I used Air Berlin on a direct flight between Bangkok and Duesseldorf. The flight was very reasonable priced considered that I booked 4 weeks in advance and that is was a direct flight.
I had to call the help desk due to problems with my credit card (my fault not theirs :-) ) and they were extremely helpful and friendly. A* for customer service!
The flight however could have been better. The on board entertainment was less than average. The 3 movies that were shown were in German - not so good when you don't understand a word. Between these 3 movies where gaps during which no on board entertainment was offered.
The meals were good and you could choose between two main courses. No veggie alternative was offered - if you are Vegetarian you have to book in advance.
Conclusion: Due to the weak on board entertainment it was a quite boring 10 hour flight so bring a book/mp3 player with you.
I spent last summer backpacking around europe with friends and travelled by various means including trains, ferrys and flights. By far the best airline we encountered was Air Berlin. We flew with Easy Jet, Vueling, Czech Airways and Ryan Air also but none could compare with Air Berlin.
Flights were very reasonably priced, with maximum baggage allowance of 20kg. Both of the flights we took with them were punctual, staff on the desks in the airports and on the flights themselves were fluent in English and extremely friendly and helpful. Whats more, despite only being short flights of 1 and 2 and a half hours respectively, we were provided with food and drinks included as part of the service, something that wasn't expected and was most gratefully recieved. This in stark contrast to say Easy Jet who on a 3hr flight offered to charge us £2 for a can of coke!
Air Berlin really were in a class of there own and i can only reccomend their services to you.
Air Berlin is a 'semi-low-cost' airline based in Berlin, Germany, and has taken over several smaller German competitors over the past few years, making it part of the 4th biggest airline group in Europe. This month it won the World Travel Award in the category of "World's Leading Budget Airline" for the second year in succession.
I've flown with Air Berlin many times, both as an alternative to Ryanair/Easyjet when flying between Britain and Germany, as well as for travelling within Germany (e.g. Berlin-Frankfurt, Berlin-Munich) or between Germany and other European destinations such as France, Austria and Spain. The UK airports served by Air Berlin are Manchester (with flights to Paderborn) and London Stansted (flights to various German cities, European destinations such as Copenhagen, Helsinki, Paris, Milan, Vienna and further afield e.g. Bangkok, Punta Cana, Miami, Cuba). A lot of the longer flights from London require you to change planes in Germany.
Air Berlin is comparable to Easyjet and Ryanair price-wise, with a few exceptions. It can occasionally cost around 10-20% more on similar routes and at busy periods e.g. in August the prices seem to rise dramatically, especially to Mediterranean destinations. In the summer it's usually cheaper to fly with a national carrier. For example, it would have cost me almost Euro700 to fly from Berlin to Valencia in August with Air Berlin; I ended up going with Lufthansa as it was cheaper. Air Berlin has a frequent flyer programme - perks include air miles and an extra luggage allowance - but I don't use it.
Air Berlin prides itself on the simplicity of its 5-step online booking process. Curiously, it advertises this fact on the TV screens during flights - surely most people on the plane have already experienced the booking process? Anyway, booking flights online does indeed involve 5 steps: 1) choose destination and dates 2) select flights 3) enter passenger details 4) enter payment details 5) confirm. When you're selecting flights, the page displays a large number of flight options and prices at once for quick comparison. If you click next to a particular flight, the total costs including tax (but excluding 'service charge') are shown at the bottom of the screen, which is very useful. The service charge is a payment processing fee, which is applicable no matter what payment method you use.
One feature I really appreciate with Air Berlin is that you can pay by bank transfer (i.e. the money is automatically taken out of your bank account) provided that you bank with a German, Austrian or Dutch bank (I do). The charge for this is Euro10; using a credit card would cost Euro15. Another good thing about the online booking process is that the contact phone numbers are prominently displayed on the site in case of problems.
