Air Berlin, Europe’s fifth largest airline, will soon be an official part of the Oneworld alliance and in the meantime their awards are already bookable using American Airlines (and soon other Oneworld airlines) miles. It was announced last summer that they’d be joining Oneworld and as part of my blog post last July, I highlighted a couple interesting aspects of Air Berlin:
1) Air Berlin will allow east coast Oneworld flyers non-stop access to Germany via JFK, Miami and Ft. Myers. Currently, all Oneworld flights to Germany either go non-stop through Dallas, or connect in Europe.
2) With the addition of Air Berlin, Oneworld will now have great access to Iceland. Air Berlin operates over 1/3 of the flights out of Reykjavik.
3) Air Berlin serves more cities in Germany than Lufthansa (23 in total). Their main hubs are Berlin and Dusseldorf vs Lufthansa’s strongholds of Frankfurt and Munich.
4) US non-stop routes include Dusseldorf from : JFK, MIA, RSW (Fort Meyers, FL), LAX and SFO. See their full route map here.
While Air Berlin is a semi-low cost carrier, they do have a fleet of Airbus A330s equipped with a decent business class and from what I’ve seen so far, coach availability looks really generous. When I called to book an award, fees were low too- less than $50 roundtrip, so it does not look like there are fuel surcharges.
Overall, this is a nice enhancement to anyone with Oneworld miles looking for more options to Europe. To search Air Berlin award availability you need to sign up for a Top Bonus account here. When signing up, you’ll be given the option to purchase a Service Card for 79 euros. This will give you access to advance seat assignments (including exit rows and premium seats), increased baggage allowance and other small customer service perks. This probably only makes sense if you fly Air Berlin several times a year.