Reviews

Review: Airberlin 'Exclusive Waiting Area' lounge, Munich Airport

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, October 22 2014
Airberlin 'Exclusive Waiting Area' lounge, Munich Airport
Country

Germany

City

Munich

Airport

Munich - Franz Josef Strauss

Alliance

oneworld

Airline

Airberlin

Cabin-class

Business

Notes
The Good
  • Located close to Airberlin's most-used gates at Munich Airport
  • Plenty of benches and tables for laptop work
  • Desk-level power points throughout the lounge
The Bad
  • No wireless Internet
  • No access for Oneworld Sapphire, Emerald members
The Unexpected
  • Escape from the public terminal while keeping an eye on your flight
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

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.

Access

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.

Dining

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.

Work

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.

Relax

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..

Summary

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.

ChrisCh
ChrisCh

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

undertheradar Banned

undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

easy to see where ABs alliance truely lays..and it's not ONEWORLD...that's to expected when AB is 29% owned/controlled by EY who in turn is 'in bed' with VA

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 521

As the saying goes, "blood is thicker than water."

sagidec

sagidec

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

German airports are not known to provide free Wifi for travellers. Been in Berlin-Tegel / Schonefeld, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf airports and no free Wifi unless you're a T-Mobile subscriber.

So, free Wifi in the lounge, a big plus there.

hutch

hutch

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1218

Unless I read it wrong, there is no free WIFI

madge

madge

07 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Lack of oneworld access is annoying, as AB uses Terminal 1A at MUC, but the oneworld lounges are in 1B, 1C or 1D.

When I was there the check in desk advised that AB also uses the Atlantik lounge in 1C, but it is beyond passport control so more hassle than it's worth.

Zac

Zac

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 May 2014

Total posts 129

Thanks for this review - had been wondering what these "Exclusive Waiting Areas" entailed. Now I know it's not worth paying extra to fly AirBerlin to get access.

Interesting that Virgin FF get access while Qantas don't - although not missing out on much and given the BA / Iberia lounge options in Europe I don't think QF flyers will be too disappointed. Europe really is a gap in Virgin's mini-alliance.

undertheradar Banned

undertheradar Banned

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 662

my analogy is...airlines are 'prostitutes'...they 'sleep' with anyone for money...but their 'pimp'/owner still 'makes the calls'... lol

Fenoglio

Fenoglio

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2014

Total posts 1

As a general rule, these AirBerlin "exclusive awaiting areas" become seriously overcrowded leading up to flights, and facilities are more basic than those described in the article. If your OneWorld level allows it, a better bet at airports that AB serves are the general OW lounges, but these can be tricky to find. For example, in Vienna (one of the AB hubs), the general lounge is before security screening.

Greg84

Greg84

03 Nov 2014

Total posts 87

I was able to access the Tegel & Vienna waiting ares as QANTAS Gold FF in Sept & Oct this year...wasn't very exciting as they are very basic, but did get a drink & access to wifi.


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