A spotting guide to Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL/EDDT) in the capital of Germany.
The airport is really spotter friendly and has many different spotting locations. These are also easy to reach by public transport.
Tegel is the busiest airport in Berlin. It handled more than 21 million passengers in 2016. Traffic can be very versatile on busy days. Air Berlin uses the airport as its hub so you get to see many of their A330's, A320's and Dash 8's. Other airlines using heavy aircrafts you will see are: United (daily, 767-300/-400), Hainan Airlines (5/7, A330-300), Qatar Airways (daily, A330-200/-300), Turkish Airlines (daily, A330's/A321), Delta Airlines (daily in summer 2017, 767-300), Air Canada Rouge (4/7 in summer 2017, 767-300) and MIAT Mongolian Airlines (2/7, 767-300 or 737-800). Furthermore, a wide variety of European airlines serve Berlin Tegel Airport with 737's as well as with the A320 family of aircraft. Others like Superjet SSJ100, Avro RJ100's, Fokker 70's, Embraer, Dornier 328 and Dash 8 aircrafts are no rarity though.
In addition, the government function of the airport is very interesting. Berlin Tegel North uses the same two runways (26R/08L and 26L/08R). You can see all government aircrafts parked on the north side from most spotting locations. As government meetings take place often you might get to see some rare aircrafts like Egypt Air Force A340-200, Qatari A340-500, Russian State IL-96-300, German Air Force A340-300's, A319, A310, Global 5000, A400M and many more.
Until BER airport in the south of Berlin opens you can enjoy the variety of traffic and spotting locations at Berlin Tegel Airport. Please continue reading this spotting guide for spotting locations and more information.
Runway 08L/26R: lenght 3.023 m (9,918ft)
Runway 08R/26L: lenght 2.428m (7,966ft)
Runway 08L/26R: usually used for all landings and heavy aircrafts departing.
Runway 08R/26R: main departure runway for narrow-body aircrafts.
marked in green - spotting locations by numbers
marked in white - runway numbers
all important bus stops of the line 128 (Flughafen Tegel to U Osloer Straße) are marked near spotting locations
Location 1: Observation Deck
Berlin Tegel Airport offers a great observation deck. For just 3€ (adult) or 2€ (children, students) you can access it the whole day. The entrance is located between terminals A and E (look on the map).
After you've gone through security (open to public) you will be able to go upstairs and have a 280 degree view of the whole airport. From there you will be treated with a perfect view of Tegel's two parallel runways.
In general, a 70-300mm lens should work great but for close up taxiing aircrafts you will need less for a full frame picture. The light is good during winter and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer depending on the runways in use. Keep possible heat haze and the APU exhaust in mind when choosing your spot on the deck.
There are no shops or toilets on the observation deck, but you can leave and come back up with your ticket. Please note that there is no shade. Remember to bring sun protection.
Also, check the opening hours! As of now (July 2017) it is open daily between 09:00 and 20:00 (April to October) and 11:00 to 16:00 (November to March). For more details visit the official web site - http://www.berlin-airport.de/en/travellers-txl/the-excitement-of-airports/observation-deck/index.php
PlaneSpottingBerlin is dedicated to video planespotting. Here is a sample video from the observation deck at Berlin Tegel Airport with all kinds of different angles you can get from there. Enjoy!
For more videos feel free to visit my Youtube Channel: PlaneSpottingBerlin
Location 2: Glass Tower
Inside Terminal A you can find 2 glass towers from which one offers runway views.
If you'd rather not go to the observation deck (still closed, bad weather (raining)) - the glass tower can help you out. Access is free and you can see some of the movements anyways. Just walk to the north side of terminal A and walk up the stairs almost to the top.
Negative: Unfortunately, you cannot see touchdowns on runways 26L/R, you shoot through glass (maybe dirty, sun reflections) and many things are in your way (lamp posts, terminal building).
Positive: It's free and you can see touchdowns when landing on runways 08L/R. Furthermore, the tower is open at all times and it is warm in winter.
