The Easy Way To (Air) Berlin!!
March 2012, some talks were going around to have a meeting at Berlin for the (at that time) planned opening of Berlin Brandenburg on June 3rd, which is just a few days after my birthday. For sure I was planning on attending. I could have gone directly with Brussels Airlines or Easyjet or with a simple connection in Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt.... But since it was my birthday, why not do something special? As many know their are different foreign airlines operating fifth freedom routes in Europe. These flights are usually enjoyable since it’s a bit different than the usual A320 flight with cookies. Originally I was planning on taking Singapore Airlines from Manchester to Munich on their Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. However since it was a holiday weekend over in the UK airfares were quite high. Another option was the Air China A330 (Athens-Munich) or LAN Chile Airbus A340 (Madrid-Frankfurt) but timings did not fit so good. There was one last option. Kuwait Airways flight twice a week Kuwait-Rome-Paris (A300) and Kuwait-Frankfurt-Geneva (A340-300) and soon found a decent deal on it’s Geneva-Frankfurt segment. It was easy and not too pricey to connect to this flight from Brussels Airlines early morning flight from Brussels. (see Part I)
Brussels-Frankfurt! The Kuwait Way! (by MSS658 Dec 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Next step was to find a way how to attend the Berlin meeting, most logically was taking Air Berlin, Lufthansa or the ICE from Frankfurt straight on to Berlin! However it was easier said than done. I really wanted to fly into Berlin TXL
before it was ‘planned’ to close so the ICE option was ruled out. Lufthansa’s options between Frankfurt and Berlin were nearing 200 EURs one way and the direct Air Berlin flight left just 25 minutes after the arrival from my Kuwait Airways flight. I could have risked it, but it’s nowhere written that I would get the same level of service as swissport in Geneva earlier. After a bit of puzzling I found a nice combo on the ICE and airberlin via Stuttgart. Returning to Brussels the next day I could opt from Easyjet or Brussels Airlines. I would have preferred the latter but SN
’s one way fares were nearing 400 EURs while Easyjet was opting just around the 80 EUR’s. Hard choice... In the number of weeks to come the news came that Berlin Brandenburg would not open on 3 June. Too bad, however I would be logging TXL
still. My return flight would depart from Berlin Schoenefeld!
Let’s start off where Part I ended a while ago, 10:45 at the Frankfurt am Main rail station where I met fellow member and friend Daniel (LH4532). We talked quite a bit while waiting on the ICE train 973 to Stuttgart, He would be joining me to Manheim.
While riding through the German scenery the chat continued. But not without the ICE signature chocolate cake
In Manheim Daniel and I told each other goodbye and soon a new neighbor joined me. Despite my lack of German and my new seatmate’s lack of English me managed to have a small conversation while we were riding towards Stuttgart.
At 12:30 sharp the ICE arrived in Stuttgart Hbf, now a little transfer to the S-Bahn
S-Bahns go pretty frequently to the airport from here.
The second ride to the airport was painless as well, by 13:00 I had arrived at Stuttgart Echterdingen airport
Leaving Stuttgart airport
Day 1: 2 June 2012
First I took a quick view at the FIDS, Everything seems to be running ok this afternoon and so it goes for Air Berlin 6536 to Berlin Tegel at 14:55.
Next up was to collect my ‘grocery receipt’ boarding pass. I was assigned seat 20F. After collecting my boarding pass I still had an hour and a half before my departure time so I decided to head up to the viewing terrace.
Condor A320 (D-ACEC) pushing back.
Hapag-Lloyd - DB
KLM, Aeroflot and Pegasus.
Stuttgart airport was very quiet on this Saturday afternoon.
At 13:45 I decided to clear security and started to head towards gate 143. Shortly after taking a seat I noticed the inbound plane, airberlin 6531 from Berlin TXL
land and taxi towards our gate. Today D-AGEN, a Boeing 737-700 operated by Germania would have the honors to take me on my final sector today.
In the far distance I could spot D-ABOL, a Condor Boeing 757-300 getting ready for her flight to Antalya. I would see this particular airframe again in the very near..
