After a great trip to Spain, as an AvGeek, the last leg of the trip was one of my most anticipated segments, our ride home in Austrian Airlines Business Class.
In case you forget which airline you are flying, just check the bulkhead.
Austrian recently completed a 90 Million Euro renovation to their entire longhaul fleet, currently consisting of 4 777-200ER and 6 767-300ER. There are new seats and new entertainment systems. We were seated in Business Class, and that’s where my focus will be. The seats in Business are arranged in a staggered configuration of 1-2-1. The seats are similar to what is available in Brussels Airlines Business Class, as well as a few others, including Swiss Business and some Delta 767s.
Pair of seats in row 2 before departure
After our nice stay at Le Meridien Vienna, we retraced our steps to the Vienna Airport, with a tram, subway, then the CAT. We visited the Austrian Senator Lounge before our flight. It was fine, but nothing outstanding. Knowing there was a multi-course meal onboard, I didn’t bother to have too much in the lounge beyond some small breakfast snacks and juice and tea. Our morning visit meant there were primarily breakfast options available.
The 767-300ER to take us to Chicago
We left the lounge before boarding time and headed to the gate. There was an additional security screening at the gate, as is common for flights to the US. The boarding area was a little crowded, but once they called Business Class, we got on board pretty quickly.
We were originally assigned window seats in back to back rows. For some reason, when we received our boarding passes at the CAT station, I noticed that our seats were changed to 1D/1G, aisle seats in the middle. It was nice to be seated together, but I did sort of want to try the solo throne seat as well as the option to look out the window on the daytime flight.
Legroom in seat 1G
storage space for reading materials and shoes between seats
In retrospect, the extra legroom at our bulkhead seats was appreciated, although similar to the flight on Brussels Air, it is a bit of an odd sensation putting your legs so deep into the cubby in front when in bed mode. The seats were comfortable for sitting as well, and my seat at 1G was spaced from the aisle, so I didn’t get bumped. My wife didn’t seem to have trouble in 1D, but the wide armrest on the aisle side of 1G was nice.
Lots of leg space in the bulkhead, with night lights…
even the seat belts are branded
For a bit more of a fanciful tour of the new cabin, see Austrian’s promotional commercial for their new Business Class product:
Waiting at our seat when we arrived were a pillow and blanket. There were also noise cancelling headphones and an amenity kit. Here is an excellent review of the Austrian Airlines amenity kit from Frequently Flying (RIP Darren).
The headphones provided were fine, but I opted to use my own. Various newspapers in both German and English were offered as well as magazines. An offer of pre-departure beverages was made as well. Water, champagne and orange juice were offered on a tray. With a 36 seat cabin, and people boarding, this was probably the only way to offer this service with any efficiency.
Magazines clearly not intended to be removed from aircraft
seat controls are intuitive on a touchpad on the armrest
Soon the chef came around offering menus for the main meals. Catering is done by DO & CO, which is based in Vienna, and also caters the Lufthansa First Class lounges in Frankfurt as well as a few other products. The menu was in German and English and is shown below:
Menu Vienna – Chicago
Antipasti from our trolley
smoked trout / beetroot salad
Spanish Serrano ham / Manchengo
mediterranean eggplant / pepper
marinated prawns / canellini beans
Austrian sheep cheese / cherry tomatoes
deep fried chicken breast / sauce tartare
Creamy Red Lentil Soup ciabatta croûtons
Please choose from our selection:
Minced Veal Patties creamy potato puree / buttered vegetables
Grilled Salmon creamy spinach / roesti potato / root vegetables / horse radish
Homemade ricotta crespelle tomato parmesan sauce
Assorted cheese & exotic fruit from our trolley
Traditional milk & cream strudel warm vanilla sauce
Passionfruit sweet curd macchiato fresh mint
Freshly brewed Coffee or Tea
Digestives from our trolley
Champagne * Prosecco
Duval-Leroy Fleur de Champagne Brut
Le Borgate Prosecco, Veneto
Grüner Veltliner Senftenberger Piri, 2011
Reisling Stein Terrassen Kremstal DAC, 2012
Weingut Petra Unger
Chardonnay Sinner, 2011
Heideboden Zweigelt Selection, 2011
Weingut Erich Scheiblhofer
St. Laurent, 2012
Weingut Paul Achs
Vaan Shiraz & Co, 2011
Salomon Estate, South Australia
Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese
Weinlaubenhof Kracher, Burgenland
Austrian Beer, non-alcoholic beer
Sparkling or Still mineral water
Coca Cola classic, Coca Cola zero
Schweppes Tonic Water, Schweppes Bitter Lemon
Orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice
Campari, Stolichnaya Vodka, Gordon’s Dry Gin, Chivas Regal, Remy Martin V.S.O.P., Baileys Irish Cream, Reisetbauer apricot brandy, Fernet Branca, Portwein “Burmester”
It was lovely to have you as our guest today. We hope you felt comfortable here on board.
