Schonefeld is the kind of airport you hate the first couple of times you travel through it, but which gradually grows on you, so much in fact - that you'll realise you'll miss it when (or if) the new Brandenburg airport opens.
What annoys you at first: the fact that it's tiny as pea, is exactly what made me so comfortable in the end. I know how it operates, I know the shortcuts, I know the time I'll need, I know what food they serve etc etc. It makes traveling so much easier than these massive airport where you need 2 hours and map, take trains between terminals and all other kinds of annoying bumps in the road from A to B.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that Schonefeld make airtravel easy, although the trains to and from can be a little slow. But now I know their schedules too, and I've stopped complaining.
And the icing on the cake: they have now started stocking the organic wines from Wittmann in their tax free shop.
Schoenefeld Airport (SXF) was the one and only airport that served East Berlin. After the German unification it became one of three airports for Berlin, and about 25 years later it will become the only airport for the whole city and the wider region (hence the name Berlin-Brandenburg airport).
However, with the current, outdated state of the airport, there are some significant things wrong with it. Mostly, you don't have a choice when traveling, so better be prepared:
- confusing public transport: bus, city train, regional train available. Travel time to the city: bus 30-60 minutes, city train 45mins, regional train: 30mins. Confusing ticket system and confusion way to get to the right track. In one word: confusing.
- taxi: ca. 35-50 euro, depending on City East/City West. The tariff the cab drivers use in SXF is higher than the one in the city. Avoid.
- outdated layout: gates and waiting areas in both terminals are super small and cramped. Long lines and sticky air.
- no food options other than Burger King. Newspaper stand closes at 8pm.
- unfriendly security (do they speak English? The staff still seems to be from old East Germany)
- paid wifi
- limited seating in gating area
I could go on and on but you get the point. If you can, avoid. If you can't, smoke something before getting there or limit your wait time somehow, but, do something. This airport is the worst and a shame for Berlin.
Not the greatest airport.
Not a lot of seating. Expensive, subpar food.
They also sell mini-vibrators and cock rings in their bathrooms. Really doing a lot to help shake that reputation that all Germans are sexual deviants.
I am pretty sure this is the worst airport I have ever been to. If you have lounge access, use it. The seats are free and you will soon see, that is indeed a luxury.
Not enough seats for the volume of passengers. Crowded, old and dated airport. Security people as rude as they can be.
The dirtiest airport ever and I am going there way to often.
Don't like the layout, the shops are not great and all the toilet facilities smell and are in a bad shape.
One star that it operates with the cheap airlines. One star that you can buy beer.
Thought Tegel was worst,
But I was wrong. THIS IS SHIT.
Is the Wall back up?!
Perhaps it is just me being biased, but I didn't like this airport. Sure, Tegel is way closer to where I live than Schönefeld, but at the same time, this airport doesn't feel like an airport.
See, I like the airport experience. I like seeing interesting architecture that emulate the feeling of flight. I like it when I go through the corridors of buildings with gates lined up and planes waiting at the gates, making me feel that some interesting adventure is about to begin, or is just ending.
However, with Schönefeld, I didn't experience that. When I landed, I just found myself getting off the aircraft and walking to this non-descript terminal building, as if I just landed not at an airport of a major city, but more an airport of a deserted island. The terminal looked more like a warehouse than an airport. Sure, walking distances are shorter, but it really didn't feel like I was about to experience an adventure. The arrival area felt more like an underground shopping center than a terminal.
So yes, 2 stars, as I definitely experienced better airports than this one.
My first visit to Berlin brought me to Schonefeld Airport, which serves mainly budget airlines such as Easyjet. It's located to the SE of the city and I was able to spot a few landmarks as we came in to land.
As the plane came to a halt on the tarmac, my initial impression was that it reminded me of one of the small regional airports in the USA. The landing stairs were literally dragged to the plane by the airport workers. We were then direceted into the terminal building along a little blue coloured walkway.
As soon as you enter the building, bam, the immigration is right there. I've been to lots of international airports around the world and the 2 German immigration staff were incredibly slow. What was odd is that they didn't ask any questions of me or the other passengers but just took a long time to stamp the passport. I'm glad I made haste to get to immigration quickly - not sure how long it would have taken to clear that queue, even if most of them were European citizens.
Then, you travel back through lots of outside corridors to get to the baggage carousels and the exit. It's as if this has been tacked on rather than designed into the airport building.
An advantage is that for an airport serving budget airlines, it's actually close to town - a short walk brings you to the train station, from where it's a 20-30 minute journey into town depending on which station you would like to alight at.
Schonefeld ist nicht sehr schon!
Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) really shouldn't exist!
And I'm not being sarcastic when I say this - it (along with its larger sibling at Tegel - TXL) were meant to have been knocked down a couple years back in favour of the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (to be called either BBA, or BER - currently the IATA Berlin Metropolitan trigram), but that - situated immediately south of the current SXF site - has been delayed.
