Munich Airport VIP Wing – Review

By Jonathan Spira on 27 December 2011
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Air travel – and airports – once were indeed glamorous, but today, long security lines, crowded airline lounges, and indifferent staff make that image seem like another world.

It is possible, however, to recapture some of that glamour – for a small fee.  Airports in cities from London (Heathrow) to Singapore (Changi) to Munich offer a very different arrival and/or departure experience for those willing to foot the bill.

This past June, Munich Airport opened up the VIP Wing.  Designed by Erich Gassman and Tina Aßmann, the expansive building is located next to Terminal 1 and is a 1,200 m2 (13,000 sq. feet) oasis, identified by a discrete sign at the end of the terminal.


The rainy night of my Lufthansa flight from Munich to Brussels on the first day of Oktoberfest, my driver, Rolf Raffelsieper, approached the front entrance.  A VIP Wing staff member, dressed in a Dirndl (a traditional dress worn in Bavaria and Austria), met my car with an umbrella, taking my luggage from Rolf and escorting me inside.

The first step was to go through security.  After all, this is an airport.  But here, I had three members of the airport security team all to myself.   My large suitcase had already been whisked away (and presumably checked) so all that I had with me was my Tumi backpack .  I was through the metal detector in seconds and this all happened so quickly I almost didn’t notice it.


Once inside and since it was my first visit to the VIP Wing, my escort showed me around, pointing out the bar area and the adjacent dining area, the various lounge spaces with ultramodern (and rather comfortable) chairs, and the suites  (including the Schloß Schleißheim conference room and three private suites, also named after nearby castles).  There were quiet places to work, free Wi-Fi, a smoking lounge, an interdenominational prayer room, and a genuine feeling of tranquility.

Did I have any value-added tax (VAT) forms that required a customs stamp, I was asked.  No, but I had a few that had already been stamped for which refunds had not yet been obtained.  About 20 minutes later, I was discretely given an envelope with my refund, roughly €75.   I sometimes end up forfeiting my VAT refunds when lines are long, which is usually the case at London-Heathrow.

That evening, I was one of perhaps half a dozen passengers at the VIP Wing.  Since I was giving a speech in Brussels, I shifted to one of the semi-private alcoves and got to work.  The Wi-Fi was fast (and free) and the workspace was comfortable.

Click here to continue to Page 2Pre-Flight Dining, Boarding, and Virtual Tours of the VIP Wing

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