Famous Faces

Like many other airports that serve major cities, Hamburg International has welcomed its fair share of famous faces.
There are wonderful treasures buried in the airport’s photo archive.  World stars like Sammy Davis Jr, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones, along with countless politicians, have been captured on film by the airport’s photographers over the years.  Air travel was, for a very long time, an expensive and therefore an exclusive activity.  Today’s celebrities usually prefer to travel with a little less publicity, often making use of the airport’s VIP Service, which takes care of the formalities, arranges personal service in the lounge and accompanies them to their aircraft.  Believe it or not, at the height of Beatle mania in the 1960s, a group of fans gathered on the apron in front of an aircraft to stop it taking off.  It certainly couldn’t happen today!
VIP Service guarantees privacy
“Discretion is our great strength,” says Uwe Scharlock, Passenger Service Operations Manager at Hamburg Airport.  When the departmental team is called upon to look after celebrities, politicians and monarchs, these VIPs naturally expect their visit to the airport to be a relaxed affair during which they will not be subjected to the constant clicking of camera shutters or the stares of curious onlookers.
Not surprisingly Mr Scharlock avoids talking about the details of his work.  However, he is happy to pass on one tip on how to protect your anonymity: “No huge sunglasses, and for men no frilly pink shirts, then you won’t stand out from the other passengers straight away,” he explained.  “In this way, the tennis star Steffi Graf managed to board her plane in Hamburg with her son, unnoticed by media and fans.”
Collecting the client’s luggage at baggage reclaim is also part of the service, though former 007 James Bond – alias Pierce Brosnan – didn’t want to be deprived of the pleasure of surprising his fellow travellers by collecting his baggage at the carousel in person.
Hamburg Airport’s VIP Team knows its job when it comes to protocol.  “For state visits, the cabinet office lets us know in good time about any special requirements, such as, for example, how many limousines should drive to the aircraft and who will be welcomed when, how and by whom,” explains Heike Kretzschmar, also a Passenger Services Operations Manager.
Nevertheless, even royals can create surprises, her colleague Kirsten Möller relates: “After visiting the lounge, Crown Prince Felipe of Spain took his plate back to the kitchen in person.”  The VIP Service is available for ‘mere mortals’ too, at a price of €250.
Every year, around 1,300 people take advantage of this exclusive service before departure or after arrival.
Name that face (Answers at the bottom of the page)

1. Walt Disney – US film magnate
2. Bill Clinton – US President
3. Louis Armstrong – US Jazz musician
4. The Beatles – British Pop Group
5. Sophia Loren – Italian actress
6. The Dalai Lama – Tibetan spiritual leader
7. Sammy Davis Junior – US actor
8. Roger Moore – British actor
9. ‘Q’ and ‘007’ – (Actors Desmond Llewellyn and Pierce Brosnan filming a scene from Tomorrow Never Dies at Hamburg Airport)
10. Robert Redford – US Actor