There are a few airlines that I’ve been as excited to review as Air Berlin. There isn’t much information about their inflight product beyond their website. I had always tried to find an excuse to fly them for longer than their usual short transatlantic hops. The moment came when I was in Belgium, and needed a ride back home. I wanted a to do an Air Berlin A330 Business Class Review. I planned to take the Air Berlin flight from Dusseldorf to Cancun. The flight is around 11h30m long. I searched for award availability on the British Airways website. When I found a seat on that flight, I called American and made arrangements from Dusseldorf to Miami.
I took a British Airways flight from Brussels to London to Dusseldorf. In Dusseldorf, I spent the night at the airport Sheraton. The hotel was nice, but since I had arrived quite late (11pm) and my flight the next morning would leave at 8:50am, I decided to just go to bed when I arrived.
Check-in for Air Berlin opened 2h50m before my departure, so at 0600. The gate agent weighed my suitcase and measured my carry-on. As an American, I am used to airlines not often measuring carry on bags. When my carryon was slightly oversized, I had to switch some clothes from the carry on to the suitcase. After getting my boarding pass, I proceeded to the security checkpoint.
Word of wisdom: the VAT Refund center is located on the other terminal than where AirBerlin operates. This made it especially frustrating when I realized this after I had passed security. Once past security, I headed over to the AirBerlin lounge located in the terminal.
AirBerlin operates a lounge in conjunction with Etihad. The branding around the lounge reflects this. I was the first passenger who arrived there that morning, and was warmly welcomed. The agent took me around the lounge and showed me where the food and drinks selections was. There was a self serve bar, and snacks like packaged cookies. She said the hot food would be put out at 0730. This meant that I would stay there for 20 minutes.
The bathroom is located outside the lounge itself, and is shared with the other premium lounges there. The bathroom is really unremarkable and basic. It didn’t even have branded soap, as so many others usually do.
After visiting the lounge for what felt like a second, I went downstairs to grab a sandwich from a food court of sorts restaurant. The gate was located right next to the restaurant so when they called passengers to recheck for passport checks I walked less than 20 meters. The agent was very friendly, and I was ready in seconds. The flight seemed to be completely full, with most passengers being people going on holiday to Cancun. Boarding began quickly with Business Class. I handed the agent my boarding pass, and was on my way onboard.
Dusseldorf (DUS)- Cancun (CUN)
Aircraft : A332
When I got to the boarding door, the kind purser looked at my boarding pass and handed me over to the flight attendant who would be working my aisle. As it turned out, she was Catalan and a FC Barcelona fan. I was wearing a Club shirt, and we began to talk about FCB’s recent win streak and prospects for the next year. She pointed me to my seat 3A. Seats on AirBerlin’s A330 have the same seat as Etihad’s older business class. They are staggered, with the foot cubby where the seat in front of you has their table. On my seat there was a pillow. In the foot rest there was a packet with noise canceling headphones. They weren’t very good, so I just stuck to using my own.
The amenity kit was Tumi branded, and came with all the essentials as well as cream from Rituals. The seat monitor was fixed above the footrest and the control was to my right. The control was severely beat up. The on button was almost faded. When the flight attendant came by to offer me water or juice as a pre departure beverage, she also asked if I wanted slippers. I quite value slippers on planes, since it allows me to walk around the plane without getting my socks dirty. As soon as boarding was over, and all the seats in business class were taken, the captain gave his welcome on board. We left the gate 5 minutes late, but soon enough we were airborne.
The airline divided service into three (yes, THREE) parts. The first was a small breakfast that consisted of two small sandwiches and a yoghurt with sweet cherry compote and muesli. The breakfast course was served quickly after takeoff and was served with our choice of beverage. The sandwiches were cold, but the yoghurt was amazing, and I normally don’t like yoghurt.
After the short breakfast service, I decided to take a nap. The seat reclines to a fully flat position, and the seats closer to the window are almost like suites. Seat controls were to the right of me and included a massage function. I slept for a solid 3 hours.
I was woken up by the lunch service. The menu was extensive enough, especially with the three meal system. I ordered the appetizers and the special dish. The specialty consisted of a bacon wrapped stuffed chicken with rice. It was delicious and flavorful. The rest of the meal was not as impressive as the main dish. For dessert I ordered the apple caramel tart. It was sweet, but nothing wow.
I worked for about an hour, and then went back to sleep. The bad thing about long day flights is that they throw you off your normal circadian rhythm.
Pre arrival meal and Arrival
When I woke up about two hours away from Cancun, I found a bottle of water next to my seat. The flight attendants would soon turn on the lights for the pre arrival meal. The pre arrival meal consisted of a cold dish of chicken with cold salad, and two side plates that are described in the menu. I am not describing them because I still am unsure which was which due to the flavor. Nonetheless they were good and went well with the chicken.
About 45 minutes out of Cancun, we could see Cuba from the window. I began to plan my trip to Cuba while on the flight, so hopefully I will be able to go very soon. When the captain announced we would be landing soon, the flight attendants came by with the airline’s signature heart shaped chocolate. I also asked if I could have one more sample of the yoghurt, which they brought to me with the condition I eat it quickly. That was certainly the highlight of the flight.
We landed on time in Cancun, yet the priority bags were the last to be delivered, as I saw all the other business class passengers waiting with me. Once I had them, I checked in with American and was ready for my short leg to Miami.
With kind, efficient and engaging crew, this flight ranks as one of my best business class flights I have taken. Although the menu did not offer much variety, the quality of the ingredients was good and fresh. The fact that they feed you three times is an A+ in my opinion. The seat is a bit narrow, but otherwise comfortable. The amenities were limited, and I would have liked to see better products in the kit. It is now one of my favorite options to fly back to the US from Europe. Highly recommend AirBerlin Business class.
What do you think? Have you flown AirBerlin? What was your experience like? Let us know!