Stuck on tarmac for hours

Old Sep 1, 17, 6:41 am
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Stuck on tarmac for hours

We flew Air Berlin TLV - TXL on 8/30. We were supposed to arrive at TXL at 8:20 PM. We spent 40 minutes circling TXL when we finally landed at SXF. Upon landing, everyone stood up when the pilot came on asking everyone to please sit explaining that we are not at TXL but at SXF and we had stopped for re-fueling, no one can use electronic devices, restrooms or stand during re-fueling. It sounded like TXL was closed because they had found a bomb. Air Berlin charges 3 euro for water, so we had not eaten or drunk anything since leaving TLV. We asked for water and were told not yet. We were told that TXL re-opened so after re-fueling they were going to fly us to TXL. Then we were told TXL opened just for departures not arrivals. My 8 year old finally got up and asked a flight attendant for water, they gave her a little cup full. They did however, walk around and offer everyone a piece of chocolate.
Finally, we were told that they called for buses to take us from the tarmac. We did not get inside until close to midnight. There was no one of authority inside to be found. No one from the airport, no one from Air Berlin. We were all alone at SXF along with all the other people from the flight. We got our luggage and went to get a cab, the lines were crazy. We ultimately got a cab and went to a hotel to sleep. The cab cost be over 50 Euro and then I took another cab to get back to TXL in the morning. It turns out there was a WWII bomb found within 2 km of the airport and that caused all the problems. I am thankful that we are safe, but am wondering if we have any recourse. Air Berlin technically never got us to our destination and we sat on the tarmac for hours. Thank you for your help.
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Old Sep 1, 17, 7:36 am
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Very sorry to hear about your situation.

Let's move your thread over to the Air Berlin forum for further discussion. /JY1024, TravelBuzz co-moderator
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Old Sep 1, 17, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by iaustin View Post
Air Berlin technically never got us to our destination and we sat on the tarmac for hours.
Well, SXF *is* in Berlin, so they *did* get you to your destination (if not the airport you expected). Some flights turned back and returned to their origin rather than continuing on to Berlin as they quickly ran out of infrastructure at SXF to handle all the diverted planes. airberlin does not operate from SXF, so it is hardly surprising that they had no staff there.

You have no come-back. As already under discussion on another thread, airberlin is currently not honouring even mandatory compensation for cases where they are liable, due to their being in insolvency proceedings at present:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/airbe...pensation.html

However, given the nature of the closure of Tegel airport (which you can read about at the Deutsche Welle site here), there was no way that they could have landed at TXL and being able to land in the same city was the best you could hope for. airberlin has no control over such situations, nor can they speed up the deplaning at an airport where they have no influence or business, on an evening where the airport was pushed beyond its limits and when there simply was not enough infrastructure (gates, steps, buses, staff) to handle all the planes that unexpectedly landed all of a sudden.

I'm afraid you are going to just have to accept that you'll get nothing from the airline in this case.


Chaos in the skies over Berlin

Last edited by irishguy28; Sep 1, 17 at 8:16 am
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Old Sep 1, 17, 11:14 am
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Under ordinary circumstances, you would have a claim against AB for the reasonable cost of transport to TXL (but not both as you chose). However, as noted, AB is no longer paying compensation.

You may make a claim and there is always the remote possibility that you may see some tiny amount some day, but that is unlikely.

Your best bet is to review your travel interruption insurance to see whether it might cover this.
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Old Sep 1, 17, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
Under ordinary circumstances, you would have a claim against AB for the reasonable cost of transport to TXL (but not both as you chose). However, as noted, AB is no longer paying compensation.

You may make a claim and there is always the remote possibility that you may see some tiny amount some day, but that is unlikely.

Your best bet is to review your travel interruption insurance to see whether it might cover this.
Incorrect (again...). AB will not pay claims arising from circumstances prior to August 15th (refunds for tickets bought prior to that date, compensation for cancellations/delays before that date, etc). Anyone with that sort of claim has to join the queue and wait for the eventual distribution of assets (if any).

Anyone with a claim arising from AB trading/operating after August 15th on the other hand is a preferential creditor. They will be paid, in full, unless the Administrators/Trustees notify the Court of "insufficiency of assets", i.e. that in their opinion there are not even enough funds to pay the preferential creditors. It goes without saying that such an event would immediately ground the airline. And, obviously, no such statement has been made so far.

Such are the joys of German insolvency law.

(NB: If you're a lawyer and drafting a contract, those choice of law clauses are there for a reason.)
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