Airberlin Transatlantic Business Class Awards Wide Open!

Earlier I wrote about airberlin’s huge US expansion, whereby they’re launching three new routes to the US next summer. They’ll be launching new flights between Dusseldorf and Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco as of May 2016.

airberlin-A330

As a reminder, here are the details of the three new US routes:

Dusseldorf to Dallas starting May 6, 2016

AB7010 Dusseldorf to Dallas departing 9:15AM arriving 12:50PM
AB7011 Dallas to Dusseldorf departing 2:40PM arriving 7:05AM (+1 day)

The route will operate 4x weekly in both directions, on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Dusseldorf to San Francisco starting May 6, 2016

AB7392 Dusseldorf to San Francisco departing 1:20PM arriving 3:55PM
AB7393 San Francisco to Dusseldorf departing 5:55PM arriving 1:35PM (+1 day)

This route will operate 3x weekly in both directions, on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. From June 9, 2016, the flight will operate 5x weekly, with the addition of service on Mondays and Thursdays.

Dusseldorf to Boston starting May 7, 2016

AB7472 Dusseldorf to Boston departing 1:50PM arriving 3:30PM
AB7473 Boston to Dusseldorf departing 5:50PM arriving 6:45AM (+1 day)

This route will operate 3x weekly in both directions, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. From June 12, 2016, the flight will operate 4x weekly, with the addition of service on Sundays.

Two business class award seats are available per flight!

The new flights are now bookable, and it looks like airberlin has made two business class award seats available on every one of the new flights between the launch date and the end of schedule.

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This includes Boston to Dusseldorf:

Airberlin-Awards-3

Dallas to Dusseldorf:

Airberlin-Awards-2

And San Francisco to Dusseldorf:

Airberlin-Awards-1

For what it’s worth, the availability shows on British Airways’ award search tool, though as of this moment doesn’t show on American’s website, as it hasn’t been updated yet. I suspect it’ll be updated very shortly. In the meantime, the airberlin business class award space should be bookable via American’s call center.

Airberlin is a fantastic option for transatlantic oneworld awards, given that American AAdvantage doesn’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on airberlin. A one-way business class ticket between the US and Europe will cost you 50,000 AAdvantage miles.

Arguably this availability is especially useful out of Dallas and San Francisco, since nonstop award space to Europe from anywhere other than the East Coast can be pretty tough to come by.

Keep in mind that American allows five day award ticket holds, so you can always lock in the seats now and then ticket them later, as this availability won’t last.

Airberlin has a fully flat business class product with direct aisle access from every seat, so it’s a solid offering. Catering and service are fine, though the seat is quite comfortable, which is what matters most in transatlantic business class, in my opinion.

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Bottom line

One of my favorite things about new airline routes is when they result in extra award availability, as we’re seeing here. I suspect a lot of people will benefit from having access to two business class award seats per flight out of Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco.

American has really low award costs at just 50,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in business class between the US and Europe, and the lack of fuel surcharges is just the icing on the cake.

Is anyone able to take advantage of this awesome airberlin business class award availability?

Comments

  1. This is great news for AA loyalists, but why oh why can’t AB fly more routes to Berlin? Are slots at TXL that capacity controlled? Sure, it’s a quick hop between DUS and the rest of Deutschland, but c’mon – Berlin is the place to visit.

  2. I recently flew Air Berlin on an inter Europe flight from Berlin to Iceland . Flight was fine expect our bags didn’t arrive until 48 hours later . It then took over 6 weeks of back and forward with their customer service team before I had to email the CEO to asking for a letter confirming the delay of my bags to claim the cost of emergency items on my insurance. Reading their facebook page and other forums they seem to have a real issue with customer service and lost bags . As lucky preaches, only travel with hand luggage and you will be fine.

  3. I wish American could make some advances so it would be possible to book and change and cancel redemptions on partner airlines online without having to call.

  4. Is it typical that you can’t book onward flights within Europe on AB more than a few months out? I haven’t looked at everything but DUS-MUC or DUS-SZG and ex-TXL to the same places don’t appear to have anything loaded past January 2nd.