Since I have been on the road since 04:00 fatigueness was starting to settle in and wanted to see how the load was. When asking the gate agent If 20D and 20E were still vacant I got a negative response but I was free to walk over to seat 25F. However she could not print a new boarding pass. Not so long after I got a phone call from the Albergo hotel advising me my reservation has been cancelled despite that I did call in advance to tell I was only spending one night instead of 2 nights (Originally booked 2 flights). After dealing with this issue it was 14:25 and boarding was called for.
11. airBerlin flight AB 6536 from Stuttgart to Berlin Tegel
Saturday, June 2 2012.
/EDDS)- Berlin TXL
airBerlin 6536 (operated by Germania) (Hainan Airlines 8066,Etihad Airways 1524)
Boeing 737-75B D-AGEN (LN: 16) Economy 25F
Delivered to Germania on 23 March 1998. Leased to HAPAG Lloyd and Tui and flies for airBerlin since 6 March 2008
14:55-14:52 (Gate 143; wheels up on runway 25 at 15:04)
16:10-16:07 (Gate C55; wheels down on runway 26R at 16:04)
Announced flying time: 1 hour 02 minutes
Cruising Altitude: FL
Load factor: 75% in Y
167th flight registered
11th flight in 2012
1st flight on airBerlin
7th flight on the Boeing 737 NG
4th flight on the Boeing 737-700
1st flight on D-AGEN
Movies made onboard AB 6536 from Stuttgart to Berlin TXL
Taking off in Stuttgart:
Climbout out of Stuttgart:
Descent into Berlin TXL:
Landing into Berlin TXL:
I was greeted by the female purser at 14:34 and made my way to the back of the bus. Something else I forgot to mention is that fellow member and friend Planehunter also logged D-AGEN the day after from Berlin TXL
to Milan MXP
. You can read his excellent report here.
Berlin A.Net Meeting, Air Malta & Wind Jet (R.I.P) (by PlaneHunter Jan 26 2013 in Trip Reports)
We were parked besides a company Boeing 737-700
Leg Room wasn’t bad at all neither.
For one or other reason I always had thought that Airberlin was a Low Cost Carrier. However the welcome message and on board music made me feel very welcome.
The seats on this bird were quite well-used but were still comfortable. Boarding complete and the whole row for yourself. What more can a mankind want...
Doors were closed and pushback commenced at 14:52, a few minutes prior to schedule. Taxing out I passed some interesting traffic. Like this Germanwings A319 D-AKNV, another airline that I’ve recently tried out.
Or this Contact Air Fokker 100
At 15:04 we reached runway 25 and our takeoff began, Bye Bye Stuttgart. See you next time!
Turning towards the North
Soon the onboard service started. Today there were 4 flight attendants , one F/A that was very friendly and active while the other F/As where “Your typical German carrier F/A” Very efficient, somewhat friendly and robotic. Even with the flight only half full it still took the cart about 20 minutes to reach my seat. A bit on the slow side in my opinion. When the cart arrived I had the choice of a sweet or savoury snack. I was offered both. Courtesy of the chocolate box.
Nice to have a choice on airBerlin.
The overhead screens were turned off the entire duration of the flight. But that was not a big factor on a flight this short. Thankfully we could enjoy the German Countryside.
A quick cabin shot while making a visit to the loo!
At 15:40 our descent started into the Berlin area.
How much I love and enjoy flying, I was glad to be reaching Berlin.
Gear down, flaps deployed and on final approach into Tegel.
At 16:04, D-AGEN touched down on runway 26R in Tegel ending my day of flying fun! On the way over we passed the main terminal. BA985 to London Heathrow this afternoon was operated by G-EUOC (A320)
Just in case I forgot where I was..
At 16:07 we came to a full stop at stand C56
Deboarding went pretty smooth as well, but not before one visit to the best seat in the house.
