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Having just stepped off the Vienna to Washington flight in the new Austrian Business Class I can confidently say this product is a real winner! As I was making my observations during the flight, I was constantly comparing the experience to other First Class products because Austrian’s new Business Class can really compete on almost every level.
My first impression upon entering the cabin was how stylish the cabin appeared. Both the pillows and high quality blanket were top notch. The seats and cabin are friendly colors while the alternating all-aisle access layout of the cabin is very efficient.
The seat is not as wide as some First Class products but in a strange way that was almost an asset as I really enjoyed feeling like I was in a cozy space. The bed went all the way flat which was perfect for sleeping and there was a lot of customization for various relaxing positions.
The seat and its controls are complicated and do seem to have a mind of their own. Sporadically the seat’s massage feature would randomly come on for a cycle every once in awhile. I sense the airline is having some issues with how new all the technology is on the new product because they were personally asking each passenger if there were problems with any portion of the seat or if they had problems understanding the controls. Many times I bumped the seat controls by accident or pressed buttons though the seat was not responsive.
The new flat screens have the highest resolution I’ve ever seen for IFE. On the way over to Europe we took Lufthansa’s old First Class on the 747 which has comically old and terrible IFE. At one point on this flight my screen starting displaying red lines so the flight attendant replaced the screen in about 5 minutes on the fly. Pretty cool.
The food and drink was fantastic. Austrian has an onboard chef and serves meals that are on par with any First Class dining experience I’ve had.on Cathay, Lufthansa or Thai. Some dishes were hits and others missed a bit but that’s my expectation of premium cabin airline food. It’s still airline food. There is a coffee menu of which I sampled three of the six coffees offered and they were all exceptional.
A couple critiques I will add were that I wished there was a little but more compartment storage in the seat. I really enjoy storing a few items locally (passport, wallet, etc.) in my seat but had problems finding good space in and around the seat. Also, this 767 had two small bathrooms in front in which you needed to pass through the small galley where 3 flight attendants and a cook were frequently trying to work so it was almost always a hassle for them and the passengers when lining up for the bathroom.
The bottom line
The Austrian new Business Class product is fantastic…like really, REALLY good. In the past I have thought Lufthansa First Class was the best use of miles for Trans-Atlantic flights though now I am starting to have second thoughts. I’ll need to put some more thinking into the ‘why’ but this product was strangely more enjoyable than a majority of my recent flights in Lufthansa First Class. I will put my thoughts together in the upcoming trip report.