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Your Airline, And Mine!: Air Berlin, Tegel-Dubai  
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 29057 times:





I N T R O D U C T I O N
The airline charter and tour operator businesses -while obviously a major part of the industry- seem like an independent operation sadly overshadowed by other major -and more important- events in aviation. For example, I have lost track of how many times TUI had spawned an offspring bearing one of those unique names but with a 'TUI-fied' logo, or what airline Britannia turned into, or what tour operator took over which airline, and so on and so forth. Well a lot of that in this sub-industry continues to happen but for some reason, I seem to barely know of it.

Air Berlin is one of those carriers with an identity crisis. Much like the multiple Australian Virgin confusions across the other side of the globe, this airline -while with its single identity- is more or less a little bit of everything. A true hybrid airline, Air Berlin is not only a mix between low-cost and mainline, but I find that it is even more of a batter consisting of scheduled service, and holiday fiesta charter sensations.

With roots dating back to 1978, who would have known that Air Berlin was formed as a charter airline by former Pan Am pilot Kim Lundgren, and with a base in the United States? Well since then, the airline's specialty was charter flights to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. However, since the 1990's and after Germany's reunification, former LTU manager Joachim Hunold took over as CEO, and the airline adopted what now seems to be a confused strategy which began by steering closer towards offering scheduled flights.

The more modern times at Air Berlin saw the likes of an acquisition of a 24% stake in Niki (an Austrian LCC), a partnership with Germania (another charter airline), a full acquisition of both dba (another LCC) and LTU (a long-haul holiday airline), and the recent intention to join the Oneworld alliance (a 'mainline' type of initiative). Needless to say, there's enough for anyone!

Many analysts claim that this type of rapid expansion -while uniquely impressive in terms of capacity growth- may spell disaster for Air Berlin due to the complexity of its market segments, which are almost endless. However, one cannot doubt the growing power of this airline when it is now Germany's second biggest, owning 34% of the domestic market; a typical fit to be Lufthansa's worst enemy, and we all know what it feels like to be hated by the mother of powers! And it doesn't end here, Air Berlin is now Europe's sixth largest airline in terms of passenger numbers; quite an impressive accolade if you ask me!

Perhaps the airline's marketing slogan -Your Airline- is quite fitting, as there really is something for everyone at Air Berlin. And today, I found something in it for me too! So join me as I discover what Air Berlin is all about on its relatively new route to Dubai!



CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
49 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 29448 times:





WELCOME TO MY 34th TRIP REPORT
This TR will cover my trip on Air Berlin, in Business Class, between Berlin and Dubai.



B A C K G R O U N D
As a continuation to the planning of my Italy trip back in March, I had sorted my travels out with Garuda from Dubai, Meridiana fly to Italy, and a mix between Alitalia and Air France from Italy to Berlin.


Of course, the European flights out of Italy were not booked until I had finalized my plans to take up Air Berlin, which more or less offered the best premium fare out of anything out there. I had initially earmarked an Air Berlin flight post-Oneworld, but I ran out of choice when considering price, and my 'no-EK' policy for this trip, so I had to improvise. I definitely wanted to sample something new and European, and the only other option that was interesting to me, was a Condor flight to Bahrain; but I wasn't too sure I wanted Condor on a 757. Well to be honest, I really had my heart set on Air Berlin, so no Condor, no nothing!

On www.airberlin.com, the booking process was as hassle-free as your typical expectation of an airline website, though I did find it to be a little too cluttered and very LCC-ish. I was also able to select my seats at the time of booking, which was pleasant at first, only to later discover that my selected window-seat was not available at check-in (and no other window seat for that matter).

Upon purchase, the usual e-ticket was sent by email, which included the all the pertinent details and also a confirmation that resembled more of an invoice number rather your typical PNR; I suppose Air Berlin uses some unique system. In any case, I was all set for my first Air Berlin experience!

Approximately one week before my flight, I had received an email from Air Berlin, with a notification of a change in my departure time from 21:15 to 21:25 citing that 'that due to urgent operational requirements a flight time change could not be avoided.' This is quite precise, and I wouldn’t think many airlines would go all out for only a ten minute re-time. Nevertheless, with such a piece of information, it safer to know that I had an extra 10 minutes of transit time at Tegel, just in case it really did make that extra bit of difference. So now, it was time to move on.



O R I G I N
Arriving Berlin at 2:50pm on AF2034, I deplaned and headed straight to the baggage claim to reclaim my suitcase. I had approximately six hours and 40 minutes to kill so I was not in any kind of hurry.

My first impressions of the airport had conformed to what one would normally think of a small US domestic-type of airport; intimate with a touch of non-aviation charm. I only noticed a handful of small baggage claim belts, which were located almost immediately after the aerobridges.

As I had arrived into Terminal E, I tried checking in for my flight through the next available counter I had found at the departures area, but was told that I had to go to the nearby Terminal C. From what I had gathered, there was a centralized landside area in between all the terminal buildings, which housed an array of shops and outlets. Following the signs from Terminals E to C, I immediately found myself in this central area, and I thought to stay back and explore before moving on.



Landside at Tegel





The more I got acquainted with my surroundings, the more unique I found Tegel to be; in fact this airport is like no other I have been to. In terms of history, I could feel the icy cold vibes of World War I, II, and the Cold War seeping from every corner, as almost everything seemed untouched. Yet in the midst of all this pre-essence, you will also find random patches of modern architecture that would instantly take you back to now. And due to the obvious space limitations, this airport has done away with typical traditions, and instead you will find airline lounges like the British Airways Terrace located landside; simply because there almost is no typical airside!

I am not sure about slot constrains on the apron, gates, runway, and check-in counters at Tegel, but if landside areas needed slot management, Tegel is the ideal experiment! From this perspective, I could definitely see the need for Brandenburg International Airport, as things have gotten a little too claustrophobic around here. But kudos to Berlin Airports for seriously perfecting the concept of efficient use of space, as you will find everything at Tegel, as you would at Rhein-Main Flughafen!



On my way to Terminal C





The way to Terminal C seemed a little complicated at first, as I had to leave Terminal E and go through the landside area, exit the building, and head through a tunnel that connects to the curbside of Terminal C, before arriving at the entrance. Odd? Very, but it works!



Into the tunnel



Arriving at Terminal C



Terminal C curbside





Terminal C houses nothing but a basic offering embedded within an eerie-type of aura. The hued and rather dim lighting did not help, and neither did the warehouse-themed ceiling-less building that was really aging to the bones. But again, in the midst of all this, things were still neat and orderly. Apart from an array of Air Berlin check-in counters and ticketing desks, this building also houses a café cum restaurant, a few shops here and there, and an arrival meet & greet on the other side.



