Review: Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)

Filed Under: Travel

While I usually review flights, airport lounges, and hotels, in this case I’ll be reviewing an airport (it’s the first airport-specific review I’ve done since the new Istanbul Airport). We’re not just talking about any airport, but rather about the infamous Berlin Brandenburg Airport, which opened on October 31, 2020.

The significance of Berlin Brandenburg Airport

Berlin Brandenburg Airport is kind of in a league of its own when it comes to disastrous airport construction projects:

  • Construction on the airport started back in 2006
  • The airport was initially supposed to open in March 2011, but ended up opening in October 2020, so it was nearly 10 years behind schedule
  • The airport was supposed to cost €2.83 billion, but has cost around €7 billion in the end

What all went wrong? This post has a detailed rundown of everything that has happened, though to summarize:

  • In mid 2010 the construction company behind the airport went bankrupt, delaying the project
  • In mid 2012 huge issues were discovered with the smoke exhaust systems at the airport, delaying the opening (it was later discovered that bribes were involved here)
  • In early 2013 there were management changes at the airport, given the management’s team inability to get things done
  • In mid 2016 they had issues getting the transport certification needed to open
  • In 2017 airberlin went out of business, raising concerns for the airport, as this was supposed to be the largest airline, making the owners rethink part of the design

Suffice to say that this isn’t the shining example of German efficiency.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) review

I figured I had to visit the new Brandenburg Airport during my time in Berlin. While I was initially going to plan a review trip out of Berlin, this came during Germany’s lockdown, and I decided it was best to just visit the airport without actually flying anywhere. For what it’s worth, I visited the airport midday on a Wednesday.

To visit the airport I booked a refundable ticket. That’s not something I’d usually do, but in this case it seemed like the best option. I had been invited to a media event back when the airport opened, but I always prefer to get the “real” experience, since a media event will rarely give you a real sense of what to expect, as everyone is on their best behavior.

I was looking forward to experiencing the airport firsthand. The reviews I had seen of the airport from those who had already visited ranged from negative to mildly positive. I saw some commentary along the lines of “this is the capital city airport we’ve been waiting a decade for, really?!” And I’ve seen others say “I guess it’s pretty nice.” However, I hadn’t heard anyone say “wow, what an incredible airport.”

Getting to Berlin Brandenburg Airport

The biggest downside to the new airport (for many) is the location. While Berlin is a sprawling city, Tegel Airport was only a 15 minute drive from many parts of the city, while Brandenburg Airport is about a 30 minute drive from many parts of the city.

The best way to reach the airport by public transportation is with the Flughafen Express (FEX), which takes about 30 minutes from Berlin Central Station.

The convenience of the public transportation options really varies depending on what part of town you’re in. For example, where I stay in Kreuzberg, it takes under 30 minutes by car, or over an hour by public transportation.

So from some areas public transportation is practical, while it’s less practical from other parts of town.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport terminals

For context, Berlin Brandenburg Airport has three terminals:

  • Terminal 1, which is the main new terminal now open
  • Terminal 2, which is supposed to be for low cost carriers, but which is being kept closed for the time being due to the pandemic
  • Terminal 5, which is in fact the former Schönefeld Airport, but which has been rebranded as Brandenburg Airport Terminal 5; this is located on the opposite side of the runway of Terminal 1

For context, below is a map that gives you a sense of the distance between Terminal 1 & Terminal 5.

The distance between terminals at Berlin Brandenburg Airport

To get between Terminal 1 and Terminal 5, you can take public transportation for free — both the S9 and S45 S-bahn train line goes between the terminals. There are also taxis and buses. That being said, most people probably aren’t going to be transferring between terminals, since this isn’t an airport where a lot of people will be connecting.

