Review: Austrian Business Class Vienna to Tokyo Narita

Filed Under: Austrian, Awards

I flew this exact routing back in January of this year, and wrote a review of my experience here. I was pretty blown away by Austrian, especially in terms of the food and service, both of which were top notch. So while I try to review new airlines, when I saw award space on this route I couldn’t help but book it again, partly to see if the experience would be consistent with my last flight on them.

Austrian 51
Vienna (VIE) ā€“ Tokyo (NRT)
Thursday, July 4
Depart: 1:30PM
Arrive: 7:40AM (+1 day)
Duration: 11hr10min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 2C (Business Class)

Boarding was done through door 2L, and we were welcomed aboard by the purser at the door and pointed left towards our seats in row two.

All of Austrian’s longhaul aircraft now feature their new business class product, much like I had on my last flight. Waiting at each seat was a comfortable pillow and blanket.

Seats 2A & 2C

My seat, 2C


View from 2C

View of bulkhead seat

Seat controls

In the pouch behind the seats were a pair of headphones.


Moments after settling in we were offered pre-departure beverages by one of the friendly Japanese flight attendants. Three of the flight attendants working business class on this flight were Japanese.

Orange juice

Shortly thereafter we were offered bottled water.

Bottled water

And then we were offered menus. The chef on this flight seemed much more hands off (or perhaps just more hands on in the galley), as he didn’t distribute menus, take orders, or serve the food, all of which the chef did on the last flight.


We were then offered amenity kits, which were identical to the ones I received on my last Austrian flight.

Amenity kit

Amenity kit contents

At around 1:25PM the captain came on the PA to welcome everyone aboard and inform us of our flight time of 11 hours, which would put us into Tokyo Narita on-time.

By the time the door closed the business class cabin was maybe 80% full. The most interesting part had to be that literally every other passenger in the cabin was Japanese. Not only were they Japanese, but we were the youngest by about 50 years, as they were all wearing fanny packs, visors, etc. I later found out that apparently they were all on some organized vacation package.

We pushed back right on schedule and shortly thereafter the safety video began to play.

View on pushback

We taxied to runway 34, which is maybe a two minute taxi. The gate is literally right by the runway, so as we held short of the runway the safety video was still playing. I think the pilots were actually ready for takeoff as they kept calling the cabin, and while the crew rushed, it looked like we didn’t “beat” a series of planes coming in for landing.

We then had to wait for about five minutes as an Emirates 777, Air Berlin A320, and TAP A320 landed.

Holding short of the runway

Emirates 777 landing

Air Berlin A320 landing

TAP A320 landing

After those landings it was our turn to takeoff, and we rocketed off and began a fairly steep climb to our cruising altitude.

View after takeoff

View after takeoff

View after takeoff

View after takeoff

View after takeoff

View after takeoff

As we climbed out I browsed the entertainment selection, which is fairly intuitive.

Entertainment selection

I decided to first watch some sitcoms.


About 20 minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off and service began, starting with hot towels.

Hot towels

After that the meal orders were taken. The lunch menu read as follows:


And the wine list read as follows:






Service began with tables being set and drinks being served with peanuts. Austrian’s service really is first class in every way, given that they don’t use trays but instead set up the meal directly on your tray table.

Diet Coke and nuts

After that the flight attendants rolled a selection of appetizers through the cabin. The presentation and the fact that you get to pick and choose what you want is similar to what you’d get in first class on top airlines.

Trolly service

I selected the smoked salmon, chicken breast, and sheep cheese with olives, all of which were great.


After that the crew came around with a trolly of caramelized pea soup, which was also good.

Soup service

Caramelized pea soup

The main courses was the only course not served by trolly, and I selected the fillet of salmon, which was moist and had a great salsa accompaniment.

Fillet of salmon

My friend had the pappardelle, which was one of the better pasta dishes he has had on a plane.


After the main course was cleared the dessert service began, which is probably my favorite part of flying Austrian. It started with the coffee menu being distributed.

Coffee menu

The coffee menu read as follows:



Then the dessert trolly was rolled around, and everything looked amazing. I selected the milk and dark chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream and banana parfait, both of which were great.


I had also ordered an iced coffee, which was served about 15 minutes after the dessert. This is probably my single favorite part of flying Austrian.

Iced coffee

The meal service was at a leisurely pace, which is understandable given that they’re not just using carts or serving by tray, but rather everything is rolled out by trolly and you hand select what you want. Despite the long service, drink refills were frequent, and the crew couldn’t have been friendlier. I tried to nap after lunch, and managed to sleep for about an hour or so.

Reclined seat

Airshow upon waking up

Airshow upon waking up

At that point I walked around the cabin a bit to stretch my legs, and spent about half an hour talking to the purser in the galley, who was a really nice guy.

Forward business class cabin

I wasn’t tired, so decided to watch some more TV. This time I watched a documentary entitled “Exterme! — Light and Dark” and it featured Longyearbyen, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time now.

Entertainment selection

After that I watched “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” which was entertaining enough… for an airplane movie.

Entertainment selection

After that I watched a couple of shows on my iPad, and before I knew it we were 90 minutes out of Tokyo Narita, and breakfast service began.

Airshow prior to meal service

Airshow prior to meal service

The breakfast menu read as follows:


Service began with juice and smoothies being served, both of which I had.

Orange juice and fruit smoothie

To make the service quick, breakfast is served on a single tray, though it’s really good. There’s a deli plate, some fresh fruit, and an omelet. Then there’s a bread basket that’s brought around the cabin, from which I chose a croissant.