So it is perhaps understandable that the facilities at SXF are looking a little careworn, and that it clearly has issues handling current volumes of traffic.
But that doesn't mean I like it.
And for some reason every time I've use SXF the normally reliable German Railways (DB) seem to suffer delays on the humourously named "Airport Express" links (RE7/RB14) from the city centre - I do not regard 30 minutes for 18km as "Express".
So until BBA/BER opens, I'd recommend using Tegel (TXL) and its Express Bus link to the city.
The Aldi of airports. Bleak yet functional.
I'm not expecting palm trees and half dressed toned bodies working the coffee stations, although that would be nice, but a splash of creativity would be welcome.
The wifi, which you pay for, is awful. It always drops. Maybe that is correlated with the tin corrugated roof that is visible from within the terminal.
Schonefeld sucks, but does have some redeeming qualities.
The bad: Walk down the tarmac from the airplane. Up stairs, down stairs. Back outside again, walking through a metal scaffolding hallway. Back indoors. And so it goes on. It's terribly laid out. No free wifi. And, it hasn't been buried yet by the new Brandenburg terminal (even though I had actually booked the flight explicitly looking forward to being one of the first there, they fell behind schedule and it's still not open yet.)
The good: Well connected to the S-Bahn. An ABC ticket (3 euros) gets you on the DB Regio (RB) trains that take you into the heart of Berlin in under 40 minutes. Don't take the normal SBahn trains though! Take only the RB trains. These run every 20 to 30 minutes. That's the cheapest rail-based rapid airport transfer that I've ever taken. The even better news is that obviously the new Brandenburg terminal will also benefit from this connection.
I think its trying to be JFK with the complete lack of seating. I sat on the floor for an hour waiting for my gate to be announced.
Harassed by security three times--for an empty water bottle, my bracelet, and having a lot of stamps in my passport (the police counted them and then said 'wow, impressive' and took another 5 minutes to look at it making me freak out). Harassed might be a strong word, but it made me worried and feel uncomfortable.
However, the plane did leave.
It's a small airport and rather a standard one. There is a duty free shop, burger king, Marché bakery etc. The best is you can reach this airport by suburban train! Trip takes around 35 minutes and after you have to walk circa 10 minutes till departure terminal. Airport employees were friendly and helpful.
If I would write a letter to Berlin's Schönefeld airport, it'd probably go a little something like this:
Dear workers and ground crew of Schönefeld airport,
Your Terminal C is the most uncomfortable terminal I have ever flown out of or arrived in. It is embarrasing, and I think you know it.
I know you have a separate terminal building for flights to and from Israel, which provides the need for a controlled area. However, I don't feel you're doing such a good job of making sure we don't feel like cattle. When I arrive, I always have the military to greet me. There is a tank outside, the soldiers are chain smoking and talking about yesterdays' copy of Bild.
Inside, I get to wait two hours in a line just to get to initial security. In the meantime, I get to watch spectacles of all sorts happening in the check-in terminal. Most Israelis breeze through, but EU passport holders will be vigorously questioned and folks who are "foreign looking" will in all probabilities be pulled aside. Loud arguments arise between security personel and travelers at regular intervals.
After these and the baggage check, there is the (longer) wait. Ushered up into the terminal hall, we get to pack ourselves in, most (including entire families) sitting on the floor for lack of space. We get to wait here sometimes for 2-3 hours. If you'd like to stretch your legs, there's nowhere to go in the meantime, as one is not permitted to leave the terminal. No free wifi.
Out on the runway are the soldiers patrolling with guns and a few military vehicles. We take off - and the nightmare is mostly over, because I'm finally in the hands of the Israelis who serve surprisingly good airline food. 3 1/2 hours later I arrive in Tel Aviv at one of the world's most beautiful airports. "Thank goodness", I sigh, "that I am no longer at Schönefeld".
I have arrived here a few times, from Liverpool and from Riga. I just remember also there is only a small ladies' toilet for two ladies when you land - inside - and before you are waiting to collect your luggage.
There is no Airport Bus into the city centre - somewhere like Berlin Mitte. A taxi to Berlin Mitte or the Hauptbahnhof costs you 35 EUR. Plenty of taxis waiting in front of the terminals -all hoping to make money, of course.
The shops are improving. I do not like the train station at Schönefeld Airport.
I don't understand all the hate for Schönefeld.
It's not that bad.
The times that I've flown in and out of here have been perfectly fine.
I didn't find it especially cramped or overcrowded. Nor did I find the queues to be long.
I can't really think of much to recommend about the airport, but I also can't think of anything bad to say about it either.
The S-Bahn is conveniently located in front of the airport and there is ample parking. If people are picking you up, you won't have to walk far to the parking lot - it's right outside the terminal.
