Airberlin: JFK to Berlin, Berlin to Madrid

On to my first flight. We left JFK about 35 minutes late (which is no problem on such a long flight because they make up for it in the air [why don’t they always just go as fast as they can? seems silly lol]). I was able to use my little trick (my secret, sorry) to get priority boarding as well as the priority seating we discussed in the previous post.

Below you can see a shot of the plane, empty. Beyond the “doors” in the back is another economy cabin, with a first class cabin in front of me (or my back when I took the photo). As you can see, the configuration in economy is 2, 5, 2. The seats were reasonably comfortable and I had enough leg room (although I was in the bulkhead seat [the first seat with only a wall in front] and was also on the aisle (because that’s how I like to roll).  The gentlemen next to me, Jan, from Sweden (who was a super interesting and cool guy) was about 6 foot 3 and did have a little bit of discomfort.

My TV kind of swung up from below the seat and wouldn’t stay at first but we were able to fix it. The male steward (?) came over and said something to the effect of “you have a hand, just hold it” which at first didn’t seem like a joke and I was not laughing. I surprisingly didn’t use it though and spent much of my time reading a magazine, working on some photos, and sleeping (popped a couple sleeping pills after dinner was served, see below)

Airberlin JFK to Berlin Full plane photo

We DID have a baby in our row which made me a bit nervous but he honestly didn’t make a sound the whole flight. The stewardess came over with a bassinet that actually clipped right into the bulkhead wall (which was pretty interesting) and left room underneath for the parents to put their legs comfortably. It’s a bit hard to see in the photo below, but it is there.


We had pillows, blankets and a pretty solid sleep kit on our seats when we sat down. The kit included; toothbrush and toothpaste, an eye mask (I’ll hold onto that for sure), ear plugs, and compression socks. As I said, pretty solid and since I sleep with an eye mask and ear plugs most nights now I will be able to use this for sure.

sleep kit

The meal on the flight was DECENT (as decent as plane food can be). There was a pasta with veggies option or a pasta with chicken (2 tiny chunks).  Additionally there was a roll (no good), some kind of Mediterranean salad with chick peas and beans, an apple pie/brownie concoction (which was ok), and some cheese. Diner was served around 8:50 about 2 hours after take off (I think).

first meal

I popped a couple of sleeping pills after dinner because I needed to sleep on the flight. I would be arriving in Berlin around 8:30am local time which was about 2:30am Eastern time. I was relying on getting some sleep so I would be OK to go until normal bed time over in Madrid. This is one trick that a lot of people talk about to help avoid jet lag. When you get to a destination fight yourself to get onto their sleep schedule right away. Sometimes this is tough if you end up staying up for 20 something hours, but it really helps stave off the lag. I went to sleep normal time when I arrived in Madrid on Tuesday (around 1am) and felt great the next day.

I didn’t sleep great nor was I expecting to. I don’t sleep well at home anyway so I was just hoping for the best. We arrived in Berlin on time and de-planed as usual.

One thing to mention about the Air Berlin “experience”. The stewardess that we had in our section was exceptionally rude. Just smile every once in a while lady. It will make the people around you think you aren’t such a bitch. I got up a couple of times to stretch and politely (or I thought) brought my trash to the galley to hand to her to throw away. It was like I was asking her to shine my shoes or something. EXCUSE ME!! but I was just helping YOU! No need for an attitude. It wasn’t just me that noticed her impoliteness. The whole row saw it too. O well.


Once we landed in Berlin we walked off the plane and went onto the tarmac (I love doing that!). Headed into the airport (very small), went through customs (super quick because I was first off the plane) and then I was able to take a quick bathroom stop before getting on the next flight about 30 minutes later. I glazed over all this because it was pretty standard stuff, nothing interesting.

Deplaning Airberlin on tarmac

My next flight was about 2.5 hours from Berlin to Madrid on the same airline (but smaller plane).

I was hoping to get a bit more sleep (this did not work out well as I explain below). The flight was short and I figured “How bad can it be having this 4 year old next to me?”… It wasn’t TERRIBLE (as in, I am sure it could have been worse, but not that much worse). The kid was cute and all and seemed alright but didn’t seem to understand that when someone is sleeping you shouldn’t poke, punch or tap them, and I guess his mother didn’t notice that he was rubbing his lollipop all over my new sweater which is now all sticky. I think it would have been better for her to put the kid on the window side and for her to sit in the middle. Regardless, that is life. I am sure I will have worse seat mates over the next 7 weeks… at least he didn’t try to steal the armrest ;). So I tried to get some sleep while the kid was poking me and ended up with probably 30 minutes here and there



Above is a picture (for some reason I can’t get it to go right side up) of the “breakfast” offering on this flight. It was TERRIBLE. I mean, not edible, terrible.

The flight arrived in Madrid on-time and fortunately (or unfortunately for me because I wanted to get another stamp) they do not make you go through customs because you are coming from another European country (or something like that as it was hastily explained to me by my Madrid hosts). I have a stamp from last year so it is not a big deal. However, I probably won’t get a stamp when I go from Barcelona to Bordeaux (France) and I didn’t get one last year either ;(.

That is it for the flight report. It’s around 1:30am here and I am wiped out. More information and reports to come with some ‘fancier’ photos of the places we are visiting. Hope you have enjoyed! Hasta Luego !!

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