I had about two hours between my inbound flight from New York to Düsseldorf and my connecting flight to Barcelona. This was my first time flying through Düsseldorf and I was somewhat confused at first. Usually when arriving in Europe, I’m ushered through narrow hallways and sent to a long immigration line where I then have to reclear security. Instead, I was deposited into the large gatehouse, where I could go up to any store or food vendor right after getting off my inbound flight.
If I wasn’t entering Europe, I could have stayed in this non-Schengen part of the terminal and continued on to my next destination (I guess because I was arriving from the USA and the Germans feel sorry for anyone who’s already had to go through TSA security once).
I eventually did need to clear immigration to enter the European Schengen zone, but I figured that while I was still in the non-Schengen area, I’d visit the AirBerlin lounge. It wasn’t very big, though it is very red! My flight landed around 1:45pm, so there was some food and drinks. I wouldn’t put it up there with other lounges in terms of quality, but it would serve its purpose if you had a short while to grab a snack, wifi, and power.
I spent about 15 minutes in the lounge before heading to the Schengen area of the terminal. There was literally no line at immigration and I was through in less than 30 seconds. After going through a connecting walkway, I was in the other terminal without having to reclear security. Talk about German efficiency!
Once I was in the Schengen terminal, I looked for the AirBerlin lounge. Turns out they use the Hugo Junkers lounge. That’s important to note because if you look for an AirBerlin-branded space, you’ll find an “Exclusive Waiting Area” that’s guarded by electronic turnstiles (you scan your boarding pass to gain entry) and is simply a waiting area with a free vending machine, coffee, and newspapers.
First, the waiting area:
After the Exclusive Waiting Area, I moved to the Hugo Junkers Lounge, which was near my boarding gate. I actually think this lounge in the Schengen area was much nicer than the AirBerlin lounge in the non-Schengen area earlier. It was more visually appealing and had better food and drink options.
I spent about 30 minutes in the lounge before heading down to my boarding gate. My flight was an all-Economy Class flight to Barcelona. I had a seat in row 4 and went up to the agent to request an exit row seat – I don’t know if my Emerald status had anything to do with it, but she gave me a new boarding card and I had the entire exit row to myself.
I won’t review a simple 2-hour intra Europe flight in coach, but here’s a pic of a non exit row and my exit row for reference.
All in all, I was extremely pleased and surprised by how easy it is to transit Düsseldorf Airport. The fact that I did not have to re-clear security and had a fairly easy time getting from my inbound USA flight to my outbound Schengen flight really made traveling a bit smoother. Other major European hubs like London-Heathrow, Frankfurt, or Paris-Charles de Gaulle can be a miserable and stressful experience. I certainly think there is a lot of value in having a transit through Düsseldorf.