My review of the British Airways Terraces Lounge at Berlin Tegel Airport

This is my review of the British Airways Terraces lounge at Berlin Tegel Airport.

Dear Berlin, please get a move on and finally open your new airport!

After having spent two weeks in Germany it was time for me to fly back from Berlin to London. It was my first ever flight out of Tegel having only arrived there before on my airberlin flight from New York last summer.

What I can say is:  Tegel isn’t fun and it is rather confusing.

It took us (my flatmate came to Berlin for New Years Eve) approximately 30 minutes to figure out where to find the BA check in desk and bag drop – with very little help from the airport staff – just to find that out that it wasn’t yet open.

Once the bag drop opened we found a very inefficient process of checking people in and sending bags off.  My Silver card didn’t help as the ‘Priority’ Lane was even slower.  Once we finally got our bags dropped off it took us another 15 minutes to find the BA Terraces lounge – it is landside, back by the main entrance and upstairs next to Starbucks.

We got there in the end though:

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-elevator

With Brandenburg Airport meant to have been open years ago, airlines have been unwilling to invest in Tegel and it shows here.  The British Airways Terraces lounge is nothing exciting, although it certainly isn’t the worst BA outstation lounge.  It’s basically one big room with different sitting areas separated by shelves.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-reception

There was a bar in the middle of the room with a selection of four different red wines, two white wines and Rotkaeppchen Sekt. There was also a decent range of gin, rum, vodka etc.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-bar

In one corner of the lounge was a small separate quiet room with view over the main entrance hall of Tegel airport.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-quiet-room

The coffee machine with biscuits and a wardrobe for coats was at the other end of the lounge.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-coffee

The centrepiece of the British Airways Terraces lounge at Berlin Tegel Airport is this stone bench with flower pot.  Looking at the comments to my Instagram photo, the flowers are a recent addition.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-flowers

The lounge also had a work area with desk, lamps and plugs.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-workspace

This was the magazine selection with English and German titles.

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-magazines

There were English and German newspapers:

british-airways-terraces-lounge-berlin-tegel-review-newspaper

The lounge doesn’t have its own bathrooms and you have to use the ones next to the Starbucks.  These are opposite the lounge but about a two and a half minute walk away (half a flight of stairs down, half a flight up, to the right, along the corridor, through the door and to the left!).

To give you a better impression, here is a short YouTube video of the British Airways Terraces Lounge at Berlin Tegel Airport (you can subscribe to our YouTube channel via this page – this is the same link to visit if the video does not appear below).

Conclusion

The British Airways Terraces lounge at Berlin Tegel Airport is not overwhelming and I don’t recommend getting to the airport too early if you can avoid it.

One thing that is especially annoying is the distance you have to walk from the main hall to the bag drop and then back to the lounge – just to retrace your route when it’s time for boarding. The fact that the toilets are outside the lounge is also slightly frustrating and time consuming.

The food selection in the evening was a bit underwhelming with a couple of sandwiches, fruits and bags of crisps.  The wine was very good and the wifi connection was decent.  All in all I found the lounge perfectly OK for a snack and a drink but a bit too depressing to want to spend more than half an hour there.

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Comments

  1. I visited Berlin last year and sat next to a Berliner on the flight out.

    He described TXL as an embarrassment to Germany

    • Tegel is a gem of an airport! Car door to gate in a matter of minutes! The embarrassment to Germany is the process of building the new airport, although the Brits have egg all over their face too with their most recent new airport in St Helena…

      • Craig Vassie says:

        Spot on! If you know where everything is at TXL, then its a lovely airport to use, but I completely understand Anika’s frustration as a first timer. The BA Lounge is a bit of a let down, and is a six or seven minute walk from the non-Schengen gates that BA has to use. (think back to BEA and German domestic flights) The staff aren’t that great – kind of institutionalised a bit!
        Overall, TXL is STILL one of our favourite European airports. Its the only European capital where you can be at (say) the Intercontinental in just over half an hour after landing! Can’t say I’m looking forward to the move to Schonefeld (sorry – Brandenberg!) FYI the lack of a direct train connection isn’t that much of a bind – its a five minute bus ride to the U Bahn with a bus every few minutes. Taxis are plentiful and cheap.

        • TXL is the LCY of Berlin. Very speedy to depart and arrive but experience is a bit meh. And you can certainly be at the IC London O2 half an hour after landing.