Inside Terminal C







The display screens on the Air Berlin check-in counters indicated that check-in is possible for 'all destinations,' so I approached a ground agent close by to enquire whether I could do an early check-in for my flight to Dubai. She responded in German, but judging by the tone of her voice, and the fact that she was pointing to a location across the other side of the building, I figured that this was not possible.

Apparently -and as I discovered from another agent at the ticketing desk- Air Berlin offers a 'night check-in' service, whereby passengers can check-in for international flights the night prior to their flight, check baggage, and receive boarding passes. But seemingly, this check-in area -located in the far end of the building at counters 60-73- is also used for the Dubai flight, and presumably any other flight that departs in the evening. When I had reached the end of the hallway, the area was completely deserted around counters 60-73, so all I could do was wait.



Night check-in hallway



Air Berlin Business Class check-in counters







FIDS





The check-in counters for my flight were scheduled to open 3 hours before departure. As such, at around 6pm, a crowd began to form, while ground staff marched out of the back offices and commenced the set-up up for check-in.



In line for check-in





I later realized that the queue I had joined was either for non-Dubai night check-ins or for Economy Class passengers bound for Dubai. So I repositioned myself, and headed towards the free Business Class counter, which was the only one decked out in Air Berlin branding.

"Good evening sir, are you flying in Business Class?"
"Yes I am"
"It would be my pleasure to help you. Where are you flying to?"
"To Dubai"
"Certainly. May I see your passport and ticket please?"
"Sure. Here you go"
"Thank you. Do you have any luggage to check?"
"Yes I do. This one"
"Alright. But please bare with me a few moments as I am having a slight problem with the luggage tag printer"
"Sure. Take your time"

It seemed that the problems with the luggage tag reader continued for longer than anticipated, so the agent kindly asked me to proceed to another adjacent counter, where her colleague was already waiting to assist me.

"Good evening sir, on behalf of my colleagues I would like to apologize for this minor issue. But I will be more than happy to assist you here"
"Thank you"
"Traveling to Dubai?"
"Yes. I had requested a window seat, can you please confirm if my request is in the system?"
"I will check for you"
"Unfortunately I have you seated in 2D which is a middle seat"
"Is it possible to change that to a window seat?"
"It seems that all the window seats are taken, as the flight tonight is overbooked"
"Fair enough"

Within 10 minutes I was checked in, my bag checked to Dubai, and my boarding pass issued. A true eye-opener was a the big fat 'Operated by LTU International' print on the bottom right corner which really took me by surprise. Admittedly, I had no recollection of Air Berlin's acquisition of LTU, but I later learned that this was the case because the aircraft and the crew were still under the LTU business. Needless to say, LTU was another one of those airlines that I wanted to try, especially when they operated that weird weekly 767 flight to Daytona Beach back in the day!



My boarding pass to Dubai



Lounge card







Being at Air Berlin's home base, one would expect that the lounge product would be under the company's own brand, but this was not the case here. In fact, the British Airways Terrace is used for Air Berlin's Business Class passengers. This lounge is located landside, and to get to it I had to exit the terminal building, go back through the tunnel and into that central landside area. As it was quite the walk, it was best to stay in the lounge until it was close to boarding time.



The British Airways Terrace





I was welcomed inside the lounge by a friendly agent where my immediate surroundings were as familiar as any typical British Airways Terrace that I am aware of. The traditional fountain 'terrace' area dominated the main portion of the lounge and was surrounded by independent seating areas -some overlooking a window view and others not- and a buffet spread that included your basic offering of fruit, cake, chips, crackers, boiled egg, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

The lounge was quite busy at the time I was there, and this was due to a departing British Airways flight, which was followed by a Finnair departure in addition to Air Berlin's operation to Dubai. However, the ambience was quite intimate yet unobtrusive, which I found to be quite pleasant.



Inside the British Airways Terrace



Food & Beverage offering









The food and beverage offering wasn’t too inspiring and I thought it would be better to wait until supper on the flight. So by 7:50pm, I left the lounge and hiked my way back to Terminal C, and to Gate C67.



A couple of snaps along the way







Back at Terminal C, the way to the airside area is located through an entrance that is directly opposite to the night check-in area. My documents were checked by an officer before proceeding to a very small security screening area; I think there may have been up to four security checkpoints.

Once through security, the pathway leads along a U-turn direction before arriving at the immigration counters, where my passport was stamped quickly and without a hassle. By 8:35pm, I was airside.



A small duty free section right after immigration





This is more or less the airside facility at Tegel's Terminal C





There was a lot of activity around Gate C67, and it was clear that the flight to Dubai was going to be a full one. It was also interesting to observe the traffic profile on Air Berlin as it was evident that Air Berlin's market is not only the leisure type, but most that originated in Europe and/or Germany; I was definitely the only Arab onboard tonight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are a rarity around here, though you never know. Nevertheless, the excitement of holiday-mode was felt everywhere, and everyone seemed anxious to get on board!



Gate C67




My aircraft is to the right of this picture





At around 8:30pm, everyone formed a queue by the gate, in anticipation for boarding. However it took another 15 minutes before boarding had officially commenced. There was no announcement to this effect, and it was an all-call for everyone at anytime.



In queue for boarding





At the podium, my documents were checked, and my boarding card was scanned and ripped before the agent handed me back the stub. One enjoyable aspect at Tegel -at least here in Terminal C- is the walk-up boarding process which eliminates the hop-on hop-off bus ride to the aircraft. Why use a bus when you can walk and enjoy the scenery?

Of course, to ensure utmost security, the pathway to the aircraft was 'barricaded' with yellow tape over cones such that your only true direction is towards the steps leading to the A330-200 bound for Dubai.



At the aircraft





At Door 2L, I was greeted by what -at first- seemed like a ground agent. It must have been the visible lanyard with his ID card around his neck that gave it away, along with the rather laid-back uniform. But in reality he was the purser for the flight tonight, and next to him was a small stand nicely set-up with a basket of boiled candy. A very unique touch I must add!


"Guten abend"
"Hello"
"Welcome on board sir. Ah I see, you are in Business Class, which is right this way"
"Thanks"



By 9pm I was on board.



CONTINUED BELOW



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineronerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1653 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 29477 times:

FLIGHT
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AIR BERLIN Flight Information:

SCR
/AB/09MAR
W10
09MAR
TXL
KAB7318 31OCT27MAR 0030500 295332 TXLTXL2125 06151DXBDXB J
GI BRGDS


Registration: D-ALPA
Condition: 11.25 years old, previously owned by LTU until April 2011

Remarks: NIL

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



BERLIN TO DUBAI
TXL - DXB
Scheduled Departure: 21:25
Actual Departure: 21:25 (Pushback)

Scheduled Arrival: 06:15+1
Actual Arrival: 06:10+1 (Touchdown)



Welcome to Air Berlin!





