Airberlin Business Class A330 Miami To Dusseldorf

Guten Morgen aus Düsseldorf! As I mentioned yesterday, I just flew airberlin business class from Miami to Dusseldorf, and figured I would share my initial thoughts. Of course I’ll have a much more detailed trip report, but I do enjoy sharing my initial impressions as soon as I get off the plane.

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Airberlin A330

Before I dig too deep into this, close your eyes and take a journey with me for a minute. Actually, on second thought, don’t close your eyes… but do take a journey with me. And feel free to listen to Lufthansa’s “Symphony of Angels” while reading…

Do you remember your first love? And thinking how everything about them was so perfect and there’s nothing they could possibly do wrong? And that when something went wrong with them you assumed it was always your fault?

And then when you’re not with that first love, you still think about them and measure all others up to them, both in terms of hard and soft product?

Of course we’re talking about airline love here, and my first airline love was Lufthansa, and they’ll always have a special place in my heart. Yes, perhaps I love them too much. Nah, who am I kidding, that’s simply not possible. ;)

So when I ride their biggest German competitor, I can’t help but compare everything to Lufthansa… as it’s natural to do with one’s first love. The only problem is that I’m comparing airberlin business class to Lufthansa’s first class (because lets be honest, Lufthansa’s business class sucks). And that’s totally not fair, but at the same time you can’t help but measure everything else up to your first love. So with that in mind, take everything I say below with a grain of salt.

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Lufthansa first class cabin A330

AND know that I feel incredibly dirty for cheating on Lufthansa with airberlin…

Airberlin business class seat

Airberlin has just 20 business class seats, so it’s a fairly small cabin. They have a “staggered” business class product, very similar to what’s offered by Alitalia, Etihad, and several other carriers.

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This is probably my second favorite type of business class hard product, after a reverse herringbone seat.

That being said, I can’t even begin to stress how much better the “window” window seats are than the “aisle” window seats.

There are two window seats in each row (one on each side of the cabin), and since it’s a staggered configuration the seat is either closer to the aisle or closer to the window in an alternating sequence.

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Airberlin business class configuration A330

The “real” window seats are so private and have three windows each.

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Airberlin business class “window” window seat

Meanwhile the window seats by the aisle basically feel like you’re sitting in the middle of the aisle “on display.”

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Airberlin business class “aisle” window seat

I booked this trip a few days ago so was only able to snag an “aisle” window seat, but if you fly airberlin business class I would highly recommend doing what you can to snag a “real” window seat. It makes a huge difference.
So I didn’t love the seat as much as I enjoyed it on Alitalia (where I had a true window seat), though it’s still a fairly good hard product. Just keep in mind that the seats are fairly narrow and lack storage space, which is quite frustrating.

Seat 4A business class
Alitalia business class “window” window seat

Airberlin business class food

The food was… acceptable. There was nothing that was bad, but nothing memorable either. At the end of the day for a transatlantic business class flight I tend to think food isn’t all that important. That’s mainly because the business class food is pretty comparable on most airlines between Europe and the US, perhaps with the exception of Austrian and Turkish, thanks to their DO&CO catering.

Service began with nuts and cocktails.

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Airberlin business class drinks and nuts

Food was served on trays, with a salad and appetizer to start.

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Airberlin business class appetizer and salad

Then a main course – I selected the crab cake.

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Airberlin business class main course

And then for dessert there was the choice of a fruit or cheese plate (there was no “sweet” dessert, though the fruit did have syrup).

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Airberlin business class dessert and cappuccino

Now, Lufthansa’s business class catering is actually worse, I would say, but then again Lufthansa business class catering isn’t much to aspire to.

Meanwhile the catering on Alitalia, for example, is excellent.

Airberlin business class service

The flight attendants were exceptional. They were personable, friendly, and attentive. The purser came by shortly after takeoff to welcome me aboard, and all of the flight attendants appeared happy to be working.

The service was fairly “systematic,” as you’d expect from a German airline. That’s to say that all the courses were served for all passengers at once (though no carts were used, which I appreciated). A new drink was offered with each course, and even overnight between dinner and breakfast the crew frequently came around to see if anyone needed anything.

Airberlin business class amenities

On the plus side, the entertainment selection was fairly good, actually better than Lufthansa’s, in my opinion. That being said I don’t really watch much on the entertainment systems nowadays, as I usually bring my own (airplane TV is usually too classy for me).

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Airberlin business class IFE system

There was a fairly nice amenity kit and slippers as well.

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Airberlin business class amenity kit

Now here’s my big beef. Like 60 ounce porterhouse sized beef. There’s one freaking bathroom for the entire business class cabin. And it’s not like other airlines where there’s an economy bathroom right behind business class you can “sneak into,” but rather the economy bathrooms are located behind the economy cabin. One bathroom for 20 business class passengers simply doesn’t cut it, in my opinion.

Bottom line on airberlin business class

Airberlin offers a perfectly functional and pleasant business class product. The service was good, food perfectly edible, and hard product is also quite good for a European airline. If you can snag one of the “true” window seats then the hard product is excellent.

