Hoping for lounge access in Franfurt when you fly Lufthansa?
Just make sure you don’t accidentally end up in the animal lounge.
“The world’s most advanced animal station combines handling, animal coordination and veterinary services on 3,750 sq.m of space under one roof.
- 42 large-animal stalls up to 28 sq.m in size
- 39 small-animal pens
- Special aviaries
- 12 individually temperature-controllable climate chambers
- Variable stalls
- Room for all kinds of animals: from beehives to zebras, and from thoroughbred racehorses to giant elephants
- Professional, species-appropriate handling and care
- Areas for animal escorts to rest and wash
- Round-the-clock video surveillance
- Frankfurt Airport is an “airport of first entry” for importing animals to the European Union by air.”
My mother tipped me off on this because the anchor on the Today Show was talking about the lounge. Since it was this morning’s program, that clip isn’t available online yet. But this is what I was able to dig up.
There are snakes on planes, sure, plus pigs, cheetahs, lions and birds. Each year, more than 2,000 horses pass through and 15,000 dogs and cats have short stays in the building.
In fact, Frankfurt handles 110 million animals a year—almost twice the number of human passengers.
But here’s the kicker:
…though some 80 million of them are ornamental fish.
So my visions of tens upon millions of zebras and other large animals is probably off by a few tens of millions.
On the atmosphere in the lounge:
Walk into the lounge in Frankfurt and you may expect a cacophonous, smelly barn, but it is actually a quiet, largely odor-free warehouse. (It is cleaned twice a day.) The lounge has an area with black lights for veterinarians to examine fish, and an oxygen supply for the fish in case they need a refresher. On a recent visit, most animals in cages seem too startled to make a lot of noise. There is a quiet area reserved for cats so they don’t hear dogs barking and get more stressed.
And who is checking these animals?
The customers are as varied as their animals: Families relocating with their pets, breeders selling animals world-wide, pet-supply firms moving inventory. Zoo-animal relocations occur regularly. Race horses and polo ponies often, like their wealthy owners, fly on private transport planes rather than airline cargo.
Even though most of the animals are small, they do transport really large animals.
An African white rhinoceros peers through the bars of its Frankfurt compound, while across the floor a Madagascan chameleon inches around its vivarium and an Andean alpaca plucks hay from a bale. It’s not a scene from the city’s zoo butDeutsche Lufthansa’s Animal Lounge, a state-of-the-art complex at the center of the German airline’s plans to dominate one of the most specialized parts of the $66 billion air-cargo industry.
I’ve never heard people accuse Lufthansa of treating its passengers like cattle, but apparently sometimes it has to!