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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 couple of ipad shots:

Air Berlin business class

and ….

Air Berlin business class

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 ….

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (July 2024)

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:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

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Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up 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

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British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £15,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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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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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.

American Express Business Platinum

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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.

  • James says:

    This is the same seat as used on Etihad Airways, who are a shareholder in AB.

    I agree with Raffles that the seat is narrower on the Airbus, haven’t personally noticed that it is shorter, then again I’m less than 6 feet tall.

    AB may not offer the smoothest business class service in the world, but I’ve found them tremendous value, especially where it is an overnight sector and sleep is the main objective.

  • LH W13 Long Haul operational changes - Page 2 - FlyerTalk Forums says:

    […] A TR show the seat on a TATL…-berlin-tegel/ […]

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

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