Together with Iberia and Aer Lingus another way to avoid extortionate UK taxes on air travel is to use your Avios with Air Berlin.
Air Berlin has a good network of routes from Germany, and you can use Avios to book these flights, quickly and easily on ba.com.
How much can I save?
The savings on taxes are truly astounding. I have taken a couple of screen grabs to illustrate the difference. Here I have selected dates in November for return flights from London to New York on British Airways, and then Berlin to New York on Air Berlin.
Here is the cost of the British Airways flights:
And now the price of the Air Berlin flight:
This is a huge 82% saving of almost £300! You must factor in the cost of the connecting flights to Berlin, but these can be picked up extremely cheap, especially by using a Reward Flight Saver (read about these here).
This is just one small example. You should check the Air Berlin website for their full list of destinations, and try some dummy booking to see how cheap this can actually be.
I like luxury, what about Business Class?!
It should also be noted that Air Berlin is essentially a low cost carrier, but have an excellent business class product. The hard product is actually improving as we speak, as Air Berlin’s partnership with Etihad bears fruit, and the Etihad business class seats are installed on Air Berlin’s aircraft. This is a way of making even more significant savings, and enjoying some premium travel!
The new Air Berlin business class product:
Here is another astounding price/tax comparison between BA and Air Berlin for a return business class flight to New York:
British Airways: £530 taxes
Air Berlin: £65 taxes
It should be noted that Air Berlin only release 2 business class redemption seats per flight, so availability can be hard to judge, and you will not be able to redeem seats for more than 2 people in business class on the same flight.
Where can I go with Air Berlin?
They have a huge network, you should check out their website to see if they can take you where you want to go, but here is non-exhaustive list of some of their most interesting destinations from their various bases in Germany along with the amount of Avios and taxes due:
How do I book?
Due to Air Berlin’s different bases you may be best to find what you want on the Air Berlin website first.
Then sign into your executive club account on ba.com, click on ‘spending Avios’, and ‘book flights with Avios’. You can then search for your flights and book directly through this service.
Is there anything I need to be careful of?
Yes, here are a few issues you should be aware of:
· You will have to pay or use Avios for a flight to Germany (although this should be insignificant compared to the saving you stand to make).
· When booking your flight to Germany to catch your Air Berlin flight, this will be a completely separate and unrelated booking. As such, if this flight is delayed or cancelled, and you miss your onward flight, Air Berlin will have no responsibility to help you. It is often sensible to plan ahead, for example, fly to Germany the night before a morning flight.
· Some destinations, e.g. Los Angeles, will cost you more Avios on Air Berlin than they would do by catching a BA flight because being that little bit further away in Germany, they fall into the next bracket up. However this can work in your favour! Certain destinations such as Abu Dhabi cost less Avios. In all cases, taxes will be a great deal less with Air Berlin!
· If you book your flight from London with Avios to connect to your Air Berlin flight on one ticket, you will be charged the full Air Passenger Duty, thus wiping out much of your saving.
Using Air Berlin is a way to may enormous savings, especially on premium travel, to a huge range of destinations. Be sure to consider it as an option for your next long haul flight, and maybe even take it as an opportunity to explore a German city on the way!
As always, please feel free to comment with any questions or additional tips you may have. Please follow the blog to get posts straight to your inbox, and follow the Miles Mogul on Facebook!