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max999
Topic Author
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Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:23 pm

https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/mensch- ... -li.188320

The new Berlin airport, that has been open less than one year, has been rated 3/10 by passengers in Skytrax surveys.

Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty

IMO, it appears BER's problems are deep. I'm starting to think that the critics who said the airport should be razed are correct. BER management should just start from scratch and should hire architects who have real experience in designing modern airports.
 
ScottB
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 7:50 pm

The layout of the terminal is dumb to begin with. There's really no point in making passengers walk around the access road to reach their gates. A design akin to the new SLC terminal + concourse A would make for less burdensome walking distances while also allowing for a shopping mall space between ticketing/baggage and the gate concourse. If they need more gates it's easy to expand with satellite concourses to the west.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 8:25 pm

max999 wrote:
.....
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty

IMO, it appears BER's problems are deep. I'm starting to think that the critics who said the airport should be razed are correct. BER management should just start from scratch and should hire architects who have real experience in designing modern airports.

Not to nitpick... But cleaning the toilets probably might be achieved without razing the airport. Deploying janitors might help.

Other problems are indeed endemic. Building an airport without a master plan and a responsible lead contractor is mind-boggling. Who thinks up such nonsense??
 
FGITD
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:10 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
Not to nitpick... But cleaning the toilets probably might be achieved without razing the airport. Deploying janitors might help.

Other problems are indeed endemic. Building an airport without a master plan and a responsible lead contractor is mind-boggling. Who thinks up such nonsense??


Crazy talk! I once had a sink full of dirty dishes, so I bulldozed the house. Likewise for their toilets.

No great surprises about this airport. It looks like an architectural group project, where everyone worked alone to contribute to the overall design, but didn’t consult one another. Pieces added here and there.

It’ll take a decade to raze it, and I’m excited for the grand reopening circa 2080 or so given their track record
 
COA75
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:38 pm

max999 wrote:
Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty


Having travelled on only two roundtrips from the new airport, I may not have seen it all, but what I saw was shocking and I can relate to the points listed above.
The flaws of the airport can be put into two categories:
1. Wrong assumptions about using the airport as a hub rather than O&D traffic
2. Impractical design decisions from the early 2000s
Often it’s a combination of both …

Let’s look at some examples:
1. Airport access:
There is a direct access from the Autobahn which helps as long as you’re driving your own car. Unfortunately, the motorway is congested almost the entire day so plan extra time. Also if you park your car (or take a car sharing vehicle) be prepared to face the weather. So far I didn’t find a single parking garage that offers a fully sheltered path into the building.
If you plan to take a taxi from the airport to Berlin, you’ll have a hard time finding one due to legislation of the states of Brandenburg and Berlin that still couldn’t agree on a pragmatic approach to taxi concessions.
There are regional trains which is in my opinion the most stable way to get to the airport. Unfortunately only one of the two routes to the city center has been completed so far, but who would have thought that this airport would ever be ready in the first place. Once you arrive at the airport you’ll then find out that the platforms are pretty narrow, but luggage probably was not a thing when people planned the station. Also all the escalators from the platforms are only going up, so when you’re on your way into town, you’ll have to queue for an elevator or carry your belongings down the stairs. And then there’s the underground line U7. The line itself is pretty practical but it ends in Rudow, about 9 km from the airport. There is a direct bus and I happen to remember that the underground line should be extended eventually but until that day, it’s a 15 minute bus transfer to the airport.

2. Check in
When the airport was planned, self check in and self bag drop was not a yet invented so the entire layout is designed for agent check in with not a lot of space to queue. Even 20 years ago people queued, back then I was younger (about 20 years younger than now to be precise) but I remember airport queues). German media reported that the airport was understaffed during the autumn school holidays last weekend and consequently Lufthansa solved that problem now by asking passengers to arrive at the airport 4 hours before their flight departs. All in all it looks like a check in area that was designed for a hub where a majority of people would connect only.

3. Security
Lots of different entrances to security but at least they put up monitors advising passengers about the different queue times at the different checkpoints, so that’s a little upside.

4. Airside
Haven’t been to the airport for 4 weeks but so far, I still have not seen the travelators in action which makes for some good walks. The airside layout definitely has bottlenecks, for example when making your way from the central area after the duty-free shops to A and B gates. Toilets seemed alright to me (and better than those at Tegel and Schönefeld) but the stalls are not large enough to take a trolley in, which is unfortunate if you have most of your valuables stored in there. The whole layout does not look appealing but at least it feels better to me than the previous airports.