As advantageous as it is to board by steps, it can be as equally a nuisance when wanting to comfortably take pictures on board. Passengers board this aircraft in batches this way and as such, people get in your way; but what to do, life must go on I suppose.

Air Berlin's cabin -including the bare hardware of the aircraft bearing the older A330 interior build- was decades behind today's competitors, but I was not really on a mission for something particularly new. And though the paled cabin lighting associated with old aircraft was a little annoying, the ambience overall was borderline retro, which can be enjoyable. The Air Berlin of today is definitely a new airline, but this aircraft evidently had a past lifetime with LTU.



The Cabin





At my seat at 2D, everything was practically neatly pre-set for the flight. Freshly sealed blankets & pillows were placed above the seatbelts, along with headsets to one side. On the armrests, amenity kits and water bottles with individual cups were neatly assembled as well. And to add to this perfection, a piece of tissue was placed inside each cup and over the tip of the water bottle, just for that extra bit of sterilization.



The seat





Two female crew members were in charge of the Business Class cabin tonight, and they sprung into action as soon as the passengers trickled into the cabin. Within seconds of boarding, I was quickly attended to by a crewmember, where I was escorted to my seat and offered assistance with stowing any belongings in the overhead compartment.

Making myself comfortable in my seat at 2D, I find my surrounding confinement rather comfortable. Air Berlin does not boast anything too fancy in terms of its hardware offering -an older generation simple recliner in a 2-2-2 configuration- but the legroom is more than adequate, and the seat itself is actually quite cushiony.



Leg space & new shoes!



Amenity kit



Water bottle & cup



Headset



Blanket





As passengers continued to board, the crew continued to efficiently assist in settling everyone down as quickly as possible. Part of this, a welcome drink service was also conducted by Desirée from Germany, who seemed in a rather cheerful and energetic mood.

"Hi sir, welcome on board"
"Would you like anything to drink before takeoff? I have orange juice and champagne"
"A glass of orange juice would do please"
"Sure!"



My welcome drink



And she let me take her picture too!





Though after posing for the picture above, Desirée blushed into a deep red color, before disappearing into the galley for a few moments. I think I may have caught her off-guard or something; cute!



Side overview



Fellow passengers settled in





At 9:15pm, the captain made an announcement to welcome us on board and inform us that boarding had been completed and we were ready for departure. He also advised us our routing, and that our flight time to Dubai was a quick five hours and 40 minutes. The doors were eventually closed for departure, and the seatbelt sign was switched on while the safety video was played on the overhead screens. At 9:25pm, we commenced pushback and all the howls, spools, air pressures sounds, and whistles associated with this signaled that this journey had now begun!



Cabin views with safety demo playing









At the tip of the active runway, D-ALPA began roaring down as we commenced takeoff , and at 9:35pm we lifted off and headed towards Dubai. During the climb, the crew made a rather detailed service announcement informing us that hot meals will be served, in addition to drinks and duty free which will be available throughout the flight. Furthermore, the announcement carried on where excruciating details about Air Berlin's frequent flyer program -topbonus- were explained. It was like a live brochure, and the crew carried on to list all the mileage special offers, how many miles are earned in Business and Economy on this flight, examples of what one could do with that amount of miles, and so on and so forth.



Cabin lights dimmed as we climbed to cruise











Once we reached cruising altitude, the cabin lights were illuminated and the crew was released to prepare for the service.



Lights on





Fellow passengers were in true holiday vibe, as considering it was a late night departure out of Berlin, no one was in any mood to sleep. Instead, frequent call bells were made with requests for alcoholic drinks. They literally drank themselves to sleep but before then, the crew kept marching to and from the galley attending to such drink requests. If this was an Asian airline, all this bustle can frighten the crew in their attempts to deliver pure perfection, but tonight's charming Air Berlin ladies were very lively, and this charm was to continue throughout the flight.


Meanwhile, menus were distributed and dinner orders taken.

"Mr. Hawi, this is your menu showing you the choices for the meal. As you can see here, we are offering 4 choices between chicken, beef, seafood, and pasta. If you like seafood, I would personally recommend this tonight, but if not, we also have other meals that are not listed on the menu"
"I would also like to show you the features of your seat"
"This button will pull out your footrest, and with this you can recline backwards for a little more comfort"
"You also have a personal screen, which is located below the armrest. You can watch some movies to pass the time"
"Thank you"
"You are most welcome, my name is Haggis, and my colleague is Desirée. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you need anything"



Menu













Menu backside





Menu distribution





Shortly afterwards, Desirée dressed the tables with linens and took our meal orders, in which I chose the pasta.



Table linen



Cabin view during the service





Both Haggis and Desirée rolled out two trolleys, each on one side of the aisle, one for the meal service while the other for beverages. Both services commenced together from the back of the cabin, working their ways to the front before switching sides through the front galley.



Meal service



Drink service





My meal tray was very slick and nicely presented, and it included two starters -potato salad with sour cream and shiso cress, and beef strips with tomato sauce and balsamico- bread, cheese plate, cherry and nut crumble cake, salt and pepper shakers, and silverware.



Meal Tray



Beef starter



Tray view





Tomato juice





Both starters were exquisite, especially the beef which was tender but not bloody which is pretty much how I like it. The best out of all this however, was the bread which was warm, soft, and very very comforting!


"How is everything so far?"
"Great, thank you very much"
"I just wanted to let you know that the movies have started playing on the system, so you can watch something now if you like"


Seconds and thirds were offered on the bread to everyone, and I could not resist a second serving. And once I was through with my starter, my plate was promptly cleared and replaced with my main course of tortellini.



Main course





The main course consisted of tortellini stuffed with truffles, and it came with mushrooms and a tomato and truffle sauce. It was absolutely fantastic! I am a huge fan of truffles, and hence, the choice to have this dish was more than ideal. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the creamy sauce wasn’t too oily. Besides, truffles and mushrooms always go well with such a dish, so there was nothing to complain about!

After the meal service, I pulled out the IFE screen to explore the offering. The inflight entertainment on Air Berlin is very basic and is generations behind today’s norm. In a non-AVOD nature, Air Berlin’s Business Class inflight entertainment consists of a total of six movies that are looped in two sets of three. Furthermore, and apart from the moving map channel, there are also nine audio channels, which feature the usual portfolio ranging from pop to Latin, and everything in between.



Uninspiring movies featured in non-AVOD format



But as long as there is the moving map!





Feeling a little knackered, it was best that I caught a few hours of shut-eye, after days of non-stop walking all over Italy. When in full recline mode, Air Berlin’s seat offered the ideal cradle angle, which in most cases, I seem to prefer over flat or angled beds. A few moments later, I passed out cold for the remainder of the flight.



