Review: Air Berlin’s newest BusinessClass with flat beds in the A330
(deutsche Version) Also 2013 carries some interesting reviews concerning flight and hotel products and I want to begin with the brand-new business class by AirBerlin. It’s the third generation by AirBerlin and it has a background. While the old business class (Review AirBerlin alte BusinessClass) was equipped with an old not flat seat, AB proclaimed to build in the new one. Unfortunately the new one has 170 degrees in a new ordered, but not innovative cabin. Whether the new partner Ethiad Airways didnt like it or there were other reason, there is a new product. The new business class comes up with a 1-2-1 order and 19 instead of 20 seats. There is only a single machine euiqpped with the new product, 6 more are about to follow in spring. AirBerlin says that passengers won’t see the very old product anymore, rather the new one or the one before.
Today I’ll fly with AB 7460 from Dusseldorf (DUS) to Abu Dhabi (AUH). Sadly I chose a day on which DUS airport is unexpectedly on strike since 4 o’clock in the morning Most of the flights were canceled (mainly short and mid distance), but long distance flights were tried to be remained. But because the security personnel was on strike too, it took some time and machines were empty.
Arriving with the limo
Also in Dusseldorf (in a 60km perimeter), AirBerlin offers clients a transfer by limousine. I was picked up on time in the Hyat Hotel and brought me to the airport. The service can be book by any guest of business class.
Since I travelled with Ethiad first class on my way back, I had a ticket from them, which had the big disadvantage that I had to check in at the airport. It’s basically not that tragic, if you dont want to safe yourself a specific seat. Also on the way back this wasn’t possible, neither for the EY nor the AB connection flight.
VIP service at the airport Dusseldorf
After I posed the question whether it’s event possible to get through the striked security control, an other service provided (thanks again to all participants). The airport provides a VIP service that can be used by all guests for 249 EUR. Due to an important appointment in Abu Dhabi and the necessity to fly this night, I used the service. The complete procedure takes part in a seperate building of the terminla. Similiar to theFirstClass terminal of Lufthansa in Frankfurt you won’t see any other guests. After arriving by car, limo or taxi I am welcomed friendly at the door. My passport is being taken und I’m asked where I’d like to be seated. I take place in the spacious VIP lounge and see the chaos at DUS airport on TV.
After about 20 minutes i got the hint the seperate security control was open and so we got through it in a couple of minutes, just before it closed. Behind it lounges for smokers and non-smokers were waiting, with showers and toilets. So i establish myslf, since there were a few more hours to go. WiFi is for free of course and available in sufficient speed, as well as a selection of beverages. A couple of times I’m asked whether I’d like to eat something, but I stay with coke and a sandwhich and work a little.
Almost one hour before take off I’m being asked if i’d like to board first or last. Then I go to the limo, which is waiting in front of the door and we drive to the plane. Over stairs on the side we get to the plane’s door, the friendly sir disappears with my passport, comes back after a minutes and accompanies me to get on board. Great service!
After a warm welcome on board I’m being brought to my seat, my jacket and luggage is taken and I’m being offered champaing or orange juice. Being called by name works during the whole flight and is not intrusive but courteous.
The new cabin is equipped with 19 business class seats in a 1-2-1 arrangement, while there are only two middle seats in row 1. If you like to travel together you choose a middle seat, because here both can sit together. At least in uneven rows, e.g. 1 E/F, 3 E/F. In the window rows seats alternate. For example seat 2A is a corridor seat and rather improper if you want to be a little more for yourself. Seats with the letter A or K are situation directly at the window and seperated by a wall, if you want to be for yourself. From a conception side they are almost closed, just a little passage leads to the corridor. Here you can sleep restfully, eat or work, just as you want to. Since I really like the clubword seat from British Airways, I feel quite comfortable on 3A.
The new seat, typically kept in the „AirBerlin blue“, should not only close the line to the development of the seats of competitors, but also please guests of Ethiad. The carrier of the emirate Abu Dhabi wants to convey first and business class guests further on and who wants to spend 6 hours with a bad product.
The seat 1
The seat is controlled via touch pad in the side board and offers three fixed positions for sleep, relax and take off/ landing plus different individual positions. Besides the seat control you can also switch on the lights at the seat. You can switch on and off the reading light plus an other one, while I dont get why there is no dimming function. The seat has retracable arm rests, which increase the shelf size. Also shelf space is taken care of.