5. Arrival hall
There have been numerous reports about severely delayed luggage at the baggage reclaim, but even worse is that there are only 8 baggage carousels in the arrivals hall and they’re strategically blocking the way to the exit for everyone. So far I only witnessed the chaos that resulted from some half-full flights getting their baggage delivered at the same time, so I am not looking forward to the next time I’ll arrive on a fully booked QR B787 or TK A330 that we see at the airport regularly.

6. Summary
The bad ratings the airport received are not lacking their justification. There’s a lot of reasons on who and what failed here and if it was my job to plan this airport, I may have failed as well. But there are few places in Germany where it becomes more evident what happens, if an airport is planned based on what politicians want and not what the customers need. If you add an oversight board to the mix that is mostly not formed by rounding up people with the right skills but only based on the political party they belong to, you’ll have an airport that lacks behind even on basic components and on a lot of common sense items.


max999 wrote:
Not to nitpick... But cleaning the toilets probably might be achieved without razing the airport. Deploying janitors might help.


Couldn't agree more, but the question is, if they actually can find enough additional staff on short notice...
 
SteelChair
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:41 pm

The amazing thing is that the saga goes on and on and on. How can it be so difficult for a first world country to build an airport terminal and why is there no accountability?
 
COA75
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 9:47 pm

SteelChair wrote:
The amazing thing is that the saga goes on and on and on. How can it be so difficult for a first world country to build an airport terminal and why is there no accountability?


Politicians and high ranking airport officials changed over time and there never was that one person who took all those decisions, so it was fairly easy for everyone to blame someone else
 
rigo
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:21 pm

max999 wrote:
https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/mensch-metropole/reisst-ihn-ab-so-schlecht-bewerten-passagiere-den-flughafen-ber-li.188320

The new Berlin airport, that has been open less than one year, has been rated 3/10 by passengers in Skytrax surveys.

Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty

IMO, it appears BER's problems are deep. I'm starting to think that the critics who said the airport should be razed are correct. BER management should just start from scratch and should hire architects who have real experience in designing modern airports.


This sounds like a normal day at CDG or LAX.
 
panam330
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:28 am

TXL may have been an outdated dump, but at least it was useable. BER seems like a case study in how not to build a new airport from near scratch. These are the types of mistakes you'd expect in third world countries, not Germany. Quite insane, to say the least.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:30 am

max999 wrote:
Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty

IMO, it appears BER's problems are deep.


Queues are solved with labor.

Air conditioning is solved by turning down thermostats.

Signs? There is no more superficial complaint. They can solve that in a day and Euro 5000.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:35 am

I was shocked the other day de-boarding a widebody at FRA and having to walk up a flight of stairs. Coming from disability-compliant North America, kind of a shock.
 
usflyer msp
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:44 am

FlapOperator wrote:
I was shocked the other day de-boarding a widebody at FRA and having to walk up a flight of stairs. Coming from disability-compliant North America, kind of a shock.


Remote stands and stairs are common in every country except the US and Canada.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:46 am

usflyer msp wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:
I was shocked the other day de-boarding a widebody at FRA and having to walk up a flight of stairs. Coming from disability-compliant North America, kind of a shock.


Remote stands and stairs are common in every country except the US and Canada.


This was coming off a United 787 into the international terminal, to the standard mildly stifling German public building, versus hopping on a 320 for a quick long weekend to the Canaries.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:51 am

FGITD wrote:
Phosphorus wrote:
Not to nitpick... But cleaning the toilets probably might be achieved without razing the airport. Deploying janitors might help.

Other problems are indeed endemic. Building an airport without a master plan and a responsible lead contractor is mind-boggling. Who thinks up such nonsense??


Crazy talk! I once had a sink full of dirty dishes, so I bulldozed the house. Likewise for their toilets.

No great surprises about this airport. It looks like an architectural group project, where everyone worked alone to contribute to the overall design, but didn’t consult one another. Pieces added here and there.

It’ll take a decade to raze it, and I’m excited for the grand reopening circa 2080 or so given their track record


:rotfl:

Designed by committee never works out well toward vision execution. And sure, there will be growing pains over the next year or two given how many delays in the final opening there were.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:18 am

I'm shocked I tell you shocked.

