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Review: my airberlin New York to Berlin flight, with the new fully flat seat

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This is my review of business class on airberlin, flying from New York to Berlin.

This is the final part of my review of my recent US trip. Previous articles in this series cover the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, the Swiss First Class Lounge, Swiss First Class in the air, the InterContinental Boston, American Airlines domestic service from Boston to New York and the InterContinental New York Times Square.

I had no intention of writing about this flight before I boarded. After all, I did exactly the same flight – New York JFK to Berlin Tegel, airberlin business class – in February. You can read my report on that flight here.

However, as soon as I stepped on board, that changed. I had got lucky, and my flight was equipped with airberlin’s new fully-flat business class seat!  This is the ‘other’ version of this seat, which is a second-hand seat previously used by SWISS.  There is a different fully-flat seat running on the Abu Dhabi route, which matches the seat used by airberlin’s partner Etihad.

Even better was that the flight was an outstanding bargain in terms of cost. A one-way business class flight from JFK to either Dusseldorf or Berlin on airberlin costs the standard 40,000 Avios points but just £1 of tax!

Before I talk about the seat and the food, here are a few ipad shots:

airberlin fully flat seat business class review

and …

airberlin fully flat seat business class review 2

and …

airberlin fully flat seat business class review 3

What you’ve got is a cabin of 19 fully-flat business seats, mainly in a 2 x 2 x 2 zig-zag layout.

The upside to this layout is that all seats face forward (unlike BA’s Club World) and all seats, even window seats, have direct aisle access. You can see in the middle photo how the people in the middle block can access the aisle without walking over anyone. You also get a big TV as you can see from the top photo.

The downside, compared to Club World, is that the seat is definitely shorter (182 cm, so 5 foot 11 inches – I am 6 foot 2) and it also felt quite narrow. However, it was more than OK for a quick overnight hop from the US.

Food and drink

The food and drink offering on airberlin is, erm, “eclectic” (brussel sprout salad anyone?). It certainly isn’t the sort of thing that BA would serve in Club World, but that’s not necessarily a problem.

At least they don’t embarrass themselves BA-style by trying to serve stuff like roast beef and full English breakfasts which simply can’t be done properly in the air ….

The wine list is similarly eccentric, although not German dominated. No champagne, only prosecco.

This is what was on the menu, inspired by the Sansibar restaurant on Sylt. (Never heard of Sylt? Look it up! It is totally unknown in the UK but is effectively The Hamptons – complete with celebrity quota – transferred to Germany.)


Prosciutto with parmesan crackers, asparagus tips and balsamic sauce

Shrimp marinated in lemon oil with brussel sprout salad and tomato slices

Heisses Gericht

Baby pok choy and lime rice (‘bok choy’ as the English translation had it!)

Lamb medallions in rosemary sauce with baby carrots, yellow beans and yukon (?) mashed potatoes

Grilled sea bass in lemon oil with green and yellow beans and saffron potatoes

Ravioli filled with spinach and gorgonzola served in a cherry tomato sauce garnished with roasted yellow tomatoes


Mocha mousse

Aged gouda and goat cheese

Breakfast was a Club Europe-style tray with fresh fruit, a small pot of yoghurt and the floppiest, soggiest croissant ever seen!


As ever, Tegel was simply astonishing. We arrived 25 minutes early at 7am. I was first off the plane. Immigration is done at the gate so there was obviously no-one in front of me. And its Tegel, the doughnut airport, so it is literally 30 seconds from the gate to a taxi if you’re on hand baggage.

And its Berlin, so it is 12-15 minutes in a taxi to central Berlin.

Amazingly, I was at Berlin’s central station for 7.20am, just 20 minutes after walking off the plane.

The rest of my day involved a 100 minute, £110, first class rail trip from Berlin to Hamburg, meeting the family, taking the S-Bahn out to Hamburg Airport and a BA Club Europe flight back to London, where disappointingly my kids did not manage to annoy anyone this time!