The reservation confirmation pops up in my inbox straight away, though for some reason I usually receive two identical confirmations. One problem I've encountered is that if you have a long name it can sometimes be cut off the flight confirmation. I phoned up recently to clarify that the booking was still valid (only half of my boyfriend's name was included in the booking) and they said this would be fine, but we were worried in case there was a problem when we got to the check-in desk. However, we checked in without any problems.
A few days before flying I sometimes get an invitation to check in online, which I don't tend to do as I've usually got hold luggage to check in. Air Berlin offers an express check-in via machines at some airports (e.g. Berlin Tegel) but on the occasion I've tried to use it I couldn't as it wanted the number of the credit card or ID card I used to book. Seeing as I paid via bank transfer and as a British citizen don't (yet) have an ID card, I had to go and queue up at a check-in desk.
*****Cancelling your flight*****
Once I was due to fly with Air Berlin to Ibiza but had to cancel a few weeks before due to an injury which meant I couldn't fly (never mind go clubbing!). I phoned up and explained my problem; a full refund was deposited in my bank account a few days later, which I really hadn't been expecting! They didn't ask me to provide any evidence or anything, and just handed back my cash. I was so impressed I emailed their customer service department, and they even emailed back to thank me!
Air Berlin seems to be pretty lenient with hand luggage - I've taken more than one bag/ large-ish bags without any problems. The hold luggage allowance for European and long-haul flights is 20 kilos, but if the length of the trip is 28 days or longer, the allowance is 30 kilos. The check-in staff have always been friendly and efficient when I've flown and I've never had to queue for very long. Seats are allocated, so I usually get a choice of window or aisle seat.
I admit I don't know what kind of aircraft I've flown on with Air Berlin, but apparently the average age of the fleet is 6.1 years. What I do know is that there's a little more leg-room than with Easyjet or Ryanair.
On all the flights to/ from Germany there's a selection of German-language newspapers - usually the main German dailies such as Die Welt, local Berlin papers, and a selection of magazines - mainly women's lifestyle mags and the odd car-related publication. I don't recall seeing any English ones. The cabin crew are generally professional, but sometimes efficient to the point that they speak so quickly that I can't understand what they're saying - in English or German.
All flights include a hot and cold (soft) drink and a snack - usually something like mini pretzels or a small cake on the domestic flights. On longer flights I've had sandwiches (usually a choice of cheese or meat on German-style rye bread or in a roll) and on long-haul flights or flights of 4 hours or more they provide full meals. It's possible to purchase extras such as sweets, chocolate and alcoholic drinks, but last time I flew the cabin crew rushed down the aisle doling out free food and didn't give passengers the chance to ask to buy extra items - despite the Twix bars sticking tantalisingly out of the trolley. There was no price list for sweets in my seat pocket anyway, just a brochure boasting that every passenger gets a chocolate heart (I can't say I ever have).
Duty free goods have been limited on the last couple of flights I took and those who did want to buy anything had to request a small sheet from the crew to see what they had in stock, which seemed a bit of a hassle.
One thing that really makes me smile about Air Berlin is their apparent love of cheesy pop music. On boarding and disembarking they always pipe some random schmaltzy tunes through the cabin. I recall a lot of Celine Dion and Elton John, as well as homegrown German pop, but flying this month we were treated to seasonal offerings from Wham! and Wizzard, among others. As we were delayed before take-off we ended up hearing 'Last Christmas' several times, complete with the video on all the screens. Although I don't mind this at all (I love a bit of George and Andrew) I imagine it could annoy some people!
You can purchase headphones for Euro3 to listen to the music programme but I've never bothered as it is usually a pretty uninspiring list of chart tunes. The on-board TV programme looks dire. It used to be old episodes of Mr Bean, but recently there have been more You've Been Framed/Candid Camera-style programmes, which just seem to involve people falling over or getting soaked with water. They do seem to be popular with the German passengers though.
When the screens aren't showing cars being bulldozed 'Beadle's About'-style, there is a tracker with a map showing how far the plane is from its destination. This is a nice touch as it reminds me of long-haul flights and makes the experience a bit more exciting.