I was such a fan of the airport when it seemed there was a 24/7 3- runway plan.

Even though I read so many BER threads, I am at a loss how this happened.

Lightsaber
 
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seahawk
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:08 am

It is not a problem. Air travel in Germany will reduce in the coming decades. Making it unattractive is positive.
 
Judge1310
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:29 am

FlapOperator wrote:
usflyer msp wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:
I was shocked the other day de-boarding a widebody at FRA and having to walk up a flight of stairs. Coming from disability-compliant North America, kind of a shock.


Remote stands and stairs are common in every country except the US and Canada.


This was coming off a United 787 into the international terminal, to the standard mildly stifling German public building, versus hopping on a 320 for a quick long weekend to the Canaries.


Doesn't matter if it was UA or not -- the airport will tell you where you will arrive and you will like it! lol

But, yeah, all jokes aside, it's just something that folks outside of North America are used to. Arriving in northern Europe during winter and using air stairs to descend to a waiting (hopefully) coach to the terminal... what a way to wake up those sleepy eyes! :)
 
MartijnNL
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:05 am

I have used BER twice this summer. I found it strange that access to the lavatories is through a heavy door that you have to open manually. My 'home base' Schiphol and many other airport all have restrooms that are so much better designed. Access is usually through an open corridor. While washing my hands at BER a fellow passenger actually complained to me about the design of the lavatories. The cabin I used had its toilet paper holder broken off from the wall completely.

After a beautiful day in Berlin, my first visit to the city, my phone power was down to 25 percent. I started to look for a power port. After some time I found a device with different kinds of cables for different brands of mobile phones. Not sure why they didn't choose for ordinary power ports. I connected my phone to one of the cables and ate a sandwich real slow. After fifteen minutes the power level of my phone had risen from 25 percent to 26 percent. How is this possible in 2021? During my second visit I luckily found an ordinary power outlet with normal charging times. They should install a few hundred of those as soon as possible.
 
steman
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:12 am

Some, if not most of the complains are in my opinion true.
Since it opened, I have transited through BER 4 times. Always using the RE Trains (Regionals) or S-Bahn (Suburban). I find it is a very convenient way to get right inside the Terminal. Things will probably change once T2 opens and for low cost flights one will have to go out to the main plaza and walk outdoor to T2. But at the moment T2 is closed and all flights from the Nord Pier (the one by T2) are processed in T1.
I like the Terminal. It´s huge compared to TXL or SXF, which makes for a nice change. But I agree that toilets appear to be a bit dirty and run down. It´s also true that some design choices in the train station below the terminal are rather questionable, like the single one way escalator.
Only in one occasion I had to endure very long waiting times at check-in/baggage drop, which was due to technical problems in the computer system. Baggage reclaim has been ok. Security has been always smooth and fast. I know that most of the current problems are due to lack of manpower. The Airport Operator is deep in debts and they are cutting on staff and closing Terminals to save money. So I am mildly confident that most of the current issues will be solved once they will employ more staff.
 
simfanatic
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:16 am

most of the problems seem fixable. The long queues etc. are a result of failure to rehire laid off employees due to the pandemic. Someone in HR didn't think fast enough to rehire as air traffic slowly regained volume. IIRC there are currently 2 people working check-in, where there could be 8.

And yes, the airport was originally conceived as a hub for AB, which then ceased operations due to financial mismanagement (and frankly because the opening of this airport which would've granted room for expansion and connections kept on being delayed).

It is a huge blow to Berlin and Germany.
 
beachroad
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:53 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
max999 wrote:
Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty

IMO, it appears BER's problems are deep.


Queues are solved with labor.

Air conditioning is solved by turning down thermostats.

Signs? There is no more superficial complaint. They can solve that in a day and Euro 5000.


It's a bit worse than that.

Security queues are caused by poor design. The space allocated to security doesn't have much depth, with no dedicated queuing or repacking areas. So straight away you get chaos - better organisation could help here.

Then, only one person at a time can unpack their bag at each x-ray machine, which takes forever. Next step, around half the German's refused to use to bodyscanners, so there was a great big backlog of manual pat downs. Then there is no repacking area, so everybody has to repack in the very small run-off area of the x-ray machine. All of those combine to give a very low throughout, despite the being lots of fully operational lanes.

