Air Berlin AB6558 Frankfurt – Berlin
Aircraft: Airbus A319 Miles: 269 Duration: 1hr10mins
Boarding was swift and efficient on this pristine Airbus for the short flight up to Berlin. We had pre-assigned aisle seats, which is a nice touch for a low-cost carrier. Additionally, AB offer complimentary drinks and snacks on all flights, with meals being served on flights longer than sixty minutes. They also offer complimentary newspapers and magazines at the boarding gate, which certainly sets AB above the standard European low-cost carrier.
About Air Berlin: Since its founding in 1978 as Air Berlin USA, the company has grown to become Germany’s second largest carrier, with a fleet of 142 aircraft serving 163 destinations around the world. In addition to operating a large narrow-body Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 family fleet, AB fly the Airbus A330 in dual-class configuration on long-haul routes to North America and Asia. The carrier has 18 Boeing 787s on order for delivery from 2014. With hubs in both Berlin and Dusseldorf, AB has focus cities in Europe including Vienna, Zurich and Palma de Mallorca. AB also wholly owns Vienna-based Niki, and has numerous code-share arrangements with carriers including Etihad, Hainan Airlines and S7 Airlines. AB are amongst the latest carriers to join oneworld effective March 2012.
We had hoped to land at the new Berlin Brandenberg Airport, but this project has been delayed well into 2013 for a variety of operational and safety reasons.
Poor Richard had a bit of a scare with his bag going missing upon arrival at TXL. We checked our roll-aboards so we didn’t flout the AB rules, but Andrew’s bag turned up in Berlin, Richard’s did not. After waiting an hour in a rather bland custom’s hall, the bag turned up (phew!). It is all part of the joys ad sorrows of global travel.
We are now in the welcome arms of the stunning Hotel Adlon, on the Unter den Linden overlooking the Brandenberg Gate. This historic hotel is simply amazing. Founded in 1907, the hotel has witnessed some impressive moments of history, as well as offering some of the most elegant and refined service in Europe. Guests such as Herbert Hoover and Josephine Baker made the hotel THE place to be between the two wars, with glimpses of celebrities from Charlie Chaplin to Marlene Dietrich (who, some say, owes her career to founder Lorenz Adlon). The hotel survived the bombing of Berlin towards the end of WWII, only to burn down due to a careless fire in May of 1945. Parts of it were salvaged, and an hotel was operated from East Germany into the 1980s, when it finally closed. Following reunification, a new Hotel Adlon was constructed on the original site, and we are more than thrilled to be visiting today!
We have a respectable pause of 17 hours here before another marathon 23 hours of travel. Hurrah! Now, where is the bar?? Oh yes…martini time!