When I disembarked I was offered a chocolate hart, great extra touch from Airberlin! Deboarding was by stairs and bus, despite the arrivals hall being just 50meters from our position It would have been faster to walk. Last view of D-AGEN
Arrival in Berlin Tegel airport
At 16:15 the bus arrived in the terminal. Quite some crowd inside the terminal, thankfully I did not have to wait for checked-in luggage.
fellow members and friends Flieger67 and Volvair awaited me in the arrivals hall. They landed about 20 minutes before me on SK
2677 from Stockholm Arlanda on their first Boeing 737-600 flight. FLIEGER67 and I decided to take the bus to the city which passed quickly and had a great conversation. Markus, great seeing you again. Before meeting the rest I decided to first do some railspotting in the main HBF, personally one of the most disorganised and confusing stations I’ve been in.
You can read FLIEGER67’s version here:
BER, The Grand Opening, In Theory!. (by FLIEGER67 Aug 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
After an hour I met fellow members and friends Luxair747SP and gabrielchew for a drink before meeting the others for dinner. They both arrived earlier this morning so they could enjoy the city. Something I did regret on not being able to do. You can follow their adventures here:
Berlin And The "Reopening" Of TXL On LH And AB (by Luxair747SP Jun 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Tegel A.Net Meet. SN LHR-BRU-TXL, LH TXL-BHX (by gabrielchew Jul 11 2012 in Trip Reports)
After a nice drink it was time to move to another restaurant just across the street where more A.netters were arriving. It’s great to see the amount of people who all came from all corners from Europe and the world. It was nice seeing some familiar faces again and meeting new people for the first time. The evening passed fast with great food, talk and laughter. I personally tried the Essenbien which tasted ok.
After a great dinner fellow members and friends airtrainer, MD11bob, akhmad and myself continued our journey towards the Schoenefeld area where our hotels where, one (bad) night shot of Berlin.
After a long train ride on the S-bahn we finally arrived at the Albergo hotel at around midnight. When the hotel reception presented the bill they first wanted to charge me both nights double. After some discussion and 15 minutes after dealing with the hotel staff (who could not bother less) the problem was sorted. Not so pleasant if you have been up all day. The room itself was pretty much ok. However for the ones who had a refundable rate and who where able to change their tickets. You're not regretting anything at all...
At midnight I was fast asleep...
Day 2: June 3 2012
The next morning I woke up around 8:00, after a quick shower and use of the (paid) wifi. It was time to head for breakfast. However the quality did not impress neither. At least I had some good cereal and some hot chocolate.
I left the hotel at around 10:00 and was on my way to Schoenefeld airport. First of all I wanted to check in for my flight to Brussels later this afternoon. But soon I heard that it was impossible until 15:00. Oh well, after searching the lockers for a while I asked and learned there were outside near the car park.. Spoken of a bizarre location... Soon I met fellow member airtrainer and we both took the train to Berlin. He stayed in Berlin and I took the bus on to Tegel airport where I joined the rest of the gang at around noon. Off course I could not wait to have my first ‘Es-Bahn’ currywurst
Soon we went to the observation deck, which was free due to some technical problem. Some nice things were seen along the way.
bmi A319 to London, one of the last blue planes to be seen
Airmalta for PH
No Berlin without AirBerlin
Luxair747SP departing back to Frankfurt on Lufthansa 187
And off course... No Berlin meet TR
without the special guest of the day. OM135 that just landed from Ulaan Bataar via Moscow SVO
Airberlin at the main terminal?
After some spotting we decided to have a late lunch in the bar area. After having a little snack and a drink another chocolate box popped out of my bag. I indeed had another surprise for the fellow members and friends for my 21st birthday that was a few days prior. Soon 14:30 approached and I already had to say goodbye in order to catch my 17:05 flight from Schoenefeld. The only way is to take the TXL
bus to the city and then take the train to SXF
. My 15:10 train to SXF
At 15:45 the train was back at the Schoenefeld Airport.
Departing Berlin Schoenefeld airport
First of all I had to walk back to the car park to collect my bag. In case I would get lost, there is a great reference just ahead of me to where I’m exactly.
