Austrian’s new Business Class is a real winner


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.IMG_4534

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.

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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.

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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.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This post was accurate at the time of posting, offer may be unavailable on this site at a later time. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at pmmalex@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. There seems to be consensus that Austrian’s business class catering is top-notch (even worthy of first class), and the seat is certainly at or near the top of today’s best business class offerings. Why can’t LH pull off what its three subsidiaries (Austrian, Brussels, and Swiss) all do so well?

  2. @ 02nz – LH has a solid business class (new) product and I’ve never had a bad catering experience.

    It is worth noting, too that OS and SN don’t offer first class on their planes.

  3. When does Austrian typically release award space? Looking at travel next summer, and getting nothing.

  4. Thanks for the awesome report! I hope to be able to try it someday. How do you know whether the flight will have the new business class or not?

  5. I agree. The food service is top-notch and the seats are indeed 180-degree lie flat. We ate and slept well on our hop a few months back in the new seats aboard an Austrian 767-300.

  6. @Gabriel: Yes I get that SN and OS don’t have first, and so they “try harder” in business. But that’s not a reason why LH couldn’t do better in business, which is a mediocre product among major airlines.

    I wouldn’t say LH catering is bad, but OS catering is usually better. And OS gives you a whole menu of coffee choices; try asking for an espresso in LH business class, and you’ll be told it’s first class only. Really, a $6,000 ticket is too cheap for espresso?

    LH’s 180-degree seats are ok, but lags behind the Brussels, Austrian, and Swiss products. The three subsidiaries’ business class seats all have a higher proportion of seats with direct aisle access (many though not all aircraft have this at every seat). Lufthansa gives you the opportunity to play footsie with, and climb akwardly over, your neighbor. Not to mention even this middling product won’t be fully rolled out for years.

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