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Delayed with Air Berlin

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Air Berlin – poor handling of delays and cancellations

History and recent development

Air Berlin, originally registered under the name of Air Berlin USA, was founded in 1978 and operated by Lelco, an American agricultural enterprise. This arrangement was due to the fact that during the Cold War era only airlines registered in the Allied nations were allowed to serve the air corridors to West-Berlin. After German reunification, Air Berlin was bought by Joachim Hunold and subsequently expanded its network, introducing scheduled flights in 1997. Air Berlin went public in 2006, and after the stock market launch used the capital to invest, among other things, in aircraft purchases. In August 2006, Air Berlin took over dba, a German domestic airline. The following year, they acquired LTU and its long haul routes. It also signed agreements with China’s Hainan Airlines, Russian airline S7 and Turkish Pegasus Airlines. Since November 2011, NIKI is a 100% owned subsidiary of Air Berlin. Air Berlin has had some financial troubles in the past few years, but has since returned to the profit zone following the collaboration with Etihad Airways. Since 2011, Etihad Airways is the largest shareholder of Air Berlin, which is also Germany’s second largest airline after Lufthansa.

Major destinations

Air Berlin has two major hubs: Düsseldorf (DUS) and Berlin-Tegel (TXL). Once the new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport has opened its doors, it will become Air Berlin’s main hub. Air Berlin has been a member of the airline alliance Oneworld since 2012, and offers its own frequent traveler program, “topbonus”. Its route network has benefited from the collaboration with Etihad: together, their network covers 239 destinations in 77 countries, mainly in North America, Europe and Asia. The frequency of non-stop transatlantic flights to New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA) was expanded from 2012/2013 onwards; these destinations are now being served on a daily basis. Air Berlin has also worked to develop its network inside Europe, with new destinations such as Warsaw (WAW) and Kraków (KRK); and new direct flights from Berlin to Madrid (MAD), Sofia (SOF), and Bucharest (OTP)

Services and quality of service

Despite being a semi-low-cost carrier, Air Berlin is generally renowned for its good service on board and for serving complimentary drinks and snacks even on very short flights. It has also invested in a new business class on all long-haul flights in 2012, and with fully flat reclining chairs on board the new Airbus A330-200. Air Berlin is rated three stars on SKYTRAX, performing best on short-haul in economy class with a four-star rating. However, customer reviews of the airline are mixed, with some occasionally stating that the seat comfort was limited as was the friendliness of staff. Nonetheless, the overall rating of value for money is good for Air Berlin.

Delays and Cancellations – an overall average performance

According to Flightstats , the average on-time performance of Air Berlin lies around 85%, but with more than 4% cancelled flights. The statistics from August to October 2013 show that 10% of the flights were delayed and another 8% were either very late or excessively delayed. Thus, the general performance of this airline regarding delays and cancellations may not be excellent, but is acceptable compared to Industry standard. However, customer ratings show that the service at Air Berlin is weakest in handling delays and cancellations. There are several passenger reviews concerning cancellations and delays, many of which state that they were not informed in time about cancellations and their options; others complain that there was no help in case of excessively delayed flights
If you have experienced a flight delay or cancellation with Air Berlin, check your flight below and see how much you might be entitled to claim from the airline!.

What rights do I have?

Under EU law, you can get up to 480£ compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation or overbooking of your flight.
This is true regardless of the ticket price and up to 6 years retrospectively.


What to do when delayed?

  • gather information
  • Take photos
  • You are entitled to vouchers
  • Keep documents from the airline, such as letters, tickets, vouchers
250 €
< 1,500km
3H Delay
400 €
1,500km - 3,500km
3H Delay
600 €
> 3,500km
3H Delay
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Doing it yourself

annoying and unpromising

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simple and straightfoward

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expensive and complex/effortful

  • cost risk: several hundred euros
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