The review will be focused on Terminal 1, since that’s the new terminal that’s currently open. Nothing has actually changed about Terminal 5 (other than the name), and Terminal 2 isn’t open, so…

Berlin Brandenburg Airport check-in hall

I’d say the nicest and most impressive part of Berlin Brandenburg Airport is the exterior and check-in hall. Terminal 1 has an all-glass exterior that spans several floors, so in that sense this feels like a major international airport. Keep in mind that even though this is a new airport, construction started in 2006, so aspects of the architecture aren’t exactly cutting edge.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 exterior


Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 exterior

The check-in hall is large and well signed, and the focal point is the staircases and elevators leading to the lower level, which have some sort of red netting art display hanging above them.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 check-in hall


Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 check-in hall

The below two pictures give you a sense of the width of the terminal.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport check-in counters


Berlin Brandenburg Airport check-in counters

As is the case at many airports, there’s no permanent airline-specific branding at any of the check-in desks, but rather only the screens indicate which airline is using a check-in desk (the flight status monitors also indicate the check-in desk for each airline). The landside area is broken up into nine zones.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport check-in counters


Berlin Brandenburg Airport check-in counters

Berlin Brandenburg Airport security & airside

The security checkpoint is located along the interior of the check-in hall. You have to scan your boarding pass to get through a gate, and then you can choose from over a dozen security lanes (well, at least when the airport is fully operational — only a few lanes were open when I was there, given how quiet the airport was).


Berlin Brandenburg Airport security checkpoint

Security was easy, and then I found myself in a duty free maze, as is the case in so many international airports.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport duty free

Just outside the duty free shops you’re in the central airside area, which also feels pretty grand.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 airside


Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 airside


Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1 airside

To give you a sense of the BER Terminal 1 airside layout, the terminal is essentially in a “U” shape. The “A” gates are in one direction, while the “B” gates are in the other direction. Lounge Tempelhof is deep into the “A” gates, while Lounge Tegel and the Lufthansa Lounge are deep into the “B” gates.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport map

Berlin Brandenburg Airport gates

While the check-in hall and initial airside area are impressive, the gate areas leave a bit to be desired, in my opinion. Essentially the rest of the terminal consists of fairly narrow hallways with low ceilings that take you the entire length of the terminal.

In one direction you have the “A” gates, and in the other direction you have the “B” gates. Now of course the terminal felt really empty when I visited, but I’d imagine once demand recovers, this terminal could feel absolutely packed, with thousands of people going down these halls to catch their flights.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport gates

In some cases the walking distances are quite significant. I’d estimate it would be a roughly 20 minute walk from one end of the “A” gates to the other end of the “B” gates. Then again, I’m guessing not too many people will be connecting at Brandenburg Airport, since it’s an airport where people are largely either originating or terminating.

There are moving sidewalks in the terminal, but they’re hidden, so you really have to look for them.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport gates


Berlin Brandenburg Airport gates


Berlin Brandenburg Airport gates

Throughout the terminal there are illuminated screens that just advertise the airport. I imagine they’re looking to have third party ads there, but I’d imagine airport marketing isn’t too lucrative right now.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport advertisement

Perhaps what’s most disappointing is the lack of outlets in the gate areas. This is one of those things that really shows you that the terminal was designed over a decade ago, when that wasn’t as much of a necessity.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport departure gate


Berlin Brandenburg Airport gate seating area

As an avgeek who loves photographing planes from the terminal, another downside is that the planes are parked quite a distance from the terminal. So don’t expect to get many good airplane shots here (though do notice all the EasyJet planes parked on the apron).

