11th August 2014 at 16:00 #588762
Anonymous11th August 2014 at 16:00 #588763
I was very impressed by the latest business class offering of AirBerlin.
For starters, Berlin Tegel is a joy to navigate (landside to airside and vice versa in seconds). We were picked up from our hotel in central Berlin on schedule by the complimentary limousine service offered to business class passengers. We were offered complimentary water, wet towels and AirBerlin branded chocolates.
On arrival at the airport, there is a dedicated business class check in desk which was empty. We were directed to the Air France lounge instead of British Airways' terraces lounge, which is something many others have commented on. Personally it didn't bother me. The offering in the lounge was average. There were a few cold meat cuts and cheeses as well as cakes and a stocked up fridge along with tea/coffee making facilities. It was very quiet and offered partial views across the apron and runway.
A member of AirBerlin came to the lounge to accompany us to the plane. Business class passengers have a gate to themselves for boarding.
We were directed to our seats which I found to be very good. They are not the widest, and storage space is limited, but very comfortable in both sitting and sleeping positions. I am 6ft 1in and found the space adequate. Granted it's not as wide as say, Singapore Airlines' business class. It is more comparable to British Airways' Club World. If you want to work on your laptop, for example, you will definitely feel a bit restricted at the shoulder. The tray table is big and movable so you can still make yourself comfortable and work.
We sat in 2H and 3K. A massive advantage of 2H is that it has a large storage bin in front of it which, from what I noticed is only available to the two window seats in row 2. Window seats in rows 2, 4 and 6 are exposed to the aisle, while window seats in rows 3 and 5 are more enclosed and right by the window. For privacy I would choose one of the latter, but for storage, aim for row 2.
Nice amenity kits were handed out, containing Rituals products. The content is almost identical to what TAM offers to their business class passengers, only in a nicer case.
I found the service to be exceptional; my partner found it to be a little too much. I felt that the crew were discretely observant of what we were up to and were quick to serve/clear off food as appropriate, or offer drinks and breakfast soon after they saw me wake up before landing. Throughout the flight we were addressed by surname and all three crew members serving the business class cabin were friendly and helpful. The service was certainly the highlight of the flight for me.
Food wise, it was above average but nothing exceptional. The menu had various international choices. It is also possible to pre-pay online before departure to have a gourmet meal, which we didn't do. I would have liked to see a slightly more substantial breakfast, but for the short length of the flight, fruit and a cold snack were fine. Everything was served individually at each seat – no trolleys to be seen!
I did not make much use of the inflight entertainment system, as I used my own and then slept (comfortably) for three hours but the screen is large and makes for comfortable viewing in a semi flat position. There is also a USB port available for charging by the seat.
Landing in Abu Dhabi was fairly straight forward and not crowded, but taxied for a while before arriving at our remote stand. Business class are ferried to the terminal in a separate bus to the rest of the plane which helps with the immigration queues. My only issue at Abu Dhabi is that while waiting for suitcases, the information board was showing that all bags from our flight were out, but ours had not yet arrived. Seeing as there were a number of other people from our flight waiting still, we held back for about 10-15 minutes following this, and thankfully our bags did arrive. The slight misinformation could have led to an unnecessary visit to the lost baggage desk and a big waste of time.
On arrival, our chauffeur was waiting for us with a sign at Arrivals. We did initially stop by the Etihad Chauffeur desk, but we were advised that they do not handle AirBerlin's limousine service, and directed us to Arrivals while at the same time calling to make sure someone was expecting us there.
All in all, I would not hesitate to recommend and fly AirBerlin business class again. Top service, and very decent hard product.
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