Review: Airberlin Lounge Dusseldorf Airport

Introduction
US Airways Club Tampa
American Airlines Premium Lounge Miami Airport
Airberlin Business Class A330 Miami To Dusseldorf
Airberlin Lounge Dusseldorf Airport
Etihad Airways Business Class A330 Dusseldorf To Abu Dhabi
Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi
St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Abu Dhabi Airport United States Immigration Pre-Clearance
Etihad Airways First Class A340-500 Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles


The airberlin lounge was only a short walk from my arrival gate, and I found the signage shortly before 7AM. I was a bit surprised that I didn’t have to clear security, as is the norm after getting off a longhaul flight in Europe.

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Dusseldorf Airport terminal

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Airberlin lounge signage Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge signage Dusseldorf Airport

The airberlin lounge is located on the second floor of the terminal, and can be accessed either via stairs or elevator.

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Airberlin lounge elevator Dusseldorf Airport

At the entrance, I was welcomed and directed to the left side, which is where the airberlin lounge is located. To the right is the “Open Sky” lounge, which seems to be the contract lounge used by many of the non-oneworld carriers flying out of Terminal C. Etihad also uses the airberlin lounge, given their joint venture with airberlin.

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Airberlin lounge entrance Dusseldorf Airport

Let me say going in that I had very specific expectations of the lounge, even though I had never been in it or seen pictures. I don’t know why, it’s rare for me to have such a vivid image of a lounge I’ve never been to. But for whatever reason — in line with airberlin’s branding — I expected it to be super-bright, modern, and IKEA/plasticy. I guess kind of like an SAS Lounge, only with more white and red.

The reality couldn’t have been further from the truth.

On the plus side, the lounge was completely empty when I arrived, but it couldn’t have had less natural light and been more dated.

The lounge was a decent size and did feature a variety of seating areas, including couches, comfortable chairs, dining areas, high stools, etc.

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

The lounge was “L” shaped, so it was one long room, and once you reached the end there was more seating to the left.

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge Dusseldorf Airport

There were a selection of international newspapers and magazines available.

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Airberlin lounge newspapers Dusseldorf Airport

And then there was also a buffet spread.

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Airberlin lounge buffet Dusseldorf Airport

It featured yogurt, muesli, packaged cheese and meat, juice, etc.

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Airberlin lounge food Dusseldorf Airport

Then there were baskets with day-old croissants and rolls, packaged snacks, and some trail mix and gummy bears.

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Airberlin lounge food Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge food Dusseldorf Airport

There was a cappuccino machine which was technologically really impressive. You’d put your mug inside the machine, the door would close, and it would “lift” your mug. I guess it’s the coffee equivalent of a Japanese beer machines. Unfortunately the cappuccino it made tasted watery.

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Airberlin lounge cappuccino machine Dusseldorf Airport

There was a decent selection of self serve booze and wine.

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Airberlin lounge liquor selection Dusseldorf Airport

As well as “fountain drinks.”

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Airberlin lounge drink selection Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge drink selection Dusseldorf Airport

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Airberlin lounge champagne Dusseldorf Airport

And a freezer featuring beer and more soft drinks.

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Airberlin lounge fridge Dusseldorf Airport

The bathroom wasn’t even located inside the lounge, but rather between lounges right by the food service area. And the bathroom was disgusting, just about on par with the GOL Smiles Lounge at Sao Paulo Airport.

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Airberlin lounge bathroom Dusseldorf Airport

Beyond that, the lounge didn’t even have any showers. As far as wifi goes, you have to register for two hours at a time, and when that’s up you need to sign up for a new account in order to use the wifi. So you basically have to “cheat” the system in order to get more than two hours of wifi.

I arrived at the lounge at around 7AM and at 10AM decided to leave the lounge, since I managed to catch up on some work and the terminal almost seemed more pleasant by comparison.

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Dusseldorf Airport terminal

As I began to roam the terminal I saw the Etihad crew already sitting in a coffee shop across from the gate having breakfast, which I found to be hilarious. At US airlines, the flight attendants seem to show up just a few minutes before boarding is scheduled to begin, while at Etihad they’re already past security about two hours before departure.

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Dusseldorf Airport terminal

I roamed the terminal a bit, and enjoyed looking at some of the traffic at the airport. There was an American 767 bound for Chicago.

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American 767 Dusseldorf Airport

And a Turkish A330 bound for Istanbul. I was kind of surprised to learn that Turkish sends A330s to Dusseldorf.

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Turkish A330 Dusseldorf Airport

And in the distance was the Etihad A330 that would be taking me to Abu Dhabi.

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Etihad A330 Dusseldorf Airport

I decided to check out my departure gate, C40, which was still fairly empty at this point. As I stood there two ground workers came off the jet bridge and walked into the terminal with a German sense of purpose. As they walked past me I overheard them say with a sense of frustration (roughly translated) “the captain is having a coffee break while I’m trying to get his plane ready to go, we must find him.”

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Etihad departure gate Dusseldorf Airport

Anyway, I roamed the terminal a bit longer and eventually sat down at a cafe for a real cappuccino.

Then at around 11:10AM I headed back to my departure gate, C40.

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Etihad departure gate Dusseldorf Airport

Shortly after arriving boarding began, starting with first and business class.

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Etihad A330 Dusseldorf Airport

I was excited to experience Etihad Airways one cabin further back than normal!

Bottom line on airberlin lounge Dusseldorf

I have to say I was really disappointed by airberlin’s lounge. Admittedly they’re a low cost carrier, but I would still expect their lounge to reflect the image they’re trying to portray. Heck, if anything, as a low cost carrier you’d want an especially nice lounge, to convince business travelers to give low cost carriers more of a shot. It’s even more embarrassing when this is the lounge that Etihad Airways — very much a full service airline — offers their passengers.

The lounge was dark, dated, had nasty bathrooms, and didn’t have showers. The food spread wasn’t impressive, but that’s hardly worth complaining about compared to the other issues, in my opinion.

Have you visited the airberlin lounge in Dusseldorf? If so, what was your experience?

Comments

  1. elteetrav says

    Your comment about “couldn’t have … been more dated” doesn’t seem to match up with the pictures. I agree that the lack of showers and bathrooms that need to be cleaned are a major problem. But the look of the lounge didn’t seem to be as bad as you describe. Or perhaps you are such a great photographer, that you make the drab and dated look OK.

  2. Sig says

    Not as bad as the bathrooms British Airways lounge in Berlin Tegel
    It was one tiny single person rooms nestled between the lounge walls and an elevator shaft. There was raging diarrhea all over the walls and floors. Oh the horror berlin needs to open there new airport imedietly.

  3. hsw25 says

    Iberia is more or less considered a LCC, but their lounge at their primary hub (MAD) is fantastic.

  4. Alex says

    Infrastructure permitting, Germany allows passengers from “clean” flights (i.e. flights from countries where it deems security screening to be at the level of EU screening) to mingle airside with already screened passengers – the idea being that the pax have already passed EU-equivalent screening at their point of origin. Same thing happens at FRA pier A+ with US-originating flights – they can deplane straight on to Z concourse departures whereas other flights which park at A+ deplane onto Z concourse Arrivals. Irritatingly because of passport control restrictions FRA always treats UK-arriving flights (which are technically “clean”) as “dirty”!

  5. pavel says

    what in the world is it with filthy airport bathrooms in germany? the ones at TXL were worse than some of the stuff i’ve seen in india. everything else about the country is well-kept, punctual and diligent. so strange to me…

  6. says

    TK uses an a330 to DUS, because IST has very limited capacity, so they have to increase aircraft size to the max before adding more frequency. That’s why they use a340’s on their LHR route.

  7. EthaninSF says

    I spent a 3+ hr layover at DUS airport, connecting from an AB flight to TK flight in 2012. I was in coach, so did not visit the lounge, but found the airport to be quite pleasant to walk around. Nice shops landside and a few decent eateries. It was a nice mid-size airport and simple for connections (unlike FRA, unless in the F terminal).

    Interestingly, the TK flight I took to IST was operated by a B737 not a A330. At the time, I tried to catch an earlier flight, but it was full. Given all the people of Turkish heritage in Germany, I guess it’s not that surprising to see a big jet between the two cities. Loads seemed very high between the two cities (from my limited experience).

  8. AnonCHI says

    Lucky – be happy you didn’t use the AB “Exclusive Waiting Area” at TXL. That is fare more pathetic. It’s unstaffed and you use your card to get in (was traveling with an Etihad Gold member). It’s literally two small rooms with pathetic food options and some free beverages from a vending machine. At least the bathrooms were cleaner than what Pavel saw at TXL.

  9. Mochi says

    I used the same lounge in April. I agree that it was very bare bones. The soda fountains didn’t even work at all! One plus was the Ritter Sports mini chocolates though, in various flavors. Yum!

    Thanks for the review, Lucky!

  10. abc says

    Regarding not clearing security: Generally, in the EU passengers transfering from a flight orginating in the EU or a country with “EU equivalent security” (which includes all non-EU Schengen area countries, but also the US) do not need to clear security again. However, for practical reasons, (in terms of airport layout) at most airpots in the Schengen area (similarly for the Common Travel Area in the UK/Ireland) this is only implemented for passengers originating in the Schengen area (One exception, as Alex mentions is the new A+ part of Terminal 1 in Frankfurt whose layout was specifically designed for this purpose) . Often, again for practical reasons, you even have to clear security when transfering from a Schengen to a non-Schengen flight (e.g., in Amsterdam or Frankfurt Terminal 2, where security for non-Schengen flights is at the gate).
    I assume that the number of flights from countries where security is needed is small enough that they can organise it differently, at least for non-Schengen to non-Schengen transfers.

  11. BassT says

    If you have some time left, I think its possible to use the Hugo Junkers Lounge in Terminal B as well. Its newly renovated, with a nice view to the planes. Definitly looks better than the other lounge. I would say the food options are a little better there as well, but nothing special. Showers are avaidable there. Entery with Prioritypass, Oneworld Status or Pay (24 Euros or something).

  12. John says

    I was in the lounge for the first time last month and agree with your assessment, but they also let me access the Open Sky lounge for some reason (no better). What I did consider superior was the Hugo Junkers Lounge in the Schengen (B) area. Decent hot food and a tarmac view. My Air Berlin flights landed in B and left from C, so it was convenient for me to pop in all three lounges to compare.

  13. JC says

    @lucky, how did you access the lounge? I was at Dusseldorf in March and had my citi executive AA card and they said they did not accept it and according to them It had to be an Air Berlin branded card. I told them on the site they were part of the Admiral’s club lounge and they didn’t care.

  14. Charlie says

    Just out of curiosity, Lucky, where do those ‘windows’ in the lounge look out to?

  15. Phillip says

    Note to Etihad: Can you please sort out AB’s lounges, in Germany at least? It will be interesting to see what they’ve done at Brandenburg when it finally opens… someday!

  16. wwk5d says

    “And the bathroom was disgusting”

    Dirty bathrooms? In Germany? Unmöglich!

    “Iberia is more or less considered a LCC”

    Um, by whom?

  17. Sig says

    As I said earlier, I am just holding my breath until Brandenburg opens, because I frequent tegel a lot and anyone who’s been there can easily clue you in on the Cold War arecitrcture. Not so good for lounges. Most of them don’t have they’re own bathrooms. Leerzeichen

  18. Ivan Y says

    Very United Club-ish;; very surprised to hear about bathrooms – they must not clean them as often as needed.

  19. RL says

    Lucky,

    Duesseldorf Terminal C is the Non-Schengen Terminal, where – for example – all Non-Star-Alliance flights to UK depart (you might have seen some tiny FlyBe Turboprops…). Hence, you don’t need to clear security until you want to change terminals or go “landside”. If you compare the sheer number of AB flights departing from the Schengen Terminal vs. the Non-Schengen Terminal, it shouldn’t be a too big surprise that the Terminal C lounge seems to be not their top priority… Miami and Fort Myers aren’t exactly known as the top destinations for business flyers from the area, who might be paying flex fares… ;-)

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