  5. For SFO > DUS return, how would I go about figuring the lap infant charge that AA would require when booking with their miles? Just attempt to book through and then find out after everything is done?

  6. Nice, but unless they publish a customer service number for baggage handling – forget it. Too many horror stories of failure to even load luggage on the flight and takes weeks if ever to get returned.

  7. Ben, it does not appear that there are any award space available on Air Berlin from Dusseldorf to San Francisco. Is it possible that only outgoing flights are loaded into the booking system? I am not seeing any return flight award space available.

  8. Like Raymond above, I can’t find anything from Dusseldorf to San Francisco next August. When should they officially start to show?

  9. Just tried to book DFW-DUS via calling AA Advantage desk and the flight isn’t showing up for them yet, did confirm separately the flight showed availability on BA website. Hopefully this updates soon at AA and will be bookable.

  10. I flew AB from TXL to ORD a few months ago in business class. The check-in agent’s supervisor insisted I check in my carry-on (Rimowa Salsa Deluxe) because “there may not be enough cabin space”. There’re only 4 people in the entire business cabin and there’s plenty of space in the overhead cabin. I wrote a complaint letter to AB but never heard back.

  11. @ Max: It’s been a bit since I’ve flown in and out of Berlin–probably since 2008–but TXL is not really a large airport. Flights to Berlin used to be easier when THF was open, but they closed it after a referendum which occurred while I was studying abroad there. (As an aside, it was always an aspiration of mine to fly into THF. I’m sad that that didn’t happen. The location of the airport in the heart of the city and the lure of having all entrance stamps in my passport just satisfied the geek in me.)

    Should BER *ever* open–it was expected to open years ago–, capacity will increase to Berlin, but until that happens, I don’t expect to see really any additional direct US-Berlin flights.

  12. Come one airlines, Denver is severely lacking when it comes to international flights. And Denver has been in the top 5 list for best place to live for several years in a row now.

  13. @Michael. The infant fee is a percentage of the actual cost of the seat and varies by airline. Usually 10%, although can be up to 25% if I recall. AA should be able to take care of that.

  14. I would never fly this airline in business class for business. On a flight from MIA to DUS, the check-in agent insisted, in a rather belligerent tone, that I needed to check-in my carry-on, a Rimowa Topas, based on its weight and dimensions. Both allowances are rather ridiculous, but they are published and AirBerlin seems to religiously enforce them. However, I did not take it that kindly: (i) two-day business trip to Germany with all my essentials on my carry-on, and (ii) an almost empty business class cabin. I was able to change my flight and ended up flying with Iberia, which implied a connection in Madrid, which was more pleasant than dealing with the recalcitrant check-in agent.

  15. Thanks so much Ben!
    Just booked our flight to Rome on this deal from SFO! I had been monitoring all AA routes to FCO for the past weeks and couldn’t find anything that would work for the dates we needed! (Getting married in italy next September)
    I called the AA call center and since the award is not showing on AA.com the agent waived the phone booking fee.
    For now we are booked SFO-DUS-LHR-FCO. Once DUS-FCO opens for award availability on AB I’ll call and change the flight to skip Heathrow and get the refund of the Surcharge fees AA has to pass on from BA. I paid $150 in fees per person for going through LHR from Dusseldorf to Rome.
    Thanks again, if it wasn’t for your post I would have never known or would have found out too late!
    Leo

  16. I can see the space in Qantas on the return (DUS-BOS and DUS-DFW) but not on BA, so AA agents can’t see the space. If it shows on Qantas but not on BA does that mean it isn’t bookable by AA?

  17. Getting system error on AA website, so tried calling again, got an agent who was able to book DFW-DUS on AB in Business in June. Thanks for the blog post alerting us to the availability, Ben!

  18. @Mike, I’m seeing the same problem. Outbound flights are showing on BA.com but not seeing the returns (yet). Sure enough the returns to USA I was wanting are available on Qantas.com. When I called AA, they’re not able to find that availability from QF, but I was able to get the outbound segments. Perhaps give it a bit to sync up?

  19. @TrAAveller that’s what I’m thinking. I already got my outbounds on AA so I’ll just let this one play out and keep checking to see if they open up.

