I really enjoyed my first Austrian Airlines flight this past Saturday. The seat was extremely comfortable, the in-flight entertainment excellent, and the food tasty. I’ll have a full trip report coming soon, but in the meantime here are some initial thoughts.

The seat is extremely similar to the Swiss business class seat as well as Alitalia’s new business product. I liked the spacious legroom (at 5′ 11″, I had tons of room to spare) and it wasn’t too narrow (often the case with these types of seats). I also enjoyed the touch-screen like seat controls, classy high quality touchpad IFE remote, and the multiple USB and power ports.

The TV also had the best picture quality I’ve ever experienced in the air. Better than Singapore, Emirates, etc., it was spectacular. The TV could be controlled via a touchpad square on your remote or via simply touching the TV screen. Noise canceling headphones provided were actually “noise-canceling” with an on/off switch, different than what’s provided in most business cabins.

There’s also a “chef” on-board who takes your dinner order as well as your breakfast card. All food is prepared by DO & CO, a “gourmet entertainment company” with restaurants, bars, and lounges throughout Europe and was tasty. I’m not sure that chef actually does any more than the flight attendants in terms of food preparation, but it was still fun to see him walking up and down the aisle. Speaking of the flight attendants, they did their job efficiently, but were not the least bit friendly. The entire crew seemed to be this way and it reminded me of several Lufthansa and Air France flights I’ve taken. They weren’t intending to be rude, it just seemed to be their personalities.

Austrian is currently in the process of refurbishing all ten of their long-haul 777 and 767s aircraft. You can check whether your flight will be operated with the new business class here. They also have a full site devoted to the new cabin with pictures and videos.

Full trip report with 50+ pictures coming soon!

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caveman June 10, 2013 - 9:48 am

There was a time when award space on Austrian airlines was wide open with as many seats as five in business class. Does anyone know what happened now? I do not see a single seat on any sector on United web site. Is it me only or I am not looking at the right place

NB June 10, 2013 - 12:16 pm

Personally, I’d far rather have a professional crew a la Austrian or Lufthansa, than a “friendly” crew a la Southwest. I don’t really want to have a discussion about the flight attendant’s mother or whatever, but I do want them to do the job properly.

Jayson June 10, 2013 - 2:14 pm

@NB – you are talking about two completely different business models with two completely different routes.

Cook June 10, 2013 - 5:05 pm

I’ve flown Austrian (BC) only once, about 18 months ago. Even with a nearly full BC Cabin, the service was superb and the meal and choices were above wonderful. Somehow, Austrian as solved the ‘taste perception at altitude’ problems, so well that I’d enjoy their meals on the ground as well. The FAs were busy for the entire flight, but without a crack in their performance. Despite the nearly full load in BC, it was of the best experiences in memory. That Austrian BC flight was so impressive that I’d rate it above any domestic FC (US) flight flown in the last ~15 years. Our Amerikan legacy carriers could learn a lot by flying a handful of Austrian flights. (Yes, American, Delta and United, I’m talking about YOU!)
Sadly, Austrian’s routes are not a good fit with my needs. After ~18 months, when making plans, I still check Austrian’s schedule first. I’m not sure how they manage it, but they obviously Get It. I’m looking forward to reading your complete review.

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Stefan June 15, 2013 - 5:37 pm

I think you will find European FAs more aloof in general. Some North Americans don’t like this, but I prefer to have good service without all the inane, fake chit chat you get with many US crews.

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