Media in Germany is reporting absolute pandemonium at Berlin’s BER airport this weekend as passenger lines stretching through the entire terminal are causing hundreds of passengers to miss their flights after hours of waiting.
After several hours in lines passengers were left behind as planes departed without them despite being at the airport early enough in order to meet the check-in deadlines.
According to airport management and airline representatives the requirements to check the passengers Covid documents caused the regular check-in process to pretty much double the necessary time.
With the autumn holidays beginning tomorrow, many holidaymakers went to the airport as early as Thursday to get out of Germany on their way to mostly warmer regions.
Local media station RBB24 reports (in German) that this weekend roughly 150,000 travelers will use the airport to fly off to their holiday destination.
According to the article especially Lufthansa Group counters which include Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings were affected by the long delays and many passengers missed their flights.
Airport Management assured that the BER doesn’t have an issue with capacity but that COVID is once more the underlying problem due to additional document checks and distancing between passengers.
Why there needs to be distancing in the terminal is anyone’s guess. People party in nightclubs throughout the city and open air, short after check-in they sit next to each other on a tightly packed plane. Airline and airport know exactly how many passengers are booked so why are they not preparing adequately for this peak period?
Even after clearing the check-in counters, the lines at security checkpoints were horrible as well.
Passengers now have to get themselves rebooked onto different connections and are eligible for compensation by the airline. No doubt airlines will in many cases refuse to pay up and customers have to involve the Ombudsman and an attorney once again.
Here is a Twitter post by a German journalist who was on her way to Tle Aviv via Vienna with Austrian Airlines:
Leute, die drohen ihren Flug zu verpassen, fragen, was sie tun sollen. Antwort @berlinairport Mitarbeiterin: „Ich bin nich die @Lufthansa.” Schlange 4 zieht sich derweil bereits bis zum Ausgang von Terminal 1. Das ist nur die Hälfte, die ganze Schlange passt nich auf Twitter 5/ pic.twitter.com/qkN2vlySNU
— Christine Kensche (@c_kensche) October 9, 2021
Total mismanagement but who’s really surprised that at an airport that took 15 years to open and which became a national embarrassment nothing really works according to plan? Administration issues of any sort are endemic in Berlin. Both airport management, airlines and the Federal Police (Bundespolizei) that is responsible for the security checks in Germany should have been properly prepared.
Unfortunately especially the security checkpoints are a bottleneck, not just in Berlin. Rather than properly managing the checkpoints the Federal Police has transferred their mandate to private security companies at pretty much all German Airports where various staff is conducting the security checks.
Berlin’s BER Airport is still a nightmare for passengers and especially during peak periods such as the current holiday season passengers miss their flights despite being at the airport several hours prior to their flight.
Ideally one only carries hand baggage and has an online boarding pass (when available) to be prepared for any eventualities but these days many destinations don’t allow for online check-in due to aforementioned document checks (Covid test, vaccination cards etc).