*****The dreaded delay*****
Flying with Air Berlin is a breeze when all goes to plan, but I was recently delayed on a flight and saw a different side to the airline. On the way from Berlin-Tegel to Paris-Orly we were delayed for about half an hour on the runway before take-off because there was a sickening chemical/smoky smell wafting around the cabin. There were no announcements about what it was and the crew didn't respond when people pressed the call buttons to ask. Then it was announced that we were ready for take-off and the passengers were quite worried. Once in the air the pilot announced that the air-conditioning system had started to smoke but "now it seems ok".
On the return evening flight from Paris-Orly to Berlin-Tegel there was a delay at Orly airport. We were only told about it after we should have already boarded at Orly, even though Air Berlin must have known well in advance, since the incoming aircraft hadn't yet arrived from Berlin. This was annoying because if I'd known I would have gone and bought some food before the airport shops closed; also I could have let my boyfriend know of the delay before he set off to Berlin-Tegel airport to meet me.
When we finally took off - 2 hours behind schedule and on a different plane - we weren't offered an explanation for the delay. As we were about to land in Berlin we were suddenly told by the captain that we had been rerouted to another airport - Schoenefeld - as Berlin Tegel closed at midnight. This was a complete surprise to all the passengers and we weren't offered any help or advice on getting into the city - it was after midnight, public transport had stopped, and Schoenefeld's really far out of the city. Many of the French passengers were worried as they didn't even know where they were! The crew quickly made themselves scarce as soon as we disembarked. My boyfriend, who'd gone to Tegel Airport, said they told him an hour before we landed that the plane was being rerouted, so the crew must have known but didn't tell us passengers till the last minute. I ended up getting home 3 hours later than planned, but that was only because I had no hold luggage and managed to get a taxi quickly - for some people it must have taken even longer.
Air Berlin is a little dearer than your average budget carrier, but offers extras such as allocated seats and drinks/snacks. I have always been very impressed with their online and phone service but now I've experienced how they deal with delays - i.e. not keeping passengers informed of what is happening - they've really gone down in my estimation and I might think twice before booking an evening flight with them, lest I get stranded somewhere!
Budget airlines do not come better than this one.
Me and my husband had the chance to fly to Palma (Mallorca) using Air Berlin. I managed to find cheap flights for August, which can usually work out quite expensive. The only drawback is that I had to book a flight from London Stansted to Munster and then from Munster to Palma in order to suit the dates we wanted to fly on.
From London Stansted you can fly to Nice, Barcelona, Palma, Stuttgart, Munich, Vienna, Milan, Rome, Zurich, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hamburg, Dusserdorf, Munster, Helsinki, Alicante, Malaga. They even fly to further destinations ie South America (Cancun, Punta Cana) or Bangkok and Mombasa.
It's been a couple of years since we used Air Berlin but it is the airline that has stuck in our mind for giving an excellent customer service. The staff were efficient, helpful and best of all, we got served free meals of a really decent quality on board. I still remember the delicious cherry cake we had for pudding.
And that was only on a 1h30 flight!
You don't get anything similar on other budget airlines.
They handed us free magazines of the "Hello" style so better than the usual airline magazine. Ok, it was in German but I like a challenge and made sense of some it!
They also handed out colouring books and crayons to children.
During the flight, we were able to see on a screen how far we were from our destination, which I thought was quite cool. And we got to watch Mr Bean. Ok, it's not that exciting but it did entertain us for some of the journey.
One disadvantage I found back then is that we had to confirm our flights over the phone for each way and therefore we had to do it from Mallorca as well but it only took a couple of minutes and wasn't much of an inconvenience.
Although they were rumoured to have gone bust, I've been to check their website and they are still around so I would still recommend them.
I flew with air berlin for the first time about 3 weeks ago (Dusseldorf to Stanstead, then vice versa). First and foremost, I was truly impressed with the brilliant customer service both ways. We arrived at the airport to check-in a little later than we had planned to. We tried using the self check in machines, but for some strange reason the supervisors of the check in queue (which was pretty huge) allowed us to cut the line and placed us at one of the desks. The check in staff were very helpful, and it was all over in a matter of moments! Check in is the most stressful time for me, so this was a really great first impression of the airline.
