Airberlin Cutting Longhaul Routes Out Of Berlin As Of October 1, 2017?

Filed Under: Airberlin

Exactly two weeks ago airberlin filed for insolvency, after Etihad withdrew their financial support. The airline had been struggling for years, but just couldn’t turn around fast enough. The German government has given airberlin an emergency loan of 150 million Euros, which is expected to last them for a few months.

However, it sure looks like sometime in the coming months the airline will just be sold off into parts, rather than miraculously restructured. I feel terribly for all the employees who have spent their career at the airline, only to be in a situation where their airline could be shutting down any day.

Airberlin’s potential shutdown also leaves a lot of passengers with tickets booked on airberlin in limbo, since we don’t know when routes will be cut, and if/when the airline will cease operations altogether. Just a few days ago I wrote about how airberlin adjusted their winter schedule somewhat, where we saw a few routes and frequencies canceled as of October 29, 2017.

German blog Reisetopia notes that airberlin has stopped selling seats on longhaul flights out of their Berlin hub as of October 1, 2017. Specifically flights from Berlin to Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco, as well as flights from Dusseldorf to Boston, have been “zeroed out” as of October.

While it’s not an official announcement, I think it’s perfectly clear what this move means. It’s not surprising to see airberlin shutting down Berlin routes before Dusseldorf routes. Despite airberlin’s name, their primary hub has long been Dusseldorf, and in many ways they’ve really been screwed by the disaster which is Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

I imagine we’ll get some sort of official communication from airberlin soon, but it does look like some of their longhaul routes only have about a month left, at most.

Is anyone booked on an airberlin longhaul flight out of Berlin in October or later?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing & Peter K.)

  1. That’s really unfortunate. I flew the TXL to AUH awhile back. It was the most convenient last minute flight from Europe on oneworld for AUH.

    The quality wasn’t the best, but the routing was the beneficial part

  2. Funny – I see TXL-JFK still showing as for sale in October and beyond, and not zeroed out on Expertflyer.

  3. My parents are coming to visit us in Berlin from Chicago on 30 September and leaving 15 October. I’m worried they won’t have a flight home.

  4. @Maria – they’ve zeroed it out. their web site shows the flight no longer exists. @Wilson – if you go to the air berlin web site, and try to book tickets AUH- TXL nonstop, all it gives you is connections over other cities – no nonstops. I’d start calling.

  5. Too bad. I’ve taken AB to Berlin many times on AA awards to avoid those ridiculous BA fees.

    AA needs to not only add PRG and BUD but also Berlin.

  6. @Rajat – are you able to travel a day earlier? DUS-BOS on 30SEP17 still has seats available. Given your flight is cancelled, there should be no problem getting rebooked the day before if you’ve booked through AB.

    …are you on a redemption ticket, however, issued by another carrier like BA or AA?

  7. @Eugene, thank you. Didn’t know that protection exist. I will try to see what can be done. Booked as an award using AVIOS, at least worst case I get Avios back.

  8. My friend was booked on TXL-AUH-BKK on Air Berlin (TXL to AUH) but flight code is EY. I just checked his reservation and Etihad already changed it to DUS-AUH-BKK.
    Nobody informed him yet… Besides me.

  9. For me, Air Berlin has been for years a “not to be touched” red herring (or white elephant) and I fail to see how it could still have so many passengers when most aspects of their service was disastrous (dismal on-time performance, one of the highest baggage loss rates in the industry, almost guarantee that bags would not be transfered to connecting flights, totally unpredictable cabin service ranging fro best [ admittedly] to worst [usually] etc… )

    Yes part of this was due to theBrandeburg saga and the Tegel overcrowding, but a lot was the result of every single executive having his/her own idea of where the airline should position itself, as if Easyjet suddenly offered full flat beds on some flights at random. That Etihad kept pouring money into a bottomless pit did not help.

    Rather than AB’s future or lack thereof, I am actually far more concerned at the prospect of the AA Dusseldorf seasonal flights being axed, just the way those to Budapest disappeared when Malev folded. It is not as if AA had a strong German presence to compensate for that loss.

  10. Well, I have a round-trip flight booked through the winter holidays from JFK-TXL. As far as AB is saying, it’s still valid. What to do?

  11. It might look bad on the first sight – cancelling the first routes from TXL. But if does flight don’t earn any profit after the busy summer holiday season and will only earn burn “cash” (which is the most important thing at the moment) its a wise move to cancel those flights and rebook passengers on DUS flights.