  20. I called AA. I spoke with 3 different agents. The first two basically said there is no award space they could see despite the fact that the spaces show up on BA and QF award search engines.

    The 3rd agent was more willing to listen and told me that each airline decides and manage their own award inventory. An award must show up on the inventory pool before it becomes bookable. If it shows up on QF site as available but not on AA, then AA cannot book it until the award space opens up on the AA side.

    Curious about the previous poster TrAAveller, how did you end up able to book the outbound flight using AA miles? In my 3 phone calls, none of the agents were able to book (or see) any airberlin award spaces from SFO, DFW or BOS to Dusseldorf.

  21. I recently flew Air Berlin business class in one of the windows seats on the A330. It’s like flying in a coffin. Extremely narrow and no air vents. It was miserably hot. This was the most uncomfortable long haul business flight I have ever taken.

    The service was awful. They ran out of the appetizer and entree I requested. The food I did receive was not edible.

    They never brought any replacement water after dinner service. I requested water twice in the morning and never got any. Luckily I had stashed a bottle in my bag from the lounge in Miami.

    I would never recommend Air Berlin.

  22. @Don, I just saw DFW-DUS on BA.com and called AA to book it. Phone AAgents had no problem seeing it; got it on hold. Obviously it’s still not showing on AA.com. The returns aren’t showing on AA.com or BA.com yet (only Qantas.com).

  23. Hi Ben!
    Left a comment earlier but it’s not showing for some reason.

    I wanted to thank you for this post! The moment I saw it I jumped on the opportunity and managed to book our flights to Europe for next year (to get married)!
    I had been monitoring all AA routes closely and trying to avoid Heathrow direct from the US but nothing was coming up! So stressful!

    Thanks to you we are going exactly when we are supposed to! SFO-DUS-LHR-FCO! Just $300 of Surcharges compared to a lot more if it was a BA flight.
    Thanks again!
    Leonardo

  24. Why don’t you check the actual availability before posting things like this? There are no flights available out of DUS, only to DUS. Wasted a lot of people’s time searching based on your inaccurate post… Thanks!

  25. While AB has a decent in-flight product, everything around is a joke.
    Anything handling delays and lost connections, simply doesn’t work at all (experienced in DUS and TXL).
    Any service around lost luggage does not work (experienced this at JFK, TXL and MUC).
    Customer Service to get your expenses (because of lost luggage) back, is a nightmare.
    I stay away from AB for everything but domestic non-stop (in Germany) and leisure travel (non-stop). These are the two kinds of travel AB does well (as they do it since several decades).
    But being a full-grown network airline? No!
    Axel

  26. @Alex,
    1. How do you know there aren’t people who are only going to DUS and finding another way home.
    2. Put the award you want on hold and wait a few days for the return schedule to load, then call AA and adjust the hold.

    We should all feel lucky that Lucky is on top of these things and lets all his readers know. Yes it is not always perfectly smooth, but when you are talking about TATL business class flights during the summer with no fuel surcharges, can you really complain?

  27. 7days later all these awards availibility just vanished.. Trying to check from july-sept 2016 and nothing is open

  28. Yeah, I noticed too that all this Air Berlin award suddenly disappeared! Really appreciated Ben’s tip on it, and I wonder if it will come back or if it’s gone!

  29. Ugh. I think I’m too late to this party. I can’t find any Air Berlin availability on AA or BA for BOS-DUS in the summer. Is there any way to get it, or is it gone, gone, gone???

  30. cannot find even one seat available on air berlin, Does anyone know if it is a glitch or they are all gone?

  31. It must be a glitch, though AA says nothing is wrong as usual. I don’t see anything past April 31st for any flight, even short hops like Vienna-Dusseldorf.

  32. I tried AA, BA and Quantas sites and none of them show any seats on air birlin past April 31st..something must have gone wrong!

  33. Berlin to DUS I get BA flight through LHR -thats crazy! air berlin should have tons of availability there!

  34. yeah i show nothing on aa or ba website.
    trying to book DUS-SFO on July 10th (for 2 business seats) but nothing.
    the AB website shows only 1 seat in bus class has been booked…..any help would be appreciated….should I call BA ?

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