Thank you and see you soon.
The service started with warm nuts and an offer of drinks as well as a selection from the bread basket. I opted for tomato juice. Maybe it was all the red in the cabin. There are red accents everywhere. The female flight attendants are in red from head to toe, red dress, or a red skirt with red vest/jacket, sometimes even a red shirt, red tights, and red shoes….a bit much.
Mixed nuts and bread with drink. Notice the triangular shaped plates used for all services.
utensil selection, plus a clip I used to attach napkin to shirt
My choices from the antepasti trolley, chicken and goat cheese
red lentil soup, which I thought was excellent
Salmon main course
the Grüner Veltliner paired well with the salmon main
The meal was quite tasty. Each portion was rather small, but in many ways, I prefer to eat this way. Like many meals on this trip, especially all of the tapas in Spain allowed for much more variety, as opposed to filling up on one large course. I might have gone light on the early part of the meal, but I doubled up on dessert, with both strudel and the passion fruit creme. Yum.
As dessert was served, another menu was provided, the special coffee menu. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but I diddn’t want to pass up this opportunity. There are 10 different fancy coffees available. These seem to be made by the chef, so it takes some time to prepare. I opted for the Kaffee Baileys.
For someone who doesn’t drink coffee, the idea of sleeping after having a cup was kind of foolish. In any case, after the meal I reclined the seat, and watched some TV hoping to doze off eventually. The cabin was pretty warm, so I didn’t bother with the blanket. Once reclined, I realized how nice the legroom at the bulkhead is. Other than the sensation of squeezing into a somewhat tight tunnel, there was much more space there than other seats. I didn’t sleep for long, probably some combination of caffeine and this being a daytime flight.
500ml water bottles provided after the main meal service
The inflight entertainment is pretty good, the screen is large and clear. The selection of movies and shows is diverse and international, but there wasn’t a lot that interested me a lot. Here is a link to Austrian’s inflight magazine showing monthly IFE selections.
Sound of Music and Amadeus are available on IFE
Once we were about 90 minutes from arrival in Chicago, the pre-arrival service began. I didn’t sleep other than dozing off a few times, and I was ready to eat again. Here is the menu:
Viennese “Tafelspitz” carpaccio
boiled fillet of beef / apple horse radish / chive cream
Onion Bacon Tartlet sour cream dip
Oven fresh Bread selection
Freshly brewed Coffee or Tea
This meal was a pretty a basic single tray business class meal, but after the multi-course main meal, this was plenty. I opted for the onion bacon tartlet. It was a nice meal to get me through the afternoon. At this point, it was evening on the time I was used to, but early afternoon in the US, so we needed to stay up for a while to get readjusted time-wise.
Austrian Airlines pre-arrival meal
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the new Austrian Airline business class. The hard product is excellent. The flight attendants were nice, but they seemed a bit busy managing the full 36 seat cabin. This clearly is one of the better Star Alliance products for Trans-Atlantic business class. Their fleet is small, so there aren’t a lot of options to fly them longhaul, but if you can make it work, I would recommend flying them without hesitation, especially in Business Class.