Tegel: Underprepared for Busy Summer Peaks?

Credit: Chris Hoare (see below)

Tegel Airport in Berlin is the main airport in Germany’s capital, one may think that it functions without a flaw and is highly prepared for the summer season as most German and Polish tourists head on vacation. It is not. 

Last summer my sister and I were travelling to visit our uncle in Brazil from Tegel via Lisbon, our final destination being Natal, Brazil. After arriving at the airport with our parents there was absolutely no place to park the car. Not exaggerating, there was not one vacant parking spot in the entire airport. My dad was forced to leave the car between coaches as it was the only available space, walking to the terminal we saw many people deciding to do the same thing. 

Our connection time in Lisbon was 50 minutes, which is quite short but just enough to connect flights. The check-in went smoothly and fast but one small delay could decide if our flight would make its slots and take off in time. Unfortunately for us the boarding was delayed 25 minutes due to an underage passenger travelling without any adult. 

After boarding business and priority passengers the crew were continuously announcing that the teenager was needed at the gate and for as long as he wasn’t on the plane boarding could not continue. After almost 15 minutes the parents finally escorted their child to the gate – and we could board! Due to the delay at the gate the flight was delayed an hour, thanks to how busy the terminal was and some ATC mismanagements. Even when slightly delayed the wait time for a take-off should not be 40 minutes. It became clear to my sister and I that we were not going to make it in time to connect in Lisbon.

We got to the departure hall just 10 minutes before boarding closed. TAP Portugal employees had given us re-booked tickets via Recife, Brazil  and 16 euros in food vouchers, which we did not mind. After some time we boarded the trans-atlantic flight and got to our final destination safely. 

There weren’t any major complications during the trip itself but if Tegel Airport had been better prepared for the vacation season peak there would’ve been no complications at all.

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Image used: “Berlin Tegel Airport” by Chris Hoare. View. Licensed under CC BY 2.0. View license. Image cropped.

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