Berlin Brandenburg Airport apron

Also, in case you’re doubting this airport is already rather old (despite being new), here’s one of the newer elevators in the airport, which was built in 2011.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport elevator from 2011

Berlin Brandenburg Airport lounges

Here’s the current lounge situation at Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1:

  • Lounge Tempelhof is already open, and is located by the A Gates in Terminal 1; the 910 square meter lounge has a capacity of 200 guests
  • Lounge Tegel is expected to open in spring 2021, and is located by the B Gates in Terminal 1; the 660 square meter lounge will have a capacity of 120 guests
  • The Lufthansa Business & Senator Lounge is located in the B Gates in Terminal 1

I’ll review the Lufthansa Lounge in a subsequent installment. Meanwhile I tried to visit Lounge Tempelhof, except it’s not yet open to Priority Pass members, and I didn’t think it was worth spending 45 EUR to access a lounge that doesn’t even have any food or drinks (due to the current lockdown). Hopefully this is accessible with Priority Pass in the future.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport Terminal 1

Berlin Brandenburg Airport wifi

Brandenburg Airport has free wifi throughout the terminal. You just have to connect with one click, and there’s no personal information needed.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport wifi

Berlin Brandenburg Airport baggage claim

I swear I’ve been to an airport before, but I actually kind of struggled to get out. First of all, there’s no exit near the center of the terminal, but rather the exits are in the individual piers. Fair enough, as that’s a smart way to avoid too much crowding in one area.

However, something about the signage to exit didn’t make sense. I followed the signage towards an exit, and somehow ended up in an elevator that got me nowhere. So then I had to backtrack, and eventually made it out. I think there’s room for improvement when it comes to signage for the exits.

Berlin Brandenburg Airport baggage claim exit

The baggage claim area as such is unremarkable.


Berlin Brandenburg Airport baggage claim


Berlin Brandenburg Airport baggage claim

The exit is on the lower level, and there were plenty of taxis there (and this is also where Ubers pick up).

Berlin Brandenburg Airport exit

What’s my take on Berlin Brandenburg Airport?

I’d say I have a mildly favorable impression of the airport:

  • Is this the greatest airport in the world? Absolutely not
  • Was it better than some of the negative reviews I’ve read about the airport? Yes, I think so, by a little
  • How does this compare to other airports in Germany? Well, the only halfway decent airport in Germany that I’ve visited is Munich Airport, and in some ways this airport is better, and in other ways it’s not

Beyond that I have a few general thoughts, in no particular order:

  • It’s so cool to finally see Brandenburg Airport open, after a delay of so many years; I almost figured it would never happen
  • While Tegel Airport was objectively pretty bad, it had a great location, and it was super quick to get from check-in to your gate, and those are two areas where Brandenburg Airport can’t compete
  • There are aspects of Brandenburg Airport that are nice, in particular the check-in hall and the airside
  • There are other aspects of Brandenburg Airport I don’t love, like the fairly small piers leading to gates, and the lack of outlets in the gate seating areas
  • The airport is quirky in a way you’d expect — it feels like a brand new airport that’s also about a decade past its prime in some ways

There’s no doubt that Brandenburg Airport “feels” more appropriate for Germany’s capital airport than the old Tegel Airport.

Bottom line

Berlin Brandenburg Airport has finally opened, after a horrible journey up to that point. This is arguably the most interesting new airport to have opened in recent times.

The airport itself is quite nice, and offers an improved passenger experience in terms of the architecture, facilities, etc. That being said, some people will likely miss Tegel Airport for how close it was to the city, and how easy it was to get to the gates.

What do you make of Berlin Brandenburg Airport?

Comments
  1. You should review SFO T1 the next time you are out here. IMO it’s the best terminal in the States. Realize that’s a little different than a full airport however.

  2. “While Tegel Airport was objectively pretty bad, it had a great location, and it was super quick to get from check-in to your gate, and those are two areas where Brandenburg Airport can’t compete”

    In other words Tegel was better than Brandenburg for the two things that matter most in a largely O&D airport.

  3. Do passengers exit on a different level normally? I know that’s pretty common internationally, perhaps exiting is clearer when deplaning.

  4. Flown in and out of BER twice so far and it’s a great airport. The LH lounge is not serving food at this time, it was situated in the corner of the B gates and was easy to find. I did experience the quick turnout taking off and it was cool. Overall a great airport.