Under the foot room you find a shelf and an other one for magazines. Also above you find one to put at glasses or other stuff. All together you have enough space for your stuff. Aside of the seat you find more space for shoes or a little bag. I positively recognize the table which is integrated into the side wall above the foot area. Through flapping it down and swaying it you move it into the right position. Even though some more place at the seat would be nice, it is swayable up front and so porivdes the possibility to stand up during dinner. Further more you find the remote for the screen and inflight entertainment below the seat.
If you transform the seat into a bed, it becomes a flat lying surface. The feet disappear just a little under the area of the front seat. Though this „bulge“ is not too big, you can lie comfotably. Only travellers 1,90m tall or mor could bump. Immediately after take off the friendly employees hand out slippers, amenity kit and cozy, thick sheets. Different than at other airlines, where these are so thinn you need two or freeze, AirBerlin offers the cozy variety, with which you can sleep outstanding.
The big 15 inch screen bribes with good contrast. Though it’s a touch screen, in business class a remote is appropriate. The reason is simple: the screen is too far away from the seat and cannot be managed without bending over. Therefore on the backside of the remote you find a cross to control it.
The program is ok, but nothing special. A sufficient amount of movies of different genres is available, plus games, music and the flight map. It’s nicely done and provides an overview of the travel, even though there is no camera. Also while lying the screen is well seeable (though not skewable) and doesn’t mirror.
Shortly before take off and connected with the request for another drink, we’re handed out the menu. AirBerlin has beverages and food in one menu, together with wines. Besides starters, which consisted of trout tartar with German caviar and a salad of prime boiled beef with green sauce, they bring desert and cheese right with them. What a nuisance after my opinion, which might simplify work, but doesn’t get any nicer because of this.
Aside of this, both starters tasted great. The main courses were four dishes, which is a big choice in business class. There should be something for every taste with marinated chicken filet, slices of beef brisket, king prawns with Tagliatelle and last but not least a creamy pumpkin risotto. I had the main course two times, because we were only 7 people. The rest didn’t make it through the strike. Slices of beef brisket with horseradish, as well as the prawns were more than tasty, nicely served and adorned with fresh herbals. I also recognized the friendly service. As dessert they served Tete de Moine and a pepper cheese, plus a cappuccino cherrry cake. The latter was tasteful, the cheese after my opinion rather mediocre. I liked that they had cappuccino on board besides coffee, tea and espresso.
Since I still dont drink any alcohol, I cannot say anything about the champaign, which was a Drappier Cate Blanche Crut, as well as about the three white and red wines and the rose. If you want to know more, look at the menu below.
Besides wine, coffee and tea there are sufficient liquors from Absolut Wodka to Glenfiddich and Jack Daniels to Himbeergeist on board. If you like it non-alcoholic you can have water, orange, apple or tomato juice and soft drinks of course, as well as Tonic and Bitter Lemon. They are refilled quickly, so nobody has to be thirsty.
Shortly before landing we get another snack. A caribbean fruit grout and apple pancake with vanilla cream let me start the daily sweetly.
The amenity kit
To my astonishment it is being handed out personally and with a smile and not put on the seat before the guest arrives, like in many other airlines. The kit itself is kept in decent black and well filled for a one of the business class.
Besides slippers and socks, you also find ear plugs, eye mask, lip balm, cream and of course tooth brush and paste in it. Because of it’s high quality material and size the kit will be surely stored in my kid’s toy box and be used as stowage for cars, toys and such ☺
Arriving in Abu Dhabi, immigration and limousine
Before landing we circuited due to the fog for about half an hour. Looking outside it rather seemed to be the moon’s landscape than the one of a growing metropole, but it had something. After landing on an outer position and everybody was looking a little disappointed, there was a suprise. Six busses are waiting infront of the door, which wait until the 7 Paxes from the front cabin are inside. I have seen different things in AUH already.
The airport is bloody empty. Not only at the fast track, also at the other counters I dont have to wait for even 15 minutes. Arriving at the luggage band, my bag is just coming out – perfect timing. So I get through customs and to the counter of the Ethiad chauffeur service, which handles transport for AirBerlin. The driver is waiting already and so I’m sitting in the limousine to my hotel, where I’ll be checked in on 8:30, while I write these lines.
Already last year, the old AirBerlin product surprised me with great service. Through the new cabin and seat, they established a really nice and competitive product. The employees are – despite the discussion about employers, salary and the future – super friendly and attentive. Even when I got up at night to drink some water, a friendly maam immediately came to ask me if I’d like to have something else.
If AirBerlin can maintain the service and convert the other machines quickly, it’s a carrier you can use regularly. Especially on tracks to Abu Dhabi, but also from Berlin to New York, one could use this product more often.
All together: thanks for the great flight!Well done, AirBerlin!