With my long layover in Vienna (VIE) finally coming to an end, I left the Austrian Airlines lounge to head towards the gate. After my first flight with Austrian Airlines, I was actually pretty excited to see how their intra-European business class would stack up.
Although I am really not a fan of the intra-European style business class, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with what Austrian Airlines had to offer. For those that are not familiar with it, business class on intra-European flights is usually just an economy class seat with the middle seat blocked off to give you a bit of extra space. This is so the airlines can adjust the size of the cabin to meet demands.
Introduction – Europe On A Whim
Review – United 737-800 BusinessFirst – RSW-IAH
Review – KLM Crown Lounge – IAH
Review – United 767-300 BusinessFirst – IAH-EWR
Review – Lufthansa Senator Lounge – EWR
Review – Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class – EWR-VIE
Review – Sky Lounge (Non-Schengen) – VIE
Review – Sky Lounge (Schengen) – VIE
Review – Austrian Airlines Lounge – VIE
Review – Austrian Airlines A320 Business Class – VIE-DUS
Review – Holiday Inn Express Dusseldorf
Review – Element Amsterdam
Review – KLM Royal Crown Lounge – AMS
Review – Air France A318 Premier Class – AMS-CDG
Review – Air France Salon Lounge – CDG
Review – Air France A320 Premier Class – CDG-LIS
Review – Intercontinental Lisbon
Review – ANA Lounge – LIS
Review – Iberia A320 Business Class – LIS-MAD
Review – Iberia Sala VIP Velazquez Lounge – MAD
Review – British Airways 767-300 Business Class – MAD-LHR
Review – British Airways Galleries Lounge – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – No. 1 Lounge – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – Swissport Lounge – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – American Airlines Admirals Club – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – American Airlines 777-300ER (77W) Business Class – LHR-DFW
As I mentioned in my review of my first United flight, to get myself to Dusseldorf, I opted to burn some United miles. While I usually try to save my United miles for a roundtrip so I can utilize the stopover and/or open jaw, with United’s changes to the rules, I just decided to burn the miles for a one-way redemption. Had I flown entirely on United metal, it would have set me back 57.5k miles + ~$90 for my business class ticket. As I was redeeming for flights operated by United’s partner, Austrian Airlines, my cost was 70k miles + ~$111 in taxes, fees and close-in booking fee. I used this clever trick to avoid the close-in booking fee since I booked 3 days before departure, which brought the taxes and fees down to ~$36.
Austrian Airlines 155
Vienna (VIE) to Dusseldorf (DUS)
Depart: 5:40 PM
Arrive: 7:20 PM
Duration: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Although I left with plenty of time to get me to the gate before boarding, the walk from the lounge seemed to take forever.
Before I finally made it to my gate after what was easily a 10 minute walk at a quick pace.
The gate area was crowded and there were no seats available anywhere. Boarding was scheduled to commence at 5:10 PM, but did not actually start until about 5:25 PM. The gate area was a bit chaotic and although I tried to be one of the first on the plane to take some pictures, a family that took up 4 of the 6 taken business class seats was already on the plane when I boarded. I try to respect the privacy of others, especially when there are children involved, so I did not get any good wide angle pictures of the cabin unfortunately, but did manage the below picture a little later in the flight.
I boarded through door 1L and turned right into the business class cabin which consisted of just 2 rows on this flight. I had reserved the window seat, so quickly stowed my bag and snapped a quick picture of the seat.
As is typical, the middle seat was reserved, though not blocked off entirely with a tray like some European carriers do.
I quite prefer just leaving the seat open personally.
Waiting at the seat when I arrived was a bright red pillow.
I was not too terribly thrilled with the leg room, but at 32″ of pitch with an empty middle seat so I could stretch my legs out, it was perfectly comfortable for my 6’5″ frame on this short flight.
The seats were Recaro slimline seats which utilize a pocket up top instead of down low so that it does not cut into your leg room.
Although the seats themselves lack a lot of padding, they are still pretty comfortable in my opinion.
As I mentioned earlier, the intra-European business class cabin size can be adjusted according to loads. The below divider moves along a rail system which allows the airline to easily adjust the size of their cabin.
One thing I thought was cool was the flight attendants were handing out small toys to the kids who boarded the plane. That really took me back to when I would fly as a kid and get toys and plastic wings from the flight attendants. I thought it was a great touch and the kids all seemed to be really excited about it.
Although the flight was full, boarding was completed very quickly. Once boarding was completed, the flight attendant came around with a selection of newspapers for those in the business class cabin. The lead flight attendant then came on the PA to welcome us aboard and advise us of our short travel time of 1 hours and 20 minutes to Dusseldorf.
There were no pre-departure beverages offered, which I was a bit disappointed by as many other European carriers offer them.
Despite our late boarding, we pushed back right on schedule and started our nearly 20 minute taxi. We had smooth takeoff and climb out. Once we were finally airborne, the views of the Austrian countryside were absolutely gorgeous.
As is typical with non-US carriers, service is prompt and efficient and the snack was served within 15 minutes of taking off. Now, I did not really have high expectations for such a short flight, but all I can say is WOW. This was probably one of the best airline meals I have ever had, regardless of whether it was a short haul or a long flight.
The snack was served on one tray and included a piece of bone-in chicken, a small wasabi salad with tomato slices and beans and a selection of bread from a bread basket.
Seriously, DO & CO absolutely kills this in-flight catering thing because the chicken was as moist as could be. I was not really hungry and still ate every bite because it was too good to pass up. And I NEVER say that about airline food!
I opted to pair my meal with a marzen beer. For dessert there was an apple strudel with cinnamon whipped cream.
I am not a huge sweets guy, but apple strudel is one of the quickest ways to my heart. And paired with one of my favorite beers – a marzen – meant I had pretty much fallen in love with Austrian Airlines.
I also have to give credit to the flight attendant working the business class cabin on this flight because she absolutely worked her tail off from start to finish on this flight. While she was prompt and a bit rushed, she never once came off as rude – which takes some serious skill to pull off.
Service was completed about 40 minutes after takeoff, which was right about the time we began our descent into Dusseldorf. We had a smooth ride in and touched down right on time. After a short taxi, we arrived at our gate near the unique Etihad/Air Berlin partnership aircraft.
Since this was a Schengen flight, I did not have to clear customs or immigration and headed straight for the metro to catch a train to my hotel.
I really have to say, for such a short haul flight, it was seriously top notch. Austrian Airlines has blown me away with their service and product and has easily become my new favorite European carrier.
Austrian Airlines blew me away with how fantastic their service and food was. Although I am not a huge fan of the European style business class, the food and service more than made up for the seat on such a short flight. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again – I am not kidding when I say I would go out of my way to fly Austrian again in the future simply because the experience from start to finish is so exceptional. I would unequivocally say spending the extra miles for a flight on Austrian Airlines over United was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Bottom line – check out Austrian!
What has been your experiences with Austrian Airlines?
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