ) Just the same, it doesn't sound too much different from most of the continent on a Sunday. But if I can walk around, see the Christmas decorations, and book lunch somewhere, I'll be happy.

Admittedly, here in the US (particularly in suburbia) things die off that day, so I figured it would be much more the case in Europe, particularly the continent.
glex50 is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 5:02 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 7,557
Originally Posted by glex50 View Post
Admittedly, here in the US (particularly in suburbia) things die off that day, so I figured it would be much more the case in Europe, particularly the continent.
Most of the Continent celebrates Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day - or a different day altogether (the Dutch-speaking world celebrates Sinterklaas at the beginning of the month). Christmas Day in the UK is DEAD DEAD DEAD. Christmas Day in Germany is more like an ordinary Sunday. And I don't know if any restaurant in London would accept a booking for Christmas Dinner for One.

If you have other reasons to transfer via LHR (such as a C class seat) then that's a good enough reason to be marooned in the UK on Christmas Day. But you'll have to expect to get very bored and very lonely.
Aviatrix is offline  
Old Oct 2, 08, 11:30 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: SJC/SFO
Programs: UA lifetime gold; Hilton Gold; Marriott/SPG Plat; Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 2,863
If I would have to pick one city that I would like to wander around while everything is shut, I would pick Paris.
keisari is offline  
Old Oct 3, 08, 12:33 am
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BCN
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 1,084
Originally Posted by Aviatrix View Post
If you have other reasons to transfer via LHR (such as a C class seat) then that's a good enough reason to be marooned in the UK on Christmas Day. But you'll have to expect to get very bored and very lonely.
Well, you nabbed it--a C class seat on the one nonstop to JNB that I need. And because of my routing, I can either spend a longer Xmas eve in YYZ (on yet another layover) or give myself enough time to run into London from LHR rather than sit at the airport.

So for now, it's a bit of a 0-sum game--either walk around a bit on Xmas, sit in the airport, or sit on a plane.
glex50 is offline  
Old Oct 3, 08, 12:36 am
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: BCN
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 1,084
Originally Posted by keisari View Post
If I would have to pick one city that I would like to wander around while everything is shut, I would pick Paris.
Yeah, that would be a nice option

I had checked it out early on though and it doesn't really work, unfortunately.
glex50 is offline  
Old Oct 3, 08, 2:12 am
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3,723
I don't know about flights to your destination, but just basing the answer on the quality of diversions in the Airport and the city nearby, I'd recommend Amsterdam/Schipol
D1andonlyDman is offline  
Old Oct 3, 08, 2:24 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: London
Programs: BA Gold, Hilton Gold
Posts: 1,357
The following might be useful...

If you're unlucky enough to have just stepped off a plane on Christmas Day and are faced with an arduous journey to your hotel ahead of you, it's best to sort your arrangements out in advance so you can make the most of what's on offer in the city on this special day. None of the usual forms of transport (the Heathrow Express, the Tube, buses) operate on Christmas Day so getting from the airport to your accommodation could be tricky. We recommend you book your journey in advance with Dot2Dot - one of the few quality companies to run a full service on this day. You can book ahead, it's half the price of a taxi, there are 12 services an hour and they guarantee there'll be no more than three stops before your hotel. Not only this but they don't charge any nasty surcharges. Find out more their website (dot2.com).
Link: http://www.londontown.com/London/A_L..._&_Boxing_Day/
rupert_s is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread