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After three fun days in Berlin, our next stop was Vienna. Once again we redeemed British Airways Avios for the journey, and had an early afternoon flight from Berlin to Vienna.
From researching online, I was a bit confused about airberlin’s lounge situation at their hub in Berlin. Per the lounge directory on airberlin’s website, it seemed like they use the Air France lounge. It’s a bit odd for an airline to use a contract lounge at their hub airport, but I was kind of excited to check out the setup.
Our flight was departing from Terminal C, which feels like a warehouse. Like, really feels like a warehouse. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if a Costco membership card got you past security here. 😉
The check-in hall was fairly large, and even had a glass encased priority check-in area near the security checkpoint.
The associate there was friendly, and had us checked in very quickly. I asked where the lounge was, and she explained that the lounge was located in Terminal A, and that in Terminal C there was just an “exclusive waiting area,” as she called it. I was keen to check it out!
Security took less than five minutes, at which point we found ourselves in the rather small departures hall. Again, the terminal felt like a warehouse, with limited shopping and dining options. There were tons of flights departing from the terminal, though they’re all out of remote stands, which is why the terminal isn’t very large.
In the middle of the terminal there was signage for the “Exclusive Waiting Area,” which was located at the far end of the terminal.
As we walked up to the entrance I scanned my boarding pass, which made the glass doors open. Since there’s no one staffing the lounge, you can presumably take in as many guests as you want.
To access the elite waiting area you have to take the stairs up one level.
Then you can turn either left or right, as there are two sides to the lounge.
The left side of the lounge had maybe a dozen tables, most of which had cups, bottles, and newspapers all over them. I guess that’s what happens when you have an unstaffed lounge.
The other side of the lounge was identical, though had a drink station.
There was a coffee machine, along with a selection of teas.
Then there was a vending machine with complimentary soft drinks and water.
There were also some complimentary newspapers and magazines.
The entire lounge boasted nice views of the tarmac. Given that all flights from the terminal leave from remote stands, you have pretty unobstructed tarmac views.
The lounge also had wifi, though it wasn’t especially fast.
About 30 minutes before our flight we left the lounge and headed to our departure gate, where we found boarding was underway. Our plane was maybe a hundred years from the terminal, though thankfully they let us walk rather than having to get on a bus (as they do at many other airports).
Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area bottom line
I had no clue what to expect coming into this, since having a contract lounge at a hub airport seemed odd. That being said, I think airberlin’s “Exclusive Waiting Area” concept is pretty smart. They’re ultimately a low cost carrier, so for terminals with only intra-Europe flights, it doesn’t really make sense to have lounges. This waiting area concept is a nice way to reward elites while keeping costs down.
And for that matter I appreciate how honest they are in how they refer to this “lounge.” I think calling it an “Exclusive Waiting Area” couldn’t be more spot on.
Based on doing some research, it looks like airberlin has these Exclusive Waiting Areas in the following locations:
- Berlin-Tegel Airport: Terminal A next to Gate 2/3 and Terminal C (The entrance to the waiting area in Terminal C is through the security area for Gates 38 – 50)
- Dusseldorf Airport: Terminal B, Level 1
- Cologne Airport: Terminal 2, after the security check on the left
- Munich Airport: Terminal 1, Module A North, Level 4, (next to Gate A9)
- Hamburg Airport: at “Sky Walk”, above gate 08
- Wien Airport: West Pier, before Gate C32/C33
- Nuremberg Airport: departure area, near Gates 13/14
The lounge is open to airberlin topbonus elite members, oneworld elite members, Etihad elite members, business class passengers, and passengers on FlyFlex+ fares.
What do you make of airberlin’s Exclusive Waiting Area concept?