They’re not the love of my life. They’re not Lufthansa, the one I long for whenever I fly with a different airline. But it’s also not fair to compare airberlin business class to Lufthansa first class, so…

And for that matter I think it’s worth pointing out that airberlin now has fully flat beds throughout their longhaul fleet. Meanwhile many of Lufthansa’s planes still feature their old business class product. So all things considered airberlin is doing a better/more consistent job with business class than Lufthansa.

If you’ve flown airberlin business class before, what did you think?

Comments

  1. Andrew M says

    Lucky,
    Do you think airlines that have a two-class configuration on their longhaul fleet (business and economy) do better on their business class than airlines with a three class configuration (first, business, and economy)? Would love to hear your thoughts.

  2. fanb says

    I can totally relate to the first love thing :D
    It’s OS for me and i hate myself every time I have to fly a different airline :D

  3. wwk5d says

    “That’s mainly because the business class food is pretty comparable on most airlines between Europe and the US, perhaps with the exception of Austrian and Turkish”

    Swiss usually gets good reviews for it’s BC food.

  4. Santastico says

    Was that canned fruit that they opened the can and dumped into a bowl? What a joke to serve that as dessert on business class.

  5. Chris in NOLA says

    I had quite the opposite experience from Lucky. I first fell in love with Delta over the course of 1.5 million BIS miles, which, for the most part, was in BizElite because DL didn’t have an F product. Then I started flying BA, QF and CX in F (AA doesn’t really count).

    I got over my first love pretty quick. My newer girlfriend is WAY better. ;)

  6. bfkremer says

    Lucky, when will you fly Lufthansas new business class? Would really like to know how it holds up!

  7. says

    @ Andrew M — If I do fly business class, I make an effort to do so on a two cabin plane. I do find the service is generally a bit better, though that may just be my weird imagination. But there’s something to it…

  8. says

    @ Thomas — I was on a different configuration, and I don’t believe it had a bathroom there. On my configuration they had 5C and 6A, and not 5A and 6C.

  9. says

    @ Santastico — Fruit was actually fairly good, though was still disappointed that was the only “real” dessert option.

  10. says

    @ bfkremer — Yep, have a flight booked in Lufthansa’s new business class next month, so will report back!

  11. Michael says

    Well I guess I can emphasize with you now Ben. I flew LH F for the first time and it was absolutely phenomenal including FC termninal. How can I go back to anything else?

  12. Cecilie says

    I flew airberlin from Chicago to Berlin in February.
    I wrote about my experience here:
    http://bonusfeber.no/test-air-berlin-business-class-fra-chicago-til-berlin/

    It’s in Norwegian… Though you’ll be surprised how similar it is to German ;)

    I had seat 5K and enjoyed my most private business class seat to date. Loved the seat. It was perfect for me, though I agree with you on the lack of storage space.

    I was on a half full flight, so my experience will probably differ from that of a full flight.
    I was consistently mentioned as “Miss Larsen” which I always appreciate. Food was very good, and the service was excellent!

    The young, male purser I had, was amazing. He gave me a glass of water for me to brush my teeth with, but it wasn’t just a simple plastic cup which I expected.. No, it was a glass with a stem.

    That was probably the most memorable thing that happened.. Lol.

    OH! And they had a separate bus for pax in business class when we parked on a remote stand in Berlin!

  13. Justin says

    “Meanwhile many of Lufthansa’s planes still feature their old business class product.”

    You forgot a phrase. I think what you meant to say is:

    “Meanwhile many of Lufthansa’s planes still feature their old business class product, but even if you get the new product, it’s still extremely uncomfortable.

  14. Rick says

    One thing that amazes me with airlines these days in business class is that the seats are so narrow, and yet there is all that “plastic structure” there that gets in the way of relaxation. Why not build a decent wide seat and compact structure. Had that issue on Emirates A380.

  15. Ivan Y says

    @ Lucky – great intro! Did you try sleeping? It’s narrow but wonder if there’s enough room lengthwise.

  16. says

    @ Ivan Y — The bed was just long enough for me, though not much room to spare. I didn’t end up getting any sleep, though.

  17. Ivan Y says

    Thanks! Will be interesting to see your review of LH new J for a more fair comparison :)

  18. stefan says

    @ lucky – thanks for all your helpful posts.
    Would you please advise me on how to look for lufthansa’s new business class product. Flying ORD – DUS in July on LH on an A340 and seat guru shows it as angle lie flat. Still the old product? Thanks for your input

  19. stefan says

    @ Lucky – just read some of your posts about LH BC and the comments of your readers. Seems I should save myself the additional cost in miles on an award ( +20,000 over economy ).
    Would UA business class be better? Like UA to Brussels?

  20. stefan says

    @ Lucky – Great , thank you for your quick comment with the referral to the post.

  21. SST says

    I just did AB Business class a week ago, ORD-TGL. The seats are too short lying down (and I’m only 5’10”), but moreover THEY ARE NARROW, too narrow for me to put my elbows anywhere but in an unnaturally elevated position while sleeping on my back, leading to a week here of elbow pain following the trip. No thanks: not again.

    I am not a big guy, nor am I broad in the shoulders. This was probably the least comfortable J seat I’ve ever experienced.

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