Travelling to and from destinations can often be the make-and-break part of any holiday, and having found a new lost-cost airline that goes from Manchester to Hamburg, I thought I should share my experiences of travelling from Manchester to Hamburg with Air Berlin.
Booking is via the Air Berlin website, which is available in several European languages and is very straightforward. You select the dates and places to travel and the website then displays prices for one week before and one week after you travel, which is useful if you wish to chose the cheapest travel date.
I have used the website on several occasions, and it is easy to use and navigate and does not seem to be ‘offline’ at all, which is good! When making your booking, you can pay by credit/debit card, and if you book far enough in advance, only a deposit is taken, with the balance being paid several weeks before you travel.
Unlike some other low-cost airlines, you don’t just turn up at the airplane and run aboard to find seats; here you can reserve them for 8 euros per person per journey, which is a really good idea, and you get a map of the plane when selecting seats so that you know exactly where you are sitting. Again, this is an easy function on the AB website, following the on-screen directions.
I flew with Air Berlin between Manchester and Hamburg just before Christmas on a route that used to be operated only by Lufthansa (another German airline). The cost of my flight in total was just under £70, although if I had booked earlier, I would have no doubt gotten the flight cheaper!
The flight left from Terminal One at Manchester airport and check-in was very busy, with two flights departing at more or less the same time, but there were plenty of check-in staff, so check-in didn’t take too long.
The return flight was perfectly on time, although the outbound flight was a little delayed due to late arrival of the incoming aircraft. We were soon on board, however, and the plane was only on the ground for 30 minutes, so the staff did a very fast turn-around!
Going out the plane was a Fokker 100 with very comfortable leather seats and plenty of leg room. (The toilets were tiny though!!) Coming back the plane was a Boeing 737, which did not have as much leg room but was comfortable and modern. There was also in flight entertainment on the return flight with television and head phones could be purchased for 2.5 euros. I would recommend sitting nearer to the front as this speeds up getting off the plane when you land and the aisle seats allow you to stretch your legs. You can reserve extra leg room seats at check-in.
The in flight magazine is produced only in German, so if you like to read on the plane, make sure that you take a book or magazine with you!!
On board food:
Like most European airlines these days a snack was served on board that was a sandwich on both journeys and was of a high standard. Soft drinks and tea and coffee are included in the price, but if you wish to purchase an alcoholic drink then these must be paid for on board. There is a wide selection of beer and wine, as well as additional snack foods such as crisps and chocolate, and the prices were very reasonable with a small bottle of wine costing 3 euros (all prices were in euros on board).
Other facts and figures:
You can have one suitcase/bag which can weigh up to 20kg and one piece of carry on luggage that can weigh up to 6kg.
The only downside to flying Air Berlin for people who fly to Hamburg is that in Hamburg you use the slightly old and dilapidated Terminal One rather than the brand new terminal 4 which is utilised by Lufthansa, but when you are paying so much less it doesn’t make that much difference, and you walk to Terminal one if you so wish!
Finding out more:
Check out the Air Berlin website at www.airberlin.com, and this gives you up to date availability, special offers, and more!
Air Berlin fly to and from a variety of European cities including most major German cities including Berlin, Dusseldorf, and Hamburg.
Lufthansa also fly direct between Manchester and Hamburg although the flights are more expensive they do have an early morning, late return flying both Manchester-Hamburg and Hamburg-Manchester so may be better for business travellers. You can check out Lufthansa flights at www.lufthansa.co.uk.