Airlines | Air Travel | Airports
Increased airline competition in Germany and the rest of Europe has made travel by air a more popular option for travel to, from, or within Europe. In some cases traveling by air can even be cheaper than going by rail in Europe. Lufthansa, for instance, has been offering 99-euro round-trip fares between many cities in Germany and Europe (with conditions, of course). Even when the fare is higher, the time savings offered by the air option may pay off in the long run.
Increasingly, it is possible to fly to and from, or within Germany on low-fare airlines (Billigflieger) like Air Berlin, easyJet, Ryanair, and others. Standard airlines such as American, Delta and United (with partner Lufthansa) also fly to Frankfurt and other German and other European cities. The former German charter airlines, Condor and LTU (now Air Berlin), now offer low-cost scheduled flights to Germany from the US and Canada. Condor flies out of Anchorage, Calgary, Halifax, Ft. Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Seattle, Vancouver, and other cities — with the advantage of reasonable one-way fares if you need that.
Most international passengers flying to or from Germany travel via Frankfurt am Main, one of Europe’s biggest airports, but Munich and Düsseldorf are also popular German international hubs (Drehscheiben). As a frequent traveler to Berlin, I am looking forward to the projected opening of Berlin’s new Willy Brandt International Airport in 2012, now under construction next to the former East German Schönefeld Airport.
Berlin (TXL, SXF and BER)
Because of its history (divided Germany and all that), Berlin has lagged far behind other European capital cities in air service. With the planned opening of the new Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (Flughafen Willy-Brandt, BER), I’m hoping that Berlin will begin to catch up with London and Paris in air travel. Berlin’s main Tegel Airport (TXL) is bursting at the seams, but non-stop flights between Berlin and North America are still rare (and mostly to the east coast). The historic Tempelhof Airport in the middle of the city closed in 2008. Schönefeld (SXF), the former East Berlin airport, now offers mostly charter and low-fare (easyJet, Ryanair) flights.
Schönefeld and Tegel will close when BER opens. Well, that was the plan anyway. As of early 2013, no official opening date has been announced for BER. When and if it opens, Lufthansa will greatly expand its European flights to and from Berlin Brandenburg International. Germany’s largest airline announced earlier that it wanted to add 29 new non-stop flights. You can already fly between North America and Berlin on Air Berlin (New York/JFK, Miami, Los Angeles, and United Airlines (Newark). BER is projected to become Germany’s third busiest airport in (after Frankfurt and Munich).
See my “Auf Wiedersehen, Tempelhof!” blog about the closing of Berlin’s historic mid-city airport in October 2008.
Frankfurt International (FRA)
As Germany’s busiest, the Frankfurt Airport (FRA) is very modern and has excellent ground connections to the city (only 12 minutes away by S-Bahn rail). The airport has both a long-distance train station (Bahnhof) and a regional station in the airport. If you rent a car, you can be on the autobahn in only a few minutes after picking up your car in Frankfurt. If you are continuing your trip by air, Frankfurt is the best airport in Germany for that.
I have flown in and out of Munich many times. MUC is also a very good airport, and Germany’s second largest, with many direct international flights. The current airport is also Germany’s newest, having replaced Munich’s old Riem airport (which is now the new trade fair site) in 1992. Unlike Frankfurt, the Munich Airport is far from town — a 45-minute trip to/from the city, whether you are driving or taking the S-Bahn rail line. Allow time for that.
Düsseldorf International Airport is Germany’s third largest airport, offering flights to many domestic and international destinations. In recent years it has become a key hub for both Air Berlin and Lufthansa. Both airlines offer direct, non-stop flights between Düsseldorf and several US and Canadian cities.
Other German Airports
Other German cities with commercial airports: Cologne/Bonn (CGN), Dresden (DRS), Hamburg (HAM), Leipzig/Halle (LEJ), and Stuttgart (STR). There are also commuter/regional airports in other German cities, but it is usually easier to get around by rail. Low-fare carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet often use Germany’s smaller airports, including Hahn (near Frankfurt) and Lübeck (near Hamburg).
See our links to various airports in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland below.
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Airports | Flughäfen
German and Other Airports
- Berlin’s Airports Online - Berlin’s two airports online (and Berlin Brandenburg International. In German or English.
- Frankfurt Airport - Simply one of the most useful Web sites you’ll ever see! Up-to-the-minute flight arrivals and departures, scheduled flights into and out of FRA - Germany’s busiest airport - plus much more! Also in English.
- Düsseldorf International Airport DUS - English or German
- Munich Airport MUC (Deutsch)
- Munich Airport MUC (English)
- Stuttgart Airport - in English or German
- Vienna International Airport - Flughafen Wien (German or English)
- Zurich Airport - in English, German or French