Review: Airberlin Lounge Berlin Airport

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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.

airberlin-lounge-berlin

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.

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Airberlin check-in Berlin Tegel Airport

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Airberlin premium check-in Berlin Tegel Airport

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!

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Airberlin priority check-in Berlin Tegel Airport

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.

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Airberlin terminal Tegel Airport

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Airberlin terminal Tegel Airport

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Airberlin terminal Tegel Airport

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Terminal duty free Tegel Airport

In the middle of the terminal there was signage for the “Exclusive Waiting Area,” which was located at the far end of the terminal.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area Tegel Airport

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Airberlin terminal Tegel Airport

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.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area entrance Tegel Airport

To access the elite waiting area you have to take the stairs up one level.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area stairs Tegel Airport

Then you can turn either left or right, as there are two sides to the lounge.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area entrance Tegel Airport

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.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area seating Tegel Airport

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area seating Tegel Airport

The other side of the lounge was identical, though had a drink station.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area drinks Tegel Airport

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area seating Tegel Airport

There was a coffee machine, along with a selection of teas.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area coffee Berlin Airport

Then there was a vending machine with complimentary soft drinks and water.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area soft drinks Berlin Airport

There were also some complimentary newspapers and magazines.

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Airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area newspapers Tegel Airport

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.

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View from airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area Berlin Airport

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View from airberlin Exclusive Waiting Area Berlin Airport

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).

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Boarding airberlin 737 Berlin Airport

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Boarding airberlin 737 Berlin Airport

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?

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Comments

  1. Actually I have never used this “Exclusive Waiting Area” since there is a British Airways Terraces Lounge and Air France lounge in the Terminal A which is a short walk from Terminal C. They are pretty decent for such a small airport. And they both are landslide, so you don’t have to clear security twice, but you have to leave the lounge early to clear security in Terminal C before departure.

  2. The “warehouse” feeling probably is a result of the fact that the whole airport should already be out of service for several years now (the opening of the new airport should have taken place more than three years ago, on June 3, 2012, and was postponed only 26 days in advance). But as the new airport’s inauguration date is still very much in limbo, some of the old airport’s facilities had to be “renewed” or at least redesigned according to current security and fire prevention regulations; and as the remaining lifespan should be limited, most of this was done in a kind of provisional / makeshift way.

  3. From what I remember, I thought that oneworld elites were NOT allowed in these waiting areas, as these areas aren’t deemed as lounges (which was why I thought airberlin was being so clever). Did the policies change?

  4. I frequently use these exclusive waiting areas. As most of my work travel is intra-european economy, I rarely hit more than OW ruby status (although I’ll hit BAEC silver next month), which is enough to enter these “areas”. I’ve been in them in Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin (both of them, there’s two!) and most frequently Dusseldorf. I like the no-staff and paper-cup/bottle concept, which allows you to take a drink with you when in a hurry. It is also enough to swipe your member-card for access, even when you’re flying on a non-oneworld carrier. This also means you can enter the waiting areas on arrival. My routine when returning to Dusseldorf is to get off the flight and grab a free coffee and water for the drive home. And the coffe is even decent quality (esp. the Cappucino)!

  5. Agree, the name seems appropriate and I think it’s a decent concept for their market. Hopefully the new Berlin airport will finally open soon!

  6. I’ve made the experience betterbub descriped several times in Munich (just again last week). Booked on AB flights I’ve got no access as BAEC gold to the exclusive AB waiting area which goes in line with the conditions on their website (http://www.airberlin.com/en-DE/site/landingpages/waitingarea.php). But at least in Munich it’ not a big loss, as its just a separated area in the general waiting area (http://www.aero.de/content/pics/p_3118.jpg)
    If I have enough time, I go to the BA lounge in T1B (clear security also T1B) and then via T1C back to T1A, where Schengen AB flights depart. The disadvantage is 5min walk and 2x passport control (1 x leaving Schengen area and 1 x entering Schengen area).
    I never tried to enter the exclusive waiting area Berlin, Stuttgart and many other airports as in most cases there is a much better BA lounge

  7. I visited the Munich EWA in August–it’s just an area with tables separated from the surrounding area by a table-height glass barrier, with a boarding card reader for admission. The coffee machine was out of order, so I just grabbed a bottle of water and left. The AB status flyer I had commiserated with during the overlong wait for security couldn’t get the reader to recognize his boarding pass. Overall I wasn’t terribly impressed.

    For my connection at Dusseldorf I could use AB’s non-Schengen lounge, but it’s pretty basic. At least the coffee machine worked.

  8. It’s a bit ironic that AirBerlin has these ‘Exclusive Waiting Area” at their main hub in Berlin for elites, while Lufthansa offers free hot beverages and newspapers (so basically all that Air Berlin offers there minus soft drinks) to all passengers in Frankfurt and Munich (and of course has decent [for short haul flights] lounges at all German airports for elites).

  9. Reminds me of the old AQ “lounges” in HNL and OGG — a place to get away from the madding crowd but not much else. Well, ok, have to admit the free-flowing POG was pretty danged good…

  10. Don’t forget that Tegel is an Airport that should already be closed since years. AirBerlin has an own Lounge at BER – which might open in a few years. So for AB it doesn’t really make sense to open an own Lounge at TXL (also there’s not really space for it).
    Also the Exclusive Waiting Areas have benefits:
    – TXL has no Lounges within the Security Area. Not even Lufthansa’s lounges are within the Security Area. AB’s Exclusive Waiting Area is in the security area.
    – at some Airports the Exclusive Waiting Area is next to AB gates.You even hear the Boarding calls there.

  11. No access as a owe. Denied. Don’t know how you got in. Tried both my card and boarding pass. Swiped my etihad gold and doors opened

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