Air Berlin Expanding Service to the US, Adding New Flights to Orlando and the West Coast
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Air Berlin is gearing up to expand service to the US from its German hubs Berlin and Dusseldorf. In addition to launching three new routes, the airline will increase flight frequency “by up to 50 percent,” to offer 78 weekly nonstop flights from both cities by summer 2017.
Starting on May 6, 2017, the airline will launch service from Dusseldorf to Orlando, with flights operating five times a week. This will be the carrier’s third destination in Florida, as it already offers flights to Fort Myers and Miami.
The carrier will also offer nonstop service from Berlin to Los Angeles and San Francisco starting in May 2017. There will be four weekly flights from Berlin-Tegel (TXL) to San Francisco (SFO) and three from Tegel to Los Angeles (LAX), for a total of 11 weekly Air Berlin flights to SFO and 10 weekly flights to LAX from Berlin and Dusseldorf combined. The carrier actually operated the Berlin-LAX route previously, though it ended the service back in 2013, so this is good news for flyers who’ve been missing this nonstop option.
More Frequent Flights to the US
In addition to the new routes to Los Angeles, Orlando and San Francisco, Air Berlin will expand its seasonal Berlin-Miami service and offer year-round flights starting this winter, with four flights per week in the winter and three per week in the summer. Existing service from Berlin to New York-JFK will also increase from seven to 10 flights per week starting next summer.
Starting next spring, the airline will also up the frequency of two routes from Dusseldorf: Flights to Boston and San Francisco will increase from four and five per week, respectively, to daily service. That’s a lot to keep track of, but the bottom line is that the carrier is serious about expanding service from its German hubs to the US, and the three new nonstop routes are good news for both business and leisure travelers.
As View from the Wing reports, there’s good economy and decent business-class award availability on these new routes, but you may need to call to book. You’ll typically need to redeem 30,000 American AAdvantage miles each way for economy flights and 57,500 miles each way for business class. Fortunately, unlike British Airways, Air Berlin does not add fuel surcharges.
A New Business-Class Cabin for Flights within Europe
That’s not all the news on the Air Berlin front, though. Starting this year, the airline will add a business-class cabin to its short- and medium-haul flights within Germany and Europe. The new premium cabin won’t be particularly luxurious — it will consist of the first row with the middle seats blocked, for a total of four business-class seats — but it’s still a step up from the carrier’s all-economy offering for flights within Europe.
In addition to more elbow space, business-class passengers will enjoy some perks on the ground, including priority check-in, lounge access, fast-tracked security and priority boarding. They’ll also get a complimentary drink and selection of snacks on board, plus a pillow and additional baggage allowance.
Are you interested in any of these new routes, or Air Berlin’s new business cabin for shorter flights?