  5. I arrived to Brandenburg a few weeks ago to go on the last flight from Tegel and have to agree particularly about the signage. The airport was running a free bus between the two airports at the time and despite following signs and maps for about 15-20 mins I could not find the dedicated stand so ended up getting a taxi. One of the good places to go for photos is the observation deck though I would say that there is no hope for social distancing up there as despite it being a large area, the visitors seems to have no concept of space and it was the closest I had stood to people I was not related to since March and I had never been so thankful to be wearing an N99 mask as I was then.

    Other than that I thought it was a nice airport. Not world leading, and definitely designed for past times but a lot better from a passenger point of view except for location and speed of curb to gate.

  6. I already miss Tegel. The distance from aircraft to baggage claim to Taxi was about 50 feet, if the aircraft was able to park at a gate with a jetway. Who cares whether the airport looked dated? It also had a far superior central location. So sad…

  7. Those narrow piers are a bit dated and Frankfurt-reminiscent. They could take an approach of holding departing pax in the headhouse (and it’s concessions) with delayed gate assignments as they do at Heathrow.

  8. Yes, in your pictures the ceilings seem very low. And they’re black! I really hate that in airports. I much prefer (and probably other travelers do as well) higher ceilings with a white or lighter paint colour.

  9. @ Ben: But there are moving walkways. Didn’t you see them? I know, they are hidden, but that’s really telling if you didn’t find them. I think you have to go again.

    No one here really likes the airport, but we have to live with it now.

  10. Very strange to build like Frankfurt when Munich and Zurich are among the best airports in the world and much better models.

    Far from the city, hard to connect across terminals, low ceilings…what are the positives here?

  11. That red net objet d’art seems eerily similar to the red human guts sprayed by the martians in War of the Worlds.

  12. sxf has no seats. and tegel has no subway line.

    this “new” airport doesn’t even add a new runway. just a new terminal to the old sxf.

    german taxpayers have been utterly conned. what an absolute scam.

  13. I had a tour of the Airport before its opening (with other travel agents) and you won’t believe the stories of things gone wrong, things still not finished or fixed and general things never taken into consideration that have never really been publicized.
    The outlets are just one of many, many things that are unfathomable to me.
    Yes, smart phones weren’t quite as much of a thing in 2006, when planning was finished. But laptops already were and had been for a while. Berlin gets a lot of business travel, with the Bundestag being here and all, so to not take that into account at all or make up for that mistake later on, it’s just dumbfounding to me.
    This is a really good example of Berlin and how it works in general (you will find that out in due time). Nothing actually works, is just haphazardly fixed (if at all) until it breaks down again a short while later and people just take it with a shoulder shrug and “Dit is Balin”.

  14. @AdamH: Well, technically Berlin Brandenburg is nothing else than a new terminal + an extra runway added to the existing ex East-Berlin Schönefeld airport …

  15. I will sorely miss TXL. It was my favorite airport because of how compact it was and the fact that baggage claim for international flights was at the gate. It made the arrival process so expedient and then a quick cab or bus to the city. No other airport in the world was designed to move people so efficiently in my opinion. It also was super convenient departing from the airport because as others have mentioned the check-in desks were so close to the departure gates.

  16. To all those Munich-lovers:
    Only Terminal 2 is good, Terminal 1 is garbage. And rail connection is laughable for a world-class-airport.
    Frankfurt and Dusseldorf have much better rail connection in Germany, worldwide HKG, ICN, PVG, PKX, heck even the dump of CDG also have way better rail connection.

    The new BER is also a shame, the only good airport that has ever existed in Berlin was Tempelhof (THF).

  17. @Kevin

    I find this pretentious ‘art’ installation to be mildly disturbing, but I’ve never managed to articulate why I felt this way….until you hit the nail on the head just now. Would it have killed them to install something less ghoulish and more in theme with an airport, like a bunch of fluffy white clouds or something like Changi’s raindrop installation??