I ended up doing 8 flight over 9 days:

  • 2 x BA Club Europe
  • 2 x BA Euro Traveller
  • 1 x Lufthansa short-haul business
  • 1 x American Airlines short-haul economy
  • 1 x SWISS long-haul first
  • 1 x airberlin long-haul business
  • …. plus 1 x German ICE train trip in first class!

Time for a rest now ….


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As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

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You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

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American Express Business Gold

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Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (15)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Richie says:

    Is the free pick up and drop off service only available on the Abu Dhabi route?

  • Frank says:

    how did you book your itinerary? via BAEC? i did only find the 40,000 Avios offer + £64 in taxes…

    • Raffles says:

      Yes, via BA. £64 is presumably the taxes going outbound. Inbound to Germany, as a one-way, they are £1.60 (see, for eg, 24 November JFK-TXL).

  • Roger says:

    You’ve sold me on AB business class, at least in that configuration! I’d forgo a slightly shorter length (I am 1.8m) for the benefit of clambering over somebody to get to the aisle, oh yes, and avoiding the BA Club World dormitory. Pity the new layout is only available on a few flights for the moment.

  • Roger says:

    The AB online timetable has some way to go. In planning mode, I tried to get info for London-JFK for next month and got [quote]Unfortunately no flight was found for the selected travel period.Please note that the flight timetable for the selected period has not yet been fully released. These flights will only be available for booking at a later date.Please select a different travel period or a different destination airport.[/quote]It seems that only direct flights com up rather than connections, at least ex London.

    • Rob says:

      Is that cash or avios? If Avios then, yes, you need to look for individual legs. Remember also they fly to Dusseldorf and Berlin (flights leave 10 minutes apart) so check both. I only do Berlin because I need to end up in Hamburg.

      • Roger says:

        Hi, Raffles. Thanks for the insight. I was checking cash fares.

        I need to play around with opportunities. Flying via Zurich is an option for me. Checking ZRH-JFK I see numerous opportunities for cash fares. Picking one at random, I see a fare in September of £2,267 including various charges of £447 via DUS. Pay for catering ZRH-DUS including Currywurst for €6 :D.

        The AB fare is not much less than BA’s £2,483 including £419 of extras (including BA1 outbound), though there are lower cost flights on the nonstop AA ZRH-JFK. No APD on the BA fare unless staying >24 hours.

        I’m getting a little ahead of myself and need to think Avios redemptions!

  • Scott says:

    I’ve got an upcoming TXL-JFk flight in December. 40k + £64 was the cost so more than happy with that. Going to Berlin the day before (partly to look around, partly in case of weather delays) and will camp out in the Mecure or something.
    The food doesn’t majorly appeal to me but I’ll try everything.
    Seat map at the time of booking was the 1-2-1 type formation so no idea if new or older seats as they do tend to change planes from what I’ve read.
    Let’s hope “working Girl” is still on their IFE – older movie but enjoyable!

  • lady london says:

    Is Tegel airport the one the Germans keep trying to close? 1 advantage of Berlin, if connecting to elsewhere in Europe, is that if you have Lufthansa group Miles&More miles, Lufthansa has frequently offered a wide selection of 5000 miles offers to many of their destinations in Europe from Berlin. Sold only as a return but at that price could be worth thinking about even with taxes if it gets you home.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, Tegel will be gone when Brandenberg is fully open next year. Be wary of those 5,000 miles Lufthansa redemption discounts – the taxes will still be over £100. Better to use 9,000 Avios return and pay £35 tax.

  • Roger Stacey says:

    Lamb medallions in rosemary sauce with baby carrots, yellow beans and yukon (?) mashed potatoes

    Yukon gold potatoes are a yellow, somewhat waxy, and flavorful form of potato, particularly good for making potato salad.

  • Simon says:

    Bok Choy is just as acceptable, and probably more widely used. – google and see.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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