Major delays at BER this weekend

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Many of you will have seen Tom’s thread re his recent experiences clearing security at BER.

    Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt

    Well there have been major delays on the ground once again this weekend. And these have made media headlines in Germany. It appears staff cannot cope with the volume of travellers.

    All the tweets below are in German.

    Berlin TV station rbb Abend Schau reports one passenger saying “I want my money back.”

    Christine Kensche, Middle East correspondent for Welt.de, was caught up in the chaos.


    SYD
    Participant

    Alex, this matches my experiences at BER. I actually arrived early to take a look around, having used TXL more times than I care to remember, I’d developed a love/hate relationship with the old place.

    At BER there are various (four or five) security check points, although there is no queueing area for any of them. It took just under one hour to pass my check point, which seemed to be caused by three things. Firstly, no unpacking area, which meant people were taking ages to sort their trays at the x-ray machine. Secondly, German’s refusing to use a body scanner, which meant everybody was having physical pat downs. Thirdly, there is then no repacking area, so people repacked at the x-ray machine. All of these combined to greatly reduce through put.

    On top of the poor security layout, it then took another 40 minutes to go through passport departures. This is located on a mezzanine above the main airside shopping area. The queue was so bad, no more people could fit on the mezzanine. This delay was quite surprising, as there are so many Turkish and UK flights (and passport holders) from BER you’d have hoped they’d have figured out non-Schengen flights.

    Arriving, there were two passport desks and no e-gates installed. Each passport check took about two minutes (because of COVID checks). The plane had about 180 people onboard, so I feel for the people sat towards the aft!

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Grateful the feedback SYD.

    The latest situation is that Lufthansa recommends its customers check-in four hours in advance while BER itself recommends two hours (presumably that would include other carriers).

    It must be noted that Lufthansa itself (ie the core brand) operates only to Frankfurt and Munich which are its two hubs.

    This situation may persist over the current autumn holiday season.

    Lufthansa recommends four hours for check-in at Berlin Brandenburg airport


    Tand
    Participant

    While BER and its infrastructure are also at fault, the LH group is to blame. First of all, what is the point in uploading documents into the app, if passengers still have to go to the check-in desk to retrieve their boarding passes?

    The baggage drop machines are not working, and even if they were, they are located right next to the desk, so people would have no idea what queue to join if they only had to drop the baggage.

    I bet that more than half of the passengers in those lines wouldn’t even have to be there if digital verification of documents worked and the baggage drop-off machines were on. There is such adversity towards automation in this country it is unbelievable, and also, the fact that LH has only contract staff at BER is not an excuse.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    We have updated the above copy to reflect the latest situation.

    In my decades of experience I have never known a major international airline to change its mind so quickly.

    Berliners have their own sense of humour.

    Morgenpost.de reports “the mockery [of Lufthansa] on the net was almost impossible to keep up.”

    https://www.morgenpost.de/flughafen-BER/article233557231/So-spottet-das-Netz-ueber-die-Probleme-beim-BER.html


    LondonAndy70
    Participant

    Are the concerns expressed unique to Lufthansa, or are they true for all airlines operating out of BER? I’m heading there for the first time this weekend with BA, and want to know how long I should expect to wait to get out of the airport, and how far in advance I should get to the airport for my return trip! Thanks.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Not having ever used BER myself I believe (from media reports) that these delays relate to departures and not arrivals.

    I would think it’s better to check the situation while in Berlin as things can change.

    Today, for example, BER issued this tweet.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Normality appears to be returning. However bear in mind that, as we have seen at Heathrow over the months, the situation may change depending on time of day, day of the week etc.

    Today one reader has tweeted myself and @BTUK to say that it took “42 mins to enter the [BER] terminal, check-in, baggage drop, security and walk to lounge (which was way beyond my departure gate).”

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Johnnyg
    Participant

    Normality appears to be returning. However bear in mind that, as we have seen at Heathrow over the months, the situation may change depending on time of day, day of the week etc.

    Today one reader has tweeted myself and @BTUK to say that it took “42 mins to enter the [BER] terminal, check-in, baggage drop, security and walk to lounge (which was way beyond my departure gate).”

    I hope so, I fly there in a few weeks, so following this thread with interest. Even had to rebook as BA in their wisdom cancelled my flight with no explanation.

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