Date: 06. July 2016.
Flight time: 1 hour 5 minutes.
Seat: 18A, window.
It is Wednesday afternoon and I am on my way to Vienna to give a course at the Austrian Military Academy. From Zürich to Vienna you have a choice of SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Niki. Owing to the fact that they offered the most convenient timings on this occasion, I have decided to go with Austrian Airlines.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Journey time: 13 or 17 minutes.
Departs from: Winterthur main station.
Arrives: Zürich Flughafen station.
Cost: CHF4.30 for a oneway ticket.
Location: Check-in 3, which is one floor up from the railway station platforms or Check-in 1, the former Terminal A. In both check-in areas there are dedicated counters for Swiss International Air Lines and their Star Alliance partners – including Austrian Airlines.
Facilities: Self-service check-in machines, online and app check-in.
Counters: There are dedicated counters with a separate queue for Business Class and STAR Gold passengers.
Location: Upper level of the airside centre.
Type of Lounge: SWISS Business Class lounge operated by Swissport on behalf of SWISS.
Facilities: Toilets and showers are available in the lounge, there are also workstations with computers.
Catering: Hot and cold snacks are available in the lounge, the quality of which is pretty awful.
Internet: Available throughout the terminal.
I walk into the lounge and head up the stairs to the main seating area and unfortunately, by the looks of it nothing much has changed here since my last visit. What is this? The place is very crowded and looks like a crime scene. All the tables are full of dirty dishes, which evidently nobody seems to be too eager to clear away, and the guests in the lounge are assaulting the buffet with a vengeance. It dawns on me that it will probably be much less crowded outside the lounge. Besides, I think I hear Sprüngli calling my name…
Priority Boarding: Dedicated queue for Business Class and Star Gold passengers. All other passengers use the self-service boarding gates.
Configuration: 3 + 3.
Seat: The Airbus A 320 has a seating capacity for 168 in a mixed Business Class/Economy Class configuration. The Austrian Airlines seat is one of those flimsy and highly uncomfortable affairs. To save space and subsequently decrease seat pitch, there is close to no padding on the seat, which is not really very easy on the butt. Fortunately, the flight is only a bit more than one hour, but I think a longer journey on this seat might be quite agonizing.
Pitch: 30 inches.
Width: 18 inches.
Facilities: Reading lamp and air vent. No power outlets. There are no video screens on this aircraft.
There are four crew on this flight. They seems very friendly, they smile and interact easily with the passenger. The captain comes on the loudspeakers to welcome passengers aboard. He introduces himself as Robert and after he provides us with the usual departure and route information, he goes on to tell us that today he will be flying us to Vienna with his brother Greg, who is the co-pilot. I this is a really nice touch and the way he announces his brother is quite charming.
Choice: On European flights, Austrian Airlines serves a complimentary drink and a small snack – usually something like a bag of nuts or some stale crackers. However, for EUR15 you also have the possibility to purchase more substantial meals, and there is a wide selection of hot and cold dishes available. Catering for Austrian Airlines is provided by Do&Co. On this evening’s flight I am the only passengers to make use of this service.
Type of meal: Dinner.
- Tomato and mozzarella salad with dressing.
- Chicken in red pepper sauce with traditional sheep cheese and cherry tomatoes and chives. Served with Spätzle.
- Mango and lime Meringue.
- A bag with three small breads and butter.
- There is a bottle of water on the tray and you can order anything else from the drinks trolley.
The food really is very tasty, I must say. There are quite a few pieces of chicken in the hot meal and the Spätzle are nice and chunky. The dessert hits the spot nicely, especially if, like me, you have a sweet tooth. It is certainly much better than the Business Class meal you get in Business Class on a flight of this length.
ARRIVAL/GETTING INTO TOWN
Transport: Train, suburban line 7.
Journey time: 25 minutes.
Departs from: Wien Flughafen station.
Arrives: Wien Mitte.
Frequency: Trains depart at 09 and 39 past the hour from the airport if you are taking the nonstop train.
Cost: EUR4.30 for a oneway ticket.
Alternatively, you can also take the CAT train, which is a nonstop train that makes the journey into the city in only 16 minutes. The CAT will set you back EUR12 for a oneway ticket or EUR19 for a return.