Which Berlin airport you choose is entirely upto you. It is a common question which can make planning a city trip more stressful. Once you pick the airport and airline, you can start planning your route to the airport and then go onto booking hotels.
The answer is easy: who do you want to fly with?
If coming from London, if you want to fly from Stansted (Ryanair) or London Gatwick (Easyjet) they will both arrive in Berlin Schönefeld (SXF). Alternatively, if departing from Heathrow (British Airways from Terminal 5 or German Wings/Euro Wings) you will land in Tegel – which is also slightly closer to the city.
It ultimately depends which airport is the easiest to reach from your original destination and which flight times suit you best. For example, it makes no sense for me to fly to London City airport and spend a long time navigating my way across London from the East to get to Oxford. Heathrow is best here, despite the airlines being slightly more $$$.
There are also some other things you might want to consider when preparing for a flight such as where your hotel is. If you’re staying in Neukölln I would recommend Schönefeld, if your hotel is in Charlottenburg then try Tegel. As transport in Berlin is excellent (think S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Regionalbahn, Tram, Bus, DriveNow, Car2go) and runs very well (despite what Berliners say) – mach dir keinen Kopf drüber.
Which airports are there?
There are two airports in Berlin: Tegel (TXL) and Schönefeld (SXF). Both are within easy reach from the city centre. It’s sometimes amusing to visitors to see how dated/retro Tegel airport looks, although getting past security does not take nearly as long as other airports.
The closest to the city centre:
Tegel is only 15km away from the city centre. Schönefeld is 23km away from the centre. Overall, these Berlin airports have great access in comparison to other cities, where the airports can be over an hour away.
The price of a ticket to the city centre:
Just let that sink in —-> 3,40€* for a single to the city centre (also valid for 2 hours after validating so you could technically hop on and off). That doesn’t even cover a coffee in most european cities. The best tip I can give is to download the BVG app or before you arrive (including the PDF tube map which is underneath the Journey Planner) so you can check for train times upon arriving and avoid looking like a tourist with a huge map – always a winner.
The app also allows you to see the latest up to date travel information, maps, connections and you can even buy tickets using the app (avoiding those massive queues you see in Schönefeld in the S-Bahn/Regionalbahn station).
I would highly recommend getting the 4-day WelcomeCard as it covers your travel to and from the airport, travel around the entire ABC network of Berlin for 4 days and also discounts into most museums. Great for a city trip.
*correct in July 2017
Which airlines fly there?
Fluggesellschaften (airlines) at Tegel:
Air Canada rouge
Bulgarian Air Charter
Delta Air Lines
Royal Air Maroc
Sun Express Deutschland
Ukraine International Airlines
Berlin airport tips:
- Buy a ticket on the BVG app or at the DB Desk and ask for an ABC ticket (3,40€)
- Get the TXL Express bus right infront of Tegel to the city centre or the X9 to Zoologischer Garten (fast)
- Get the 171 or 372 bus to Rudow right infront of T3 Schönefeld if you’re staying in the east and continue with the U7 through Neukölln and Kreuzberg
- Or walk under the walkway to the station (just follow the crowd) get the Regionalbahn 7 (RE7) to Zoologischer Garten – usually platform 4
- Regardless of your route, time, and changeovers (in one direction), a single ticket from ny Berlin airport will always cost 3,40€ (yay!)
- A day ticket is c.a. 7€ so think about getting a Berlin WelcomeCard if you’re using transport a lot
When is Berlin Brandenburg airport going to open?
Berlin Brandenburg Airport is still being built to replace both these airports, but it is taking a very long time to build and it has been highly criticised in the media as a result. It sort of put world-renowned German engineering into question and it soon became a topic which everyone has a good laugh at (healthy dose of Fremdschämen involved).
The Berlin airport, a solution to ‘basic’ Tegel and ‘tacky’ Schönefeld (don’t forget the shed that is for RyanAir passengers in Terminal C, sort of like the shed that Bordeaux makes its lowfair passengers crowd into) was due to open in 2012 to cope with the 32.8million passengers who travelled to Berlin in 2016. However, the opening date has been pushed back by as many as 4 times. There were numerous technical faults, including incorrectly installed cables, faulty sprinklers, fire doors and escalators being too short. Oh dear.
The Berlin airport was due to cost €2bn which managed to rocket up to €6bn! Let’s just say German engineering can also sometimes have its issues.
Apart from in the new matte black BWM Sedan 2017. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this fine piece of German engineering.