5 Reasons To Avoid Air Berlin

5 Reasons To Avoid Air Berlin

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Air Berlin

Air Berlin is a popular Airline company. It has a lot to offer its passengers and I personally like the chocolates you get at the end of your trip. I also have many other reasons I used to like Air Berlin but there a lot more reasons I don’t like about them right now. It’s things they can fix but they refuse to and it’s sad.

With the recent merger or partnership of Air Berlin and Etihad I thought the issues would be fixed. But that’s not the case. There are other great Airline companies and I held Air Berlin among them and always flew with them whenever possible. That has changed.

In some places they say the customer is the king because without the customer there is no business. That’s the way business works; it’s a basic rule when running a business. What happens when you treat your customer badly?  You lose the customer and if the company continues treating the customer in an unsatisfactory manner, the company will eventually fail. It’s a no brainer. There is way around it.

Air Berlin didn’t treat me and my girlfriend well; in fact, they ignored us completely and made no effort to resolve our complaint. We have tried all methods of contact they have available minus penning them a letter.

And through that experience, I found these troubling reasons one should avoid Air Berlin.

Billing Department

My girlfriend and I booked a flight from Berlin to Romania. We used her account to pay for the flight using direct deposit. The money was debited right out of her account. We got a confirmation email and an E-ticket. We were ready to go.

We got to Romania, had a good time and it was time to return to Berlin. We booked a return ticket from Romania back to Berlin. She checked in online and all was fine. I tried checking in online and had a problem checking in. I thought something was wrong with the system so I didn’t call them and figured we could resolve the issue at the airport in Bucharest (a huge mistake on my part)

When we got to the airport, I got to the counter and the attendant tried to check me in and she had the same problem. She sent us to the ticketing department and billing. We went there and met with a very unwelcoming staff.

We were in line for about 5 minutes because another gentleman in front of us was having a similar problem.

When it was our turn, the attendant told us that the problem was that my girlfriend’s card could not be verified. We were taken aback because she used direct deposit to pay for the flight. Why did they need a card? But we complied. She showed her her card and she got on the phone. She tried to contact other employees including her manager and she could not get anyone to explain what was going on.

The time for our flight was approaching. She kept fumbling around on what to do because I was unable to check into the flight and could not get on the plane. And after about 40 minutes of the back and forth with no real answer to the problem, my girlfriend had to fly alone because of work and I had to buy another flight for a later time that day. That was just the beginning of a nightmare. I spent 5 hours at the airport waiting for a flight back to Berlin. And the real nightmare began when trying to get a refund for the flight I could not board.

Poor Training

The attendants did not know what to do at all with our situation and as if that wasn’t bad enough, they could not get anyone on the phone that could solve our problem. No satisfactory explanation was given for why I could not board for a flight we had paid for and we had to purchase another ticket.

Response Time

Upon arriving back in Germany, my girlfriend wrote a full detailed complaint explaining the situation and how she should be refunded back to amount we paid for the second ticket we had to buy. Air Berlin took 3 weeks to respond back to her. And when they responded it was a simple no. They bullied her by not allowing me to board a flight we paid for using her account, refused to offer any explanation why, and said we are keeping both payments for a flight we wouldn’t let you board for no reason.
And they wonder why so many customers are pissed off about their service.

Here is the complaint she sent in German so there is no mistake:

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

Heute früh hatte ich geplant, mit meinem Freund zusammen von Bukarest nach Berlin zu fliegen. Seine Flugkarte habe ich über Sofortüberweisung von meiner Bankkonto bei der Berliner Sparkasse gebucht. Wir haben dafür auch die Buchungsbestätigung (anbei) bekommen und sogar die Check-in Einladung. Ich habe vor dem Flug bei meiner Bank schon geprüft und das Geld für die Flugkarte (106,32 EUR) wurde von meiner Konto abgezogen – anbei die Bankbestätigung. Aber bei der Check-in Office in Bukarest haben die meinem Freund nicht erlaubt, mit mir zu fliegen. Die haben gesagt, dass die einzige Möglichkeit ist ein neuer Flug für ihm zu kaufen, dafür haben wir 209,45 EUR bezahlt. Er durfte aber nicht mit mir zusammen reisen, sondern ein Flug für später (um 13:35) buchen.

