At long last, I’m putting together my next trip report series. After flying to Kentucky for Derby Pie, it was a mere 6 months until my next trip. This time, I resumed my traditional post-tax season getaway with a quick trip to Vienna. On this trip, I’d mark two new countries off my list, and several new airline products, lounges, and hotels. And things went remarkably smoothly, even with COVID restrictions still a thing.
This trip report includes the following segments:
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (International), Toronto
- Air Canada B787-9 Business Class, Toronto to Zurich
- SWISS Business Lounge A Gates, Zürich
- SWISS A321neo Business Class, Zürich to Vienna
- Riding the Twin City Liner Ferry from Vienna to Bratislava
- Touring Bratislava Castle and Old Town Bratislava
- Enjoying a Spring Weekend in Vienna
- Palais Hansen Kempinski, Vienna
- Austrian Business Lounge (Schengen), Vienna
- Austrian A321 Business Class, Vienna to Paris
- CitizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle Hotel
- Air France Lounge Paris Terminal 2E, Hall L
- Air France B77W Business Class, Paris to Dallas
The Flight Plan
For the long-haul portion of the flight plan, I aimed to keep things simple while using miles. Back in late July, 2021 (10 months before this trip), I decided to take a chance and book for the next spring. For the outbound flight, I initially used 70,000 Aeroplan points to book Austrian Business Class from Montreal to Vienna. (The booking included a tag flight on Air Canada from Chicago.) Unfortunately, COVID-era schedule changes rendered the booking unusable 6 months later, with the Montreal – Vienna portion canceled. Fortunately, low demand at the time meant I found alternate space pretty quickly. This time, 68,300 points got me Business Class on Air Canada starting in DFW. I’d never flown Air Canada’s Business Class on the 789, so I scooped up this routing.
Amazingly, the return on Air France remained unchanged from when I originally booked in July. Just 56,000 Flying Blue miles got me Business Class nonstop home from Paris (albeit with $383.12 in taxes and fees). As an added bonus, Air France scheduled this route with a 787-9, featuring the new Business Class product. Unfortunately, a last-minute equipment swap foiled this one, with the flight rescheduled on an ancient 777-300ER with woefully uncompetitive angled-flat seats.
To get from Vienna to Paris, I paid cash for a Business Class ticket on Austrian. Why pay for intra-European Business Class? The fare was only 331 euro, and with potential COVID hoops to jump through, priority service seemed worth it. All restrictions in and out of Austria ended prior to my trip, though, so it proved unnecessary.
In the end, the flights looked like this:
- 5/5 AC 8976 Depart Dallas-Ft Worth (DFW) 10:20 Arrive Toronto Pearson (YYZ) 14:18
- 5/5 AC 880 Depart YYZ 18:20 Arrive Zurich (ZRH) 08:00 (+1)
- 5/6 LX 1578 Depart ZRH 12:45 Arrive Vienna (VIE) 14:05
- 5/8 OS 419 Depart VIE 20:25 Arrive Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) 22:30
- 5/9 AF 146 Depart CDG 10:10 Arrive DFW 13:35
The Hotel Plan
This trip necessitated two hotel nights in Vienna, and one in Paris. In Vienna, I decided to splurge a little, and booked the Palais Hansen Kempinski. While not cheap at 304 euro per night, I’d never stayed at a Kempinski, and this one seemed as good as any to try. The hotel also offered a special promotion with breakfast included for a whopping 1 euro extra per night.
In Paris, I just needed a hotel near the airport for the night. Fortunately, there are several hotels a short walk from Terminal 3 at CDG. I previously stayed at the Hilton, so I looked for something different this time. Trying the budget end of the spectrum, I selected the CitizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle Hotel. At just 96 eur0 per night, basic accommodations are what you get. But for a short stay before a morning flight, it’s perfectly fine.
The Sightseeing Plan
I really only had one “must do” on this trip. That was a quick trip to Slovakia to mark another country off the list. And what’s the most interesting way to get between Austria and Slovakia? A trip on the Twin City Liner ferry down the Danube from Vienna to Bratislava. No, it’s not a fancy river cruise, but it’s a relaxing 75-minute trip, and an easy way to do a day trip to Bratislava Castle.
And, of course, enjoy a goulash and a beer in old town Bratislava.
In Vienna itself, I mostly walked around and enjoyed the historic buildings in the city center. Early May brings nearly perfect weather for enjoying some time outdoors.
And naturally, what trip of mine is complete without food? I made time for both a traditional Wiener schnitzel…
…and a stop at the Hotel Sacher for a Sacher torte and a Sacher melange.
I’ve already put up my reviews of both Air Canada and Air France Business Class, with the first “other” post going up tomorrow. Enjoy!