  18. I feel that the new terminal of Zagreb and Simferopol is nearly as good as BER…
    I don’t quite understand why Tegel suffers from so bad opinions – when you walk past check-in you go to the gate… that’s german efficiency imho

  19. Western world need to take note from asians and me on how to build airport and city planning.
    Even wuhan airport looks better than this embarrassment.

  20. When the greatest accomplishment cited is that BER finally is open (a decade late), the is not much about to be excited.

  21. I wonder if if the company ‘Schindlers Lifts’ pre-dates the movie. Always makes me chuckle when I get in one.

  22. You start by saying the Lufthansa lounge is deep in the B gates. Then it moves to the A gates in the lounge section.

  23. I can highly recommend a podcast series made by Radio Spätkauf called “How to f up an airport”. It’s an entertaining summary of what happened. When it was made, BER was not yet open.

  24. America should most certainly NOT take note – except perhaps what not to do.

    First, this isn’t a new airport. It’s an expansion to SXF.

    Second, similar expansions in the US took far less time, took far less money, and resulted in facilities that are at least comparable – some of them seem way nicer to me. Terminal F in ATL, the new concourses at TBIT at LAX, Terminal D at DFW, new terminals at SFO, completely new terminal at RSW and IND. And there are others.

    Would Berlin have been better off doing what New York did with LGA and renovate its O&D airport? I’m shocked at how nice LGA is turning out and how much quicker it has happened than I expected. LGA is a larger airport than was TGL in terms of traffic. LGA is nearly as large as TGL and SXF combined. They have essentially built nice new terminals on top of the old ones. While the airport will still be constrained by no new runways, it’s going to be a much nicer experience.

    If America needs to learn from anyone, it’s a place like Singapore with Changi, not Germany with BER. No one should overspend and open up a brand-new, 10 year-old airport. With as much as was spent and as long as it took, BER should be perfect. It isn’t.

  25. Hi Brian,
    sorry to say: There is nothing to learn from Singapore, a vanity airport on all fronts, an airport without any cost accountability, with a landside shopping mall garden circus extravaganza just for the heck of it.

    BER, here the points:

    On the plus side:
    – Architectural design design not your typical topsy-curvy glass and steel terminal ‘baroque’, which can be so ‘admired’ the world over, instead, for those who know, a very fitting and consistent design language for the city of Berlin. A calming and delicate central roof, a sort of high temple roof, that dominates and ankers the entire terminal complex. While at the same time providing a dramatic and practical canopy over the departure road, something only very few airports achieve
    – Extensive use of wood interior walls to create a very warm terminal environment, rivaling Scandinavian airports in that aspect
    – 3 rail platforms with multiple rail options and future 20min express train to the heart of the city, truly world class, leaving inner-city Tegel memories in the dust
    – Beautiful architecture of the main pier fixed boarding bridges with extensive use of glass and gentle ramps, enjoy it before they become covered in advertisements

    On the minus side:
    – Lack of escalators, shockingly, throughout the terminal. You would think a no-brainer. I suspect a certain arrogance on the architect’s side who were not interested in functionality but in beauty alone
    – Some glaring planning mistakes for flexibility and future expandability
    – Weak signage, makes orientation both at Check-in and in the piers a challenge
    – Lack of landscaping at the Arrival roads. What happened?

    Overall quite positive, fitting in size and design, generally functional, with some beautiful features, and the main terminal roof creating a simple and legible hierarchy for the airport.

    As for the airport construction disaster, in case you don’t know, Berlin is not your typical Germany! It is poor, completely mismanaged as a city by the Berlin government, and surrounded by a former East-Germany failed state that can be equally called completely incompetent. The blind leading the blind! Has to be said like that. So almost not a surprise it went south!

  26. I dislike the Apple-store sterile white color that seems to be applied to terminal reconstruction projects in the States, so it’s nice to see a little color with this project, such as some earth tones and wood paneling.

    But the apparent total lack of carpeting still leaves the usual cold feeling of European airports. I understand if they don’t want to place carpeting in the check-in area but why not at least at the gate seating areas?