Ich habe die Geldwechselrechnung und die Rechnung für die neue Flugkarte hinzugefügt. Wir hatten nicht genug Geld dabei und mussten vom Automat Geld abholen – obwohl der Preis war 207,32 EUR, wir haben 209,45 bezahlt, weil wir nur rumänisches Geld abholen konnten.

Ich fliege häufig mit Airberlin und so eine schlechte Erfahrung habe ich nicht erwartet. Ich würde Ihnen gerne vorschlagen, dass Sie mit den Mitarbeiter von Checkin Office in Rumänien die Situation regeln, damit sowas in der Zukunft nicht wieder passiert. Die haben uns überhaupt nicht verstanden oder geholfen, die haben für uns keine Lösung gesucht damit wir mindestens zusammen reisen können, ich musste deswegen alleine nach Hause fliegen und die ganze Erfahrung war ein schlechtes Ende von unserem Urlaub. Dazu haben wir auch das Problem, dass mein Freund heute eine sehr dringende Aufgabe zu tun hatte und dass kann er jetzt nicht mehr schaffen, weil er bis 13:35 in Bukarest bleiben muss.

Wir hätten gerne mindestens eine Entschädigung für die 209,45 EUR die wir bezahlen müssen. Dazu würde ich es zurecht finden, wenn Sie uns auch ein Gutschein von 100 EUR schenken (gültig für mindestens 6 Monate), damit wir unseren nächsten Flug mit Airberlin hoffentlich besser genießen können. Ich hoffe, dass Airberlin für den Fehler die Verantwortung voll und richtig übernimmt.

Air Berlin website states that Air Berlin will acknowledge receipt of written complaints within 30 days and provide a substantive response to the customer’s concerns within 60 days. Such a lengthy time frame is unacceptable. And the email they provide when you call their customer service is so long that it has you thinking that they make it so that people cannot remember to type it and therefore don’t send in complaints.

I called and a guy name Peter answered the phone. When I asked him to transfer me to the billing department he told me that billing department does not have a phone number.Absurd! I was shocked. A multimillion dollar company like Air Berlin not having a number for their billing department! No way. It sounded like bullshit to me. I dug around the internet and still couldn’t find another number. I called again another day hoping I could get a different representative who could perhaps give me more information. Nope, the same guy picked up. I got an email from him again, found their complaint form online and sent both of them. I am still waiting for a response and it’s been almost a month.

All I got back from them was this bull:

Dear Customer,
Your concerns are very important to us. We rely on your feedback in order to continually improve our service. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.

We regret that you have had cause to complain about our service. We would ask you to retain all the relevant documents until the issue has been resolved.

Please always quote your personal reference number 1267141 in correspondence to help us deal with the matter quickly.

It will take a little time to check the matter in question. We apologise for any inconvenience and would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation. We will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Best regards,
Your airberlin Customer Service Team


Can’t speak with someone

Just the very fact that one cannot speak with their billing department is a huge red flag. And the fact that they take so long to get back in touch with the customer to resolve any problem he or she may have shows their lack of willingness.

Even Peter, the representative I spoke with was frustrated with the process and made no effort to hide that this happens often. Who wants to keep flying with a company that doesn’t care about its customers? Definitely not me. Just having the option to speak with someone and getting an idea of how my situation will be handled would have eased some of my frustration. But Air Berlin doesn’t care enough to even offer that mental relief to its customers that keeps its business going.

The lack of communication between their Romania service desk and their Berlin one

Our problem could have been solved in Romania were it started if there was a protocol in place. If the main department in Germany set a standard for them to follow, I believe our problem could have been solved. And if we assume that they have, then the employees there have no idea how it works. And the nonchalant attitude of them just taking my money and not caring and unwilling to refund it is outright thievery.

I sent them receipts and all documentation as they requested on their complaint sending form online. And this bullshit statement they put there is not accurate at all:
It is our aim

to examine your concern as quickly as possible.
to let you have our response promptly.
to adjust our services to correlate with our customers’ needs and requirements.

None of this has been done. Promptly does not take a month. That’s not the definition of promptly. My girlfriend’s concern was examind only after 3 weeks. It’s almost a month and they have not responded to my follow up on that request. And for Air Berlin to claim that they will adjust their services to correlate with our customers’ needs and requirements is perhaps the biggest pile of malarkey in all this.

Let’s see how much longer it takes for them to respond if they do at all. But this is not the end of it. I will fight for the refund that we rightfully deserve for one of those flights.

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