The Airport Express and regional trains offer the fastest and cheapest public transportation to the new Flughafen Berlin-Brandenburg Willy Brandt (BER / BBI) from the Hauptbahnhof, Mitte, Kurfürstendamm, and Zoologischer Garten areas of Berlin. Until this airport opens (in phases between 31 October and 7 November 2020), travelers to Berlin will continue to use Tegel (TXL) and Schönefeld (SXF) airports.
Getting to Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport Willy Brandt (BER) is cheapest, fastest, and simplest on the Airport Express trains (Flughafen Express FEX, RE7, and RB14) from many parts of Berlin. Up to four trains per hour connect the Hauptbahnhof with Berlin Airport in half an hour. The Airport Express (FEX) trains stop en route at Ostkreuz and Gesundbrunnen, while the regional trains (RE7 & RB14) also stop at amongst others Spandau, Charlottenburg, Zoologischer Garten, Friedrichstraße, Alexanderplatz, and Ostbahnhof. S-Bahn trains (S9) provide further connections to Berlin, regional trains go to Potsdam and other stations near Berlin, while long-distance trains (IC / EC / ICE) trains also stop at the airport. Suntransfers quotes around €50 for a taxi ride from Berlin Airport to downtown.
These transportation links will only operate once Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport Willy Brandt (BER – sometimes wrongly abbreviated to BBI) replace both Berlin-Tegel (TXL) and Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) airports. The current opening date is 31 October 2020 with SXF closing on 1 November and Tegel on 8 November — flights may change to BER earlier.
A standard ABC Berlin public transportation ticket (€3.60) is valid on regional trains from Berlin Airport to any station in Berlin. Deutsche Bahn (DB) provides all German Railways train schedules but allows for online ticket purchases only of long-distance trains. The Berlin Welcome Card is a good tourist option that includes transportation and discounts to major sights.
Fast Airport Express Trains to Berlin Brandenburg Airport from Downtown
Three regional train services are available from downtown Berlin to Berlin Brandenburg Airport — all three are often referred to as Airport Express trains. The ticket prices are the same and the traveling times differ only by around 5 minutes. Trains are available four times per hour, simply take the first train to depart, if it stops at the desired destination.
The basic three trains from downtown Berlin to Berlin Brandenburg Airport are:
- Flughafen Express (FEX) trains stop only at Berlin-Hauptbahnhof, Gesundbrunnen, and Ostkreuz. (Twice per hour)
- Regional Express (RE7) trains stop at the traditional central Berlin (Stadtbahn) stations en route to Dessau. (Hourly)
- Regional Bahn (RB14) trains stop at the traditional central Berlin (Stadtbahn) stations en route to Nauen. (Hourly)
The tradition Berlin Stadtbahn stations include amongst others: Ostbahnhof, Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstraße, Hauptbahnhof, Zoologischer Garten, and Charlottenburg. Both RE7 and RB 14 trains stop at all these stations.
These trains do not stop at Flughafen BER Terminal 5 (the old Schönefeld) — use the bus or S-Bahn trains to connect between Terminal 5 and Terminal 1-2 — walking is not an option.
By Flughafen Express Train (FEX) to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)
The Airport Express (FEX – Flughafen Express) trains provide the fastest transportation between Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg (BER) and Berlin Hauptbahnhof. The FEX trains run twice per hour and take around 30 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof to the Airport.
However, the FEX trains do not stop at the traditional Berlin-Stadtbahn stations that are often the destination of choice for travelers to Berlin.
The Berlin Airport Express (FEX) trains stop only at:
- Flughafen BER Terminal 1 — 2: the train station in the basement of Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
- Berlin-Ostkreuz: change here for S-Bahn trains to central Berlin, or destinations to the east of Berlin.
- Berlin-Gesundbrunnen: change here to S-Bahn S1 or S2, trains to destinations in the north of the city and Oranienburg.
- Hauptbahnhof: Berlin main central station
Until the FEX routing change, and traveling time drops to 20 minutes (around 2025), many travelers may often find the regional trains RE7 and RB14 more useful.
RB14 Airport Express to Berlin Brandenburg Airport from Spandau via Hauptbahnhof
The Regional Bahn 14 (RB14) trains are often referred to as Airport Express trains as well. These RB14 trains usually connect Nauen and Senftenberg via central Berlin and Berlin Airport.
RB14 Airport Express trains run hourly to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) from Spandau (49 min) via Charlottenburg (42 min), Zoologischer Garten (39 min), Hauptbahnhof (36 min), Friedrichstraße (34 min), Alexanderplatz (26 min), Ostbahnhof (22 min), and Ostkreuz (16 min).
RE7 Airport Express to Berlin Brandenburg Airport
The Regional Express 7 (RE7) trains are similarly often referred to as Airport Express trains but follow a different route than the FEX trains through Berlin.
RB7 Airport Express trains run hourly to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) from Dessau via the outskirts of Potsdam and then through central Berlin with stops at Charlottenburg (42 min), Zoologischer Garten (39 min), Hauptbahnhof (36 min), Friedrichstraße (34 min), Alexanderplatz (26 min), Ostbahnhof (22 min), and Ostkreuz (14 min) before arriving at Flughafen BER Terminal 1 — 2, the train station in the basement of Berlin Brandenburg Airport.
By S-Bahn (S9 or S45) to Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Two S-Bahn trains stop at Flughafen BER Terminal 1 — 2, the train station in the basement of Berlin Brandenburg Airport, but these S-Bahn trains are much slower than the Airport Express trains when traveling to Central Berlin.
- S9 – S-Bahn trains run from Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI / BER) via Ostkreuz to Spandau. It follows the same basic routing as RB14 but stops at many more stations en route. The longer the journey, the bigger the time difference. Traveling time to the Hauptbahnhof is around 50 minutes but may save time if it cuts out an additional connection en route to the final destination.
- S45 – S-Bahn trains run from Berlin Brandenburg International Airport (BBI / BER) to Südkreuz, which has good connections to further S-Bahn trains, especially to destinations in the south of the city.
In contrast to the other trains, the S-Bahn trains stop at both Flughafen BER Terminal 1 — 2 station and Flughafen BER Terminal 5 (the old Schönefeld Airport station). If using the wrong station, simply take the next train or bus X71 (the fare is covered) and note that Waßmannsdorf station between the two airport terminal stations has no links to the airport. Walking between Terminal 5 and the other terminals is not possible.
For most travelers, these trains are the easiest, fastest, and cheapest transportation to Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), especially if the fare remains a standard ABC Berlin public transportation ticket – currently €3.60. The stations in Berlin have many connections to other forms of public transportation to get passengers to their final destinations. S-Bahn trains, U-Bahn trains plus a short bus ride, trains from Potsdam, and long-distance trains also provide further public transportation options to Berlin Brandenburg Airport.