Next pinch point is Schengen exit passport control. Key problem here is that a large proportion of people leaving Schengen from Berlin are using UK, Turkish and Irish passports. The e-gates don't accept those passports, even for leaving Schengen! This check is on a mezzanine, which is too small. In fact people who can use the e-gates can't physically access them because of the non e-gates queue which often runs downstairs.

Inbound, in my experience, there are only two Schengen passport desks and no e-gates for the arrivals gates. Couple that with extra COVID document checks, and you can queue for one and a half hours easily (not unique to BER).

So, unfortunately there is no way extra staff will solve any of these problems, which are caused by physical design.

I'm also not too sure that turning the thermostat down on an air conditioning system which isn't powerful enough will help, it is a very stuffy building in parts too.
 
dampfnudel
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:45 am

Judge1310 wrote:
FlapOperator wrote:
usflyer msp wrote:

Remote stands and stairs are common in every country except the US and Canada.


This was coming off a United 787 into the international terminal, to the standard mildly stifling German public building, versus hopping on a 320 for a quick long weekend to the Canaries.


Doesn't matter if it was UA or not -- the airport will tell you where you will arrive and you will like it! lol

But, yeah, all jokes aside, it's just something that folks outside of North America are used to. Arriving in northern Europe during winter and using air stairs to descend to a waiting (hopefully) coach to the terminal... what a way to wake up those sleepy eyes! :)

Yeah, I remember getting off a LH A310 at FRA when I was a kid after a flight from EWR thirty years ago. It was a cold December morning, still dark (just after 7), with snow flurries as my mom and I walked down the stairs. The cold air was actually refreshing and I still remember a few pax complaining behind me.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:49 am

MartijnNL wrote:
I have used BER twice this summer. I found it strange that access to the lavatories is through a heavy door that you have to open manually.

Heavy manual doors are usually fireproof doors (especially cheaper models). Now, a good design should be able to avoid such doors in lavatories but given that 95% of the opening delay was due to fire safety troubles, I wouldn't be surprised if they added these lavatory doors only recently to pass certification requirements.
 
cedarjet
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Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 1:12 am

Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:02 am

Really surprised by this. Thought it would be a great airport because they had so much extra time to prepare. I used to love Tegel so much. 20 metres from taxi to aircraft seat. Unique in the world
 
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Chasensfo
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:08 am

ROFL with all the time it took to open, you'd have expected it to be something amazing. At least I did. Talking with Germans over the years, it seems to be a common theme that they say "There is Germany, and then there is Berlin".
 
max999
Topic Author
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:44 am

rigo wrote:
max999 wrote:
https://www.berliner-zeitung.de/mensch-metropole/reisst-ihn-ab-so-schlecht-bewerten-passagiere-den-flughafen-ber-li.188320

The new Berlin airport, that has been open less than one year, has been rated 3/10 by passengers in Skytrax surveys.

Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty

IMO, it appears BER's problems are deep. I'm starting to think that the critics who said the airport should be razed are correct. BER management should just start from scratch and should hire architects who have real experience in designing modern airports.


This sounds like a normal day at CDG or LAX.


The difference being that CDG and LAX are much older airports. While BER opened in 2020, which supposedly should be designed to modern standards and modern passenger expectations.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 2:36 pm

cedarjet wrote:
Really surprised by this. Thought it would be a great airport because they had so much extra time to prepare. I used to love Tegel so much. 20 metres from taxi to aircraft seat. Unique in the world


Kansas City international was designed for that as well...it was supposed to be a Concorde/747 world port. Sadly, dreams hit reality, but for decades you could easily never walk more 20-30 meters to your gate from the road.

Its being replaced by the standard "Shopping Mall pretending to be an Airport" complete with the poorly designed drop off ramp and the 2 km walk to your gate after queuing in the security checkpoint for 30 minutes, all in the name of efficiency.
 
aarbee
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:43 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
cedarjet wrote:
Really surprised by this. Thought it would be a great airport because they had so much extra time to prepare. I used to love Tegel so much. 20 metres from taxi to aircraft seat. Unique in the world


Kansas City international was designed for that as well...it was supposed to be a Concorde/747 world port. Sadly, dreams hit reality, but for decades you could easily never walk more 20-30 meters to your gate from the road.

Its being replaced by the standard "Shopping Mall pretending to be an Airport" complete with the poorly designed drop off ramp and the 2 km walk to your gate after queuing in the security checkpoint for 30 minutes, all in the name of efficiency.

