The end is near for airBerlin. The airline filed for insolvency after Etihad Airways withdrew their financial support and now it is official – all airBerlin flights will terminate on 28 October. Over the past few months the airline has been slowly dying – and I’m sad about it. I really love airBerlin and I think they are a decent European airline with a great route network. Furthermore, you could say they were the most “centralised” oneworld airline in Europe with hubs in Berlin and Dusseldorf.
Connecting on a oneworld ticket within Europe
The best way to fly around Europe when connecting on a oneworld ticket was on airBerlin. The other oneworld carriers – British Airways/Iberia and Finnair are inconvenient to fly around Europe, this is because British Airways charges fuel surcharges and therefore the cost of the ticket can significantly be increased. Finnair is inconvenient because their hub is in Helsinki – say you arrive in Germany on American Airlines and want to fly to Poland – the best way would be to fly through Berlin or Dusseldorf on airBerlin. Without AB, the only way would be to backtrack through London or Spain… or worse, Helsinki.
Redeeming Avios for European Flights
At just 4.5k Avios for a majority of airBerlin flights, this was a great deal. Without the airline, it will be harder to fly around Europe using Avios because you will have to connect in a “corner” of Europe (London, Helsinki, Barcelona, or Madrid) vs. connecting in the centre of Europe (Berlin or Dusseldorf) – this means your flights will cost more Avios.
Cheap European Flights
Shorter European flights on airBerlin were very cheap – this was a great way to earn oneworld status/miles as the airline frequently had promotions on many flights and it wasn’t uncommon to see flights for EUR20-30 one-way.. which is comparable to low-cost airlines within Europe.
Friendly Flight Attendants
I’ve never experienced a bad crew with airBerlin. Never. The flight attendants were always friendly and kind. Furthermore, they would usually serve oneworld elites free champagne and food if you asked them. They were always in a good mood and it felt like they genuinely wanted to be there. I can’t say the same about British Airways or Iberia FAs…
This was very significant a few years ago – for example, airBerlin was the only oneworld carrier to fly to Iceland for a very long time (then BA started service). Beyond that, airBerlin was centralised in Europe, but really connected all of Europe conveniently through Germany. Some other unique routes included various holiday destinations, with a more in-depth reach into various European regions.
Whenever an airline ceases to exist, it is always sad for us frequent flyers. I’ve flown “your airline” lots of times around Europe and it was always a pleasurable experience (minus maybe connecting in TXL). Without a doubt, oneworld isn’t as strong as it was now in Europe due to not only the locations of the other oneworld airlines, but also due to there being higher fees when flying those airlines.
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