Munich T2: a morning commuter’s perspective

I’m in Munich for the grand reopening of Munich Airport retail subsidiary Eurotrade’s main store in its Lufthansa-dedicated Terminal 2 (above), writes Gavin Lipsith. The event last night was a grand affair, and – as the 500 supplier, partner and celebrity guests discovered – the new store is bright, spacious and well merchandised. Arguably sight lines are disrupted by the central walls, but that may be a structural necessity and it does little to diminish the sense of space in the 1,300sq m outlet. And the retailer has turned challenge to opportunity by using the walls as striking promotional opportunities.

Travelling back to London this morning I saw a different side to the airport. At 07.30 the upper level of T2 is hardly busy, but it would be nice to have seen more shops open. Maybe they will be before I board and perhaps it is a little too early, but for the business commuter it is a shame that the terminal’s varied and impressive range is not fully available at this hour – particularly the intriguing Bavarian gift shop Herrmann Gifts, which I was forced to stare at longingly through darkened windows.

Thankfully the inviting Weiner’s Der Kaffee (above) was open, an excellent and rare example of a downtown catering brand that has lost none of its appeal in the conversion to an airport concept. I would breakfast here every day if I could; the coffee was excellent, the pastries delicious and the healthy options tempting enough to make me feel guilty.

Now I am a big fan of airports that accommodate smokers, and JT International has done more than its fair share to make this often persecuted minority feel comfortable. At Munich its investment is considerable. Camel and Winston Lounges are well ventilated, welcoming and interesting – in fact far superior to the general concourse environment. So much so that I am writing this blog from the Winston Loft, complete with central water feature, synthetic fireplace and unusual window displays. I understand the restrictions that prevent many airports from offering such luxury to smokers, but some without restrictions often pay marginal attention to smokers; I certainly could not sit down and write in the fume-filled goldfish bowls that pass for smoking areas at many airports. This is very different (below).

I was also struck by what a difference the newly renovated main store makes to the terminal offer. By contrast, the equivalent store on the mainly non-Schengen level above – which I had passed and considered perfectly adequate on arrival yesterday – looks cluttered. This is the downside of Eurotrade’s strategic decision to limit brand personalisation. Well executed, as in the new shop, it gives a pleasing consistency and a real sense of the location, as opposed to the feel of a megabrand superstore. Hopefully it will not be too long before the upper level of T2 gets similar treatment to the lower level.

All in all though, Munich Airport is a pleasure to pass through, with easy security and immigration, short walking distances between gates and a large but manageable commercial offer. That convenience explains its consistently high rankings in consumer surveys of transfer passengers, something the airport will seek to maintain as it continues its ambitious expansion plans – which will be the subject of an in-depth report in the next issue of The Moodie Report’s Print Edition.

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