          In summer there was an article in Berlin’s equivalent of the “Metro” newspaper saying 89% of Berliners want TXL to stay open, in the unlikely scenario that BER also opens.

        • I know what your saying about LCY to the O2, but try stepping off the plane at LHR then getting to the O2 🙂

  2. Kwisstan says:

    I use the toilets direct below the lounge. They are accessible from the elevator in your photograph, but I use the stairs as it is quicker. They are closer than the Starbucks ones and easier to find

  3. Thumbs down Anika!

    Tegel is a gem of a airport and it will be a sad day when it closes.

  4. Richard says:

    When I tried to use the lounge (booked on Finnair flight and BA silver card) they wouldn’t let me into the BA lounge saying that with non-BA flights only gold card holders are admitted. Saying that this isn’t how one world lounge access works didn’t hold any sway and we had some sandwiches outside in the car park. Later BA said that silver card holders are allowed in such circumstances and I got some avios as compensation.
    The overcrowded airport with poor public transport connections (no train) is a good reason to avoid visiting Berlin, the contrast with the new wing at Munich airport couldn’t be more different.

    • Oh come on! I was in MUC recently and you either have an expensive taxi ride into town or a slow stopping train! Much rather TXL with a taxi within minutes of arrival that gets you into town cheaply!

      For transport TXL is pretty much LCY pre-DLR (but taxis cheaper than London) vs LHR pre-HEX.

      If BER ever opens TXL should remain open as a convenient option to serve those who are willing to pay a little more for convenience.

      I do agree it has been somewhat neglected since 2012 though.

  5. Jason Hindle says:

    I was about to suggest that at least it’s not Hannover, but then I spotted the bit about the landslide lounge…

    • That’s because in the main terminal each gate (or pair of gates) has its own airside area. Great for arriving 20 minutes before your flight (HBO), not so great if you want to spend 3 hours and eat a free gourmet meal

      • No different to Prague, or Singapore, or other airports that scan bags at the gate and hold you in a pen. It’s just that it only takes a matter of minutes at Tegel to get to the pen after you’ve been dropped off.

  6. Airport wise I can’t imagine Tegel can be worse than Schonefeld.

  7. Mark newstart! says:

    O/T Thinking of booking the Lounge at Glasgow Airport is it any good? Any info would be useful.
    Thanks Mark

    • Nice lounge for an hour or so. Good selection of sandwiches in the early evening I was there. Wines and spirits etc. Café type seating area as well as comfy lounge area and a small ‘snug’ tucked away in the corner.

    • Don’t bother, save your money. It’s uninteresting with a poor food selection. You’re better saving your £25 and eating in one of the restaurants.

    • Agree with AI. Bland lounge and food isn’t good. It’s fine for a short sit down but if you want decent food better spend the money elsewhere.

  8. Guesswho2000 says:

    I’m sure it’s not as bad as the old AMS lounge though! The new one at AMS is a big improvement, but nothing mind blowing. It was still a maze of wooden walkways when I was last there, about a year ago IIRC.

    • Aspire next door is a bit better than the AMS BA lounge.

      • daftboy says:

        I wouldn’t agree with that one – found BA lounge to be generally a bit more polished than the Aspire. Food is basic in both lounges so I think it’s a wash on that front, and the only difference on drinks was Heineken on tap in Aspire.

  9. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    The Air France lounge at TXL is quite ordinary as well. That said, the whole point of TXL is that you can be in (and out) quickly, so not sure it’s that big an issue.

  10. Was there last week. TXL what a dump! The individual security at each gate proved a real drawback on a very full flight, status doesn’t help you here. Actually the BA lounge was the only “bright spot” in the whole experience although I agree that it is VERY hard to find. I can’t see how anyone could describe this place as a “gem”.The Luton shed is better by miles!

    • The individual security means that if you’ré late you can just wave to the gate agent and they won’t close the door.

    • RussellH says:

      It is quite a few years now since I last flew Germany->UK, but back then at FRA and MUC at least, we always had to do the standard mass security check and then a second one at the gate.

      Sowhen connecting from, say TXL or DRS and having passed security there, there was a second security check and a second chance for your bottle of water to be taken away.

      This was apparantly for UK and USA destinations only.