Is that what the new construction on Google maps about?

Seems to be going from JFK style to ORD terminal 3
 
freakyrat
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:50 pm

seahawk wrote:
It is not a problem. Air travel in Germany will reduce in the coming decades. Making it unattractive is positive.


When I visit Germany I ride the ICE all over as its quick and convenient.
 
DUSZRH
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:53 pm

max999 wrote:

Some of the new problems include:

*huge queues at check-in, security, and passport control
*space is poorly planned creating narrow bottlenecks
*lack of air conditioning in queuing areas
*confusing signage
*defective moving walkways
*missing escalators that forces passengers to use stairs
*not enough toilets, they are difficult to find, and they are dirty


„Dit is Bärlin, wa?!“

Nothing new. Same problems existed in TXL and SXF. Why would you expect a new building to change mentality? (I am originally from Berlin).

Ok, they lost the excuse they had in TXL, that they don’t do maintenance on the facility, because it would be teared down anyway. But everyone knowing Berlin knows it was just an excuse.
 
Noshow
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 7:05 pm

The original BER architect is a bright and talented guy the same that had designed Tegel airport back then. But he just designs a plan. What the actual owner of the airport does and who he selects to build it and at what quality level is not his business anymore. The problem is the very good expandable original concept got changed later on, shrunken, another additonal level inside the building got installed, the easy access got changed to central access and forced shopping, and the strategic expansion points provided were blocked. Add tens of years of delays and being way over budget what we have today is just like an empty shell. No surprise it ain't working especially with staff down to minimum and nobody willing to spend even more money on needed improvements and services. There is not even the fast train to downtown that had been promised.

Airport code should be CF...
 
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YQBexYHZBGM
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:01 pm

For anyone who is interested and hasn't heard it, there is a very interesting and entertaining podcast about the evolution of BER called "How to F--- Up an Airport":

https://www.radiospaetkauf.com/ber/
 
Jomar777
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:17 am

freakyrat wrote:
seahawk wrote:
It is not a problem. Air travel in Germany will reduce in the coming decades. Making it unattractive is positive.


When I visit Germany I ride the ICE all over as its quick and convenient.


Only if you are travelling AROUND Germany. What about travelling TO or FROM Germany? Thalys (actually it goes to Koln)? ICE only does Amsterdam, if I am correct (regarding international routes).

Fact is that, if you want to visit Berlin and cannot go by Train or drive, you may end up in Frankfurt, Munich or elsewhere first if you want to get a good airport experience. I used to fly to Schonefeld often in the past and it was an old airport but it did kind of work. I believe that Tegel was the same (never used...). You would expect them to have learnt the lessons from FRA and improved form it rather than going the way they did.

Surprises me that Germany managed to produce such a thing...
 
FromCDGtoSYD
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:34 am

Jomar777 wrote:
Only if you are travelling AROUND Germany. What about travelling TO or FROM Germany? Thalys (actually it goes to Koln)? ICE only does Amsterdam, if I am correct (regarding international routes).


Thalys runs as far north as Dortmund stopping at Dusseldorf, Koln and Essen.
TGV/ICE JV trains run to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and I believe there was 1 daily train that went all the way to Munich but don't quote me on that.
ICE also runs services to Zurich and I believe even up to Copenhagen with diesel trains.

Not sure what they have eastbound but I'm not aware of any HSL in that direction.
 
max999
Topic Author
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:51 am

FromCDGtoSYD wrote:
Jomar777 wrote:
Only if you are travelling AROUND Germany. What about travelling TO or FROM Germany? Thalys (actually it goes to Koln)? ICE only does Amsterdam, if I am correct (regarding international routes).


Thalys runs as far north as Dortmund stopping at Dusseldorf, Koln and Essen.
TGV/ICE JV trains run to Frankfurt, Stuttgart and I believe there was 1 daily train that went all the way to Munich but don't quote me on that.
ICE also runs services to Zurich and I believe even up to Copenhagen with diesel trains.

Not sure what they have eastbound but I'm not aware of any HSL in that direction.


Berlin has much fewer direct train connections outside Germany. From what I understand, Berlin is only connected by train to: Amsterdam, Prague, Warsaw, Krakow, and Sweden (summer only). I wish Berlin had more direct train connections to non-German destinations, so Berlin is reliant on BER, no matter how good or bad the airport is.
 