In bed with your airline!



A few more looks around me before falling sleep











After the meal service, I had ordered a bunch of Air Berlin branded items from the duty free. Haggis gladly offered to help, but she suggested that since it may take some time until my purchased items were brought to me, that I get some sleep and she would take care of it for me. And of course, she had to give me my change back as well, so to ensure that I was aware of all this, she woke me up from my sleep.

“I am so sorry to wake you up Mr. Hawi, but we are landing now”
“I also just wanted to show you that I put your duty free items in the bag under the seat in front of you.”
“And I did not want to wake you up, so I placed your change in your amenity kit. I hope it is the correct amount?”
“I am sure it is. Thank you very much”


By then, it was already 5:30am local time in the UAE, and we had begun our initial descent towards Dubai international Airport. The seatbelt sign was switched on, and the crew continued to wrap things up around the cabin in preparation for landing. Blankets and headsets were collected, and Air Berlin heart-shaped chocolates were handed out, in which I was given two!



My chocolates



“Sir, I hope you had a comfortable flight with us tonight”
“I definitely did, thank you very much”
“And I apologize once again for waking you up so quickly, but I did not want your money to be laying around like that”
“Not to worry at all. Thank you!”



Some final shots before landing





Cabin lights dimmed for landing







D E S T I N A T I O N
At 6:10am, D-ALPA touched down on Emirati concrete, and reverse-thrusted her way down the runway until reaching taxi speed. The airport was filled with aircraft all over the place around that time, and I was quite surprised that we did not get into some holding pattern while on approach. But since we were now on the ground, it was clear enough that this journey had come to an end.

Parking at one of the remote stands close to the Dubai-Sharjah highway, the aircraft had come to a complete stop right next to yet another Air Berlin A330! Truly amazing how everyone comes to Dubai!

The arrival formalities were nothing out of the ordinary, and thanks to my UAE Gate card, I was landside within 30 minutes from touchdown, which by Dubai’s standards is quite impressive.



C O N C L U S I O N
I was quite impressed with Air Berlin, as I had expected. On the ground, the product may have been a tad dicey with all that confusion as to where and where not I could check-in, but once on board, it was all for the best.

The crew definitely went out of their way to ensure all passengers were as comfortable as can be, and they never showed any sign of hesitation at any request; and believe me, there were tons of these throughout the flight!

I think flying Air Berlin on a Dubai route was a very unique experience, as this flight doesn’t seem to be marketed to Dubai residents. So perhaps if you are looking for something a little different –like me- then this option is highly recommended. I will definitely use Air Berlin again, especially if they continue to offer attractive fares. Furthermore, despite the fact that this airline is of LCC origins, I can totally see them as an ideal fit within my favorite alliance, Oneworld.

Some final pictures are to follow before closing this TR.



Buy on board menu from the seat-pocket (not offered on my flight)





Literature and plastic bag







This concludes my Trip Report. I hope that you have enjoyed it; your comments are always welcome!

I know I have been a little slow on a.net recently, but other commitments are eating into my time management. I still manage to read all the great TR’s, which will continue to be the inspiration of my very own. Just bear with me however, and I will eventually respond, albeit as delayed as a typical Biman DC-10 flight! My apologies!


Regards,
Roni







E Q U I P M E N T
- Canon 50D
- Sigma 10mm Fisheye
- Sigma 10-20mm Wide Angle



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F A C E B O O K
Fly Roni
Please mention who you are when (and if) you want to add me as a friend



YOU TUBE
My channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ronerone?feature=mhum
I have a range of taxi, takeoff, landing, announcement, and safety videos posted. Feel free to view them!



THE END



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineluxair747SP From Germany, joined May 2010, 504 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 28958 times:

Hi Roni,

very detailed and nice written TR with many high quality pictures.
Thank you a lot for showing us the AB longhaul product, I have only flown shorthaul with them.
The service looked fine on this sector, and the hardware will be replaced by end of this year as I heard.
What you told about your on ground experience is also my thought, TXL is a bit too cheap looking, but all that will change with BER.

Thanks again for sharing this masterpiece
Cheers
Johannes


User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 77
Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 28887 times:

Hi Roni,

what a great surprise to find this fantastic report here tonight! I was about to turn off my computer, but then your report showed up and I certainly read it immediately! What an enjoyable review, I had been waiting for this one since you told me about the AB trip in Dubai.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I definitely wanted to sample something new and European, and the only other option that was interesting to me, was a Condor flight to Bahrain; but I wasn't too sure I wanted Condor on a 757.

Well, I wouldn't want to spend five hours or more in a DE 757 either!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
The way to Terminal C seemed a little complicated at first, as I had to leave Terminal E and go through the landside area, exit the building, and head through a tunnel that connects to the curbside of Terminal C, before arriving at the entrance. Odd? Very, but it works!

Truly LCC-style!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
"Unfortunately I have you seated in 2D which is a middle seat"
"Is it possible to change that to a window seat?"
"It seems that all the window seats are taken, as the flight tonight is overbooked"

That's too bad!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
A true eye-opener was a the big fat 'Operated by LTU International' print on the bottom right corner which really took me by surprise. Admittedly, I had no recollection of Air Berlin's acquisition of LTU, but I later learned that this was the case because the aircraft and the crew were still under the LTU business.

LT's AOC finally disappeared in April. So you were lucky - keep the boarding pass!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
On the armrests, amenity kits and water bottles with individual cups were neatly assembled as well. And to add to this perfection, a piece of tissue was placed inside each cup and over the tip of the water bottle, just for that extra bit of sterilization.

Very nice, haven't seen that before.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
"Mr. Hawi, this is your menu showing you the choices for the meal. As you can see here, we are offering 4 choices between chicken, beef, seafood, and pasta. If you like seafood, I would personally recommend this tonight, but if not, we also have other meals that are not listed on the menu"
"I would also like to show you the features of your seat"
"This button will pull out your footrest, and with this you can recline backwards for a little more comfort"
"You also have a personal screen, which is located below the armrest. You can watch some movies to pass the time"
"Thank you"
"You are most welcome, my name is Haggis, and my colleague is Desirée. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you need anything"

That sounds very nice!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
My meal tray was very slick and nicely presented, and it included two starters -potato salad with sour cream and shiso cress, and beef strips with tomato sauce and balsamico- bread, cheese plate, cherry and nut crumble cake, salt and pepper shakers, and silverware.

Wow, that looks awesome!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):

The main course consisted of tortellini stuffed with truffles, and it came with mushrooms and a tomato and truffle sauce. It was absolutely fantastic! I am a huge fan of truffles, and hence, the choice to have this dish was more than ideal. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the creamy sauce wasn’t too oily. Besides, truffles and mushrooms always go well with such a dish, so there was nothing to complain about!

