After enjoying the Christmas markets in Budapest and Vienna, I flew from Vienna to Heathrow with Austrian Airlines.
Austrian Airlines has several flights a day to Heathrow, and this flight arrived at a convenient time to travel from Vienna to Cornwall in one day.
In this post:
Booking with Austrian Airlines and Upgrading
The flight was easy to book. I initially found the flight on Skyscanner, then swapped it to book directly with Austrian. My original booking was economy, but I upgraded to business class for €130 two days before the flight. This was a fixed price, but there’s also an option to bid on an upgrade starting at €90 up to 60 hours before departure.
I had already added a bag to my booking, and there was no discount. To upgrade, click upgrade under the manage bookings tab to check availability. The upgrade option is also offered when checking in online.
The guidelines are listed below:
Usually, in business class, you can take two items of hand luggage up to 8kg and two items of hold luggage up to 32kg. Keep this in mind if you book economy and plan to upgrade. Adding a bag to the economy was a waste of money because it comes free in business class anyway.
Check-in – Austrian Airlines Short Haul Business Class
When I entered the Vienna Airport, I could see the Austrian Airlines economy check-in straight away. After asking a staff member, I was directed to a different section. To get there, I had to show my boarding pass.
Business class check-in was not self-service; the staff did everything, including printing off a paper boarding pass. A priority sticker was also added to my case.
The business class check-in area led straight into fast-track security. The security process took around 15 minutes, including queuing. I couldn’t see the non-fast track area, so I don’t know how much time was saved.
Once through security, it was easy to find the lounge by following the ‘lounges’ sign. After a bit of walking, signs started showing the directions to each lounge.
I arrived at the Austrian Airlines Schengen lounge first and was told that although I could use this one, there was another after passport control.
I decided to use the non-schengen lounge and headed through passport control, where there was no queue. The non-Schengen lounge was visible as soon as I got through security.
There will be a full review of my lounge experience soon. I arrived at a very quiet time, and it was a nice place to spend some time before the flight.
I headed to the boarding gate soon after the gate was announced. The walk to each gate ranged from 5-20 minutes, so I was pleased we were allocated a gate 10 minutes away.
It was very crowded, so I sat for a while. Boarding was at 7:00 for a 7:40 departure. We were told at the boarding gate that lots of seat numbers had been changed. A new seat reservation was printed when I scanned my boarding pass. I was swapped from a window to an aisle seat.
Group 1 passengers were called first. This included all business class passengers. I was not impressed by this process. First, we ended up queueing on some stairs for 15 minutes, then we were directed onto a bus. We ended up waiting on the bus for over 25 minutes.
There were two buses, and we waited until everyone on the plane was on before driving to the plane. There was a rush to get on the plane when the bus arrived, and we ended up in another queue – this time outside.
This plane was an A320neo. The cabin resembled most short-haul planes with a 3-3 layout. The business class seats were located at the front and separated by a curtain. In business class, the big difference was that the middle seat was left free.
There was not much legroom available compared to business class options with other airlines. On the outbound journey, I had more legroom with my notorious no-window Ryanair seat. However, the front-row seats did have lots of legroom. Blankets and pillows were available on request.
The overhead consoles had reading lights, a call button, and adjustable air nozzles.
There was a toilet just for the use of business class passengers. It was similar to a bathroom you would find in economy class with no special amenities.
Food and Drink
Soon after taking off, the food was brought out. Everyone got the same meal, which was described as a cooked breakfast. There was also some Austrian yoghurt with oats and a strawberry. Silverware and proper cups were provided.
Fresh bread rolls and tea/coffee were topped up throughout the flight. Drinks were breakfast-orientated, either apple juice, orange juice or water.
I enjoyed a hot roll with butter followed by one with the Darbo apricot jam provided. Croissants were also available to pick.
After the food, an Austrian chocolate was brought out, which was delicious.
The Economy Food Menu
Here are some snippets of what was available to purchase in economy class:
The duty-free service started about halfway through the flight. The selection was quite extensive, featuring perfumes, chocolates, alcohol, and some Austrian Airlines-branded items.
Arrival into Heathrow
We arrived a little behind schedule at Heathrow due to the late departure and air traffic congestion. The baggage had already been delivered when I got to the baggage hall. I was initially confused because two other Vienna flights had landed at a similar time, but luckily, I realised my mistake when I saw my suitcase going around on another belt.
Despite this, I managed to catch my booked train to Paddington, which was delayed en route. Fortunately, my connecting train to Cornwall was also delayed, so I didn’t miss it.
Points and Status
Austrian Airlines, as part of the Star Alliance network, offers a loyalty program where you can earn and redeem points on flights, upgrades, and more. I opted to earn KrisFlyer miles for this journey. If you are planning to join the Austrian Airlines miles and more programme, here are the benefits you can get as you move through the tiers:
Austrian Airlines Flight Routes
Austrian Airlines flies to over 130 destinations and operates over 360 daily flights. Here are the current short-haul routes on offer:
Overall, my experience with Austrian Airlines was mixed. Upgrading to business class meant I got through the airport faster, enjoyed the lounge before my flight and got off the plane first. The in-flight service was excellent, and the crew was professional and friendly.
However, my experience boarding the plane was satisfactory, and the flight didn’t run on time, although this was the fault of both airports. I would have enjoyed a choice of dishes or at least the option to select a vegetarian dish before the flight or during.
I would definitely fly with Austrian Airlines again, but I wouldn’t upgrade to business class again, although I would consider paying for the use of the lounge.