Dedicated terminal for Easyjet
At 15:50 I arrived in the terminal, I did not have to much time left but thanks to the speedy boarding lane I was able to check in in no-time. After the counter was a rather disinterested lady who gave me my boarding pass without exchanging any word. Soon I was directed to the long security lane. When I reached the end of the lane, I was sent straight back to the check in kiosk. Out of routine I forgot that I was not allowed to bring my backpack and rollaboard. Off course I should have known better but at least the woman behind the check-in counter could help me remind about it.. So back it is. There were 2 (more athletic than me) guys in front of the line, seems like she was a bit more happy with them than with me. After a few minutes chatting it was finally my turn again. I made the remark that she could have told me, once again ignored and the baggage label was attached as well. The positive note was that she did forget to charge me to check in my bag. This time I did not have any problems clearing the security line which I finally passed at 16:15.
During the next few minutes I found myself walking through one of the most bizarre airport layouts ever. Has this always been an airport, or has this been some kind of office building. During the following moments I passed through narrow stairways and corridors. Before entering a duty free shop. Judging the FIDS Ryanair, Germanwings, Easyjet and Norwegian are the dominant ones over here. U2
4707 to Brussels has already started boarding.
Following the way towards the gate I passed through another restaurant, dodged people who were laying on the floor, another narrow staircase and hallway. A quick pic while walking to the gate.
At this time I was really starting to get pissed off about SXF
. Finally I found a gate display with our flight followed by a large que, so far the extra for speedy boarding. I could skip the line a bit until we entered a room (which was to be the gate holding area). Thankfully a few metres further the dedicated lane begun. Unfortunately I was just too late to catch the first bus. A few minutes later a second bus arrived, The front section was reserved for speedy boarding passes. We finally arrived at our stand 34 at 16:45. taken from the bus was a company A319 G-ERTR
We parked in front of G-EZPG, a 7 year old Airbus A319. As others usual go for the rear, I go for the front stairs
At 16:50 I was onboard off:
12. Easyjet Europe flight U2 4707 from Berlin Schoenefeld to Brussels
Sunday, June 3 2012
Berlin Schoenefeld (SXF
) - Brussels (BRU
Easyjet Europe 4707
Airbus A319-111 G-EZPG (LN: 2385) Economy Class 9A
Delivered to Easyjet Europe on 15 February 2005 .
17:05-17:00 (Stand 24; wheels up on runway 25R at 17:05)
18:30-18:17 (Gate A34; wheels down on runway 25R at 18:13)
Est flying time: 1hr 16 minutes
Cruising Altitude: FL
Load factor: 100% in Y
-UZ717-EXOBA-T886-TBIV-T884-GEGVO-T855-AGENI-T865-BATTY-BATTY3A-EBBR25L Personal statistics
168th flight registered
12th flight in 2012
1st flight on Easyjet Europe
18th flight on the Airbus A320 family
8th flight on the Airbus A319-100
1st flight on G-EZPG
Movies made onboard U2 4707 from Berlin SXF to Brussels
Taking off in Berlin SXF:
Climbout out of Berlin SXF:
Approach into Brussels
landing into Brussels :
I was greeted by a young male purser who welcomed me aboard, I immediately went to one of the first available window seats. I did not have too look long, to bad it was just the seat before the emergency exit, but not being one of the first passengers anymore it was to take it or to leave it.
Too my surprise I heard one of the flight attendants speaking Dutch, nice to hear about the (free
) extra service. Later on I would learn that the flight and cabin crew is a mix of Dutch, German, Spanish, Canadian and Polish! Very interesting too a very multicultural crew. Not long after the captain came on telling us that the weather in Brussels is the same but worse. Soon the doors were closed, the manual safety demo started and we were on our way. The purser introduced the crew several times as “you're good looking Easyjet crew”. Great to see some humor after my SXF
ordeal. After a short taxi we approached runway 25R, at 17:05 G-EZPG lifted off into the Grey skies around Berlin, in the distant I could see Brandenburg
The orange engine
Thankfully the weather is a bit nicer at FL
I took a stretch to the back galley and gifted the chocolate box to the dutch speaking F/A. After having a conversation I was offered a free drink. After returning to my seat the service started. I ordered a panini, While the price is a bit on the high side (which I did expect) the taste was pretty good. Another thumb up for Easyjet
After that I started to look around the cabin for fellow member and friend 717flyer and his dad whom were booked on the same flight. But could not find him on my first attempt, his story about Easyjet 4707 can be found over here.