I guess I would have enjoyed the main course as much as you did!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
But as long as there is the moving map!

What else do you need?  

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I will definitely use Air Berlin again, especially if they continue to offer attractive fares.

The A330s will get new interiors with an advanced IFE system, a good reason for me to give them a try on a long-haul route.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Buy on board menu from the seat-pocket (not offered on my flight)

I really need to try one of these meals one day.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Just bear with me however, and I will eventually respond, albeit as delayed as a typical Biman DC-10 flight! My apologies!

  


Thanks again for posting this excellent report!



PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineBurj From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 901 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 28863 times:

Great trip report as usual with awesome photos...

TXL is definitely an airport like no other I've been too! Did the BA lounge have a bathroom in it? When I flew out of TXL on Delta I got to use the Air France lounge (also airside) but it did not have a bathroom in the lounge!

BTW what happened to the red shoes? It isn't a Ronerone legroom shot without the red shoes!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
And she let me take her picture too!
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Blankets and headsets were collected, and Air Berlin heart-shaped chocolates were handed out, in which I was given two!

Yeah yeah....we all know all you have to do is flutter your long eye-lashes and the FA's are putty in your hands! Rub it in why don't you!  


User currently offlineSpdBrdConcorde From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 171 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 28832 times:

Spoon...you swiped the spoon...Well Done...The trip has been worth while...LOL...

Great report Roni...Pure class as always.

Vivek Kaul


User currently offlineEuan From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2008, 22 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 28760 times:

Thanks for a great report on Air Berlin. Like you I am looking forward to seeing them in Oneworld. I think they will offer OW members a good cost effective option for long haul flights with a decent business class product.

User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1659 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 28726 times:
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Hi there Roni,

Thanks for this somewhat 'different' trip report of yours. Different I mean the choice of airline  . The rest is high quality, as usual. I have never flown to/from TXL nor have I flown AB (yet), so I cannot quite compare experiences, I'll leave that to others, shall I? Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful write-up!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
and the only other option that was interesting to me, was a Condor flight to Bahrain; but I wasn't too sure I wanted Condor on a 757.

If they use the 753 on this route, that would be something exotic.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Into the tunnel

Ouch, that barbed wire looks nasty...

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Night check-in hallway

Looks more like an empty gym than a checkin hall   

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Leg space & new shoes!

Both look very good!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I think I may have caught her off-guard or something; cute!

We are all humans after all, aren't we?

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
If this was an Asian airline, all this bustle can frighten the crew in their attempts to deliver pure perfection, but tonight's charming Air Berlin ladies were very lively, and this charm was to continue throughout the flight.

True remark!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
"I would also like to show you the features of your seat"

As if by now you would not know how all the features work. No, she couldn't know that, could she? Very nice and personal service done this way.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
But as long as there is the moving map!

The best of IFE one can wish for  

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I hope that you have enjoyed it

I most certainly did!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I know I have been a little slow on a.net recently, but other commitments are eating into my time management. I still manage to read all the great TR’s, which will continue to be the inspiration of my very own. Just bear with me however, and I will eventually respond, albeit as delayed as a typical Biman DC-10 flight! My apologies!

No need to Roni, we all have our priorities and obligations. Just post some report now and then and everybody's happy   



   Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineMIAspotter From Spain, joined Nov 2001, 2735 posts, RR: 25
Reply 9, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 28687 times:

Nice read as usual Mr Hawi!

I see a lot of advertisement for Air Berlin here in Barcelona (that gorgeous flight attendant sure gets your attention)

Did you walked to the main cabin? would be interesting to see how´s ife back there in terms of seatpitch. They had some decent fares to MIA but I am not sure if I want to be stuck in a crampy A330 for 10+ hours.

I remember seeing D-ALPA when she was brand new (and with LTU) in Miami, I was spotting on the perimeter road and saw her taxi and elegantly lift off on her way to DUS. she´s already 11.5 years old... time flies.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
“I also just wanted to show you that I put your duty free items in the bag under the seat in front of you.”
“And I did not want to wake you up, so I placed your change in your amenity kit. I hope it is the correct amount?”

Awww the little details...

MIAspotter.



I think, therefore I don´t fly Ryanair.
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 28642 times:

Hi there, Roni!

wow, I knew you were around in Europe, but this AB flight didn't fit in my profile on you. Really welcome to read about this 'longhaul' service, not often seen here.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Perhaps the airline's marketing slogan -Your Airline- is quite fitting, as there really is something for everyone at Air Berlin. And today, I found something in it for me too!

So right. You know, most of us tripreporters reported on AB's shorter flights every now and then. Now, you joined the club! It even fits you  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I definitely wanted to sample something new and European, and the only other option that was interesting to me, was a Condor flight to Bahrain; but I wasn't too sure I wanted Condor on a 757.

But that would've been a B757-300, really interesting as well, and their premium class product is also recommendable it seems.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was also able to select my seats at the time of booking, which was pleasant at first, only to later discover that my selected window-seat was not available at check-in (and no other window seat for that matter).

Hmm, it doesn't make sense if it's not guaranteed.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I had received an email from Air Berlin, with a notification of a change in my departure time from 21:15 to 21:25 citing that 'that due to urgent operational requirements a flight time change could not be avoided.'

German style! Good communication, I like it.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I could definitely see the need for Brandenburg International Airport, as things have gotten a little too claustrophobic around here. But kudos to Berlin Airports for seriously perfecting the concept of efficient use of space, as you will find everything at Tegel,

So true. Tegel is a special airport, always liked my time around there. Plus, the Starbucks on the 1st floor is good too.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
When I had reached the end of the hallway, the area was completely deserted around counters 60-73, so all I could do was wait.

Couldn't you check-in on a self-service machine then? At least, you maybe had the chance to score a window seat?

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was welcomed inside the lounge by a friendly agent where my immediate surroundings were as familiar as any typical British Airways Terrace that I am aware of.

Good memories. Had an a.net meet with Mark from London there for once.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Food & Beverage offering

Seems some recent renovation has been done in the BA lounge...

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I was definitely the only Arab onboard tonight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are a rarity around here, though you never know.

Can you imagine how I felt on a SV B772 flight... the only white person, and even a crazy one with his camera everywhere...  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
They literally drank themselves to sleep but before then, the crew kept marching to and from the galley attending to such drink requests. If this was an Asian airline, all this bustle can frighten the crew in their attempts to deliver pure perfection,

Oh yes, don't tell me! Try that with the Japanese  
Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
The main course consisted of tortellini stuffed with truffles, and it came with mushrooms and a tomato and truffle sauce. It was absolutely fantastic!

Really good looking meal and I love the tableware!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
I was quite impressed with Air Berlin, as I had expected.

Sure, always! Good flights with them.

