Two years ago, the new airport in Berlin was supposed to open. As pretty much everybody knows, that didn’t happen. Yet, it is not even fixed when it will finally open. What is certain is that Berlin Tegel has to do its job some years longer. Some people hate, some love it. We guide it and lead you through the at times uncomfortable airport!
It is not supposed to exist in the current state anymore, but yet it does. Berlin Tegel served 20 million passengers last year – more than ever before. Did it grow meanwhile? No it didn’t, what makes flying from Tegel not really easy for passengers. Currently, there are five terminals that are used for domestic and international flights.
Terminal A is the main terminal of the airport, serving flights of all major airlines like Air Berlin, Lufthansa or Hainan Airlines. Terminal C is as big as Terminal A, but is used mainly used by Air Berlin for regional flights to European or domestic destinations. Talking of Air Berlin, the German airline is the biggest carrier at Berlin Tegel, nowadays followed by Germanwings.
Due to its weird outline, shopping at Berlin Tegel is a little complicated. Most of the shops are located in Terminal A, but be aware: After passing security, you won’t be able to find any shops in Terminal A. In Terminal B there are pretty much no shops, in Terminal C, D and E some smaller shops are present before and after security. All in all, there is a rich selection of national and international goods to be bought, but Berlin Tegel Airport nevertheless is not a good airport for shopping.
The same problem exists when talking of food. In Terminal A, there are different restaurants including Starbucks and Burger King. Anyway, after security at most gates there is no restaurant at all. At the other terminals, the situation is a little better, but far from perfect.
An overnight connection at Berlin Tegel is not the best idea. The airport does not exactly offer sleeping facilities or anything similar. You may catch some sleep at one of the chairs, but they are not highly comfortable. Moreover, gates are opening just a few hours ahead of the scheduled flight, so you can’t stay in the security area overnight. When it comes to hotels, Berlin Tegel is not the best choice as well. There are few hotels nearby.
The Mercure Berlin Airport, located five minutes away from the airport, and the Dorint Airporthotel Berlin-Tegel, two kilometers away from the airport, are the only recommendable choices for an overnight stay. If you want to dip into the nightlife of Berlin or enjoy the city, you may decide for a hotel in the city as several hotspots of Berlin are reachable in just 15 minutes by bus.
The problems of the old airport go on when it comes to lounges. There are five lounges in total. Lufthansa offers its own, other Star Alliance passengers travelling in Business or First Class and holders of a frequent traveler status access to either the Senator Lounge or the Business Lounge. Moreover, there are lounges of British Airways (oneworld) and Air France (SkyTeam).
Passengers not holding a frequent traveler status or not flying Business or First Class may enjoy the Berlin Airportclub Lounge for a fee. Anyway, guests of all lounges should keep in mind that each and every lounge is located in the main building before security. Gates in Terminal A and B are reachable in just a few minutes, the ways to Terminals C, D and E are a little longer.
So, with an awkward layout, only a few lounges and not really many possibilities for either shopping or dining, why people like Berlin Tegel? Well, transportation may be a reason. The star-shaped layout of Terminal A makes it possible to reach the gates in just seconds from stepping out of a taxi or a car. The situation in Terminals B, C, D and E is a little worse, but still way better than at most other airports.
Anyway, public transportation is not too convenient at Berlin Tegel Airport. There is no train connection to Berlin. Transportation is organized by buses that are connecting the airport to the Main Station (Bus TXL), to the Alexanderplatz (Bus TXL) and to Zoologischer Garten (Bus X9). Connection to the metro and regional train system is available when changing at the first stop of either Bus X9 or Bus TXL.