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GCT64
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:28 am

After reading all these comments, I'm "delighted" ;-) that I'm flying into BER for my first visit next week (pre-pandemic used SXF and TXL a lot so was fully aware of their good & bad points).
At least I'm mentally prepared now!
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:33 am

I flew in and out of BER this summer and can honestly say, the reviews are not wrong. The layout is cumbersome, a bit illogical, and there are numerous inconveniences that are a direct result of the terminal layout. TXL was quaint, but evolved into a mess in its later years. Flew out of the SXF terminal once in 2017. Definitely not nice, very dated, low ceilings, and so forth, but if you don't have to spend a lot of time there, it wasn't all that bad, but obviously not sustainable.
 
mxaxai
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 12:18 pm

max999 wrote:
Berlin has much fewer direct train connections outside Germany. From what I understand, Berlin is only connected by train to: Amsterdam, Prague, Warsaw, Krakow, and Sweden (summer only). I wish Berlin had more direct train connections to non-German destinations, so Berlin is reliant on BER, no matter how good or bad the airport is.

Berlin is the German city for trains towards eastern Europe. Going to Poland or the Czech Republic from southern / central Germany is a PITA. Some direct lines are:

Berlin - Prague 4:20h
Berlin - Wroclaw 4:09h
Berlin - Krakow 7:09h (via Wroclaw and Katowice)
Berlin - Warsaw 6:15h
Berlin - Szczecin 1:46h
Berlin - Vienna 7:40h

Other direct international routes include:
Berlin - Amsterdam 6:09h
Berlin - Zürich 11:52h (overnight sleeper train)
Berlin - Basel 7:46h (or 7:06h with one change of trains)
Berlin - Stockholm 18:00h (overnight sleeper train)

Connections with one change of trains enable destinations as far as Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Bologna, Milano, Budapest and Marseille. Though the travel times to some of those cities is probably a bit too far to be a proper alternative to flights (e. g. Berlin - Milano via the overnight train to Zurich takes 15:56h, or traveling during the day takes at least 11:28h; Brussels is a more realistic destination at 6:46h).

The problem is that there are only three proper high-speed tracks to Berlin; one to Hannover (to the west), one to Munich (to the south), and one to Hamburg (to the north-west). So most of the long distance international trains - especially eastbound - spend all or most of their journey on older, slower tracks.
 
TC957
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:46 pm

BER - PRG is almost exactly the same distance as London -Manchester and yet takes twice as long by train as LON - MAN. I went PRG - BER in the summer of '19 and the train left more than half an hour late as they couldn't find the right loco to take the service. I'll never complain about British Rail again !
 
alan3
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:55 pm

Last week I experienced a 70 minute delay on BER-ATH for no other reason than not enough ground staff. The arrival plane was on time but sat for over 30 minutes at gate because there was nobody to move the jetbridge. And this was the middle of the afternoon. Check-in was equally a disaster with only 2 agents checking in the entire flight (and 1 them on mainly dedicated to Business Class, so basically 1 agent).

The lead FA on Aegean said in 20 years he's never had an experience like it.

Also, I was surprised at how many areas still unfinished.

The airport itself is nice and although a bit far from Berlin, not really an unusual distance in that regard.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:49 pm

Jomar777 wrote:
Surprises me that Germany managed to produce such a thing...

This was addressed earlier:

Chasensfo wrote:
Talking with Germans over the years, it seems to be a common theme that they say "There is Germany, and then there is Berlin".

:checkmark:
 
Noshow
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:20 pm

The way out would be to take another big amount of money -nobody is able and willing to spend- and some real experts to modify the airport up to standard. (Call Singapore Changi maybe?) A lot of things just got completed as cheap and fast as possible but they are designed like a time capsule from 20+ years ago. I know car parks that feel more cozy and comfortable. The easiest thing to change with big benefits would be some faster rail link to midtown Berlin.
 
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Lilienthal
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:43 pm

Noshow wrote:
The easiest thing to change with big benefits would be some faster rail link to midtown Berlin.


Faster is not easy since it would require a separate rail. They're currently building a new connection which another airport express train is going to use. But even now every hour sees 6 suburban trains, 3 regional trains, 2 airport express trains and .5 intercity trains. So to simplify, a train every 5 to 6 minutes. The airport is pretty well connected by rail, which is an assessment that has been shared by the public transport passenger association.
 