  27. Great review and should be a thing of the future, more airport reviews from Ben (Lucky).

    Bad points of the design appear to be:

    1. Too much walking, hard for old people and those with orthopedic injuries.

    2. Not green. High ceilings look great but waste heating. Monitors for the check in area wastes energy. Better have have fixed, non-electric signs at least for common airlines, like Lufthansa.

  28. @EJB in case you’re referring to Brandenburg as the “former East-Germany failed state” I’d advise you to do your research better, as Brandenburg has a surprisingly low unemployment rate (lower than NRW for example), a much better infrastructure than one would expect and has become quite a desirable place to live for many well off Berlinians.
    As for the incompetence you claim is unique to Berlin: while it is not, by far – as many other projects of this magnitude have proven – yes Berlin is pretty much a daily shit show and even seems proud of it.

  29. It looks so… Scandinavian, like when you have to recheck your bags at OSL. Tegel was so iconic and fit the vibe of Berlin so well.
    Plus the extra 50 euros a cab ride from BER to the inner ring will cost you if you are too tired to take public transit for 60-90 minutes. Plus, Berlin is not a hub for any airline, I don’t see the point of this.

  30. @EJB

    You be shocked and dismayed at how many Germans would drop Berlin for Changi in a heartbeat. Just the facts: even thirty-nine year old Terminal 1 Changi (oldest of three terminals at Singapore) is objectively better than one month old Berlin in terms of services and convenience.

  31. Fellow commenters:

    Way too much negativity about this airport as a public building (not as a process). But we are in the age of the “enraged citizen/Wutbuerger”, so it was expected. A few things to highlight if you allow, in no-nonsense style but without any revenge feelings:

    1. The airport is totally fitting for Berlin, the location is sensible in the grand scheme of things (the other two sites would have been double the distance) and the architecture is culturally unswerving with Berlin’s heritage, a design consistency so rare in the world of just ‘same-same’. But if you enjoy candy-sweet adult contemporary please enjoy Changi, or maybe you prefer western-designed ‘sexed-up’ steel and glass shapes at most Asian (China a.o.) or Middle Eastern airports?
    2. Berlin is a quick in- and out type terminal, on mostly low-cost airlines, hardly any transfer traffic, no need for the kind of services extravaganza of Skytrax-winner airports. Arrive at rail station, go up and go, and hopefully they will add power plugs with seats and a few small coffee and sandwich outlets. More worried about slow-acting security check personal that doesn’t understand the former Berlin-ubiquitous “Tempo, Tempo”.
    3. Carpeting is nice in gate areas, but unfortunately removed at the majority of airports, except of course Changi where they can care less about cost and efficiency, the only focus is to wow tired travelers. Wow!
    4. Comparison to Tegel TXL is really just silly revisionism, what is there to compare to BER? hardly anything. Tegel was a drive-in 1960/70s design, adequate for its time (and then not). A wonderful unique airport, yet also so typical of what Berlin unfortunately still is: Strangely unambitious, broken, poor, dysfunctional for most of its life, not pretty.
    5. Has to repeated here: The rail station is world-class, on 3-4 different types of rail service. 30min express today, 20min in a few years.
    6. Walking distances to the south pier are long, but assisted. Not a deal-breaker and simply cannot be avoided at larger airports with pier layouts.
    7. Berlin is just not a normal city. If you don’t understand then look at its history where you can pinpoint the start of its real demise to 12 years before the end of the war, and all that followed. Many will argue much time before even. It will take generations to make it ‘normal’. Meanwhile, one can be happy when it gets something reasonably right. This airport is very decent, practical for the most part (courtesy of its rail station and fairly simple layout), and in many areas even beautiful and serene.

  32. Appearance-wise this is obviously much better and makes a lot more sense as the airport of an important European capital. I will, however, hugely miss Tegel Terminal A’s incredible convenience…fifteen seconds from walking out the door of the the aircraft to getting in a taxi just can’t be beaten!

