Austrian Airlines Business Class is a nice experience. For much of 2017, there has been a lot of award space available, so we took advantage of this for a family trip to Europe this summer. We used United miles for 3 of us to fly from Chicago to Vienna to Athens, and then back from Vienna to Chicago. Unfortunately, the fare rules for Mileage Plus award tickets are so much more restrictive than in the good old days. But still, for 140,000 miles plus $117 and some change per person, we’d have a comfortable ride for most of our flights.
This trip wasn’t the first time I’ve flown in Austrian Airlines Business Class, so I had a good idea of what to expect. Trying new experiences is fun, but since there were 3 seats for the days we needed, we stuck with this plan. The focus of our trip was visiting Greece, but we also spent a few days in Vienna before flying home.
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Austrian Airlines Business Class – The seat
On a relatively short trans-Atlantic flights, comfort of the business class seat is very important. These flights are usually overnight, and if possible I try to sleep to better acclimate to the time change upon arrival. Austrian uses the staggered Thompson Vantage seat for their business class product. I find the seat quite comfortable, although when sleeping, the foot cubby can be tight and a bit claustrophobic. On the outbound, I was fortunate to have a bulkhead seat, which has more foot space.
For a more thorough tour, plus some fancy choreography, here is a video Austrian put together to market what was then their new business class product
These seats are available on the Austrian long haul fleet, both on Boeing 777 and 767. My flights were on the 767, which is configured in a more private 1-2-1 configuration throughout the cabin.
At each seat was a pillow and blanket, with the color scheme to match the airline’s branding. We were offered amenity kits, which I reviewed previously. There are noise cancelling headphones available, but I used my own Bose, which are of much better quality. Pre-departure beverages are offered, along with a menu for the flight. Food is probably my favorite part of traveling with Austrian.
Austrian Airlines Business Class – The Food
With catering from DO&CO, the food onboard is typically a highlight when flying Austrian Airlines Business Class. My flights were no exception. There were even special children’s meals for my daughter. Fried chicken was prominent, which works most of the time. For the adults, there are a selection of starters, and the 3 main courses to choose from. Following the main meal service, cheese and then dessert is served. Before bringing out dessert, the famous Austrian Airlines coffee menu is offered. I’m not usually a coffee drinker, but I make exceptions at times like this..
The dinner service was solid. Orders were taken by the chef, and he delivered a few courses, but seemingly stayed in the galley ‘cooking’ the rest of the time. The starters were somewhat small, but with multiple courses, there is more the enough food. Service begins by setting up tables, and mixed nuts along with offers of a drink.
I went with Salmon for my main course. It was fine, and cooked well enough not to be dry, even without being smothered in sauce. The pre-booked kids meal for my daughter was the first of several fried chicken meals on our trip.
Austrian Airlines Business Class – Coffee
Coffee menus are offered after clearing the main course, and before dessert. There are 10 options, and I went with Kaffee Bailey’s. Not too interesting, but not being a coffee drinker it works for me. I was also pleased that they were happy to make mine decaffeinated. I didn’t want a big boost of energy before trying to sleep somewhat earlier than my typical bedtime.
Dessert consisted of some fruit and the mango strawberry macchiato. In retrospect, I don’t recall why I skipped the cheese, maybe that my wife split our desserts, having a little of each.
Next the coffee was brought out. I reclined my seat, watched some shows, and eventually dozed off.
Austrian Airlines Business Class – the food, take 2
On the return flight, we mostly knew what to expect, but the process is different with a daytime flight. Meals were lunch after departure followed by a pre-arrival snack.
Meal service consisted of mixed nuts and a choice of drinks. I opted for the special drink offered before takeoff. I don’t remember the name, but it reminds me of an Aperol spritz. For the first course, there are multiple options offered from a trolley, and I went with smoked salmon, feta, tomatoes and mint plus the chickpea salad.
Next, I had the “Hongkong” soup. I often like soup when flying, but this option was not memorable.
For the rest of the meal, I mostly went with Austrian choices, figuring it would be my last chance for a while. The main course was a boiled veal. It was better than it sounds. Just simple and hearty. Plenty of food, but not giant portions, which worked for me. Then for dessert, I had the Schmarren. It was great.
And to top off the main meal, of course Austrian Airlines Coffee
About 2 hours before landing another meal service is offered, and thankfully this is more substantial some offerings on in similar markets. I opted for another Austrian meal, with chicken and potato salad plus a Egger beer. Typically Austrian food, hearty and tasty.
I’ve flown Austrian Airlines Business Class on three long haul segments. and the meals are among the best I’ve had onboard. Maybe First Class is better, but I think it is near the top of the list for Business Class.
Austrian Airlines Business Class – meals on regional flights
This report focuses on the long haul service, but on our trip, we also had a business class flight with Austrian regional service. While the seats are just the awful Recaro slimline chairs, the meal service is special, even on short European flights.
Regional meal service does not allow for a choice, but we were served a sweet rice roll reminiscent of sushi but there was no fish. Tasty enough meal, but a carb bomb. Most flights within Europe aren’t anything special in business class, but I did enjoy the meal service on Austrian. Probably not worth the premium, but I was glad to have extra space for this flight as part of our award tickets.
Austrian Airlines Business Class – The Service
On our long flights between Chicago and Vienna, the meals were obviously a highlight, but service was good as well. The meal service is pretty long, especially on the overnight flight, but drinks are refilled regularly, and the flight attendants definitely kept busy. Even between meals, there were frequent passes through the cabin. The flight attendants were helpful throughout our flights. One particular example was allowing us to store our stroller in a closet, which they volunteered to do, as ground staff in Chicago wanted us to check it all the way to our destination. They brought various toys for our daughter, during the flights which were appreciated as well.
Final thoughts on Austrian Airlines Business Class
Soon we were on approach into Chicago, our lovely trip to Europe was over. The business class seat isn’t that great. It is comfortable for sitting, and with some careful seat selection, should be fine for sleeping. I don’t like this seat for lounging, and it is not very private. On the 767, this is probably about the best business class seat out there. Service is where Austrian shines. While I want to mix it up some, I’d gladly fly with Austrian again. Hopefully they continue to be a good option with decent availability for business class flights.