Approximately a year ago, last October we went for plane spotting to Berlin Tegel Airport with my boyfriend. As it’s known the capital of Germany has 3 airports, but currently operates only two of them (Tegel and Schönefeld).
Tegel has two runways:
- 08L/26R (mainly used for long-haul flights)
- 08R/26L (short-haul flights)
The airport has many spotting locations and all of them are easily reachable by public transport or within easy walking distance.
We brought our flight tickets a few months before the trip and couldn’t wait to be there. In fact, it was only a 1-day trip, as we departed from Budapest Airport at 9 am and left Berlin the next morning.
Each time when I buy a flight ticket in advance, it’s always a big question: What will the weather be like? Honestly, it’s totally unpredictable, so the only thing we can do is believe in our luck.
When we arrived in Berlin, the weather was really awful. It was windy, rainy, cold and foggy too – one of the worst combinations ever. There was no passport control at the airport for us, because Hungary and Germany are both border-free Schengen countries, so thankfully we saved much time that we didn’t have to wait ages in the queue like others.
After leaving the terminal building, we went to the observation deck, which is located beside Terminal D. All visitors need to buy a ticket to enter the terrace. The ticket machine is located next to the entrance or alternatively, we can buy it online on the airport’s website. A single ticket costs 3 euros for adults and 2 euros for children. All visitors need to go through a security check prior entry. The visitor terrace is open every day and has a spectacular, 280-degree view over Germany’s fourth busiest airport. Thankfully the terrace is not glazed, so visitors can have a clear sight without any reflections. 70-300mm should be enough for most of the shots, but for taxiing planes less than 70mm required. The light is pretty good all day long, as there are many different angles for taking shots from this spot.
The traffic is not too bad – even though it’s a small airport, compare to other international airports in Europe. After Air Berlin’s bankruptcy Easyjet became the main airline at Tegel Airport. I believe it was enough information about the airport, let’s move on to our story!
Like I said earlier, the weather was horrible in the morning. Unfortunately, the observation deck hasn’t got a roof, so we spent a few hours outside in the rain. I tried to cover my equipment with my coat and scarf as much as possible, even Nikon says my kit is waterproof. Around 1 pm the rain has stopped so we managed to take some great shots with water sprays on the wet runway. It was still windy and because of this, the clouds moved quite quickly. Around 2.30 pm the sun has finally come out and the light was simply amazing with the dark clouds in the background. The wet runway was just a bonus!
After sunset, it was time for night photography. A new challenge with different settings like daytime. I managed to take only a few shots, but I am not complaining, because my boyfriend was standing next to me and helped me a lot. So hopefully next time I will be able to do it on my own, without any help.
We had to finish our spotting session around 8 pm, because of the terrace closing time. Therefore we packed up all our stuff and went to the hotel, which was approximately 20 minutes from the airport. The accommodation was clean, peaceful and luckily we managed to get some sleep. Our plane departed at 7 am so we had to leave the hotel very early in the morning. The journey back home was good and we arrived back safely.
Even though the weather was bad at the beginning, I really liked the spotter tour and we decided to go back again probably next year. Thank you for reading it! The end.
You can see my gallery below: