This week I got to try out a new carrier- airberlin business class from Berlin to JFK. While known as somewhat of a low-cost carrier, they do offer a respectable business class and they are in the process of retrofitting their cabin with all aisle access lie-flat beds. I was lucky (or unlucky, as you’ll find out) to get one of these new seats on my flight this week. While my airberlin experience was fine overall- I got to New York non-stop and the crew was friendly enough, I’m not clamoring to fly them again due to their poor ground services and super-cramped seat.
Air Berlin also flies nonstop from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) to Chicago-O’Hare, Miami, and seasonally to Los Angeles. From Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) they fly direct to New York-JFK, Fort Myers, Miami, and Los Angeles.
You can actually view which routes offer the new Business Class product each day, however, it does say there is no guarantee that it will be correct, since they may have an aircraft swap. Because I am trying to requalify for American Executive Platinum status on points this year and I was able to find a reasonably priced ticket (, 400), I decided to pay for this flight outright and book Business Class, with a return back to Europe later in the fall on American.
However, you can book Air Berlin flights using British Airways Avios, and thanks to the program’s distance-based requirements for awards, each way of a Business Class ticket from JFK-TXL requires just 40, 000 Avios. That’s compared to the 50, 000 miles each way American would charge you. Coach would be 20, 000 Avios vs 30, 000 AA (20, 000 offpeak).
On the Ground
Berlin is getting a fancy new airport within the next year and it can’t come soon enough. While Tegel (TXL) is relatively close to the city (25 euro/20 minute taxi), the airport is outdated and disjointed.
The airline’s ground service was pretty abysmal. You would think flying out of one of their hubs, it would be better but that wasn’t the case. They don’t have their own lounge, but instead use the British Airways lounge which had basic finger sandwiches and bar, but didn’t even have a bathroom!
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