  11. Flew for work to Berlin last year. I don’t like this airport, narrow, and long, dated. But you can get out of it rather swiftly. I got my timing wrong and ended up in the lounge for almost four hours. It’s a pretty dismal place and was cold (February). I think chilling in Starbucks is better. As a business class experience, the lounge and then very short flight, it was poor.

  12. We should remember that Berlin used to have a unique problem – a Wall! Tegel is the old Fench Sector airport and Shoenefeld the Russians and the other airports such as Templehof were shut down and turned in to a park. Fact is you really couldn’t get much closer to the city with Tegel and yes it’s a bit pap as it’s.” Frenchie”. I always get to Tegel just before my flight as the drive is minimal and go through the many individual security gates.

    A lot of work had to go in to all Sectors of Berlin after the wall came down to ‘normalise’ it, I suppose they just left the airports to get on with it.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      A very valid point and in judging today we should remember what happened yesterday. It is often related.

      • Fair enough but you have to factor in the situation with Brandenburg too – it’s pretty obvious to work out why they aren’t spending any money updating TXL.

  13. I was there in April, no toaster in the BA lounge, I was told they were waiting for one to arrive, I asked if they expected it within the next hour, as they had the dry bread, butter and jams in place. The reply was I doubt it we have been waiting for over 3 weeks, priceless!!. Decided to nip down to the AF lounge and was refused entry as my boarding pass had been stamped at the BA lounge. Ended up having breakfast at the outside cafe.

  14. Anyone know when Brandenburg Airport will actually open?

  15. I quite like TXL, but agree the lounge isn’t exactly exciting. They do have some great German beer in the fridge. The food options are poor though 🙂

  16. TXL is a great airport to fly into when in CE, through it in a few mins and the 109 bus takes you in 20 mins to the Zoological S Bahn Station.

  17. Rob. Voice adds are back on HfP Gaviscon, Dettol and scholl

    • Thanks. When I get these, though, there is no sound (and my speakers are on). Same at home and the office. Is there some setting on your PC which is set incorrectly?

      • Sorry Rob , I wouldn’t know where to look. Will get mrs xcalx took check next time she clears my cookies. lol

  18. Thanks for the review. Any plans to review the new LGW lounge, it’s meant to be opening in a couple of weeks right?

  19. The BA Lounge is often very full too, in my experience, in contrast to the photos. But then Tegel has a bit of a shortage of seating space overall. Having commuted through it most weeks for a year though, I do appreciate the security and reclaim at individual gates, it made getting through very quick. Short and cheap taxi ride into Berlin itself too, I will miss that when Berlin-Brandenburg opens.

  20. Berlin Tegel is one of my favourite airports in Europe – not because of the experience you get there in terms of shopping and lounges, but because, as others have pointed out, it’s so quick and easy for the most important things in an airport, which are getting there from the city and getting through security to your gate (I speak as a BA user).

    The TXL bus takes you to Alexanderplatz via Brandenburg Gate and Unter den Linden in about 20 minutes and costs less than 3 euros. Then there is the 109 and X9 buses for the western part (Kurfurstendamm etc), also very quick and the same price. And you know you can arrive at the airport less than an hour before your flight because there is no issue with security – since it is at the gate, there is no chance of your missing your flight or having to run because of a long security queue.

    The BA lounge is as described – nothing special. I once went with a friend who was using an Air Berlin flight on the same day and the lady in the lounge was insistent that my BA Silver card would only get him in if he was on the same BA flight as me. She ‘graciously’ agreed to ‘waive’ this rule as a one-off, so I didn’t need to get online and show her the rules….

    But it’s better to spend longer in Berlin and get to the airport on time, rather than arriving early for the lounge, as Anika says.

    • +1 I am also a fan of the TXL. The transportation could not be more easier. When I am in TXL, I am simply in an automated mode> off the bus straight to Gate 5, then to the lounge! If I remember correctly BA usually at 5 or 4.

      The airport has been over capacity for years, it used to be very easy navigating through the airport when it was less crowded and the security queue was not that long. My last visit was end of December last year, and it was packed! I could understand why Anika found it a bit confusing..

      The BA lounge is as mentioned a bit out of date, food weren’t that exciting, and I have not even seen those bags of crisps for a long time! Few years ago, I actually got told off of taking pictures of the lounge! At least, I thought the coffee machine makes good coffee:)) But then again, I have very low expectation with BA lounges..