A great example video for this location.
A MIAT Mongolian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER Landing at Berlin Tegel Airport on Runway 08L with great winter light and snow!
Location 3: “Line-up Container runway 26L/R”
A great location for close up pictures while planes line up on runway 26L/R.
As you stand on top of a small container (max. 2-3 people) you can almost touch planes as they pass by. Also, landing aircrafts can be seen well depending on the outbound traffic.
The container is located on Kurt Schumacher Damm (as shown on the map) and is reachable by the 128 bus (direction U Osloer Straße) from the Airport. Simply get off at the stop "Kaserne Südtor" and then walk the last 150m or so (you can see it from there).
Keep in mind that you will have to climb onto the container (there is a smaller container behind it that will help you to get up). As already mentioned - it might be already occupied by other people.
When returning to Berlin Tegel Airport take the bus 128 from "Aristide-Briande Brücke" direction "Flughafen Berlin Tegel". The bus runs every 10 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays and every 20 minutes on Sundays.
Furthermore, it is possible to see the north apron (goverment airport) from this location. You will need a long lens and good weather to take pictures.
SECURITY: I have never had problems there, however the police may ask you to leave. Also when very important government planes arrive this location is not accessible!
Get an overview about the different shots possible from this location with this sample video. (When you are alone up there it is possible to record with a tripod!)
For more videos feel free to visit my Youtube Channel: PlaneSpottingBerlin
Location 4: Meadow Julius Leber Kaserne
This location is good for runway 26L/R arrivals in the afternoon or evening only! Departing aircrafts from runway 08R will be very high already.
From there you won't have a runway view and the time for taking pictures is limited. Videos are not recommended from here.
Getting there is really easy. From the Airport take bus 128 (direction U Osloer Straße) and get off at "Julius Leber Kaserne" - it takes about 6-10 minutes to get there.
Location 5: Clou Parking Deck
Note: Recently Spotters have been sent away from here due to new management guidelines. (Summer 2017)
On the top floor of the park deck you can see the runway 26R/08L in full length. Since most landings take place on this runway you can get nice overhead shots of planes approaching as well as touchdowns from a distance.
Some heavies like the Qatar A330, Hainan A330 and Air Berlin A330 use this runway for takeoff to.
With really long lenses (300-600mm) it is also possible to capture landings on the opposite end (runway 08L).
To get to the "Clou" (mall at Kurt Schumacher Platz) take the 128 bus from the Airport and get off at "U Kurt Schumacher Platz" (where most people usually get off). Simply go inside the mall and walk all the way up to the parking deck or take the elevator.
Opening times for the parking deck: Monday - Saturday 06:30 to 23:00; Sunday: 09:30 to 20:30
Location 6: “Meteorstraße” 26R Arrivals
At the end of the "Meteorstraße" you will find a small hill which allows you to see over the fence. The area is pretty long so many spotters can be there at the same time. Also, different angles can be realised from here.
The location is best in the late afternoon/evening until sunset for runway 26R arrivals. Planes come straight towards you, then pass next to you and finally can be seen touching down on the runway. Furthermore, you can see parts of the government airport (Tegel North) from here. So you have plenty of possibilites for taking pictures and shooting videos. If you want to take videos from here, runway 26L line-ups and departures are also visible with the right amount of zoom. Tripods can be used here.
How to get there? Same as spot 5; take the 128 bus from the Airport to "U Kurt Schumacher Platz". To cross the street enter the underground station and go up on the other side. To your right enter "Str. 462" (where many buses park) and then go left. The next street on your right is "Meteorstraße" - enter it and keep on walking until you arrive at spot 6 (as marked on the map).
Another sample video of planespotting at Berlin Tegel Airport from the spotting hill at "Meteorstraße".
This is the end of my spotting guide about Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) featuring the most common locations. I know there are more spotting positions (more towards the runway 08) but I personally never use them.