I’ve been in dozens of airports, large and small, in the US, Canada, South America, and Europe. Despite legendary German efficiency and design, the Berlin Airport is one of the worst airports that I’ve experienced. Small, cramped, and horrible inefficient (the bathrooms are a joke that you can experience yourself if you can manage to get through the tiny door with your luggage).
I flew in from Vienna for a plane change on the way to New York and you are forced by the airport design, to exit secured areas and then re-enter and re-screen at the gate. There were more than one hundred people inline checking bags with a couple of hundred more milling about with absolutely no place to go; the gate was closed as there were no police to check passports and screen carry-on.
The good news is that the airport provided exactly six seats for these several hundred passengers. The flight was naturally delayed for one hour since they couldn’t possibly process all these people, so I spend my time writing this post from the hard and cold floor were I was lucky to get a spot to place my ass.
So while the airport provided no place to sit, there was plenty of space devoted to overpriced stores to spend money in. Germany is not part of my tourism plans this trip, but should I return to Europe, I may avoid Berlin altogether based on this awful experience. If I remember correctly, the airport in Dusseldorf is much much more comfortable than the torture chamber that is the Berlin Airport.
Update: The departure gate area (with all the comfy unused seating areas) is still closed and there are about three hundred people standing around looking irritated. I’m told the gate area won’t be opened till two hours past the original departure time, which means all these people will have to stand or sit on the concrete floor till then (there is no open gate seating in any other areas as you need a boarding pass for them). My ass has fallen asleep and I may not be able to stand if and when they do decide to open the area. The people next to me smell very bad and must not be allowed to use deodorant in their Muslim sect. I’m getting very cranky as are the kids near me. I want out of Germany very badly.