Several hours ago, the inaugural flight of Lufthansa's Berlin (Tegel) - Washington (Dulles) service took off. Aboard were dignitaries such as the German ambassador to the U.S., Berlin's Mayor Eberhard Diepgen and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who was the foreign minister under Helmut Kohl when the Berlin Wall fell.
This is the first direct service Berlin has had to the U.S. for three years (when Delta pulled its TXL-JFK service). Always up until now the airlines have complained that not enough high paying business and first class seats are sold on the Berlin flights. Even many people within Lufthansa are skeptical about the long-term viability of the flight. As it is, it only happened after subtle (but clear) political pressure was applied and landing fees at Tegel were lessened (or perhaps waived, I'm not sure).
Lufthansa is hoping by flying to a United hub that there may be enough connecting traffic to keep it going. I will be flying the route in May (with a further connection to DFW) and I'll write a trip report at that time. The route is being served with A340-200 equipment (the Star Alliance jet was used for the inaugural service).
Dave in Berlin