Review: Austrian new business class in the 767
Premium products of airlines are consistently improving and meanwhile do not only offer recreative sleep, but a high level of culinary enjoyments and overall comfort.
My choice for the journey to Dubai fell, rather unintentionally, on the new business class by Australian Airlines. Austrian, daughter of the German Lufthansa, is currently renovating its fleet and builds a new cabin into 777s and 767s.
Check-In in Hamburg and the Lufthansa Lounge
Today I didn’t start my journey in Berlin, but Hamburg. Austrian uses the check-in counter of enterprise mother Lufthansa, which went due to successful online check-in pretty fast. I handed in my luggage and passed security control. There was no queue due to two lines and only a few passengers. It took me 5 minutes overall.
Just after security control you find the Lufthansa lounge besides the duty free shop, better said two lounges. Austrian uses, as usual, Lufthansa lounges, which consists of a business class and senator/HON lounge.
Both are nothing special and look like all the other Lufthansa lounge on the world, but they fulfill their purpose to not have to wait in public areas. WiFi is for free, as are little snacks and beverages.
Part I: Hamburg – Vienna with the OS 176
After boarding at in the last Gate (A40), I went there early to be on time. On the way to Vienna we have an Airbus A320, which has four rows reserved for business class. There is enough space since there are not even 6 passengers for this class, so I take 1F, which doesn’t matter because rows 1 and 2 are completely empty.
I already praised the catering on my short flight to vienna. DuCo really delivers “gourmet entertainment”, as you can read on the package band for the napkin.
Transfer in Vienna and lounge
We arrived at an outlier in Vienna, so we had to take the bus to the terminal. Coming from Hamburg, there is a passport control but not another security control, so I immediately passed on to the lounge. Also here we find a difference between business class and senator lounge. My transfer time in Viena is quite long with 1:20, so I had the chance to throw a quick look at the lounges, before I had to go to Gate G01 for my next flight. And here is the newly equipped 767 which will take me in 5:15 hours to Dubai.
Vienna-Dubai in the new business class
The cabin in the 767 has a 1-2-1 seating after the renovation, instead of 2-2-2, and seems comfortable and modern on first sight. The seats are a little displaced so you have enough privacy. Different than at United they are not skewed but straight like in the business class of Swiss.
Seats in row 1, 3 and 5 are close to the windows. On the right respectively left oyu find shelves for “all the stuff” you carry with you. In total the cabin consists of 9 rows for business class and offers space for 36 passengers. The “optimal” seats for passengers are upfront in row A and K after my mind. If you travel together, row G and D are best suited for you.
The seat in detail
Seats in equal rows are nearer to the corridor and provide shelf at the window side. Your feet are under the front man’s seat and therefore create a 2m long bed. Different than other competitors Austrian uses an air cushion that can be modified into 7 forms. Three positions range from “upright” to “relaxed” to sleeping positions, and can be modified stageless so anyone should find an optimal position for himself.
Furthermore it has a massage function, so you can also enjoy longer flights. Also they didn’t spare plugins for gadgets.
You find an USB port besides the monitor and a perfect shelf to store your smartphone on.
On the backside of the front seat you find a shelf for magazines and below one for your shoes. Directly under the screen there is one for your notebook, iPad or whatever you have with you, may it be a classic book.
On the backside of your own seat you find an international socket and USB port + one for headphones. One shelf for “small stuff is located below, and here we come to the only drawback: there is not space for a bag. You can put it into the feet space, but just as long as it’s not in a flat position. In case of emergency you can put it in the overhead bin.
If you transform you seat into a bed, you get a nice sheet with comfy pillow in typical Austrian colors. I directly went into dreamland. If you like the sheet you can buy it in the board shop.
It’s something different when it comes to other airlines. Austrian offers you to cover sheet and pillow with extra bedding, so it’s even more comfort. I’ve written about it in further detail, I sleep better with “right bedding” than just a sheet and while this is common in first class at most airlines, in business class it’s rather an exception.
The amenity kit
Austrian offers passengers in business class a nice kit that also looks typically Austrian. It’s made of grey sleaze and enclosed with a red band. If you unwrap it you find one of eight different motives of a mountain view. If you like to you can collect them. It reminds me on the bags by Almwild and such, which look quite similar and can be used to store all kinds of little utensils or iPad with headphones and recharger.
Inside you find beneath socks and eye mask also Arnika lotion by Alpienne, tooth brush, headphones and shoe horn. For good breath you also get Smint bonbons. All together it is a good kit and very useful.
Food on board
But let’s get to the big art of Austrian: the food. Onboard catering on the short flight before was already exceptional, but now it has become a little better. There is a cook on board, like with Turkish Airlines, who cooks live and on request of passengers. There are three fixed meals, but you can combine it as you like and leave away vegetables for examples, or just combine dishes from meal 1 and 2.
The cook handed out the menu and answered questions concerning ingredients, cooking and nutrition after and after reaching the desired flight height it started.
After a greeting from the kitchen we got starters from a cart. There is another thing that competitors do wrong: bringing starter, main course and dessert at the same time. Not Austrian. My choice fell on somehow everything on the menu, except for the salad of sea fruit. You can have as much as you like, but today I restrict it to have space for the rest. And on we went with soup: it is being brought in a reeky bowl on the cart. The caramelized pea soup with truffled potato straw is godlike and if I wouldn’t have had main course and dessert, I would have taken three portions of soup.
After I was done I got “crispy baked swine stomach” as main course, which probably had been a challenge to prepare on board. But to my amazement It was indeed crispy and delicious.
At three available desserts, actually four with cheese, I stick to mascarpone and banana parfait today, both was super tasty. As always I made a few shots of the menu, have a look.
Also the menu of alcoholic beverages can be seen, but this is nothing for me but good to know what’s being offered. In total they have between Champaign, Prosecco and three red and white wines, beer and eight spirits plus port wine.
The inflight entertainment
It’s being controlled via the little remote control in the arm rest, or via touch screen. Also in the sleeping position you can reach it easily and almost doesn’t mirror, but cannot be modified.
Besides games and movies you can also see the onboard shop, travel tipps or information about Austrian Airlines, or a huge amount of TV shows, movies and music entertainment. Since I don’t use the IFE, here are only a few shots of it.
I was impressed on the last short distance flight from Berlin to Vienna, and so am I today. The service was exceptional, super friendly, heartly and didn’t leave any wish unfulfilled. With the short transfer time in Vienna, the distributor roads from German cities and 5 weekly connections to Chicago (with connection to the turnstile of United) Austrian is a real alternative. Even if you fly from Frankfurt or Dusseldorf with LF, you should think about this connection. If you need a transfer flight anyhow, it’s even more an alternative.
All together it’s a great product, great crew and great flight, which was really fun to me. Even though 5:20 hours were extremely short ;-).