Thanks for sharing, mostly interesting report and good pics again!

Eric



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5137 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 28472 times:

Hi, Roni,

great work, really nice pictures, such a good read to follow a flight ex TXL from you´re point of view.
Always interesting for me with hundreds, so it seems flights in and out TXL.

AB doing well on you´re flight, good to know that.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlinelukeyboy95 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2008, 1091 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 28309 times:

Hi Roni,

Yes, like PH, its always a good surprise to see one of your TR's 'pop up'! Infact you've been on 'my mind' a bit recently as I have been touring around Jordan and Amman area. Good friendly stock you come from....!

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
my name is Haggis,

I JUST DON'T BLOODY BELIEVE IT! An FA named after Scotland's national dish and its most illusive species of wildlife. This had me in stitches.

Aviation; Tagel looks very crummy, but this will soon change. The BA lounge looked like a fernery. I did like.
The flight looked just wonderful, and the FA's real stars. The food also looked rather yummy. Do you think (perhaps you don't as you were sleeping) that a small something should be offered for breakfast ? At least in business?

S'pose choccies are a good brekkie!

Cheers Roni, always a pleasure to read. Perhaps in 2 months I will get some writing done.

Luke!



Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
User currently offlinereifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 28299 times:

Hi there, great report!
It's seldom to read about Air Berlin's Business product.
Air Berlin is well known in Germany, however still quite unknown worldwide. Their product is fine, especially for short haul flights (where there is no business class by the way). However their longhaul hardware product, no matter if business or eco, is behind the standard. On the other side you'll pay half what the competitors charge in business, so one should keep this in mind, too. They are starting to retrofit their longhaul fleet in November and they should get state of the art business and eco cabins. However I'm expecting their business fares to considerable raise, especially because they're joining Oneworld and their partners will probably not be happy if they charge half of what i.e. AA charges. On the other side AB will probably be quite happy if premium passengers would pay more.

Workwise (I work for a tour operator) we have a good cooperation with Airberlin, and they're great people to work with. Their sales team is great, decisions and actions are taken so fast, it's not this huge bureaucracy you could find with other major carriers, i.e. Lufthansa. But you also realize that they're quite unused to "global airline procedures". i.e., if you buy a ticket online with them, you don't get a ticket issued, you just receive an invoice and confirmation (that s the PDF that you got, too.). This works well for charters, but now they will start to interline, code share, sell tickets will all their oneworld partner, and that's where there is a need for real electronic tickets, that can be reiussed, endorsed and all that stuff.. Furthermore it's those little details that are very bad for their business:
-Their schedule is bad. it really is: i.e. you fly MIA-Germany-ZRH, you will have at least 6 hours transit in DUS or TXL. i.e. you want to fly from BCN to NYC or MIA, well you can't... You will need to overnight in TXL or DUS. There is just no schedule...
-They do not "go beyound": While they started to codeshare in Europe, in USA it's just on a few routes. They fly to MIA and JFK, two huge Oneworld hubs, they could codeshare anywhere in the US and beyond with AA, but they don't... Actually you wouldn't even need a codeshare, you could just use the existing AA flights and book them under AA flit numbers, and offer a through fare from lets say Berlin to Bogota via MIA (TXL-MIA with AB, MIA-BOG with AA). I'm sure this will start to come, but the earlier the better, they could get so much more business...
-They're unreliable in case of irregularities: Having no partners, they will almost never ever rebook you to other carriers. They do this domestically and a little bit in Europe, but usually if it's longhaul you can only refund or rebook to the new AB flight.
-They're still too much in that "charter market": i.e. ground and sometimes cabin staff don't seem to understand that they should show more professionalism and souveraignity, sometimes their whole ground operation seem a little chaotic. And a very very bad part: They don't open their schedules day by day. What I mean by that is that most major carriers, i.e. Lufthansa, open today booking for flights for in one year, tomorrow they open the flights for the next day in one year and so on. Not with Air Berlin: They open their booking at a specific date for a whole schedule period. I.e. with Air Berlin you cannot book flights later than April next year, while i can book other carriers til august. and they will probably not publish their schedule starting May 2012 before September this year... They loose so much bookings since all their competitors get the passengers...

Generally speaking I have the impression that the people there are learning how scheduled airline business and alliances work day by day. This is not necessarily bad, but they still have a long way to go... It's like that time when I called our rep when they sent us tour operator fares if they could give us fares beyond MIA and JFK with their partners and then the reply was "we never thought of this before, but this is a good idea, will check..."....


Concerning Tegel airport, well it is for sure a little chaotic and way to cramped. They built this shack "Terminal C" to house all the traffic. It's an awful place, but it's very easy to transit with AB, since you just need to pass the door from arrivals to departures and your in the gate area again. However Air Berlin also sends some flights from the A piers, and then it's quite a walk for transfer guests... There is another small terminal, I guess D if I'm not mistaken, on the other side of the main building, which is a lot small than Terminal C and terribly overcrowded. A lot of airlines, i.e. SK, LG, OS and so on depart from there... I'm looking forward to the new airport in Berlin since it will allow Air Berlin to offer a state of the art airport experience for their guests, no matter if it's for departing and arriving passengers or for transfer guests.

Again, thanks a lot for this report. It was highly appreciated since it gave me a nice view of the product I'm actually selling every day. I know this airline quite well and had uncountable flights short haul and long haul with them, but never in business class.


User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1916 posts, RR: 24
Reply 14, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 28101 times:
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Another great report, ronerone!

Air Berlin looks very nice! After reading about them in the most recent Airliner World about their new JFK-TXL, I'd really like to try them .. Their Business Class looks very nice, even though it doesn't have the most modern things. To me, a flight is made with the service, and the way you were treated seemed to outway some of the outdated product offerings.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
The main course consisted of tortellini stuffed with truffles, and it came with mushrooms and a tomato and truffle sauce. It was absolutely fantastic! I am a huge fan of truffles, and hence, the choice to have this dish was more than ideal. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the creamy sauce wasn’t too oily. Besides, truffles and mushrooms always go well with such a dish, so there was nothing to complain about!

Looks delicious! I love Tortellini ..  

Matthew


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4749 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 27982 times:

Guten Tag Herr Hawi...

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
In terms of history, I could feel the icy cold vibes of World War I, II, and the Cold War seeping from every corner, as almost everything seemed untouched. Yet in the midst of all this pre-essence, you will also find random patches of modern architecture that would instantly take you back to now.

Dramatic observation there... But I guess these leftover vibes are rather unavoidable unless a total makeover is done. Pretty much like Saigon and her airport.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
as you would at Rhein-Main Flughafen!

Hahahahah... I dare you to say Rhein Main Flughafen 10 times in quick succession!!! I remember taking German classes back in school and by the time I was done with my "Ich bin student / studentin, Was ist das" routine, my desk would have been peppered with spit.