Noshow
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:43 pm

If it is so easy why don't they manage to get it done after so many years?
Drama? Yes, but because what mess it is. At super high costs. This needs to be debated for sure and not being silenced.

Those bloody S-Bahn trains take forever and not all scheduled trains are running in the real world. Did you ever use one? I did. Only half of the trains did finally run. And the much glorified "airport express" is doing a 270 degree turn from the south to the east and the north and only finally into the city. Not much practical "express" use.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Fri Oct 15, 2021 6:58 am

Seriously what do you expect from an airport run by states that would not mind having no airport at all? You can not even get a cab at BER and if you do, the price you will pay depends on the number plate and if it says "B" or "LDS".
 
Airdolomiti
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri May 16, 2003 10:05 pm

Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Fri Oct 15, 2021 7:24 am

Noshow wrote:
If it is so easy why don't they manage to get it done after so many years?
Drama? Yes, but because what mess it is. At super high costs. This needs to be debated for sure and not being silenced.

Those bloody S-Bahn trains take forever and not all scheduled trains are running in the real world. Did you ever use one? I did. Only half of the trains did finally run. And the much glorified "airport express" is doing a 270 degree turn from the south to the east and the north and only finally into the city. Not much practical "express" use.

Yes, the current airport express link takes 30 minutes and runs around the city before reaching the central station, but I fail to see how that is the airport’s fault. It’s essentially down to years of delays in the construction of the Dresdner Bahn rail link, which is in the hands of Deutsche Bahn (and the NIMBYs who contributed to said delays). Once that’s done by the end of 2025, there will be an express train every 15 minutes, with journey times cut down to 20 minutes. Not too bad, I’d say.

I would also love nothing more than for the U7 underground line to be extended to BER, but again: not the airport’s fault.

I’m quite familiar with the airport, having worked there daily for several months when it opened. I agree that there are structural bottlenecks (lack of space before/after security, mostly) that cannot easily be fixed. It is also true that these bottlenecks and staff shortages caused chaos last week.

Are travelators broken? Yes, and that’s unacceptable. It’s hardly a huge terminal though.

Are the toilets small and smelly? Possibly. So are those in AMS, as I recall.

Bottom line is, most airports have things that don’t work.

But I also tend to agree with the user who pointed out the at times excessive drama over the smallest fault - BER’s history has, unfortunately, earned it the reputation it has, to the detriment of those things that do work and are a *vast* improvement over the airports it replaced.

Furthermore, those expecting BER to be a state-of-the-art, cutting-edge facility after all these years and the billions spent: the disappointment’s understandable, but can you imagine if they had tried to change all those things during construction (or, better: while trying to fix the CF they made during construction)? That would have been a certification nightmare and we’d still be wondering about a potential opening date some time next decade. I can see how they would have wanted to play it safe and not add any more complexity.

It’s a sad state of affairs, and a testament to incompetence on so many levels. However, the airport’s open now, and the focus should be on fixing what we have, which isn’t as terribly p*ss-poor as some make it out to be, and making it work.
 
Airdolomiti
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Fri Oct 15, 2021 7:25 am

seahawk wrote:
Seriously what do you expect from an airport run by states that would not mind having no airport at all? You can not even get a cab at BER and if you do, the price you will pay depends on the number plate and if it says "B" or "LDS".

The cab thing drives me mad. A symbol of the petty provincialism of local politics if we ever needed one.
 
Noshow
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Fri Oct 15, 2021 7:27 am

Two federal states next door. Sharing one airport. A hassle but no surprise and happening elsewhere too.
 
Jomar777
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Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Fri Oct 15, 2021 7:43 am

Revelation wrote:
Jomar777 wrote:
Surprises me that Germany managed to produce such a thing...

This was addressed earlier:

Chasensfo wrote:
Talking with Germans over the years, it seems to be a common theme that they say "There is Germany, and then there is Berlin".

:checkmark:


I was not expressing news or facts that were already discussed.

I was expressing an opinion.

Please do not disregard other contributor's opinions - ignore them if you must but disregard is plain daft.
 
Noshow
Posts: 2833
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Skytrax: the new BER airport is horrible

Fri Oct 15, 2021 9:55 am

On a positive note they managed to attract some interesting new routes recently and the city is certainly worth a visit. Hope they finally get their airport sorted.

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