We went through security and arrived at the departure lounge. The staff were very informative and told us exactly what was happening and what we were expected to do. We then boarded the plane, -Which was very clean and the furnishings all intact- and were off almost instantly. The cabin crew provided us with a choice of sandwiches (free) and a drink (also free). Full meals could be bought, as well as the usual shop in the air merchandise, like replica planes and chocolate etc. We arrived a little later than planned, but that was due to headwinds. Our luggage came through extremely quickly at Stanstead, and nothing was too battered or scratched.
On the return flight, we were 4 hours early for the actual departure time, so we thought we would have to wait at least an hour before we could check in our suitcases. This wasn't the case, as the check in for all airberlin flights was open, so our bags were processed almost as soon as we entered the airport. We waited in the departure lounge for around 2 hours, and then a little longer because the flight had been delayed while coming from Dusseldorf. We did, however, make up the time while flying back into Germany due to tailwinds. We were sat at the very front of the plane, and there was plenty of legroom. We also had 3 seats for the two of us, as the plane wasn't quite full.
In conclusion, the flights themselves were peaceful and we were provided with food and drink. There was little on flight entertainment, but for a journey that was only an hour this wasn't necessary. Our luggage wasn't particularly battered or smashed while in transit, and arrived as they were before the flight. The ground staff and check in staff were extremely helpful and you genuinely felt catered for. This leads me onto say that airberlin really do set the standard for cheap flights.
I can honestly say that I definitely can write an honest review on this airline, I have taken about 40 flights with them in the last 2 and half years! So I know them pretty well.
I can say 100% they are superb!
I tended to book 3 months in advance and I got return flights for around £45.00 on average all in, incidentally it was Germany that I flew too. However the prices are very reasonably regardless of when you book.
The website is very well made and it's easy to find the best prices for when and where you want to travel too.
Tips would be to sign up for their news letter; they don't bombard you with emails, just the occasional offer.
A must have, if you intend to fly on a regular basis, is to send for one of their top bonus cards, you get points each time you fly and once you have a certain amount they upgrade you to silver or gold status, the benefits here are great, including an extra 10kg of luggage, free seat reservation, although before I got my status upgraded, I just asked the check in staff so I always got the seat I wanted. You can also use their quick queue, much to the dismay of others; you get served before everyone else at check in. the bonus miles can tot up very quickly and you can access them online and the big feature is, once you have a certain amount, which isn't that many at all really - you can get a flight for free, or pay just taxes. I managed to get a free return flight on the day I wanted, which was during peak period too, and yes it was completely free.
Aside from the upgrading scheme, they offer fast and friendly service; all the air hostess' and stewards are friendly and speak fluent English.
Everyone gets a free drink - non alcoholic and a choice of sandwich, cheese, turkey or ham. They are very nice too by the way, better than a lot of other airlines!
In the whole time I flew with them, we were only delayed once!
I believe it's quite a new airline, well growing and the aircraft are in great condition, I got to go on a brand new too and that was plush. Very clean and all the little TV screens too, you can buy a set of headphones to listen to the in-flight entertainment and they offer a nice range of both snacks and goodies to buy on board and try the bonbons they give you when you get on and off, very nice.
All in all by far the best airline I have flown with and will continue to do so.
I flew to Nuremberg in Germany for a friends wedding last year. now I am a bad flyer, I hate it so I was worried sick. I took my usual valium in the morning to calm me down. I didnt need to worry - it was the best flight I have ever had! It was as smooth as being on a bus. Best thing about Air Berlin is that they provide a roll and a drink (tea or coffee) for free! And it was yummy. There was no in-flight entertainment but the flight was only an hour so that is probably why. They provided free newspapers and sweets and before I knew it it was time to land. The flight home was just as good. We paid less than £100 for 2 tickets from Stansted to Nuremberg including taxes etc. What a bargain -
and the flight gave me back my confidence!! What more could I ask for!