      I use to use my CX Gold to get in when flying BA, and once also had a problem with a ‘senior’ staff to get in… the funny thing was that she did not have any issue of me using the lounge on my previous visit with was just a month before….it sounds like the entry issue was due to poor training…

      TXL is obviously not a modern airport, but the ease of getting in and out of the city with minimum fuss and cost makes it a very special airport. I would certainly miss it when BER finally opens.

  21. Tegel is a wonderful airport (I’m there right now). Easiest in and out system ever, and I will miss it. The lounge is a bit rubbish, agreed.

    • I do get a bit defensive over Tegel at times! It’s a brilliant airport, don’t want some massive out of town thing (like MUC) that is a hassle to get to.

      To get to TXL it’s a cheap taxi ride from the centre. The taxi driver can then look up on a big information screen on the approach where to drop you off. You’re then right outside your check in desks.

      Like LCY there’s really no need to be there early, the drop off process is so quick and if you’ve not checked in any bags I’d say the aircraft door to taxi times are even quicker than LCY.

      Bad points – waiting for luggage, I’ve used hand baggage only the last few times because waiting for bags took so long, the lack of investment has shown, but I’d rather they decided to keep TXL and invest in it.

  22. Aspirational Flyer says:

    I’ve used this lounge several times: most recently in July. On the day I visited there was plenty of decent beer and wine and the sun was streaming through the windows. It was a good experience. That said, I don’t think I’d anticipated how slow passport control would be – give yourself plenty of time to get to the gate!

  23. 15 minutes isn’t bad for the first time. It took me 30 minutes with a detour to the exclusive waiting area of airberlin which is behind security.

  24. I had the misfortune of using this lounge in mid-October 2016. It was very cold compared to the rest of the terminal. There was no gin available; it had run out according to the lounge receptionist and the lounge had neglected to replace it. In view of the location, the choice of German beer was disappointing. There was hardly any food available in the lounge. The furniture in the lounge was very tired and below the standard of other BA lounges, and the lounge had no lavatories. It’s the worst BA lounge I’ve ever used.

  25. It will be years before brandenburg is finished. They should tear it down and start again.

    What is the worst BA outstation lounge out of interest?

    • Kinkell says:

      Rio. Miles away down a deserted corridor , grotty food, poor wine, which we had to ask for. Mind you this was March ’16 – pre Olympics

  26. An ever so slightly scathing report on an airport which we all know is way past its expiry date. OK I agree its somewhat of an eyesore and could do with investment but who in their right minds is going to do this when Brandenberg is still in limbo? In terms of layout I actually appreciate the minimal trudging through a maze of duty free shops and commercial opportunities. It was clearly thought out to require less walking from car to plane/plane to car and I cant think of any other International Airport that provides this.You come across here as somewhat a TXL novice and have got flustered with your silver card! For me, I appreciate the dedicated security for my flight and not everyone else’s flight, the fact check in is also the gate. The fact I’m able to stay landside until boarding commences – chance to grab a currywurst from the S-Bann tram cafe (just outside and below the BA lounge) which having also tried the AF lounge is superior to AF. Try it again sometime once youve put your silver card away, knowing now how it functions and it will be a more positive experience

  27. Richard Thomas says:

    I use Tegel about twice a month. Yes it’s tired, but it’s also the only airport I know where the taxi can drop you off 10 meters from the plane! Things you get used to include (1) if you have hand luggage only and are going BA just get the taxi to take you straight to Gates A5 or A6 (2) time your arrival about 10 minutes before the gate closes, and there won’t be a queue at check in or passport control at all (3) if arriving early get the taxi to take you straight to the BA lounge!

    Landing at Tegel you will learn that the baggage handlers don’t tend to give priority to the priority baggage – I suspect sometimes they even save the orange tagged luggage for last in an act of egalitarianism. I normally just take hand luggage, which means you can be in the taxi 5 minutes after the plane lands, and in the middle of Berlin 20 minutes later.

    I’ll miss Tegel once it has closed!

  28. The fact that the toilets are down and up a flight of stairs would be enough to put off anyone with mobility problems. No way I could take Ma in there.

