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March 31, 2010

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Berlin

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Guten Morgen from Deutschland! Last week we left off in the Zurich airport after my pleasant jaunt across the pond. From there I flew to Berlin to attend the world's biggest travel conference and stay in one of the city's best hotels. If you are interested in seeing pictures from Berlin, Edelweiss Airlines, ITB, and the Ritz-Carlton Berlin, then pack your early spring clothes and let's go.

It was so cool (pun intended) to land in Switzerland and see all the Swiss chalets neatly covered by a dusting of snow. It felt as if I was in a Hollywood movie. What's really handy is that SWISS posts departure gates and alerts on the in-flight entertainment screens, so those passengers making connections knew exactly where to go. We arrived an hour late, so they provided information on new flight times so the passengers who had missed their connections could relax. I was just happy that when I booked my ticket I chose not to take the flight with only a 40-minute connection, so I didn't have to rush. Instead I went with the following flight, which was an hour later, and even with the delay I didn't get rebooked and lose my aisle seat.

To get to passport control, passengers have to take a three-minute tram ride. If you want to beat the crowds, go to the very first car and stay by the door. The moment you arrive, make a bee line to the escalator or better yet start walking up the stairs. Passport control took about 10 minutes for me, and I was the first in line from our tram load. Some passengers who had really tight connections kindly pushed their way to the front. I would too if I were them.

It was a long walk to the gate, but the airport is easy on the eyes. The only thing I didn't like is that connecting passengers have to go through security again, though it's not nearly as much of a chore as it is in the United States (shoes stay on, laptops come out, and the liquids rules are the same).

I was traveling to Berlin on a packed (with Spaniards) Edelweiss Air flight (they are a Swiss airline and a partner of SWISS). Flight time to Berlin's Tegel airport was 1 hour and 10 minutes. I sat next to a friendly young businessman who was flying in from Nice (France). He missed his connection, so that's why he got stuck in the middle. The first three rows of the A320 were business class, which are really just coach seats except they leave the middle seat open. Edelweiss had four pretty smiling flight attendants working the flight and they worked their tails off.

First they came around with the drink and food carts (free food and drinks). They handed everyone a one-slice pastrami sandwich with a sliced pickle in it. Then just before landing they hand out Swiss chocolates. So good. They also sell duty free, but I only saw one guy buy a carton of cigarettes.

You don't need to go through any passport control or customs again, so everyone just gathered around the baggage claim. Bags started coming out within 10 minutes, but mine was the very last and I waited about 25 minutes. Getting a taxi here is kind of fend for yourself, which I learned last time. My best advice is to just walk to the very front so you don't get snaked. Most taxis take credit cards, but ask before getting in. The trip to the Ritz-Carlton in Potsdamer Platz cost me 18.50 euros (the meter is attached to the rearview mirror) and it took about 15 minutes. FYI: My taxi driver was a nice Turkish guy (there are lots in Berlin) and he spoke perfect English.

Berlin is located in northeastern Germany, 44 miles from the Polish border. There are 16 states in Germany and Berlin is not only one of them, it's also the capital. During the Cold War the capital was moved to Bonn; in 1990, Berlin regained its status as capital.

To give you a real good feel of the hotel and my stay in Berlin I created a 34 photo slide show with captions. I also have a separate one of the ITB trade show. I hope you enjoy them because it took me a long time to put them together!

*PLEASE tell us what you think of this week's newsletter!

Note: This trip was sponsored in part by Ritz-Carlton Berlin

Copyright 2010 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Landing In Zurich


ZRH Airport


Walking To Next Flight


Edelweiss Air To Berlin




Ritz-Carlton Berlin




My Room


Brandenburg Gate


Slide Show of The Ritz-Carlton and Berlin


Slide Show of ITB




  • GREAT newsletter! Maja – Los Angeles

  • Johnny -- after reading your eulogies to your mom, I know you would understand the stress that comes with a parent's illness. I've had both parents seriously ill the last 4 months and have delayed planning a trip to Prague. I believe my folks are stabile now and I can go but I am now about a month from departure and am scrambling to make arrangements. My boyfriend Richard is speaking at a meeting in Prague and we've extended our stay so we could visit the Czech country but I'd like to find someone who could help with the arrangements, what to do, how to get around, where to stay. Is there someone/company you would suggest? I read a number of articles including an article from your archives by Ramona Zacharias and am overloaded with options. As always - I would be very appreciative. Cindy G -Yardley PA REPLY: We are sorry to hear about your parent’s illnesses. The best thing to do is either: get a guidebook, research online, ask the Czech Tourism ( for help or find a travel agent who’s a Czech specialist. You have plenty of time so you don’t have to rush and April/May is not peak season so it shouldn’t be a problem making arrangements.

  • I have been reading your newsletter for at least 8 years now and really look forward to it. I just want to say ( you can say it's none of my business) that you involve your readers personally into your life so much that when people disappear from your life, like Natalie and Nancy it would be nice to know what happened to them. Just a short little note saying "It's over" or whatever. Put yourself in our place..... Wouldn't you be curious? I remain a loyal fan, P. Taylor - Boston, MA REPLY: Thanks for being a loyal fan. Nancy and my dad are still together in PA.

  • In my next lifetime, I want to be Johnny Jet!! Safe travels! Linda B - Tokyo

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