Know Your Airline Before You Fly, My Chat with Air Berlin

During trip to Europe, I will be flying 4 airlines. 

I like to know my airline before I fly so I took the time to speak with Madeleine at Air Berlin U.S offices before I fly Air Berlin from Paris to Berlin early September.

Q: Margaret, when was Air Berlin created?

Air Berlin was originally incorporated in the U.S in 1978 by a former Pan Am pilot. It was originally a vacation charter airline offering flights from Germany to Mallorca and then added flights to other warm weather destinations.

Q: How did Air Berlin evolve from there to reach its present status?

After the fall of the Berlin wall, in April 1991, the German Air Berlin GbmH & Co. Luftverkehrs KG was founded and airberlin was set on its course as a German airline and the success story began.  The most significant phase of development took off in 2006 with corporate restructure (that is, becoming a British-based PLC) and a strategy for major, fast-track growth through merger and acquisition. The M&A program successively brought a range of other carriers into the business – dba, LTU, Belair, TUIfly and NIKI.  

Since March 2012, airberlin is also part of a powerful and global airline community, distinguished by a unique network with high standards of service. Flying without barriers and with a seamless product experience – that is what oneworld means to our passengers. The codeshare with American Airlines, another member of the oneworld alliance, allows airberlin to offer access to even more U.S. cities."

Q: As of now, which cities in the U.S does Air Berlin offers flights to and from?

We currently serve NY (JFK), Miami, San Francisco, Fort Myers, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Chicago will be added in March 2013.

Q: Which are the top 2 U.S destinations for Europeans flying Air Berlin?

New York, then Miami

Q: Besides Germany, where else in Europe are you drawing customers from for U.S flights?

The Netherlands, Scandinavia and Russia are our top 3 sources for passengers other than Germany. Spain is our largest market outside Germany.

Q: After Germany, which countries are U.S passengers flying to most?

I would say Austria and Switzerland. We are also seeing an increase into Croatia and the Adriatic in general as well as Budapest.

Planeairberlin

Q: As of now, which cities in the U.S does Air Berlin offers flights to and from?

We currently serve NY (JFK), Miami, San Francisco, Fort Myers, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Chicago will be added in March 2013.

Q: Which are the top 2 U.S destinations for Europeans flying Air Berlin?

New York, then Miami

Q: Besides Germany, where else in Europe are you drawing customers from for U.S flights?

The Netherlands, Scandinavia and Russia are our top 3 sources for passengers other than Germany. Spain is our largest market outside Germany.

Q: After Germany, which countries are U.S passengers flying to most?

I would say Austria and Switzerland. We are also seeing an increase into Croatia and the Adriatic in general as well as Budapest.

Q: Can you share some 'special fares' you had recently in the U.S?

In May and June we had Los Angeles to Berlin RT for $1089 and we are now announcing Winter Travel fares starting at $698 RT.

Q: As far as amenities and age of the fleet where does Air Berlin stands?

We started a complete overhaul of our fleet in 2011 with new business class seating and adding on demand video in economy class. We use only Airbus planes for long haul flights and our 170 aircrafts average 5 years of age which allows us to show great fuel efficiency and a greener fleet which received OCHA awards.

Q: Other reasons passengers choose Air Berlin?

On time performance in Germany is very high and 98% of the time, members of our affinity program who want to redeem their miles are able to pick their first choice destination and date.

With our membership into the oneworld alliance, our passengers can enjoy convenient connections to a large network of flights to almost anywhere in Europe. Flying to more than 60 destinations in 40 countries, and serving over 35 million passengers per year, airberlin has become Germany’s second, and Europe’s sixth largest airline.  In cooperation with American Airlines, airberlin offers even more benefits to its customers. In addition to enjoying airberlin’ s nonstop service from currently six U.S. gateways to Germany, travelers can also take advantage of over 30 American Airlines departure cities in the U.S. and conveniently connect to an airberlin long-haul flight to Europe. The cooperation benefits frequent flyers by allowing topbonus and AAdvantage frequent flyer members to “earn and redeem” miles on either carrier.

Q: Besides Berlin (currently Tegel) where are your other hubs?

Our other hubs after Berlin are Dusseldorf and Mallorca and to a lesser degree Vienna.

Dusseldorfairberlin

Q: To conclude, where does Air Berlin stands in the airline landscape between low budget and full service carriers?

I could best describe us as an hybrid, affordable with full service. On transatlantic flights, passengers get 2 meals with a choice of beer and wine and are offered an aperitif and an after dinner drink as well.

Thanks Madeleine for taking the time to chat with us.

I will share my firsthand experience flying Air Berlin from Paris Orly to Berlin Tegel in September.

(* Images courtesy of Air Berlin)

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