  29. O/T (kinda) has anyone recently flown BA CW to San Jose from Heathrow T5 and know whether it normally goes from the 5B satellite instead of the main terminal? I would prefer to use the 5B Galleries lounge if it is but don’t want to trek over there if the flight departs from the main building!

  30. mark1980 says:

    Couple of questions re Berlin and TXL. Doingan AB TXL – AUH redemption in J in March. Will be flying from the regions on an LCC which gets in around 3pm and my flight would be departing at 11am the following day. Obviously I need a night in Berlin and having never been before I’m thinking of going 2 days earlier so I have 36 hours or so to explore. So my questions are:
    1. Any recommendations for ‘must see’ things whilst I’m there?
    2. Any recommendations for a cheap(ish) hotel in the city centre? Ive got H Diamond and IHG Plat and I was leaning towards an IHG property for my accelerate target
    3. Anyone used the AB lounge at TXL?

    Thanks in advance.
    Mark

    • Unless there are events or conference, the hotels price in Berlin are generally very reasonable.

      There are currently 3 Hilton hotels in Berlin, Hampton Inn and WA are both in the Ku’damm area (popular shopping district) extremely easy and quick travelling to and from TXL directly by bus. On the other hand the Hilton’s location is also great. It is located in the historic Gendarmenmarkt square, the Ubahn station is right in front of the hotel, and it is also a short walking distance to many tourist attractions. (The Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and Museum Island etc…)

      My personal favourite IHG hotel in Berlin is the IC, which is also located in Ku’damm area and next to the zoo. I have not stayed in the standard room before because of the AMB mebership, but the Deluxe room is huge and very comfortable. Price wise, the The Hampton Inn, could be very cheap sometimes, but it can also be unbelievable high….higher than the IC during the same period of time. I have seen IC AP rate as low as €78 lower than the Crowne plaza near by.

      I have stayed at many different hotels in Berlin before, but have spent most nights at Hilton Berlin simply because of the breakfast and the location. If you are Hilton Diamond, you will have the lounge access, full breakfast at the restaurant and access to the spa area for free at hilton Berlin. The offerings of the lounge is sadly not as good as it used to be, and the upgrade is now hit and miss. However, I still valued the lounge access, because of the location of the hotel and the lounge (Ground floor), you could easily pop in grab a coffee and out again.

      As you only have 36 hours in the city but also have the accelerate target in mind, I think you may want to work out what you want to see first and compare the price and location of the hotels to decide what suits you best.

      Hope this help.

    • AB don’t have a lounge at TXL. They use the Air France lounge facilities. Nothing to write home about there. I prefer the BA lounge which you can only access if you’re a Oneworld status card holder. If you’re redeeming avios, you’re actually eligible for the complimentary limo service Berlin Hotel-TXL and again AUH-UAE destination. AB dont discriminate here against points redemptions. If booked in to Business then you’re eligible. It makes the £40ish outlay for your AB business class redemption even better value. You will however need to contact the AB contact centre to book this feature. Last time I looked it could not be booked on their website which is a shame as I found them a nightmare to deal with. Good much and enjoy the J experience on AB!

  31. Robert Southern says:

    Another vote for Tegel being a FANTASTIC airport for a business traveler. Where else can you get out of a taxi and onto your flight in 10 meters and 3 mins? Simple, but effective. The lounge is also decent if you do have some dead time.

    I have a feeling Tegel will be around for a long time to come, and I am glad about that!

  32. Tegel is what an airport should be, a place to board a plane. Another +1 for Tegel.

  33. shutter says:

    Tegel is wonderful, may Brandenburg never open. You can reach TXL in a few minutes from the city which is the key defining useful feature of an airport!

    Allowing you to spend less time in the waiting room that you did not like. 🙂

  34. I think we sometimes forget how privileged we are to be able to use a lounge at all, and so easily escape the busy main departure area. Yes, Tegel is bursting at the seams but because it’s so small and it’s circular (or hexagonal) I’ve never found it takes long to walk round, in fact I don’t know that I’d be able to spend 15 minutes walking round it. Yes, the lounge is well hidden but once you leave it, any gate in the airport is within 5 minutes walk. When I was last there the lounge was fairly quiet but there was a good selection of drink and nice sandwiches constantly topped up.

    Oh, and I never use a taxi to get to TXL. I buy a public transport pass for a couple of days and the excellent X9 bus whisks me to an U-Bahn station within minutes.

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