Lastly the chef came around with a tray of nougat french toast with marinated pear, which was especially tasty.

Nougat french toast with marinated pear

About 30 minutes out we began a very gradual descent which was mostly smooth initially. Once we descended through about 10,000 feet we picked up some serious chop, and there must have been some real crosswinds on the final approach, because we had one hell of a crab angle.

Despite the rough approach the actual touchdown was smooth, and we quickly taxied to our arrival gate at the Star Alliance terminal.

Terminal upon arrival

Terminal upon arrival

As we taxied in I even spotted the EVA Air A321 that would be taking us to Taipei.

Our plane to Taipei

The most attractive plane was definitely the panda-colored ANA 767 we parked next to, though.

Awesome or what?

On the whole it was another spectacular flight on Austrian, almost identical to my last experience with them. While I still slightly prefer reverse herringbone seats (like those I flew on American) to the staggered seats, the food and service on Austrian is just about the best of any airline I’ve experienced in business class, and on par with many first class products.

  1. Lucky – if I’m not mistaken you sat in the forward cabin for both your flights. Is there any particular reason you pick the front cabin rather than the mini rear cabin?

  2. @ polandspringuy — Both cabins seem good, though my slight preference for the forward cabin is because they board through door 2L, so if you’re in the rear mini-cabin then all the passengers walk past you during boarding.

  3. Just recently flew Brussels Airlines C, which is in the same group as Miles&More. Seats are identical, but the quality of food isn’t as good (although presentation also first class(no trays for dinner)).

    Did the seat controls get in your way? Because I found myself to be constantly moving my seat when in reclined position or putting my arm on the center console.

  4. When I was in college I used to fly OS plenty (my trip “home” was a long transatlantic affair). It was coach for me, of course, and I still loved it, especially since at the time the flight times forced an overnight in VIE and OS sprung for a hotel (yes, in coach)! šŸ™‚ Then came a period of decline and I wouldn’t fly them — not even in J now that I could afford it (on points, I mean). šŸ˜‰ Now, it looks like they’ve upped their game and I’m looking forward to trying them again.

    Do&Co really know what they’re doing. The TK lounge at IST is fully catered by them and it’s all delicious and the presentation is fantastic. Kudos to OS for serving from the trolley in J!

  5. Do you ever go for the ethnic option? I wonder how well Austrian does Japanese meals…


  6. Get the non-western meal sometimes! Depending on the airline sometimes the quality varies greatly for western vs non-western meals ( for better and for worse).

  7. Wu, no, you can never expect to see any pictures of food that does not suit the average American palette on his TRs.

  8. This is definitely on my list of airlines to try in the future, perhaps on the way to/from eastern Europe.

    How comfortable is the seat for sitting and sleeping? Can you compare it to BA First, Club World, and Lufthansa First (the only three premium cabins I’m familiar with as of now).

  9. those pappardelle are totally wrongly done.
    i really wonder the italian cuisine is all the time mocked in these ways

  10. “Austrianā€™s service really is first class in every way, given that they donā€™t use trays but instead set up the meal directly on your tray table.”

    It does seem that quite a few (not all) airlines with no first class product seem to have better meals and service in their business class than the business class of other airlines that offer both first and business class.

  11. Lucky- which award program did you use to book your OS mileage tickets?

    Which program is best to use to book OS buisness class awards?

  12. @ Jeremy — Tough to say. This is definitely a comfortable configuration, though I do prefer reverse herringbone business class seats.

    I find the seat to not be all that comfortable for just lounging, but for sleeping it’s quite good if you stay away from the “throne” seat.

    I’d say Lufthansa first class and British Airways first class are a bit better (British Airways first class is little more than a reverse herringbone business class seat), and I’d say it’s probably on par with British Airways Club World.

  13. @ AF — If you see the intro post it explains how I booked it, which is using 90,000 US Airways miles for the trip between the US and Asia via Europe.

    If you just want to go via the US and Europe both United and US Airways charge 100,000 miles for business class. Best value is probably going from the US to North Asia via Europe for 90,000 US Airways miles, like I did.

  14. Just flew OS C from Vienna to JFK and it was phenomenal despite a completely packed flight. Had a long conversation with the purser and he had some very interesting stories to tell including some new possible routes of Austrian and other Star Alliance members into VIE.

  15. I just did the same flight in reverse, from Tokyo (my home base) to Vienna to attend one of the balls (long story). I really enjoyed the flight itself overall, and both the the hard and soft products were truly very good. I was a little underwhelmed by the Do&Co. food, but it wasn’t bad necessarily. The coffee menu was indeed amazing. But one thing really annoyed me the entire flight : the remote control for the AVOD. It was not a touch screen monitor (which is so counter-intuitive). Rather, the tiny remote itself WAS touch screen. WHY?! That would have been Ok if the thing a.) actually worked more than 50% of the time and b.) did not have its L-R axis controls reversed…so to move the cursor to the left on the screen, I had to swipe the control to the right. The Up-Down axis was intuitive and normal however (I initially thought I was holding the remote upside down). Hasn’t anyone else noticed this? Or am I just a Luddite who can’t work technology???

  16. Austrian J is great, but I would prefer a quicker service as this is Business Class and people would normally want to work or sleep. IMO, I think J class should live up to its name, as not many people want to spend ages eating if they need to prepare for a meeting.
    Then again, QR doesn’t use trays.But they have a really flexible dine on demand menu.
    Did Austrian offer any sort of express meal tray if you just wanted to work or sleep(i do understand that this was a daytime flight but still…)?
    P.S. Great TR!

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