Last week I flew Air Berlin from Zurich to Dusseldorf. I suspect it will be my last time ever flying the carrier…
Air Berlin has been vexed with poor management, high operating costs, and a competitive environment in Germany and across Europe that has effectively squeezed it out. Yesterday’s spectacle of pilot’s calling in sick, leading to 100+ cancellations, is simply one of the final nails in the coffin.
But even today, Air Berlin is still operating. I had to get from Zurich to Dusseldorf and had several choices: SWISS, Eurowings, Air Berlin, and even Etihad Regional (which was by far the most expensive). Not only did Air Berlin flight offer the best schedule to suit my needs, it was also the cheapest. I bought the ticket the night before for $70, which included check-in and hand baggage.
Demonstrating how sloppy the operation has become, my flight was delayed an hour (and later even more) due to a “late arriving aircraft”. Air Berlin does not sufficiently pad schedules, for it wasn’t a crew or weather delay, simply a cumulation of small delays during the day.
I actually thought FAs would be dejected or perhaps downright nasty onboard. They were not. On the contrary, the crew was very friendly and apologetic for the delay. There is no complimentary service on a flight of under an hour, but we arrived about 65 minute late into Dusseldorf.
Even though DUS is Air Berlin’s major hub, we pulled up to a remote stand and had to climb up five (!!!) flights of stairs to reach the terminal.
I never flew Air Berlin longhaul, but have flown with them a number of times the last few years within Europe. I’ll never forget the flight in which a FA fed me when I asked about purchasing a sandwich. While Air Berlin might not have a future, I hope that Lufthansa or whatever entity ultimately acquires Air Berlin’s assets will also offer employment to the many hard working FAs who will soon be out of a job.
> Read More: “We’re All Humans”: Air Berlin FA Feeds Me