In lieu of regular airport lounges across its domestic and Austrian network, Airberlin employs a number of 'Exclusive Waiting Areas' at airports across Germany and Austria including Berlin, Munich and Vienna, giving top-tier frequent flyers a private place to wait for their flight.
The facilities aren't quite what frequent travellers have come to expect at airports across the globe, but given that most visitors are only flying a short distance on Airberlin's all-economy flights, it's more than enough for a short stay.
We stopped by the Exclusive Waiting Area in Munich before a recent flight with Airberlin – here's what we thought.
Location & Impressions
You'll find the Exclusive Waiting Area airside and opposite from gate A9 at Munich Airport, which is conveniently close to most of the Airberlin gates.
It's quite simplistic – to call it a 'lounge' would be a stretch – but with space to work, plug in and grab a coffee, there are worse places to spend your time.
While Airberlin is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance, Exclusive Waiting Areas aren't deemed 'lounges', which means that Qantas Frequent Flyer members don't have access on their own accord – even at the Platinum tier.
Here's the full guest list. If you're on it and flying with Airberlin, you're through the barrier.
- Business class passengers
- Economy travellers on a FlyFlex fare
- Virgin Australia Velocity Gold and Platinum
- Airberlin Topbonus Silver, Gold and Platinum
- Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Platinum
To enter, just scan your boarding pass or swipe your frequent flyer card – or if all else fails, there's a phone nearby to call for help.
When travelling with a Gold or Platinum Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer number attached to your booking, you'll need to swipe your membership card to unlock the gate rather than scanning the boarding pass.
Once inside, refreshments are limited to tea, coffee, soft drinks and water...
... but don't be fooled by the vending machine – all beverages are free, so keep your coins in your pocket.
There isn't any food or snacks, so you'll need to make a pit stop by an airport cafe before heading to the Exclusive Waiting Area if you're a little peckish.
Ideal for working on laptops, benches fill the lounge space and come with power outlets for charging on the go:
With no wireless Internet access, you'll need to set up camp over by the garden as the benches on this side of the lounge come equipped with Ethernet cables for web browsing and catching up on a few emails.
Or, if you did transit via the cafe, a handful of dining tables allow you to enjoy your meal away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal.
As the Exclusive Waiting Area is separated from the main passenger terminal by a glass fence rather than a floor-to-ceiling wall, boarding calls can still be heard from inside the lounge.
If you have a little time to kill, there's a small selection of magazines...
... plus TVs, although these were on mute and were without captions, so beyond reading a scrolling news bar, there isn't much to watch..
It's certainly a far cry from a traditional airport lounge, but with laptop power, Internet access and a quieter area in which to work, it's certainly better than trying to get something done out in the main terminal.
Situated amidst Airberlin's most frequently-used gates at Munich Airport, those on the door list don't need to leave the space until boarding has been called: allowing business travellers to maximise their productivity pre-flight.
However, the lack of wireless Internet access was a little surprising – not all road warriors carry a laptop on their journeys, while iPads, tablets and smartphones can't be connected to cabled (Ethernet) connections without additional hardware.
Overall, Airberlin's brainchild lives up to its name as an 'Exclusive Waiting Area', but it doesn't come close to what you'd find in a more typical airport lounge.
Chris Chamberlin was travelling as a guest of Airberlin and Etihad.
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