I’m not really sure what made me think a departure from Tirana at 04h25 in the morning would be a good idea. But here I am at 03h00 in the morning, walking the short distance from the Hotel Airport Tirana to the terminal building. Still, at least this way I’ll be back home by 11h00.
The terminal building is small and compact, with departures and check-in on the left side, and arrivals on the right side.
Check-in for the flight to Vienna is already open. And much to my surprise, there’s even a manned Business Class desk that isn’t being laid siege to by a hoard of unruly Albanians who, I’m am finding out, really have a very, very strong aversion to queueing of any sort.
The Tirana Airport lounge
Security and immigration are painless. There are hardly any passengers this time of the morning.
So I decide to investigate the Business Class lounge, which is open at this ungodly hour, even if I only have about 15 minutes before boarding begins.
The lounge is nice enough and looks fairly new. There’s a buffet with pastries and sandwiches to choose from, and there are more dishes in the kitchen that are available on request from the staff.
Boarding starts at 03h55. Our aircraft is parked rather far away, which is why we’re being bussed to our remote stand.
There are three rows of Business Class, for a total of 12 seats. However, only six of them are occupied. The cabin looks neat and tidy and the splashes of red in the Austrian sign on the bulkhead or the seat covers and seat belts make the cabin look a lot less shabby than Lufthansa’s.
Leg space on row 2 is very good and I am able to stretch my legs easily.
There are four cabin crew on today’s flight, and all of them male. They’re business friendly, I’d say. Not very warm or genuine, but not rude either. There is no pre-departure drink. Passengers are just handed a disinfectant towel as they board.
Given the flight time of only one hour and ten minutes, I’m surprised they’re actually serving a hot meal on the short hop to Vienna. There are no options. Despite it’s rather unappealing appearance, the hot meal is rather good.
Croque monsieur with turkey ham.
A very creamy and fluffy yoghurt.
The potion that gives life.
During the meal service, the crew make multiple runs through the cabin with the breadbasket.
The flight passes very quickly. At some point I think I even nod off to sleep. We touch down in Vienna at 05h40 and make our way to a remote stand. I now have a little less than two hours to make my connection to Zürich.