Airberlin Fully Flat Business Class Installation Complete

One of the major challenges of redeeming oneworld miles for transatlantic award travel is that there are massive fuel surcharges for award tickets on British Airways. Unfortunately British Airways also releases by far the most transatlantic award space of the oneworld carriers, so that’s kind of frustrating.

Airberlin is another great options for transatlantic business class award tickets, not just because they release a good amount of award space, but also because there are no fuel surcharges for award redemptions on airberlin, regardless of whether you’re booking through American AAdvantage or British Airways Executive Club.

airberlin-business-class-award
Business class award cost between New York and Berlin using BA Avios

A couple of years ago airberlin began installing their new fully flat business class product, and it’s worth noting that the installation of this is now complete across their entire Airbus A330 longhaul fleet. So there’s no longer any guessing as to whether your airberlin flight will have the new business class or not.

Here’s a video of airberlin’s new product:

And a picture of the new airberlin business class:

airberlin-new-business-class

Ironically, even though airberlin is technically a low cost carrier, airberlin is now the first German airline to have fully flat business class across their entire longhaul fleet — that’s gotta suck for Lufthansa!

The airberlin business class hard product is almost identical to the one offered by Alitalia in their Magnifica (business) class.

As far as business class hard products go, I’d say it’s one of the best out there.

Forward business class cabin
Alitalia business class cabin

As a reminder, airberlin’s US destinations are as follows:

  • Chicago
  • Fort Myers
  • Los Angeles (seasonally)
  • Miami
  • New York

American charges 50,000 AAdvantage miles for one-way business class between the US and Europe, while British Airways charges 40,000-50,000 Avios for a transatlantic segment in business class on airberlin. As I said above, neither levy fuel surcharges on airberlin flights.

At the end of the day business class — and in particular transatlantic business class — is all about the hard product, and that’s one area where airberlin is a huge winner.

Even when all of Lufthansa’s longhaul aircraft have the new business class, the hard product still won’t be as good as what airberlin now offers.


Lufthansa’s new business class

Have you flown airberlin’s new business class product? If so, what did you think?

I’ll be flying airberlin for the first time shortly, and will be sure to report back!

(Tip of the hat to Head for Points)

Comments

  1. Josh says

    Flew it in December and was very pleasantly surprised by the soft product too. Maybe I just got lucky, but my FA was proactively present and super attentive throughout the entire flight. Much nicer than the brusque, austere LH biz class FAs I’ve had.

  2. says

    I’ve done it – here is a review with photos from a JFK to Tegel last year:

    http://www.headforpoints.com/2013/08/05/review-airberlin-flat-seat-business-new-york-berlin-tegel/

    The food and drink is, erm, eclectic (brussel sprout salad) and they don’t do champagne (which is normal for Germans as you know, they tend to go the prosecco route) but you can’t complain overall.

    Uses the AA lounge at JFK.

    Tegel, of course, is a great airport to land out. Taxi to Potsdamer Platz is about 20 Euros and 20 minutes. Passport control at the gate so you are through within 60 seconds of leaving the plane.

  3. says

    I flew AB biz from DUS to LAX a few weeks ago with their new biz seats. Very nice seats. I was the only non-German flying biz that day. Not super impressed by the food tho.

  4. Larry says

    I have flown both the new LH C as well as the airberlin C product ORD-TXL, and I really have to disagree with you that the AB product is superior. I’m 5’10″ and found the seat to be extremely cramped – and indeed seatguru reports the fully flat length at a mere 71.3″. What’s more, unless you are a couple, in which case it’s not so bad, those two middle seats are extremely cozy with your neighbor.

    LH on the other hand offers a 78″ bed length on their seats.

  5. Andrew says

    I’ve done DUS-JFK in the new C, and overall it was a good experience. Service was proactive and friendly, food was eclectic but tasty, and I enjoyed the privacy of 5A.

    However, I do agree with @Larry that the seat is a little cramped. I am 5’6” so was fine, but I can imagine someone even just a bit taller having problems. Also, maybe it’s just me, but I thought the location of the power port was a bit odd and had trouble finding it at first (it’s down by the safety card pocket).

  6. Pointie says

    How are people finding lax dus and dus lax availability? I see almost nothing

  7. pavel says

    flew the old product last fall, wasn’t too bad either. soft product very nice… friendly FAs, plenty of drinks and food, good selection of IFE. the only negative aspect of the experience is TXL, which — despite its proximity to central berlin — is horrifically outdated and in some places (like the restrooms) absolutely filthy.

    honestly, it’s really quite unbelievable that brandenburg airport has encountered so many delays in opening, considering traditional german efficiency.

  8. Drew says

    I flew a paid Business Class flight TXL-ORD on AB and had a good experience in the air. I had a single seat nearest the window and it was a bit tight when I tried to leave my seat, unless it was in the fully upright position. The FA’s were friendly and efficient and the food/drink was fine. My only complaint with AB is that they did not give me mileage credit for an AB-branded codeshare flight with Etihad to AUH, and as an AA Emerald, I did not receive any bonus miles for my flights either. Due to that fact, I will unlikely fly them in the future for paid flights.

  9. wwk5d says

    Out of all the staggered seats we’ve seen, this one seems my least favorite. I know it is all a matter of taste, but many of the other seats like this (Alitalia, Emirates, etc) seem to have more counter space, no?

  10. says

    @ wwk5d — For what it’s worth I prefer this to the staggered configuration offered by Austrian, Delta, etc. That’s because the legroom is really limited in that particular staggered configuration, while there’s plenty of legroom in this configuration.

  11. says

    I flew this product TXL-MIA back in February. The service and food were great, but I thought the seats were mediocre at best. My husband and I were traveling together and we sat in 1E and 1F. I agree with Drew that the seats were really tight to get in and out of. And while my husband and I could certainly stand to lose a few pounds, we are not huge people by any stretch of the imagination, and our arms constantly bumped on the center armrests because of the narrow seats. The seats were just way too cramped and claustrophobic. Of course, it was leaps and bounds better than coach, but I’m not in any hurry to fly AirBerlin again.

  12. EthaninSF says

    I flew AB in coach SFO-DUS in 2012 and remember as we were boarding hearing a 10-year old ask his parents (about the coach cabin), “Are we in first class?” I will say that the aircraft was clean and new and everyone had a seatback TV, which is probably what that boy was reacting to vs. a traditional US based carrier.

  13. Lantean says

    @Lucky

    sorry, one last question… how does it compare to refurbished AA B767 they fly from NYC to ZRH?
    thank you.

  14. says

    @ Lantean — American’s hard product is very similar to Austrian, Delta, etc., on their reconfigured 767. As I said to wwk5d above:
    “For what it’s worth I prefer this to the staggered configuration offered by Austrian, Delta, etc. That’s because the legroom is really limited in that particular staggered configuration, while there’s plenty of legroom in this configuration.”

  15. Kirby A says

    Lucky – this is unrelated to this post, but do you think you could do a write-up about airlines that have bedding and/or true turn-down service in business class?

  16. Lantean says

    @Lucky

    OK, thnak you. I guess since AB seats are shorter I will rather take AA to ZRH… their beds are longer…

  17. Ivan Y says

    Look forward to a review from Lucky to get his perspective on seat length/cramped-ness.

    P.S. Does anyone have any idea why they fly to/from Fort Meyers? Very popular vacation spot for Germans?

  18. Joey says

    Did you fly Air Berlin or did you cancel this last minute to get your own 200 sq feet of space in LH First?

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