Several hundred meters in line for departure! Chaos at BER on the 1st day of vacation – BZ Berlin

At BER this weekend, many are blowing up in anger!

At the new major airport in Schönefeld, conditions are chaotic at the beginning of the autumn holidays – the queues at the check-in counters sometimes run through the entire terminal. At the security checkpoints, passengers then have to wait up to half an hour again.

On Saturday, WELT reporter Christine Kensche published a video on Twitter that shows a queue of passengers several hundred meters long who want to check in their luggage at Lufthansa.

She was at BER two hours before departure, but still a long way from check-in half an hour before departure. According to Kensche, an airport employee said: “We are a little understaffed, we cannot take any further action now.”

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Another problem: Many passengers mistakenly queue up at the check-in for business class passengers and status customers, but are turned away when they reach the counter. But: “The sign is hidden by people,” says Kensche.

BER expects 900,000 passengers by the end of the autumn holidays on October 24th!

It should be particularly full on the weekends with up to 65,000 passengers per day, according to a forecast. BER had strongly recommended that passengers be at the airport “at least two hours before departure”.

Keep distance? Not possible

Obviously, even that is not enough, as the video on Twitter proves. The requirement to keep your distance from other passengers cannot be implemented anyway.

BER handled only about half as many passengers in the autumn holidays as in the autumn holidays 2019 (at that time from Tegel and the old Schönefeld Terminal together).

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Shortly before the start of the holiday, BZ wanted to know: Is BER urging the airlines to at least employ more staff? Evasive answer: “We are in constant coordination with all operational partners in order to guarantee the passengers the highest possible quality of stay and to make the processes at the airport as safe and smooth as possible.”

Are you well prepared for the onslaught? “Yes. We have coordinated closely with the operational partners and will use the entire available infrastructure. We also inform passengers about the current time required for air travel. “

Personnel problems at the breakdown airport

The chaos at the breakdown airport BER has not only to do with the beginning of the autumn vacation: there have been long queues at the check-in counters for months.

On Saturday a week ago, the lines at Lufthansa check-in reached the stairs of the main entrance. And that before six in the morning! The 7 o’clock flight from Brussels Airlines (also part of the Lufthansa Group) was delayed by more than an hour due to the chaos.

Suitcase chaos at BER: On Friday the luggage piled up on a belt because there was a lack of ground staff (Photo: private)
Suitcase chaos at BER: On Friday the luggage piled up on a belt because there was a lack of ground staff (Photo: private)

According to the pilot’s announcement, many passengers were missing who were still queuing for check-in and security. “It’s getting worse here every day,” he let his passengers know.

A spokeswoman for Lufthansa on BZ: “On the day in question, there were regrettably operational delays, among other things due to sick leave from some employees in ground handling. Overall, the requirements of the Corona regulations lead to additional work at check-in, as the documents required for entry must be checked. “

In addition, online check-in is not possible in some countries. “Therefore, travelers are asked to find out about the applicable regulations in advance and to arrive at the airport in good time,” said the Lufthansa spokeswoman. Their promise: “Now at the beginning of the holiday, the Lufthansa Group is increasing its check-in capacities in Berlin. We also use extra staff to help passengers find the right counter for them, for example. “

Of course, there was absolutely no sign of this on Saturday.

Bad signs and not working technology

However, it is not just the long queues that make passengers despair at BER. But also long distances, poor signage and technical breakdowns. The treadmills have been locked for months. Currently they have disappeared behind a visual barrier and some of them have been dismantled.

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The BER spokesman on BZ: “When Terminal 1 was put into operation, the moving walks were in operation. Unfortunately, we had to find out in continuous operation, compared to the regular test operations before, that the systems show significantly increased wear. The wear and tear could not be explained by the operating time. Reliable operation would therefore not be guaranteed in the long term. “

Doesn’t sound like they’ll be back up soon or ever …

The escalators in the area for arriving passengers fail regularly. Apparently only half as bad for BER: “In the past few weeks mainly short-term malfunctions were found which were promptly remedied by manually restarting the respective systems.”