Big aviation news out of the Metroplex today, as German airline and oneworld member Airberlin announced its first service to DFW International Airport via Dusseldorf. From the press release:
airberlin, Germany’s second largest airline and member of oneworld©, is expanding its route network to the United States, adding Dallas Fort Worth to its network in May 2016. airberlin will fly four times from Dallas Fort Worth to Dusseldorf, the airline’s main long-haul hub.
“We are excited to welcome oneworld partner airberlin to the Dallas Fort Worth area as they bring another key European destination to DFW’s growing portfolio of international flights,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. “This new service to Dusseldorf will benefit our customers by providing more flight options and more connectivity to Europe. We are grateful to the team at airberlin for their commitment to our airport and our region and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership leveraging the strength of the oneworld network.”
Nonstop service is scheduled to begin May 6, 2016 on a 4x weekly schedule, utilizing Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Dallas Fort Worth
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Dallas Fort Worth
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The flight from DFW should allow for ample connecting opportunities beyond DUS, though the return will be more problematic for inbound connections given the early departure time (albeit with ample afternoon/evening connecting options beyond Dallas). It does appear that the flights will be operated using the airline’s reconfigured aircraft, featuring lie-flat business class seats and an expended “XL” extra legroom economy section, at least based on the seat maps that pull up, but don’t quote me on that. The business class product in particular looks like quite appealing, as Rocky’s positive experience on Airberlin last year demonstrates (though Mike had a somewhat subpar flight a year before that on the older configuration). I recently had the chance to try Airberlin’s short-haul service when my wife and I traveled to Prague and Bucharest last month in coach, and even though it’s a fairly no-frills service, I was pleased with the warmth and efficiency of both the ground staff and flight crews. I’d certainly have no qualms about giving them a try again.
Overall, this is great news for North Texas-based flyers, providing another option to Europe for oneworld partisans that doesn’t involve having to connect through the often-chaotic London Heathrow. Though not as large as the airline’s hub in Berlin – Tegel (TXL), nonstop flights from DUS are offered to destinations such as Belgrade, Copenhagen, Rome, and Venice, among others, allowing for easy connections from the United States. And most importantly, for those looking to cash in your hard-earned miles, as a oneworld airline, Airberlin award seats can be booked using AAdvantage miles, allowing new opportunities to use miles to Europe without paying those pesky British Airways fuel surcharges. In addition, the announcement indicated that Airberlin will be launching brand new service to Boston and San Francisco to Dusseldorf, along with additional flights to New York and Los Angeles, providing even more options to get across the pond no matter where you’re located in the United States. UPDATE: Matthew has a follow-up post detailing AAdvantage award options using Airberlin, which I recommend reading if you’re considering going that route.
To kick off the new route, Airberlin is offering special roundtrip fares from DFW to DUS of $1,099 roundtrip in economy class; Airberlin’s press release notes that this fare is available starting on the 13th through the 23rd, but a quick search indicates that the fare is available for purchase today. This isn’t a great price by any means, but a couple of hundred bucks lower than the usual rate. Beware, deep discount economy fares (booking codes N, Q, O, G, P, E, W), though eligible for AAdvantage mileage accrual, accrue only 25% base miles/elite qualifying miles and .50 elite qualifying points, so this is unlikely to present a meaningful mileage run opportunity. Also, note that Airberlin levies a roughly 2% surcharge on credit card payments, but you can get around that by paying via PayPal and funding the purchase with a credit card.
Photo at top: Airberlin Boeing 737-800 at a remote stand, Berlin-Tegel (TXL)