Mates And Muffins! HEL-TXL/SXF-BRU-TLL-HEL (by 717Flyer Jun 6 2012 in Trip Reports)
The weather was cloudy for the entire flight
Full house to Brussels this afternoon
At 17:50 our descent started towards Brussels, still looks cloudy.
Legroom was cramped, and the seat was firm. Wasn’t expecting more to be honest
Easyjet is clearly an LCC carrier.
Cabin being prepared for arrival.
Concerning our approach, there wasn’t too much to see at all. The captain wasn’t joking at all that the weather was even worse.
Land insight, it looks like we are going to land on runway 25R. The usual runway used for departures here in BRU
At 18:13 we slammed on runway 25R. The purser was soon back on the P/A with the usual landing announcement after that the fantastic good-looking crew announced an early arrival time, wished us goodbye and cracked a few more jokes on the P/A system. Kudos to the crew from changing my steaming pissed mood into a good one in less than an hour. Great job folks!! We soon came to a halt at stand A39
I waited until one of the last passengers to deboard. On my way out 717flyer and I finally met. He was sitting a few rows in front of me. When passing the front office we both were allowed a turn in the front office. Here is my outcome
While it was 717flyers turn up front I had a brief chat with the purser about BER! We said he would put money on that it would not open by March 2013.. and well I can’t say he’s wrong. After saying the usual thank you and goodbye's. we proceeded through the rain to the terminal where we entered at about 18:30. One last pic of G-EZPG while it’s being prepared for it’s next mission as flight 2798 to Milan Malpensa
Arrival in Brussels Airport
717flyer and I were not the only a.netters in the air between Berlin and Brussels. Fellow member and friend Sultanils was flying the same route from Tegel on Brussels Airlines which was equally timed then our Easyjet flight. After asking the gate agent he was bound to arrive at gate A50 and we all decided to wait there. For more on Sultanils’ flight from Berlin to Brussels you can follow his story over here:
To BERlin? No, To TXL...: BRU-TXL-AMS-TXL-BRU (by Sultanils Jun 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Soon an Avrojet appeared from the unclean skies onto runway 25R and taxied towards gate A50! This must be SN
2586 from Berlin Tegel. The Avro identified itself as OO
Soon the passengers started to deboard and Nils was the last one in true A.net style. While walking to the Baggage hall we shared our stories. Soon thereafter we said our goodbye’s and went towards our own destinations. After collecting my bag I went to the car park. Payed the rip-off fare of 60 EUR. Soon I was on my way home where I arrived at 20:30 after a weekend of flying fun.
For some or other reason I always had the impression that Air Berlin was a pure low-cost carrier. This however proved me wrong. I was very surprised about the service quality of AB
. While our Boeing 737 wasn’t one of the youngest ones anymore it was definitely a comfortable ride. Having a choice of snacks and another chocolate while disembarking was a nice treat as well. Service level is definitely on par with Lufthansa, if not even better. The only downside is that the service was a bit slower than your average LH
domestic flight. While Stuttgart did prove it’s efficiency, Berlin Tegel is really starting to get outdated and is having problems to handle all the traffic there.
Flying Easyjet was a nice surprise as well. While seat comfort was pure LCC-style the crew really made the day after my ordeal at Schoenefeld. They were the nicest set of the weekend all in happy spirits and joking along the way. Concerning the BOB, I don’t mind paying for food drinks at all. But do like it when I have a great choice and the price is reasonable. While U2
is a bit on the high side, the quality was definitely good. As for Berlin SXF
, I can only say that this was one of my worst airport experiences in a while. Unfriendly staff, narrow corridors, overcrowded, no sense of paying extra for priority etc... I will do anything to avoid SXF
, even if that means paying a lot more or looking for alternative travel methods.
At the end of the ride it was nice seeing a bunch of familiar faces again and even more fun to meet some new faces. Unfortunately the time was very limited this time, however I can’t wait to see you guys in Manchester in a few months.