Personally, I can think of far worse airports than Schönefeld.
The very concept of reviewing an airport seems odd, but I can't help but chime in with some positive feedback. I use this airport every few weeks, and the speed at which they process travellers is excellent. It's also well connected, with the S-Bahn a short distance away (at Tegel you have to settle for a bus or taxi instead).
The shopping/eating facilities within the airport are mediocre at best, but who cares? I go to the airport to fly, not spend time hanging out.
We used this airport on our visit to Berlin. As stated previously it isnt the 'best' airport but neither is it the worst. The facilities whilst being basic are adequate and it is like the rest of Germany spotlessly clean. The prices are reasonable for food and drinks and the staff helpful and friendly, we didnt even mind all the security checks on the way to the gate.
The best feature however is as already mentioned the easy acces into Berlin itself. The trains are regular, always on time and very cheap by UK standards. We were whisked swiftly and efficiently into central Berlin without any fuss whatsoever. I wouldnt have any qualms about flying in and out of here again for our next visit to Berlin.
Ahhh, why, Berlin, why? Once again flying out on EasyJet it took me to Terminal B. Getting to the airport was fairly easy with the U7 and the bus. Also, checking-in and getting through security was a breeze, but once you're in the gate area that is where the chaos starts. No places to sit (or way too little), barely anything to eat (only burger king, a pub, and some other store), and it also lacks atmosphere. From now on I will try to get there with little time to spare, so I don't need to hang out for that long......
The only advantage Schoenefeld has over Tegel is the S-Bahn service. However, it's local and takes forever to arrive at Alexanderplatz. Eventually, the new airport will open and things will hopefully improve.
Not the worst actually. The second terminal looks bleak downstairs sure, but the whole trick is to check in and go UPSTAIRS immediately to the superior services and shops. Departure areas are a bit cramped for sure, and the place can get jammed due to narrowish corridors, but there are lots of different options for shopping and eating, and better than most European airports of this size.
Worst. Airport. Ever.
I have to say, this has to be the worst airport I've been to in a developed country. It was one of the longest walks between a train station and airport I've been to in a major European Airport (granted one could get spoiled with direct links such as Schiphol/Frankfurt). Direct and almost express to Alexanderplatz will be the only positive. I don't know if my EasyJet experience also made me feel irritated about my Schonefeld Experience. Security lines were ridiculous and the security staff was rather unpleasant. Very little traffic on a sunday afternoon, I didn't even think it was an airport for the longest time. Very little space to view flights taking off or landing. One of the few airports I've been into Europe that did not have an indoor airside smoking facility. Especially shocking considering how much I've noticed Berliners smoking. Easy to tell this was designed in the early days of air travel and has not been updated for a very long time, most likely because it was expected to close due to new BER airport. Sadly you can see how complete BER airport is when taking off. I would definitely rather do Tegel than Schonefeld.
This is the only airport I've used to depart from-arrive to Berlin. The obvious reason why is that we use EasyJet in Europe quite a bit. While I doubt this would be my first choice if I had ample money to spare, it's not bad. Of course, it's clean, there are decent snacking options, and the amenities needed for a basic international airport are all available. It can be exhausting to get off of a plane and then have to walk a few blocks to an S-Bahn station, followed by a transfer if you are going to central Berlin, but at least it can be done. If you are thrifty, this airport is just fine.
This airport sucks: waiting rooms are ridiculously small and people are piled up everywhere. Gates are rather weird: I've been queueing for 10min waiting to get to gate 65waiting is fine, but let me GET to the freaking gate at least!
Considering this is practically Berlin's main airport I was surprised by the size when inside. The terminal is very small with one shop before you go through to departure and one very overpriced cafe. Not particularly helpful when your flight is delayed five hours and you can't go through to departures. The story in departures itself is similar- there are a few more shops (selling chocolates, alcohol, perfume) but practically no seating. The queues when entering the country are also incredibly long, particularly for EU citizens. The only good thing I can think of about the airport is the fact that it is so well-linked to the city centre!
Berlin Schonfeld Airport is the low cost airport of berlin. Berlin has two airports, Schonfeld which is located to the south of the city, and Tegel which is located to the North of the city. Berlin Schonfeld Airport is quiet small for european airports, but the number of flights in which it handles is rather small, Easyjet have a large number of flights out of the airport to various locations throughout europe, Ryanair also have flights to a small number of desternations, and Germanwings operate domestic services. Berlin Schonfeld has three airbridges, however the majority of aircraft i saw use the stands which have no airbridge, and this speeds up turnaround, therefore spending less time on the ground. Berlin Schonfeld is rather expensive too, drinks were rather steep, some higher than what Ryanair charge! overall its a great little airport, and there are plenty of airport information screens.
This user has arrived from Qype, a European company acquired by Yelp in 2012. We have integrated the two sites to bring you one great local experience.