GEEZ.. look at the spikes on those poles! I keep thinking of a fireman in some morbid Freddy Krueger dreamland being forced to slide down that.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
She responded in German, but judging by the tone of her voice, and the fact that she was pointing to a location across the other side of the building, I figured that this was not possible.

Did you respond in Arabic? Hahahaha...

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Nevertheless, the excitement of holiday-mode was felt everywhere, and everyone seemed anxious to get on board!

Why am I thinking "FINAL DESTINATION"?

Awesome report, as always.



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 27849 times:

Hi Roni.

Thank you for bringing us another fantastic trip report.

The arrangements at TXL are a bit odd and the hall seems to have an "unfinished" look about, reminiscent of a building site. I suppose that once everything moves to the new BBI, it will convert easily to a factory of distribution warehouse.

The BA lounge looks stylish though. I note from the photos that there are windows along one side at least: do they offer decent views over the apron?

Shame about not getting the seat that you "reserved" on line. But the staff at check-in do all appear to be polite and friendly enough.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Though after posing for the picture above, Desirée blushed into a deep red color,

How nice. Desirée comes accross as a lively individual in the photo.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
"Mr. Hawi, this is your menu showing you the choices for the meal. As you can see here, we are offering 4 choices between chicken, beef, seafood, and pasta. If you like seafood, I would personally recommend this tonight, but if not, we also have other meals that are not listed on the menu"

Sounds just like in a restaurant and that they try to accommodate passengers who might want something else. Good for AB . Beyond that, the meal service and presentation rivals that of many other legacy/ full-service carriers.

The aircraft itself might be dated, but from your photos it looks as if it is reasonably well-maintained and clean. It also boasts something that EK's 332s don't: 2-2-2 configuration. That's a major benefit.

It looks as if you enjoyed being a Fluggast with Air Berlin and from your description of the service, it is not hard to see why.

Thanks for sharing, Roni.

Quokka


User currently offlinecaleb1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 353 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 27818 times:
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Thank you very much, Roni. I truly enjoy reading every one of your TRs and I can only hope to one day have the courage to submit one myself. I hope that you will continue to regale us with your TRs, so please, don't stop writing them. Another excellent contributer to ANET is threatening to retire from this practice, and I hope that you won't do the same. Many times, your reports have been the highlight of very stressful days. I look forward to reading any and all of your future submissions so please, keep them coming. I would even subscribe to read them. Thank you again for your contributions to this forum.

User currently offlineB738FlyUIA From Switzerland, joined Dec 2009, 547 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 27460 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Roni

thanks for sharing your thoughts about AB's flight and was such a great pleasure to read it. I'm amazed about the quality of service as they try to do all possible to make the passanger's flight cozy.

I wonder about the bag with the goodies inside. So everybody maybe also in Eco Class receives this? The Food looks really great and think for LC Airline it's sure in the upper class of it's service. For sure after this report will book AB for my next trip.  

Regards



Next Flt: ZRH-KBP-ALA-TSE Rtn on PS/DV 29.7 - 11.8.2014
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1710 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 26752 times:

Hello Roni,

Great report as always, with some excellent picture taking. Nice to see you back on the forum, it's been a while since last  
Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
She responded in German, but judging by the tone of her voice, and the fact that she was pointing to a location across the other side of the building, I figured that this was not possible.

Ah, I'm quite surprised you didn't put it like "@#€&%**!?" instead  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Apparently -and as I discovered from another agent at the ticketing desk- Air Berlin offers a 'night check-in' service, whereby passengers can check-in for international flights the night prior to their flight, check baggage, and receive boarding passes.

Interesting. I'm guessing this is targeted to pax who spend the night at a nearby airport hotel, or for those who sleep on the floor at the terminal? Still don't see why leaving away your luggage before a night at a hotel...

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Lounge card

Didn't know airlines in Europe offered those!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Being at Air Berlin's home base, one would expect that the lounge product would be under the company's own brand, but this was not the case here.

Seems like a case of "low cost operations, aka LCC" i.e outsourcing this service. Then again, I doubt AB have enough premium pax/ Elite FFP's to fill a whole lounge, i.e a flagship one. Having a small lounge at their homebase to cater these needs would be damage the brand's reputation I think.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
boiled egg

Anything more substantial than that on offer? 
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
A couple of snaps along the way

Ah, nice to see the old fisheye again. I was starting to feel a bit lonely for a while  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
I was definitely the only Arab onboard tonight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are a rarity around here, though you never know.

Yeah, well now you know how I feel. I.e most of the times when taking a flight in the region.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
My aircraft is to the right of this picture

So you've got yourself a circular fisheye as well? 
Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
One enjoyable aspect at Tegel -at least here in Terminal C- is the walk-up boarding process which eliminates the hop-on hop-off bus ride to the aircraft. Why use a bus when you can walk and enjoy the scenery?

Nothing I dislike more than having to stand in the bus for 40 minutes, and even worse when you find out the aircraft is only a 30 second drive away.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Air Berlin's cabin -including the bare hardware of the aircraft bearing the older A330 interior build- was decades behind today's competitors,

Seats look old indeed. A bit surprised that they haven't been fitted with the herringbone J seats.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Leg space & new shoes!

I see no colored shoelaces!

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Fellow passengers were in true holiday vibe, as considering it was a late night departure out of Berlin, no one was in any mood to sleep. Instead, frequent call bells were made with requests for alcoholic drinks.

Yeah, I definitely know what you're on about. Same was the case with my SAS flight to DLM. Difference there was that alcohol was limited to three drinks free per pax, though it didn't stop them from ordering. People didn't fall asleep though  
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
“I am so sorry to wake you up Mr. Hawi, but we are landing now”

That's a short flight. So they didn't offer any pre-arrival snack?

Thanks for the report!
//Jonas



SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4253 posts, RR: 51
Reply 20, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 26722 times:

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 19):
Didn't know airlines in Europe offered those!

Of course,. LX gives them in e.g. IST

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 19):
Interesting. I'm guessing this is targeted to pax who spend the night at a nearby airport hotel, or for those who sleep on the floor at the terminal?

Done at most German airports, not only AB, also other airlines are offering this service. So you can check-in quietly the night before and go to your home for a good rest. The next day, no need to hurry anymore and a relaxed way to start your journey!



"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineThe777Man From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 6500 posts, RR: 55
Reply 21, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 26675 times:

Hi Roni!

Very nice report with very nice pictures! AB seems okay but a bit old-school business class. Good to hear from PlaneHunter that they will modernize it. Food looks really good and nice with so many options! Flight attendants seem very nice and caring which is very important to me.

