Airberlin Oneworld Emerald Benefits: Complimentary Alcohol And Seat Assignments

Filed Under: Airberlin

Airberlin joined the oneworld alliance just over two years ago, and I’ve gotta say they really impress me. Yes, they’re a low cost carrier, but they fly a ton of routes to/from Germany that are not served by Lufthansa, and you can’t beat the value of redeeming British Airways Avios for those flights.


The treatment as a oneworld Emerald member on airberlin is quite good as well. First of all, you can assign seats in advance for free. Airberlin ordinarily has a fee to reserve main cabin seats in advance, though if you’re a oneworld Emerald member you can call them up and assign a seat for free in advance, including one of their premium seats. Unfortunately there’s not a way to do this online anymore.

There’s another cool “secret” oneworld Emerald benefit that I wasn’t previously aware of. Last year when I flew airberlin from Catania to Munich I took advantage of their “buy on board” program and ordered some Moët & Chandon champagne and a hot meal from their Sansibar Menu.


Since they don’t have business class, I figured I’d at least make the experience as premium as possible. 😉

Interestingly I wasn’t charged for the champagne, though was charged for the food. I chalked it up to a friendly flight attendant, though today a friend pointed out to me that a free alcoholic beverage is apparently a oneworld Emerald benefit on airberlin.

It’s not something that’s published anywhere, but after reading online there are plenty of similar reports of comped drinks for oneworld Emerald members. Some report having to remind the crew of the benefit, but it does seem to work in all cases.

I don’t get too excited over buy on board alcohol, but I’ll certainly take a free bottle of champagne that they try to sell for €15.

Given how little difference there is between business and economy class on intra-Europe flights, this is just another thing that makes airberlin great for intra-Europe travel.

  1. Great tip. I just started flying to Russia and Air Berlin is usually mandatory leg or two on an American Airline booked flight

  2. One more airberlin tip:
    If you book an airberlin flight as part of an AA award, the agent can book you a seat for free.

    This has happened to me twice this year. The second time, I actually went online and tried to redo my seat selection, at which point airberlin said I’d have to pay

  3. I called today and was told that I could get a regular seat assignment for free, but not an XL seat. Unfortunately, all the regular seats have something like 28″ pitch. Ridiculous.

  4. Flew them recently as Air Berlin TopBonus Gold / OW Sapphire and was denied a free drink in Economy. Quite poor that the benefit doesn’t extend to their own OW*S as they rank higher than partner OW*E. But being able to select 1A is a nice perk too.

  5. Nice review.

    btw They do have a new business class product on some long haul routes.

  6. AB is a very valid alternative to LH-Group for any flights from/to/within Germany, however beware that their financial situation is abysmal.

    I would´t book anything more than a month in the future on them at this point to avoid a potential bad surprise.

  7. @ffi I believe that vehicle is almost exhausted as with EY getting involved more, AB might lose their status as EU-airline together with the according (all of their) traffic rights. AFAIK the latest loan has not been approved by regulatory bodies yet.

    Don´t get me wrong, I would like for them to stay in business as a major player. With them gone, the non-ultra-LCC markets to/from/within Germany will likely see substantial fare hikes. Tt is just the facts that make the prospects seem dire at this point.

  8. Hi Ben,

    I was researching on this. Have a codeshare flight with AB on TXL-MUC. I am under the impression that EMDs could get their seats assigned free of charge. The rep had no problem of assigning me a seat, but when I asked for an XL seat, he said it’s blocked until 4 days prior to departure and I would still have to pay at a discounted rate. Is that true? Shall I simply call again..?


  9. I have Sapphire status and fly a lot on Air Berlin. A tip for those working towards Emerald: they have an unusual seating option in Economy class to purchase an empty seat next to you. What this means is that fliers with Sapphire status often get free upgrades to business on fuller flights, especially if they’re long haul and in the daytime (when business won’t necessarily sell out). It’s happened to me on transatlantic flights, a great perk. Attendants have advised me at check-in (when flying economy) not to purchase better seats in advance for this reason.

  10. @ AM – could you elaborate on that? Have you ever tried bidding on AB upgrades beforehand?

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