Date: March 2016
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
On Time: Y
Reward Flying Experience: 6.8 of 10 ✈
These Star Alliance carriers are making it difficult to come up with a clear favorite in my little round the world airline comparison trip. Without question what's become clear is international travel has become highly competitive. The consumer wins, but you need an objective as well as understanding of what is available to get the best bang for your buck, or should I say bang for your points.
Austrian Airlines is not an international powerhouse. In fact they only have 11 wide body jets. But if you are going to Europe, they can get you to Vienna and regionally fly you to your final destination. They even have some Asian routes from their base. Bottom line is they have an impressive premium product.
From my perspective, Austrian gets top grades in comfort, food service and entertainment. And that's the trifecta when spending 8 plus hours on a plane.
Austrian is a clear winner for me, of any airline I've flown, with their IFE monitor. It's a 15 inch high-resolution digital monitor that is crystal clear with brilliant colors. I wish my TV was this nice. Loaded with about 300 hours of hit movies, tv shows and games, there's plenty to keep you busy. And they have one of the more informative airshows I've seen. Instead of showing some obscure town you've never heard of, and never will hear of, they actually show real cities that you probably know of. The monitor is touchscreen or make selections with a handheld controller that's the easiest I've yet to use. With the help of a mouse like control, it's super easy to navigate and select various shows, stop, start, rewind, etc.
Their business class seat is the Thompson Vantage variety. This seat is very comfortable. It has a massage function as well as two firmness settings for the bed when it's extended. I did notice a difference in the cushion between the firmer and softer settings. The only negative is the compartment is somewhat small compared to a reverse herringbone layout or open space like Turkish and United. My feet got a little cramped in the footwell. But it's private and the rows were slightly offset offering further intimacy. If you are a solo traveler and like the window, select an odd row seat where the large table is between you and the aisle. For even numbered rows the table is against the window. There wasn't a hook for your jacket, nor any storage space for a small carry on other than the footwell. There is a flap under the monitor that can hold an iPad. Just remember it's there! And there is a neat little mesh holder for a water bottle. All in all its a great seat.
The food was excellent and lived up to the hype I had read about. Multiple appetizers, soup and desserts are served from trolley carts allowing you a visual selection.
You have 3 choices for a main dish with one a vegetarian offering. There is also a selection of Austrian wines. The onboard chef is a fun thing both Austrian and Turkish Airlines do. They even wear a chef's hat! A second smaller salad service before landing was one of the best meals I had all trip. It's becoming hard to pick at this point!
For dessert their speciality is traditional Viennese apple strudel. And they are rightfully proud of it so they've handed out the recipe. I might just give it a try and it was very good. (click on the picture to enlarge)
After your meal the Viennese Coffee Shop is open for business. Menus are passed out. Select from 11 Viennese coffee specialties. Various combinations of fresh or whipped cream, steamed or foamed milk, flavored liquors and ice creams make up your selections. You can't go wrong. Starbucks can only pretend.
Reward Flying Trip Opinions
Reward Availability: 6 of 10 ✈
✔︎A bit of luck
Austrian only flies North America routes to Toronto, New York, Chicago, Miami and from Havana later on this year. While they open up award space, they just don’t have that many flights. But if going to Europe, this is a great choice provided you can find the reward.
Value for Reward per redemption point: 7 of 10 ✈
Sky High: >.08
For me this flight was part of a ticket from Singapore back to Chicago. Had you simply taken this flight on it’s own, the retail fare for a one way ticket is a pricey $4,889. (I’ve seen round trips for $3,000 when on fare sale.) It requires 70,000 MileagePlus points, so the value for your points would be a cool 7 cents each.
All done on United’s website, easy and without issue.
✔︎Stay at Gate
Small and not much in the way of food, although there was a huge buffet tray of scrambled eggs, as it was breakfast time. It just wasn’t a very comfortable lounge, but it had a nice view of the airfield.
What were they thinking?
It’s very nice. Being a 767 the cabin is on the small side for today’s standards. But the seats and color combinations are nicely done and of provide an attractive environment.
Just like home
Get me off this plane
I like these seats a lot. Extremely comfortable to sit in for a long haul flight, with easy to use controls and a massage setting along with firmness controls.
Like a Rock
This was a day flight and only 8 hours so I wasn’t ready for sleep. But I did try it out. It’s comfortable with the exception of the footwell is small and my feet got tangled a couple times. The compartment is on the smallish side, but again the plane is on the smallish side, so I’d like to see how this compartment is in their 777 aircraft. A pillow and blanket are provided but no mattress pad.
Cabin/Seat: 5 of 10 ✈
A standard fare amenity kit was placed in a pocket underneath the light.
✔︎ Wine Menu
✔︎ Multiple coffee selections
✔︎ Multiple tea selections
Local Austrian wines were featured on this flight.
Food Menu Selections and food extras:
✔︎Printed, multiple cuisines
Printed, single cuisine
Verbal by flight attendant
✔︎Mid flight snacks
✔︎Compliments to the Chef
Fine dining with a miss or two
No rave reviews
Get me a meal from economy
Before landing a second meal was served. It was a simple small salad with some grilled prawns that was outstanding. And the there was the chocolate mousse!
Amenities/Food: 9 of 10 ✈
IFE: 8 of 10 ✈
✔︎ Can I stay and watch some more?
Watched a favorite and went to sleep
400 cable channels and nothing to watch
Glad I brought my tablet
They had the best IFE system I’ve seen. I was in awe of the monitor. It had brilliant, vibrant colors. Watch the quick video below on how to make your selections with the hand held controller. You could also use the touchscreen as unlike Turkish Airlines, you are within arms reach of the monitor. Content was good and they even had some aviation enthusiasts' videos from Pilot’s Eye TV. The one I watched was a sightseeing flight made from Vienna to Barcelona flown by the head captain of their Airbus A320 division. There were a couple other videos from Pilots Eye as well.
Yes and Free
Yes and Purchase
Crew: 8 of 10 ✈
✔︎Made the flight special
Did their job
Did they board?
This crew was really good as well. It seemed with each flight the crew got better. The purser on this flight introduced herself at departure and thanked me for flying with them on arrival.
Aircraft: 3 of 10 ✈
Didn’t realize was on a plane
Time for a trade-in
The 767 is an older aircraft but was in excellent condition. It was registration #OE-LAW, built in 1992 and original flown by Lauda Air. The aircraft had winglets installed in 2011.
Austrian is on the top of my list for a return to Vienna some day. I totally recommend Austrian Airlines and can't wait to fly them again.