    Loosing the slots won’t be a big problem if they have managed to fly 80% of the summr flight plan – which will be possible for all flights apart of AUH (and I highly doubt LH wants to keep that flight)

  12. I’m booked Munich->Berlin->Chicago on October 2nd. This could mess up my Oktoberfest birthday in a BAD way. I booked though JustFly, they were sketchy on giving me an answer if my flight is cancelled, no worries because I bought travel insurance, right? WRONG! They have an exception for bankruptcy. FML.

  13. I just called the German AB customer service line to find out whether I could get my ticket refunded, or whether they were in the process of rebooking my flight. Was told the flight (TXL-ORD mid-October) still existed, that the newspaper reports were all false (!) and that the reason the flight no longer appeared on their website was simply that it was sold out (!!).
    Not exactly helpful. Am now considering writing this off as a loss and booking another flight with a different carrier.

  14. I’m currently booked on AB for 01 OCT, ORD > TXL, returning 14 OCT. I called AB reservations and was told they “will automatically rebook the flight after 17 SEP with another airline flying the same route, times and in the same class of service [business, in my case]” and to check back to see what they rebooked after that date.

    I also called my credit card issuer to ask about benefits, and was told my particular account doesn’t have any coverage for travel delays or cancellations, but that I could file a dispute on the charge (either now or after 17 SEP, if AB doesn’t rebook as they’ve said they will do), since the service or merchandise hasn’t been delivered per the card issuer’s agreement with the merchant.

    I’m planning to wait ’till 20 SEP, and if the flight has not been rebooked, file the dispute and rebook myself on another airline.

  15. @Pierre – AA stopped flying to Dusseldorf a year or two ago. Where have you been? They’ve been gone for a long time already

  16. hi i have a ticket oct 2 from jfk to tlv on air berlin with short stops in dusseldorf and txl before coming to israel. and going back october 15 from tlv to nyc with same route. is there a chance it wont fly? and if they cancel when should i expect to get the email? thanks

  17. Etihad has just cancelled my Berlin leg and changed it to Munich flying Oct 26. I have non refundable train booked out of Berlin when I land. They only offered Dussledorf as an alternative to Munich. Guess I have lost my train fare from Berlin then (80 Euro)?

  18. I’m holding an (award) ticket for AUH-TXL in November, haven’t heard from airberlin/topbonus about rebooking… let’s see how this plays out…

  19. I am partly flying with Etihad so my flights to TXL AUH are cancelled. Now Etihad put me on a domestic flight operated by airberlin to Dusseldorf. From there I will fly Etihad to AUH and back I will fly from AUH to Munich and with a Domestic airberlin flight backt to TXL. Do you think it makes sense to agree with this booking? Or will domestic flights also be stopped at some point? I only fly end of October beginning of November.

  20. I have two tickets flying out of Vienna to Duss and Duss to JFK on Nov 10 and then return also with AB on the 11/24 out of LAX. Does anyone know if JFK or LAX flights will be affected? I really don’t want to lose money or ticket but also don’t want to chance it because rebooking a flight last minute will cost even more. Does anyone have any advice ?? I called AB and they said to call back in 3 weeks and they might have better information. Help !!

  21. Eugene…excellent advice! I called Chase (Sapphire Preferred) and yes, fees paid on an award ticket are covered on cancellations are due to bankruptcy (among many other things.) Claim has been filed, now waiting to see if it’s accepted. I booked 2 business class tickets, TXL-ORD, using Avios through Iberia Air for Dec 4, 2017. Fingers crossed, over $500 in fees. THANY YOU, Eugene! Never would have thought of this.

  22. does anybody know if Miami destination is affected im traveling from tlv to Miami on 10 Dec
    we are 8 people
    on air Berlin website there is no change of this flight .
    please help.:-(

  23. I see now that this flight cannot be booked after 2 November there is no flight to Miami after November 2 .. please what to do ?

  24. I called and spoke to AB directly last night and they claim they are trying to find me a new carrier to get me from Munich to ORD on Oct 2nd. They said I should hear something via email by September 4th.

  25. I am growing concerned about the 2nd leg of my flight (TXL to LAX on October 7 purchased using Chase Reserve Travel Rewards points). I called AB today for an update and was told that TXL to LAX was being ended after October 1. I asked if they would be rebooking my flight and was told they are working on rebooking flights ending in mid-Sept first. When I asked if she could change the connection from TXL to DUS for me, she said no, and that I would need to contact Chase Travel Rewards for any changes. I contacted Chase and they seemed to have no idea the flights were being cancelled. They called AB on my behalf and were told that the flights have not been officially cancelled and there is nothing that can be done until they are, and that my tickets are still valid. So, the tickets are definitely in limbo at the moment. I am covered by Chase for the original ticket purchase, but they can only act one the flight has been cancelled. Very frustrating.

