Air Berlin Business Class New York-Düsseldorf – Flight Review

By Jonathan Spira on 22 December 2016
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While our European Editor Christian Stampfer has flown Air Berlin multiple times, I, despite holding gold status on the airline, had never boarded one of its planes.

Belying its name, Air Berlin was a U.S. airline founded by a company based in Oregon in 1978 to operate charter flights. After reunification, the airline was acquired by Joachim Hunold, a former LTU executive. It became a low-cost long-haul carrier in 2007, after acquiring the German leisure airline LTU, and evolved into a full network carrier in the ensuing years.

In 2012, Gulf carrier Etihad Airway, which already had a small stake in the airline, increased its holding to 29.1%, becoming the airline’s largest shareholder, and also that year Air Berlin became a full member of the oneworld alliance.

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After arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, I went directly to the check-in counter (the airline does not support online check-in for international flights) and only had to wait seconds on the business-class line where I was warmly welcomed and invited to visit the American Airlines’ Admirals Club prior to boarding. After a brief stop in the lounge for a light snack, I was off to the gate.

BOARDING

Air Berlin offers preboarding to anyone needing additional time and then invites business-class passengers to board, followed by those with various levels of oneworld status. I was one of the first to come on board and settled into my seat.

As I prepared for departure, the flight attendants were assisting passengers, hanging up coats, and offering newspapers, magazines, and beverages ranging from water to juice to Champagne. They were very friendly and welcoming, making sure to greet each passenger in the appropriate language. Most of us were German speakers but the crew seemed to have carefully noted which passenger required English.

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