Finding a flight that would fit my itinerary wasn't easy so I settled on using 10,000 Avios for the direct 3.5 hours flight on Air Berlin from Berlin to Tel Aviv.
I had never been on an Air Berlin plane before so I was looking forward to the experience. The Airbus came configured with Economy Class only – no business class at all.
Tegel airport was about to be demolished earlier this year as the new Berlin airport was supposed to be opened in 2013. This hasn't happened and it seems won't happen for some time. Tegel airport is obviously short on space but well managed with lot's of good restaurants and coffee shops making me miss my non-existing Oneworld status a bit less.
The Seat pitch was pretty tight – 31" maybe – I had trouble fitting my frame into the middle seat (yeah!). The flight attendants came through with drinks and a sandwiches during the flight.
There also was a movie playing on the LCD screens in the main walkway.
Air Berlin has changed strategy from low-cost airline to full service carrier back-and-forth a couple of times and this flight certainly was more of the low-cost experience.
It was a quick flight but really just provided the most basic flight amenities, but for 10,000 Avios I found it a good deal given the elevated price level of tickets from Europe to the Middle East (bar Easyjets service).
Immigration in Israel was very interesting with tons of questions about my passport stamps and my plans in Israel. Also the name of my grandfathers father was asked – I grew a bit worried at that point about my chances making it through immigration. A supervisor was called and my passport was inspected agonizingly slow by him.
At last the immigration officer had mercy with me and did let me collect my bag….