Air Berlin/Germania 6536 from Stuttgart to Berlin TXL (Total score is 75%):
Departure: 70% (Well and clear signed)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (well used but still clean and well maintained cabin)
Seat Comfort: 80% (Ok, decent legroom)
Crew: 80% (Slow but friendly, one very active crewmember)
Catering: 80% (Choice of 2 snacks, even got extra)
Arrival: 70% (Smooth, however I don’t get it why we need a bus transfer for just a few metres)
Easyjet 4707 from Berlin SXF to Brussels(Total score is 68%):
Departure: 30% (Bizar layout, rude staff, speedy boarding just useless.)
Aircraft cleanliness : 70% (Aircraft was clean and kept clean)
Seat Comfort: 60% (A bit uncomfortable in the beginning but still ok)
Crew: 90% (very friendly, interactive,using humor...)
Catering: 80% (Price is a bit high, but the quality/quantity is fair enough)
Arrival: 80% (Nice and well organized.)
As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in Stuttgart, Berlin (TXL
) and Brussels.
Stuttgart Echterdingen Airport
Total facts in this trip report
2 New Airlines (Air Berlin/Germania, Easyjet Europe)
3 New Airports (Stuttgart, Berlin Tegel, Berlin Schoenefeld)
2 New Registrations (D-AGEN, G-EZPG)
Thanks for reading and viewing this trip report, I hope you enjoyed reading it. As usual, comments and feedback are always welcome
Stay tuned for my next trip report:
Flying the 274-seater narrowbody to the sun!
Past trip reports:
Brussels-Frankfurt! The Kuwait Way! (by MSS658 Dec 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Avrojetting To And From Copenhagen! (by MSS658 Nov 26 2012 in Trip Reports)
Toronto, Niagara And A Delayed YYZ-CDG! (by MSS658 Oct 22 2012 in Trip Reports)
Toronto City Centre? But Not On Porter! (by MSS658 Sep 23 2012 in Trip Reports)
To Canada? On Air Canada If Course! (by MSS658 Aug 31 2012 in Trip Reports)
SAS, Stockholm And The A.net Meeting! (by MSS658 Jul 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
Spectacular Southeastern Sunset Takeoff With US! (by MSS658 Jun 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A332s, A Step Forward In The Fleet? (by MSS658 Apr 26 2012 in Trip Reports)
Going Home, The Star Alliance Way! (by MSS658 Mar 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
Jetting The Blue Way To New York! (by MSS658 Feb 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Chasing The Storm On US Airways! (by MSS658 Jan 24 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Trip On A Classic Silverjet And Some Trains! (by MSS658 Jan 4 2012 in Trip Reports)
Losing My Southwest Virginity! (by MSS658 Dec 18 2011 in Trip Reports)
Au-revoir Continental! (by MSS658 Dec 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
SATA, The Azores And The A310 Part II (by MSS658 Nov 13 2011 in Trip Reports)
SATA, The Azores And The A310! Part I (by MSS658 Oct 16 2011 in Trip Reports)
Sun, Snow, Rain And ... Lufthansa! (by MSS658 Sep 4 2011 in Trip Reports)
Propping Around The Upstate! (by MSS658 Aug 7 2011 in Trip Reports)
US Airways And Irregular Operations! (by MSS658 Jul 17 2011 in Trip Reports)
Lufthansa, There Is No Better Way To Fly! (by MSS658 Jul 5 2011 in Trip Reports)
A Short Hop On A Big Bird! (by MSS658 Feb 27 2011 in Trip Reports)
A West Side Flight On The East Side! (by MSS658 Jan 9 2011 in Trip Reports)
Wifi And Condensation On US Airways! (by MSS658 Dec 10 2010 in Trip Reports)
Air Canada, North America's Hidden Jewel? (by MSS658 Nov 6 2010 in Trip Reports)
A Ride With A Rare Blue Bird! (by MSS658 Oct 31 2010 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A333's.Are They Really That Bad? Part 2 (by MSS658 Oct 23 2010 in Trip Reports)
US Airways A330-300's. Are They Really That Bad? (by MSS658 Oct 16 2010 in Trip Reports)