Traveling back from the IATA Wings of Change Europe conference, I was keen to check out the one and only lounge at Berlin Schönefeld Airport. I’d treated myself to a shiny new Priority Pass in their Black Friday deals and was looking forward to visiting a lounge I’d never been to before.
The Green Wings lounge is located in Terminal A after security. It’s open from 6am to 11pm, which are pretty generous hours to keep compared to some other airport lounges I’ve encountered. That’s about the only nice thing I’m going to say about the lounge, so you might want to read it again.
It’s not a very big airport, so it shouldn’t be hard to find the Green Wings lounge. However, the entrance is not what you’d usually expect from a place that charges £25 ($33) to get in. Basically, as you exit the duty free shop, look out for the very ‘authorized users only’ looking metal door and that’s where you’re headed.
Inside the door is a flight of stairs, more reminiscent of an emergency fire escape than anything else. It’s certainly not the glamorous entrance some might anticipate when heading for their lovely lounge experience. In hindsight, I should have seen the warnings and saved my Priority Pass credit.
After hiking up another flight of equally ugly stairs, I finally arrived at the door to the lounge. There was no real signage to indicate I’d arrived at the right place but, with nowhere left to go, this had to be the way in.
Arriving in the lounge, the first thing you come to is a fairly large reception desk. A reception desk, I have to add, that was completely devoid of people. Behind the desk seemed to be a small kitchen area, from which I could hear much hilarity going on between the staff.
After waiting for several minutes and having deployed my best British “Ah-hems” several times, I went in for the full on “excuse me” in order to get someone’s attention. A surly man emerged from the kitchen, took my pass and instructed me to “sign here” in order to be accommodated.
Having made it through that uncomfortable experience (and noting the staff member hastily retreating back to the kitchen to continue giggling with his colleagues) I got my first look around the lounge.
Let’s not beat about the bush here; it’s small. Really small. There are perhaps six individual chairs with low tables adjacent to the food, and then an assortment of small sofas and other single chairs just around the corner. Altogether, I would say the lounge could seat around 25 passengers.
Most annoyingly for me, all the tables were low coffee table affairs. There were no desks at all, making it difficult to work, which is my main reason for going into a lounge.
Food and drink
The conference had finished after lunch, so after conducting some interviews and whatnot, I’d spent a good few hours cycling around Berlin and doing a bit of sightseeing. As such, I’d arrived at the airport absolutely starving. Big mistake.
The food selection in Green Wings is, to put it politely, abysmal. I’d arrived in the lounge at around 19:30 for a 21:00 flight, so this to me is prime dinner time. Why would I want a bowl of cereal?
Aside from the cereals, there was fruit on offer as well as some bowls of nuts and pretzels. Really I was hoping for something hot to eat, and finally I found what was my only option…
These two tables contained the extent of the hot food offerings; a vat of water with some dried out hot dog sausages suspended above it, and a bread bin with some stale brown bread in it. There literally was nothing else substantial to eat, so in the interests of not passing out from hunger, I went for it.
Having rummaged around a bit more, I managed to find a box of potato salad at the back of one of the fridges. It seems that there should have been lots of salads, potato salads and cous cous dishes inside this fridge, but all the shelves were empty. The staff were clearly far too busy cackling like demented chickens in the kitchen to restock the supplies.
I won’t say I enjoyed my sausage sandwich. In fact, it was pretty awful. The experience was further cheapened by the provision of only plastic cutlery in the lounge.
On the upside, there was a fair bit of beer, wine and spirits around. On any other occasion I might have been tempted to drown my sorrows, but I had a three hour drive at the other end so could only have one drink.
I’m not the most frequent of lounge-goers, but even in my limited experience, this has to be one of the worst lounges in the world. The staff are invisible and unwilling to help, the food is nonexistent and it’s near on impossible to work in there thanks to the very low tables.
Berlin Schoenfeld is a small airport and never really gets that busy. As such, I would highly recommend for anyone passing through to give Green Wings a miss and spend the equivalent money on some food from the outlets in the departure area.
Perhaps I caught them on a bad day. Have you used Green Wings? Was your experience any better? Let me know in the comments.