  26. I’m booked Air Berlin TXL >AUH > SYDNEY in December and SYDNEY > AUH > TXL in January.

    At this stage, I’m basically resigned to fact that I won’t get my flights and won’t see my money.

    A couple of questions:

    – The legs between AUH & SYD are operated by Etihad and I assume those planes will be running as normal. Does this mean that if I purchase new flights between TXL & AUH, that I’ll be able to use the Etihad legs that I’ve already booked and paid for?

    – assuming I don’t get the flight or the money, I guess I then have to make a claim against the Insolvency. How long will I likely wait for such a claim to be processed? Any idea what the likelihood of recouping cost is? And what % of the money paid I’m likely to recoup?

    Where do customer refunds sit in the priority ladder of who gets paid in the event of Insolvency?

  27. In June, we had almost booked two award tickets(using Diners club points) FCO-TXL-AUH-BOM on AB & EY but later changed our mind and booked FCO-IST-BOM on TK. Travel date: 29th Oct.
    Thank God! Our fortnight long Euro trip would have been in trouble.

  28. I have a reward flight on Air Berlin from DUS – BOS on October 4. Talk about horrible timing. I’ve contacted AA (who I got the reward flight through) and right now they say everything stands and the flight is good to go and if it gets cancelled they will contact me. This being said, I still have a mounting fear that I’m going to get stuck in Europe….

  29. @Tina How can you say that JFK is not affected since the article clearly states “airberlin has stopped selling seats on longhaul flights out of their Berlin hub as of October 1, 2017. Specifically flights from Berlin to Abu Dhabi, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco”? If I am flying from NY to Berlin after October 1st…

  30. Spoke with AB again yesterday. Now they are saying that I will hear something by the middle of next week, just 2 weeks before my departing flight. Getting nervous.

  31. Just post that all flights from Berlin to JFK and Miami will cancel on 25 September . I have 8 ticket to Miami on 10 December . What to do ? Will ab rebooking me with other company ? Will I get refund ?

  32. We have flights Chicago to Berlin on 9/30 with return on 10/17 but can get no answer on US phone # listed 866-266-5588 for AirBerlin. It has been continuously busy for a week now. Is there a different Phone # that others are getting through on?

  33. Hi guys. I have a TXL-LAX on 14-sep and LAX-TXL on 3-oct. AB says that both flights are scheduled and will operate. Due to the latest news I’m more concerned about the 3-oct returning flight…should I start to book another operator for the return? Regards in advance..

  34. As of today, Air Berlin’s US customer Service Number 917.261.3165 seems defunct

    Anyone have an update? I also tried the german number with no luck

  35. I think your immediate concern is the flight in 2 days. If AB pilots are still on a sick-out, you may not get to your destination to need a return flight.

  36. My flights no longer register on AB’s website. Trying to book the same flight from Chicago to Berlin on 9/28 fails as well. Calling JustFly and Chase to work on a refund as well as buying a new flight.

  37. For what it’s worth, my return flight TXL > LAX on October 7 was not showing on the AB website either. An AB rep confirmed to me the flight had been cancelled. I called Chase, they called AB and were told the flight was still scheduled and the ticket was still valid. Chase said there was nothing they could do for me until AB OFFICIALLY cancelled the flight. This feels like a giant pyramid scheme at the moment.

  38. I pester AA every few days about the status of my DUS-BOS flight on Oct 4 and I’m getting the same language that you are- that the flight is still scheduled and if that changes, they will let me know. :\ It’s all making me quite anxious.

  39. @brian guessing that the “best” option is to rebook both flights w other operator. advising to buy asap or wait until tomorrow, do other operators prices will escalate/exploit..?

  40. Both my sister and parents had flights via Air Berlin cancelled Berlin-Chicago roundtrip. I wonder if you’ve reached out the airline representatives to ask WHY on earth did they not inform passengers of flights being indefinitely cancelled?

    Both my sister and parents found out by checking on their flights online and seeing that Air Berlin simply deleted their return flights to Chicago. No email, phone call, press release, nothing. I understand the concern for their employees losing work, but what about all of the passengers they’ve left stranded without even so much as an email letting them know their flight has been cancelled?

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