Review: Austrian A320 Business Class Vienna To Frankfurt

Filed Under: Austrian

As mentioned in the previous installment, at 9:45AM the HON Circle agent informed me that my 10:10AM flight to Frankfurt was ready for boarding. I packed up my bags and followed the signage towards the F Concourse, where my departure gate was located.

That was about a 5-10 minute walk through some duty free shops.

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Vienna Airport terminal

The F gates are in one long concourse, and gate F4 was fairly close to the area where I entered.

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Vienna Airport terminal

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Vienna Airport terminal

By the time I got to the gate, boarding was well underway, with just one or two dozen passengers not yet having boarded.

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Vienna Airport, departure gate to Frankfurt

There were dozens of people backed up on the jet bridge, so it was another five or so minutes before I was actually on the Austrian A320, which was in the Star Alliance livery.

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Austrian A320 Vienna Airport

Austrian 129
Vienna (VIE) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Friday, September 4
Depart: 10:10AM
Arrive: 11:40AM
Duration: 1hr30min
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 2D (Business Class)

Once aboard I quickly settled into 2D, the aisle seat in the second row. Intra-Europe business class is nothing more than economy with a blocked middle seat and better food & service.

Given that they just block the middle seat (and in the case of Austrian they don’t even put a tray on the middle seat, or anything… it’s just literally a seat that stays empty), the size of the business class cabin can be changed with every flight.

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Austrian A320 business class seat

In this case there were a total of three rows of business class, for a total of 12 seats. Of those 12 seats, eight were occupied. Usually I prefer a window seat on the short flights within Europe given how good the views can be, though in this case all the window seats were occupied.

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View of business class from seat 2D

One thing I was impressed by was that there was a pillow and blanket at my seat, which I haven’t received on most other European airlines, like Lufthansa.

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Austrian A320 business class pillow & blanket

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Austrian A320 business class blanket

During boarding, business class passengers were offered magazines and newspapers.

Once boarding was complete, the purser stood in front of the cabin to make the welcome aboard PA. Typically the purser will just sit in the jumpseat while making their announcement.

The funny thing is that this seems like it would be a nice personalized touch, though the purser had classic bitchy resting face. She was actually quite friendly, but I don’t think it would have been humanly possible for her to look any more dissatisfied as she stood and faced nearly 200 people.

For those of you not familiar with bitchy resting face, see this video:

Anyway, about five minutes after our scheduled pushback time, the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of one hour. Despite our late departure, he anticipated we would arrive on time.

Our taxi to the runway took about 10 minutes, at which point we were quickly airborne. I wish I had a window seat, because the views on the climb out were great.

About 10 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off, and about five minutes after that the purser was through the cabin with the lunch service. Austrian has spectacular intra-Europe catering. All else being equal I’d pick them over Lufthansa or Swiss for intra-Europe flights by a long shot, based on the catering alone. The food is catered by DO&CO, which has among the best food in the sky.

In this case they were serving some sort of veal, which was delicious.

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Austrian business class lunch

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Austrian business class lunch

And then there was a strawberry pastry of sorts for dessert.

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Austrian business class dessert

On top of that we were offered a selection of bread from a basket.

After the meals were served, the purser came through the cabin with drinks. I just ordered a still water. The purser was attentive, and even on such a short flight must have offered a handful of drink refills.

About 35 minutes after takeoff, the captain was once again on the PA to inform us that we were about to initiate our descent, and anticipated that we would touch down in Frankfurt within another 30 minutes.

We hit a bit of chop on our approach into Frankfurt, though touched down at 11:35AM, and were at the gate five minutes after that.

Yep, unfortunately we arrived at a gate, which you’d usually think is a good thing. But when connecting to/from Lufthansa first class, a remote stand is much better, as it means you’ll be picked up plane side in a nice car. Oh well!

Austrian business class bottom line

Ultimately intra-Europe business class is sort of lackluster, given that it’s economy with a blocked middle seat. That being said, as far as economy with a blocked middle seat goes, I don’t think it gets better than Austrian business class in terms of the food. Austrian’s longhaul business class has among the best catering in the sky, and their intra-Europe experience is just a small taste of that.

I’d definitely pick Austrian over Lufthansa or Swiss for intra-Europe travel.

What have your experiences been with Austrian intra-Europe?

  1. @Lucky- I know you usually use aero plan for star alliance awards and that they chance large fees for Austrian and Lufthansa. Assuming your Austrian to Lufthansa itinerary is on the same award do you have to pay the fees separately (sum of the 2) or is it just whatever the greater amount is?

  2. I was on the exact same plane last month on in business from Brussels to Vienna.

    Allthough it was a flight outside of diner times (5.50 p.m.), a hot scampi dish was served with a chocolate dessert to die for.

    Austrian does very well at keeping your glass filled during the flight. I was drinking a gruner vetlinger (white wine) with my meal, and refills were so often that I almost polished of the entire bottle during a 1.30h flight.

  3. I love this company !..the best experience I’ve had on Austrian intra-europe was on a Fokker aircraft on an all economy operated flight..
    Fokkers have 2+3 seat configuration and the first three rows have an actual table on the seat next you ..when I noticed couple of days before departure that the flight wont have business class i managed to grab 1A and order (i ordered the schnitzel and can’t recommend it enough )..

    I even said to the flight attendant that it’s great that one can have a business class meal in economy and she replied ”oh but the meal is better than in business class , the tray is bigger ” ..and apparently its true because from the pictures I’ve seen recently business class meals consists of a main course and dessert.It used to be 3-course before.

  4. YES I am totally fan of AUSTRIAN food service – On a short flight from CPH-VIE in july this summer (yes record 37.4 C in Vienna) In 1:25 flight amazing lunch similar to what you show us plus great Austrian wine and great coffee.
    Amazing FA keep coming and filling up glass and coffee and yes I had 2 great coffee cups with real sahne (cream). Only missing Scandinavian newspaper since we start out from CPH and since there was n o menu card FA has to tell us in different language to everybody what she were served for lunch today. I do remember Austrian use to have menu card even on intra European flight and some other airlines still doing that.
    Score 4.5 out of 5. Yes I will look forward to another great trip with Austrian.

  5. LH has pillows and blankets but you have to ask for them. I’ve only ever seen them being proactively given out once in my dozens of intra-European flights with them.

  6. Ben, after being enchanted by your introduction i want to meet you so bad !
    we both share the love of airports and seeing people and thinking about their stories and final destination and so on !
    is there any way that i could meet you because i think we’d be BFFs on spot !

    – your loyal fan MJ

  7. I know this is an old post, so I am not sure you’ll see/respond, but I’m hoping you can answer a question. With the blocked middle seat, were you able to lift the arm rests, thus allowing a wider/more comfortable seating experience? Thanks in advance!

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