Fourteen years after construction began and nine years on from its first (of many) launch dates, Berlin Brandenburg Fluchthafen will finally creak open its doors to the public amidst a deadly time for travel… and on Halloween of all days! Passengers BOO-ked onto Lufhansa’s flight LH2020 from Munich International Airport will be the first to touch down onto Schönefeld’s shiny, new terminal. With a scary sum of €6.5 billion spent on its development, it’s about time someone walked these empty halls.
Named after the former Chancellor of West Germany Willy Brandt, the airport has been shadowed by misfortune since its beginnings. And rumour has it that the politician’s family have even appealed to have his name removed from the infamous shitshow. There is a spectre haunting Europe’s newest airport, bad luck and most likely, a woeful Willy.
First plagued by bankruptcy, tenancy issues, corrupt CEOs and construction crises, the torment continues in pandemic form. Flights have been butchered down to 30 departures per day, half from what had originally been planned, with the first flight to London’s Gatwick Airport at 6.45am on Sunday. Of the 300 flights taking off in November, only 16 will be international. Ryanair alone has reduced its capacities by 40 percent.
The airport’s eerie corridors are filled with 750 display screens that were switched on eight years ago in preparation for the first opening date. Some half-brained idea that was, as they have already reached the end of their lives and have had to be replaced before the opening.
Crawling out of your coffin for a 5am flight? BER has five fancy lounges to make you feel less like a zombie: Air France Lounge, Berlin Airport Club, British Airways, Lufthansa and “C-Lounge”. Don’t stop there, though, go all out with a glass of blood-red vino at traditional wine bar Lutter & Wegner Restaurant hailing from the famous Gendarmenmarkt hotspot.
Of course, the Schönefeld classics – Burger King, Cindy’s Diner and Marché –make a return alongside 37 restaurants. Gone is cake and strudel favourite Leysieffer, the saving grace of Tegel airport, and instead rises the unknown Sweet Capital. But beware: with Germany’s lockdown returning from the dead on Monday, you shouldn’t hold your dying breath for a tasty sit-down meal at the terminal. Why not then shop til you drop dead at 20 retail stores, including the usual luxury suspects like Marc O’Polo and Hugo Boss as well as Relay bookshop? Browse a selection of hextrordinarily bad books at the latter, or save yourself with a copy of Exberliner.