    Also, regarding MUC, it’s a big of a mixed bag – terminal 2 is lovely and a pleasure to connect through and fly into/out of, but terminal 1 isn’t that great. Though still not terrible… much better than Schonefeld (‘BER Terminal 5’) or Tegel’s terminal C (an absolute travesty and embarrassment not only to Germany as a country but to the human race as a whole). Or than JFK’s terminal 2, if you prefer a more American-centered comparison.

  33. Ok Alex, comparisons of apples with oranges is maybe fun for you but let’s stick to some sense-making:

    1. ‘Appearance-wise’ BER is an entirely new terminal triple the size of what TXL was and why it is not ‘better’ but a completely new chapter to the city. To continue talking about TXL as if it can be compared to BER makes zero sense.
    2. MUC T2 is a new generation terminal, why it is efficient and functional and easy to navigate, few would call it lovely, but ok. T1 was designed in the 1980s.. why it isn’t great, never was, and shall not be compared.
    3. BER T5 is the former SXF complex and was fixed up on the cheap to accommodate the boom in LCC traffic. No comparison, sorry.
    4. Same goes for TXL Terminal C. No comparison. The human race travels through the same low-standard LCC facilities all over Europe.
    5. JFK T2 is 1960s..

  34. @EJB: You appear to be quite agitated by something I’ve said but then your response mostly agrees with me so…I’m not really sure what to say to this?
    1. Of course BER is a ‘completely new chapter’ but that doesn’t mean it can’t be compared to TXL…comparing the city’s previous ‘main’ (kinda) airport to its new main airport makes total sense to me…
    2. I understand not everyone loves MUC T2, calling it lovely was just my opinion. And yes of course T1 is much older, which is obviously a function of its age…though again, I’m not sure why you are against comparing anything that’s a different age?
    3. BER T5 (which I also called SXF in my comment) is now exclusively an LCC terminal, but prior to BER’s opening accomodated other airlines and was the city’s second airport. Yes of course it was fixed up on the cheap and was never really meant to be any good, but that’s no reason to reject it as a point of comparison…
    4. And TXL terminal C is definitely a low-standard facility, but I think it’s actually a very apt comparison…it was built as a temporary terminal to increase capacity at TXL until BER opened. And then it took like 13 years for BER to open, so TXL TC became permanent. Serving more than just LCCs, by the way.
    5. Yep, JFK T2 is 1960s. And TXL Terminal A is a late 60s-early 70s addition to the airport…so not *that* much later. Time-wise, it’s not a bad idea to compare things built around a decade apart. The thing about TXL TA that makes it hard to compare to other terminals (in Germany, in Berlin specifically, or anywhere else in the world really) is its a very unique airport concept that’s so different from basically all other terminals in the world. The whole point of it is (or, I guess, was…) the thing I mentioned in my original comment, with it being a ring and terminal exits being just a few steps from the gates. Fifteen seconds from the aircraft door to a taxi wasn’t even an exaggeration. I know it was criticized for a lack of airside dining/services/whatever, but my point was that even though the new BER T1 is obviously superior and much more modern (despite being a decade old at this point, but whatever)… there’s really nothing that can beat TXL’s convenience (only terminal A though).

  35. Interesting review of Berlin’s airport and insight-full reader comments;
    maybe you could luanch a new section reviewing entire airports

  36. I think this airport looks beautiful, modern, attractive and functional. I would be proud of it if I was a Berliner.

    The nitpickers can be utterly ignored.

  37. Ben,
    Isn’t accessing airside areas by deliberately buying a ticket for a flight that you had absolutely no intention of taking, contravening local regulations, if not federal laws?
    Even if not, it’s ill-advised to the point of being irresponsible. Inferring that your action was justified by wanting the “real” experience, rather than that which a media event would provide, just doesn’t cut it. I’m really quite surprised at you!

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