Berlin Tegel Vs Schönefeld – What Airport Is Best To Fly Into?

Like a number of major cities, Berlin has two airports. However, which should you pick when visiting Germany’s capital city? We decided to compare the two to find out.

Berlin, Tegel, Schönefeld
Berlin currently has two airports, Tegel and Schönefeld. Photo: Getty Images

Once divided into East and West, Berlin is the capital city of Germany. Despite being the capital city, however, Berlin’s two airports combined cater to less traffic than the country’s aviation capital, Frankfurt, and even Munich. While Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport ‘could’ open later this year, the choice currently lies between Tegel and Schönefeld. But which of the two airports should you fly to given the choice? Simple Flying decided to take a look.

Berlin Tegel

Berlin’s Tegel Airport (TXL) is the larger of the two airports serving the city in terms of passenger numbers. In fact, in 2018 Berlin Tegal handled 22,000,430 passengers, up 7.5% on the previous year. This is just around 30% of the passengers handled by Frankfurt Airport. Unlike Frankfurt Airport, however, the airport has five terminals. The airport is the oldest in Berlin, however, with the eventual opening of Brandenburg Airport, the airport is due to be closed in the future.

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The big disadvantage of Tegel Airport is its connections to the city. According to public transport operator BVG, the airport is only connected to the city center with bus connections. According to IntroducingBerlin.com, the bus from Tegel takes 30-40 minutes depending on traffic and departs every 10-20 minutes. However, geographically, Tegel is closer to the city center.

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Berlin, Tegel, Schönefeld
Tegel is Berlin’s oldest airport. Photo: Pixabay

Berlin Schönefeld

Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport is located next to Berlin Brandenburg Airport. However, despite being the site of the infamous construction project, Schönefeld actually has less traffic than Tegel. In 2018 the airport hosted just 12,725,937 passengers. This makes it just Germany’s seventh busiest airport, despite serving the nation’s capital. The airport, like Tegel, also has five terminals.

Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport is connected to the city centre by the city’s S-Bahn. The S-Bahn acts as a suburban train network for German cities, and the S9 line connects Schönefeld with the Hauptbahnhof or main station. This, in my opinion, is far more convenient than taking a bus. Schönefeld is more of a low-cost hub for Berlin at the moment, however, Simple Flying’s Jo suggests avoiding the airport, especially the Green Wings lounge!

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Berlin, Tegel, Schönefeld
Schönefeld primarily hosts low-cost airlines. Photo: calflier001 via Wikimedia

What about Brandenburg?

Supposedly, Berlin’s infamous Brandenburg Airport is finally set to open this year. In fact, airlines have started to announce they will switch to the airport. However, like the Boeing 737 MAX’s return to service, the opening date keeps getting pushed back.

Brandenburg was supposed to open many years ago but many issues have arisen with the airport. Some, you’d struggle to make up! For example, escalators were too short in some instances. However, the S-Bahn extension to Brandenburg does work, with a weekly ghost service ensuring that the tunnels are kept clear of dust.

Which airport do you prefer when flying to Berlin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Chuck

I have been through Tegel airport and was not impressed. Instead of one common security screening point, each individual gate had its own security screening. The remaining area devoted to a passenger waiting area was so small that passengers were camping out on the floor waiting for boarding. Instead of a jet bridge to the plane, a bus took us to a remote parking stand in the wet, cold and wind to climb a set of stairs. And this was for a United B767-400, not some LCC carrier. Also, there is no rail service (S or U-Bahn) devoted to Tegel,… Read more »

Justin

I think you forgot to answer your own question in the article. I you said that Schonefeld is more convenient due to the S-bahn S9 line but stopped short of actually pushing out a recommendation. You also left out so many details about the airport…. For one, what about dining options? Tegel has a larger amount of dining options than Schonefeld does. Who uses the airports as hubs? Airport connections? Tegel has a much better connections outside of Europe including non-stop service to NYC and China. What about the lounges at Tegel THERE ARE 5 OF THEM? You didn’t mention… Read more »

STEFAN

Regel is the way more convenient airport to fly I to. Yes, there’s a bus, you have to take for 2 stops, to reach the S-train station, and you’ll reach metro transit rapidly. The bus stops right outside the concourse of the terminals. The Schoenefelt train station is about 1 km away, you have to walk a looong way with your baggage. Trains on the S train network take about 45 minutes to reach the center. There are 2 hourly regional trains that actually make the central station connection in 32 minutes. So it’s faster than the TXL bus, but,… Read more »

Dan

Let’s see what’s await us at the new Berlin Airport. With eight years of delays, (if not more), it must be full of odd details if not worst.
Who knows, we might regret both TXL and SXF.