Flying Austrian Airlines business class is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. A difficult task as the Austrian flag carrier only serves a handful of business destinations in Southeast Asia.
This year in July my travel plans finally corresponded to Austrian’s flight network. Find out how I liked travelling with Lufthansa’s Austrian subsidiary. Here’s a detailed trip report of my Boeing 777-200 business class flight from Vienna to Bangkok.
First leg: Stuttgart to Vienna
As usually I started my trip from my homebase Stuttgart Airport.
Austrian Airlines connects Stuttgart and Vienna several times per day.
I had booked an early evening flight that was scheduled to leave Stuttgart around 7.20 pm. With a 3 hour layover in Vienna and an overall trip length of 14 hours from Stuttgart to Bangkok the flight times are really ideal.
Flight OS 188 was operated by an 11 year old Airbus A319 that evening. The plane parked at a remote position on the apron, which meant that I had to board a crowded airside shuttle bus before entering the plane. Given that there are only 8 jetways in total, bus boarding is quite usual at Stuttgart Airport.
The flight was fully booked and my fellow passengers carried tons of hand-luggage. Watching them struggle to store their bags in the overhead bins, I was really glad that I had only a small backpack with me.
I took my aisle seat 2C and waited. While nearly all the 138 seats in Austrians A319 filled up, the window seat next to me remained empty. This left a whole row to myself. Such a pleasant surprise! So, of course, as soon as boarding was completed I changed to the window seat.
In total there were only 6 other business class passengers on board. We were spread across 2 rows in the front part of the plane.
That’s a rather small percentage of premium travellers compared to Lufthansa’s evening flights with constantly 4 or more rows of business class. But then again, Austrian Airlines doesn’t serve nearly as many long-haul destinations as its German parent company.
Inflight from Stuttgart to Vienna
Thanks to the free window seat, I had a beautiful view on Stuttgart Airport after take-off:
Some 15 minutes into the flight the flight attendants started to serve dinner. I appreciated the fact that they carried each plate separately directly from the galley. It definitely has a nice personal touch compared to serving food and drinks from the trolley.
Dinner consisted of turkey strips with “spaetzle” (Southern German pasta) and chocolate cake.
There were no menu choices, so I’m not sure if it would’ve been possible to order a vegetarian alternative at that point.
Arriving at Vienna Airport
We arrived on time around 8.30 p.m. at Vienna airport. The A319 parked at gate F24, which allowed us to enter the Terminal via a jetway.
Once inside the terminal, I went straight over to the passport control desk to exit the Schengen Area. Having already passed security at Stuttgart airport, I could enter the Non-Schengen gate area without undergoing additional security screening.
With 23 million passengers per year, Vienna Airport is much smaller than Frankfurt or Munich. Consequently everything is closer together and you don’t have to walk too far when connecting through Vienna airport.
In total it took a short 10 minute walk to get from the arrival gate to immigration and the connecting gate. As a bonus, I had a nice view on the apron during my walk.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Lounge in Vienna
The Austrian Airlines business class lounge for international departures is located next to the security checkpoint at pier G.
It comes with a modern design, with red and blue being the dominating colours. Additionally, the huge windows offer some good views on the apron.
As for the food and drinks, Austrian Airlines is in league with the other airlines of the Lufthansa group.
There’s a wide selection of hot and cold dishes, including fruits, salads and various snacks. In addition to that you get the typical beverages, with a main focus on regional wines.
Boarding flight OS 25 to Bangkok
Boarding started at 10.40 p.m.
Similar to evening flights between Europe and South America, that’s an ideal hour to start a long-haul flight.
By the time I arrived at the gate it was crowded with people waiting to start their flight to Bangkok.
As there is no first class configuration on Austrian Airlines flights, the front entrance of the plane was exclusively for business class passengers. This way, I could board without boxing my way through the crowds.
Austrian Airlines business class cabin and seat
Austrians Airlines’ business class cabin is designed in grey and red and looks quite modern. The seats in the Boeing 777-200 are arranged in a 1-2-1 and 2-2-2 configuration. Therefore Austrian’s business class is suitable for both business and leisure travellers.
In my opinion the best seat for business travellers by far is seat 1A – A single seat at the window that comes with more legroom than the other seats.
Austrian Airlines uses the same seat as Brussels Airlines and SWISS in its Boeing 777-200. I like the seat and think it’s quite comfortable. Especially the additional privacy of the single window seats is a huge benefit compared to Lufthansa’s business class configuration.
The only downside is the lack of storage options. There’s only a cup-holder and a small compartment for personal belongings. All things larger than a smartphone or a bunch of keys can only be stowed in the overhead bins.
Inflight to Bangkok
After I had settled down in my seat, the purser came over and greeted me by name. She greeted all business class passengers the same way. So unless everyone on board had the same frequent flyer status, Austrian Airlines didn’t seem to make a difference between status and non-status customers.
As a welcome drink they offered orange juice and water, as well as a Prosecco based cocktail.
An amenity kit and a bottle of water were already waiting at my seat:
Express-Menu instead of a multi course dinner
Prior to departure the flight attendants took the menu choices for dinner and breakfast. Due to the late departure time I chose the express menu instead of a full course dinner.
Flight OS 25 was one of the last planes to leave Vienna Airport that night around 11.30 p.m.
Soon after the fasten-seatbelt signs had been switched off, the flight attendant already served my express menu. Perfect for a late-night flight!
The express menu consisted of a starter, a small main-dish and a dessert:
Especially the “Tafelspitz” (prime boiled beef) was delicious!
Arriving at Bangkok
The rest of the flight was how it was supposed to be: I slept until breakfast.
Waking up, the coastline of Myanmar greeted me outside my window:
Soon after I woke up, the flight attendants served breakfast. At ghat point I’d like to mention that the service was really good. The flight attendants were friendly and attentive during the whole flight.
Around 2.20 p.m. we landed on time at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The Boeing 777-200 parked at a jetway so I could get off the plane without any delay. This turned out to be a good thing, as the airport was really crowded that afternoon.
Thanks to Austrian Airlines’ immigration priority voucher I made it through immigration within 10 minutes. Otherwise I would’ve had to wait far longer as the queues in front of the regular immigration desks were huge!
At the baggage claim I had to wait for another 5 minutes until my suitcase arrived and then I finally took a taxi to the hotel.
Impressions from Bangkok
To sum it up: I had a great time on board Austrian Airlines. Airport procedures, business class lounges and the food were at the same level with Lufthansa’s business class product. The flight attendants were really friendly and attentive, without being pushy. And the seat – especially seat 1a in the Boeing 777-200 – is great.
Austrian Airlines’ business class product is really good. I hope I’ll get the opportunity to fly with them again.
By the time you read this article, I’ll be in Asia again, flying Thai Airlines A359 from Frankfurt via Bangkok. Let’s see how they keep up within Star Alliance!