We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

American business class or airberlin business class ?

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9 posts
10 reviews
Save Topic
American business class or airberlin business class ?

My husband and I are trying to decide which of these two airlines (AA or airberlin) to fly in business class using award travel from Portland, Oregon to Berlin. Has anyone flown either of these airlines in long-haul business class? Which do you recommend? We are looking for seat comfort, quality of food and service. I'm reading bad reports for both airlines in the areas I mentioned, so I guess we might be looking at the "lesser of two evils" as it were, but we do want to use our frequent flyer miles. Any comments or advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
5,826 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

Since AA doesn't fly on its own planes to Berlin, you might be looking at a "codeshare" flight in which AA simply attaches its flight number to an Air Berlin flight. In that case the point is moot, since it will be Air Berlin's seats. And, since Air Berlin doesn't fly to Portland, you'd probably be looking at at least one segment on AA in order to get to an Air Berlin gateway city, of which there are only a few in North America.

With a business class award using AA miles, any domestic flights (e.g. Portland > Dallas) would book into first class on the short flights, business on the long haul. If your itinerary was via Air Berlin from Los Angeles (recently announced route) then it would be Alaska Airlines to LAX, since American doesn't fly from PDX to LAX.

American uses an "all partners" approach to award seats - you can use any number of AA partners (as well as AA itself) for award itineraries. To get from Portland to Berlin, you could fly on AA "metal" from PDX to Dallas, then AA business class to London, then British Airways to Berlin, or on Alaska/Horizon to Seattle, BA to London then Berlin, or numerous other permutations. Flights on British Airways transatlantic flights will incur hefty fuel surcharges (several hundred dollars each plus the miles) so be sure to ask about the bottom line when you speak to AA about the reservations.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

Thanks for your information,ibgardyloo. We are aware of the routing possibilities, and we have been looking at the PDX-LAX-Dusseldorf-Berlin flight using Alaska and airberlin. As you suggest, we want to avoid British Air because of the surcharges.

We have flown AA busness class in the past and have been ok with it, but the fact that we're reading so many negative comments about this class of service on AA makes us wonder if we should go with airberlin. On the other hand, the reviews for airberlin haven't been good either.

So again, we are looking for advice about either airlines seat comfort, quality of food and quality service in international business class. Thank you.

Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
5,826 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

OK, but asking about AA's business class is pointless if you're considering Air Berlin's LAX flight. It will be Air Berlin's plane flying to Germany from LAX.

But regarding AA's business class, perhaps I'm in a minority, but I think it's just fine. The seat is not fully flat (i.e. parallel to the floor) but has a slight tilt to it; on the other hand it's plenty wide and has almost infinite adjustment possibilities. Unlike some seats (like BA's Club World) there's plenty of shoulder room, and if you're on a 767 you can sit in the middle section and have unlimited access to the aisle, with nobody needing to climb over you. And AA's food and service in business class is, in my view at least, equal to or better than its competitors' offerings.

Air Berlin is a low-cost carrier that's joining the ranks of a full-service airline; its longhaul business product is quite new, so I wouldn't put too much store in the limited reviews that might be out there. Usually with new routes (e.g. LAX) the airlines try to put their best foot forward, so I'd fly on Air Berlin with confidence that it will be an okay experience.

UK
Level Contributor
49,561 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

<<But regarding AA's business class, perhaps I'm in a minority, but I think it's just fine>>

You can add one to that, I flew it LHR-LAX return this past April. perfectly good and if I contrast it with BA's Club (business) class i flew last month, I would say it was slightly better in some respects slightly worse in others and on average equal.

You want to avoid the AA 757 flights if you can, comparatively that's rubbish (and that, misleadingly, is called first) The PDX-LAX may be one of those, I don't know but I suppose its only 3 hours or so?

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
9 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

Thank you for your replies and your advice. We still have not made up our minds, but we value your thoughts. Hope to get some more input.

Delray Beach...
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

I would say that you should choose another airline to travel with. Neither AA or AB have great business cabins. If it is possible for you to choose other airlines: do that. Personally I can recommend Lufthansa that operates from Portland - Chicago(flown by United Airlines) - Frankfurt Main(Lufthansa) - Berlin Tegel(Lufthansa). Lufthansa offers great service on their long-haul business class flights, and the seats are alright as well.

Have a nice holiday.'

Regards

Martin - Denmark

Chapala, Mexico
Level Contributor
117 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

I flew Air Berlin in coach last year from Berlin via Munich to Cancun. Even in coach I found the service excellent. The seats were comfortable (for airline seats); the food was very good, some of the better food I've had on a plane; the flight attendants were helpful. I'd take Air Berlin, even in coach, over other airlines I've flown.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
8,992 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

Personally I can recommend Lufthansa

----------

With an even crappier J seat than AA???

Hamburg, Germany
3 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

I never fly Air Berlin business class, but I suggest never fly Air Berlin on Eco for more than 1 hour (seat pith are very very low).

I also can recommend Lufthansa or use Air Berlin only on short flights less than 1 hour.

Edited: 23 October 2011, 11:59
prague
3 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: American business class or airberlin business class ?

Is Air Berlin very bad??