Seat looks comfrtable but I disagree with you on a cradle seat versus flat-bad; I'll take a flat bed seat any time. I have a hard time sleeping in a cradle

The777Man



Need a Boeing 777 Firing Order....Further to fly....CI, MU, LX and LH 777s
User currently offlineBAViscount From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 2338 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 26570 times:

An excellent report, as always. I've only ever flown AB short haul STN-PAD-STN and found them to be an excellent airline and right up there with full service airlines. The F/As were amongst the most helpful I've ever encountered, proactively offering to help stow luggage in the overhead lockers. Great to read such positive things about their long haul service.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 12):
Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
my name is Haggis,

I JUST DON'T BLOODY BELIEVE IT! An FA named after Scotland's national dish and its most illusive species of wildlife. This had me in stitches.



Damn, you beat me to it! I did a double take when I read "My name is Haggis"...I wonder if that's a common German name!! 



Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
User currently offlinesimpsondude From UK - Scotland, joined May 2010, 62 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 26109 times:

A very detailed report and one I enjoyed reading over a morning coffee.
Must have been strange going from the tin shed terminal in TXL to the masterpiece that is DXB.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
my name is Haggis

Being a Scot myself, I was rather amused.


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 24, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 25702 times:

Very well done Roni! I have been looking forward to this one for a while. I always thought you'd wait for AB to join oneworld before you ended up flying on them.

I myself had an experience with LTU FirstComfort (as Business Class was known back in 2000.) Much like you, I was pleasantly surprised and thought highly of the product, especially when compare to what LH J had on offer at the time.

Quoting ronerone (Thread starter):
Admittedly, I had no recollection of Air Berlin's acquisition of LTU, but I later learned that this was the case because the aircraft and the crew were still under the LTU business.

I still associate the widebodies with LTU and not Air Berlin. I know they merged a while ago but they were two very different airlines and I still associate them with their past.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Needless to say, LTU was another one of those airlines that I wanted to try, especially when they operated that weird weekly 767 flight to Daytona Beach back in the day!

It was an MD-11 before it switched to a 767. Almost flew them to DAB once, but ended up flying to MCO instead.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
Being at Air Berlin's home base, one would expect that the lounge product would be under the company's own brand, but this was not the case here. In fact, the British Airways Terrace is used for Air Berlin's Business Class passengers.

If you think about it, LTU's home base was DUS and AB do have a business class lounge there (opened by LT). It seems they still a bit of a ways to go before they are completely merged.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 1):
The British Airways Terrace

Not a bad looking lounge.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Air Berlin does not boast anything too fancy in terms of its hardware offering -an older generation simple recliner in a 2-2-2 configuration- but the legroom is more than adequate, and the seat itself is actually quite cushiony.

It looks like seats have not changed (minus the black leather) since I flew LTU on their 767's eleven years. This is what the looked like back then.
Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
Main course

Looks really nice.

Quoting ronerone (Reply 2):
I was landside within 30 minutes from touchdown, which by Dubai’s standards is quite impressive.

Tell me about it! Jeez...

So where and when is the next trip?


25 globalflyer : Hi Roni... awesome report (as always)! Looks like AB has a lot of opportunity to excel especially since they are joining oneworld. They will need to u
26 aerocabin : Hi Roni, Thanks for the excellent trip report - very informative with great pictures! I was impressed with the level of service that you encountered o
27 HELyes : Thanks for TR, intereresting reading! The meal looked really good. I have been planning to try their C-class on HEL-TXL/DUS-BKK in the future, their p
28 MSS658 : Hi, nice trip report, thanks for sharing it. I'm quite surpised by the high quality of service of AB. Greetings Marc
29 wheretonext : Hi Roni, Thanks for the great trip report. This is the first Air Berlin premium long-haul trip report I've read and I'm surprised by their offering ju
30 Post contains images signol : Hi Roni, another great report in your usual, readable style. Thank you! I must say that I first thought Air Berlin is a little out of your usual range
31 SOBHI51 : Hello Roni The usual great report, thank you But, Orange juice, tomato juice? Anything wrong there?
32 debonair : Hi Roni, nice and excellent TR... But as a former staff, I have to go more in the deep. To go more in detail, AFAIK the Germania contract just ended (
33 Post contains images Departurex : Hello Roni, really an excellent trip report. I've waited quite a long time for such a detailed report on Air Berlin's Business Class coming up. So far
34 Post contains images akhmad : Sayyid Roni, You just cannot stop discovering, can you? Don’t get me wrong! All I want to say is just I am very grateful of your continuous inspirin
35 Post contains images 717Flyer : Hello Roni! First of all, I want to take this chance to thank you for this superb read. Your trip report really made me understand the atmosphere on y
36 Post contains images OA260 : Hey Roni , What a nice read on a Saturday evening Loved to see the product and what they offer. Better than I thought they would be . Nice meals and c
37 Post contains images ojas : Hi Roni ...... as usual my words of praise remain for all your TRs .... excellent work yet again! bored of EK?? LOL Air Berlin did give an immediate f
38 Post contains images infodesk : Hello Roni, What an enjoyable TR. AB to DXB, now there's a nice route not covered on A.net. I was most interested to see how they perform on a medium
39 Post contains images ronerone : Dear All, Thank you so much for your comments and your continued support! For anyone that is interested, i will -in due course- be reporting on anothe
40 Post contains images PlaneHunter : Yes, I can confirm that - only a few months, but it seems to be longer! PH[Edited 2011-08-16 04:56:01]
41 ronerone : Oops! it seems i maxed my limit in my last response! Sorry! Cheers, Roni
42 Post contains images debonair : Hi Roni, some up-dates. I really don't know if already posted! Sorry! Oh Boy, lets hope it is only seasonal- but the flights are now up-loaded until m
43 ClassicLover : Beautiful report! I was interested to see what their Business Class service was like, because they are joining oneworld soon. From what you've posted,
44 Post contains images ronerone : I believe it is, and this clearly tells me that this seasonality in aircraft deployment is relative to the leisure market that the airline targets in
45 ba319-131 : Hi Roni, Sorry it took a while to get around to reading this, just seem to be lacking time at the moment, not good! - I never realised AB were quite s
46 deltamartin : Hi Roni. Great tripreport, excellent writing! AirBerlin longhaul business really looks nice. Definitely on-par with other airlines, despite it's LCC o
47 Post contains images ronerone : Hey Mark! Good to hear from you my friend! I share your sentiment! Time is becoming scarce for sure Totally agree here! Just avoid those seasons they
48 flightsimboy : Roni, you make even an LCC a pleasure to fly on!! Another great report, as usual. When I transited through FRA I had to clear Immigration to go throug
49 linglesou : Great trip report as usual - I was interested to see what someone else thought of AB A330 service... I flew AB7430 DUS-LAX June last year and my boar
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