I recently experienced Austrian Airlines’ Business Class product for the first time from Newark to Vienna. I’ve heard great things about the airline (especially from a catering standpoint) from other frequent flyer friends, so I was really looking forward to the flight. Leaving from Newark is also a very convenient way for me to get to Europe, and any excuse to avoid traveling from JFK is a good one in my book.
I had been eying award flights to Europe for a few weeks out and noticed that there was an abundance of business class availability for this particular flight almost every day; I was pretty confident that I’d be able to secure a seat at moment’s notice. I redeemed 70,000 United miles + paid $36 in taxes for the flight, and I built in a 23-hour stop in Vienna before continuing on to Paris.
Check In / Pre Departure Experience
As a business class passenger, I had access to the Lufthansa Business Class Senator’s Lounge at Terminal B, where I could relax a bit before my flight. The lounge offerings included self-serve alcohol and small bites, but it really wasn’t much to write home about. Overall, it was just a quite place to relax and connect to wifi before boarding. I didn’t eat much at the lounge because I wanted to save my appetite for the in-flight dining.
The business class cabin was only about 75% full, so I was able to secure a solo window seat (6k) without a problem. My first impression of the seat was that it was a bit narrow, not exceptional in design and size (like Etihad A380 Business Class), and similar to the features you’d find in a United BusinessFirst seat.
On my seat was a thick and cozy blanket and a soft pillow. The seat controls allow you to adjust the recline, cushion firmness, and you can even turn on a massage feature. There is an outlet, USB port, and reading light, along with a spacious shelf by the window. The amenity kit and Bose headset were already stowed in the seat.
The amenity kit was a bit underwhelming to say the least, and it honestly reminded me of an amenity kit I’ve received on an economy flight on AirBerlin. The pouch itself was made of flimsy felt material with two felt strings to wrap and tie it closed. The contents inside were standard and what I expected.
The Food/ Catering Experience
Austrian Airlines has a reputation for exceptional inflight catering, so I was most excited about trying all of the dishes. Austrian Airlines uses Do&Co catering (which is also what Turkish Airlines uses) and there’s a dedicated chef on board. Before taking off, menus were hand-delivered to us by the chef and we were instructed to submit our breakfasts orders beforehand to avoid being woken up from our sleep (good move).
Everything on the menu looked really good, and it was hard to choose a main course. Appetizers were served on a food cart (and beautifully presented), and the main courses were hand-delivered by the chef.
For an appetizer, I went with the seared prawns, and it was simply delicious.
I chose the Chilean seabass as my main course and it was hands down, the best fish dish I had in flight (NYC restaurant quality). I was very impressed.
After I cleaned my plate, I opted for two desserts – the passionfruit panna cotta and chocolate lava cake. Both were very rich and delectable.
Another signature touch of Austrian Airlines is there coffee service and extensive specialty coffee menu. After dinner, I was really stuffed and was ready to get some sleep, so I asked if I could hold off on trying something from the menu until breakfast. I guess there was a misunderstanding because at breakfast I was told it was only available after dinner, so I sadly can’t share my experience.
Here is the coffee service menu:
After meal service concluded, I was ready for bed and it did not take me long to conk out in the flat bed (though it was quite small, even for my 5’2″ self).
When it was time for breakfast, I chose the smoothie, fresh fruit, and 2 sunny-side up eggs and bacon.
Overall I really enjoyed flying Austrian Airlines’ business class and the food is definitely a home run. I love that the flight seems to have open availability frequently, and that it conveniently departs from Newark. I’d fly Austrian again over Swiss business class or United in a heartbeat.
The only shortcoming of this flight was that there was no wifi, which I didn’t exactly expect in such a competitive business class market. However, instead, I got to finish a book from cover-to-cover and I can’t recall the last time I even picked up a book before then.
Have you had a chance to fly in Austrian Airline’s business class yet? How was your experience?