Austrian Airlines, Economy Class – Airbus A 320: Vienna to Zürich


Date: 08. July 2016
Arrival: 17:05
Flight time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Seat: 18A



Vienna is a very pleasant place to be. The city is laid out very generously and the many buildings that date back to the city’s imperial history are quite splendid. And so I decide to walk to the academy this morning.


At noon the course comes to a close and according to the original plan, I should now be heading home to Switzerland. But something has cropped up and I urgently need to be in the Canary Islands by Saturday morning. Given that the course in Vienna only ends at noon, my best option is to return to Zürich on the Austrian Airlines ticket I am holding and then to continue to Spain from there.

Getting to the Airport

Transport: Train – CAT nonstop train or the suburban line 7.
Journey time: 16 to 25 minutes, depending on which train you take.
Departs from: Wien Hauptbahnhof.
Arrives: Wien Flughafen.
Frequency: The CAT departs at 06 and 36 past the hour from the city.
Cost: EUR4.30 for a oneway ticket.
The CAT train that makes the journey from the city to the airport in only 16 minutes and will set you back EUR12 for a oneway ticket or EUR19 for a return.


Location: Terminal 3, counters 331 to 368.
Facilities: Airport check-in, self-service check-in, online and app check-in.
Counters: There are separate counters for Business and STAR Gold passengers.



By the time I reach the airport it is already 14h30 and my flight to Zürich is expected to start boarding at 14h55. So I quickly drop off my suitcase and head for security. Fortunately, the airport is not very busy at this time of day and there are no queues at the bags drop off or at security. I shall be eating the on the plane, so I figure I might as well skip the lounge and go straight to the lounge.


Separate boarding for Business Class passengers, status card holders, families with children and passengers requiring assistance. Once they are all on board, there are not that many passengers left really… There is a slight delay for the boarding process to commence, and as a result we loose our original slot for departure. Eventually, by the time we push back from our stand we are already running a bit more than thirty minutes late.


The Cabin

Configuration: 3 + 3
Seat: The Airbus A 320 has a seating capacity of 168 in a mixed Business Class/Economy Class configuration.
Pitch: 30 inches.
Width: 18 inches.
Facilities: Reading lamp and air vent. No power outlets and no overhead screens.

The Crew

There are three female and one male cabin crew on the flight to Zürich this afternoon. The three ladies are very friendly and obviously get along with each other. So the atmosphere in the cabin is relaxed and laid back. The male cabin crew also seems friendly, but very serious and reserved.

The Meal

For EUR15 you have the possibility to pre-order a meal on European flights in Economy Class, and there is a wide selection of hot and cold dishes available. Catering for Austrian Airlines is provided by Do&Co.

  1. Chicken Schnitzel
  2. Potato and cucumber salads
  3. Bread
  4. Chocolate mousse

This meal really is just so good. Seriously, the chicken has miraculously managed not to dry up completely and the cucumber and potato salad is really tasty. But the piece de resistance is certainly the excellent chocolate mousse. It is so rich and creamy!


I normally do not recognise all that much on the ground. But today I am lucky and we are treated to an excellent view of the city of Schaffhausen and the Rhine Falls nearby.


Eventually we land with a delay of fifteen minutes. By the time I have retrieved my suitcase, it is already 17h30. I now have just over one hour to dump this suitcase in a locker and retrieve my rucksack from another locker I deposited it in before I left for Vienna.

Austrian Airlines, Economy Class – Airbus A 320: Zürich to Vienna


Date: 06. July 2016.
Arrival: 19:35.
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

Transport: Train.
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.


The Lounge

Location: Upper level of the airside centre.
Type of Lounge:
SWISS Business Class lounge operated by Swissport on behalf of SWISS.
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.
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…



Dedicated queue for Business Class and Star Gold passengers. All other passengers use the self-service boarding gates.


The Cabin

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.


The Crew

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.

The Meal

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.

  1. Tomato and mozzarella salad with dressing.
  2. Chicken in red pepper sauce with traditional sheep cheese and cherry tomatoes and chives. Served with Spätzle.
  3. Mango and lime Meringue.
  4. A bag with three small breads and butter.
  5. 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.


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.

Austrian Airlines, Economy Class – A 320: Zürich to Vienna


Getting to the Airport

Silence, as I cross the deserted square from my apartment to the main entrance of the railway station. And darkness. This is early. Four twenty five to be precise. I’m catching the four forty train to Zürich Airport. It is just a bit over a week since I returned from my Christmas vacation in Japan and I’m travelling again. This time it’s a business trip though. I’m giving a course in Cyprus.


The journey time to Zürich Airport is one hour and sixteen minutes. The fare for a return ticket in second class starts at CHF37.50.

Recently they introduced new rolling stock on the line that runs from Basel’s main station to Zürich Airport. Essentially they’re new regional trains. But they’re comfortable enough. My only gripe is that there really is no space at all to stow luggage. But at this time of day the train will hardly be full.


It’s quite amazing how difficult it is to reach Cyprus from Switzerland in the low season, particularly of you’re not travelling on a week’s package vacation and only need to visit the island for a few days. Only Cyprus Airways operates scheduled flights from Larnaca to Zürich, but that flight is not daily and only operates twice a week during the winter – as it happens on days which are of no use to me. The two best alternatives therefore, appear to be either with British Airways via London Heathrow or with Austrian Airlines via Vienna. Somehow I dislike the idea of flying all the way to London, only to catch a plane back in the opposite direction to get to Cyprus. So I’ve decided to take the Austrian Airlines option instead. But there’s just one snag. There is no same day connection from Basel to Larnaca. Which is why I find myself, at this ungodly hour, on a train bound for Zürich, feeling tired and bleary-eyed.


I forgot to check-in on the Austrian website the evening before my flight. I figure it doesn’t matter seeing as I’ll be dropping off a bag anyway. But then on the train I decide I might as well give it a try. The Lufthansa App is showing my booking, but because the flight is originating in Switzerland, I am advised to check in with SWISS. So I try the SWISS App, which promptly issues my boarding pass for the flight to Vienna but not for the onward connection. Well, at least it’s a start.

I arrive at the airport with fifteen minutes to spare before meeting up with my colleague who will be joining me on this trip. Enough time to get my boarding passes sorted and have my bag checked through to Larnaca.

Check-in for Swiss flights at Zürich Airport is done either in Check-in 1, in what used to be Terminal A, or in Check-in 3, which is conveniently located one floor up from the railway tracks, so you really don’t have far to go.


I like the ventilation fans they have…


The Lounge

The Senator lounge in Zürich was recently closed for refurbishment. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but the end product is somewhat of an anti-climax. Essentially, all they’ve done is to remove the comfortable loungers there used to be and replaced them with smaller and less comfortable looking seats that take up less space, thus allowing them to put more seat in the lounge. Oh yes, and they changed the model aircraft in the lounge from the old A 340-300 to the A 330-300 in the new livery. Glad to see they got their priorities straight.


The Cabin

When I arrive at the gate, boarding is already underway. Austrian Airlines have an interesting boarding concept. The first call is for Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members. They may pass the gate in the traditional way, meaning the gate agent scans the boarding pass and wishes you a nice flight. After that the scrum for general boarding begins, with passengers required to use the automatic gates for boarding instead.


I step on board to the sound of Strauss blaring away. I’m kind of in two minds about this one, if I’m perfectly honest. I guess it’s a nice touch, but it is also a bit tacky. The cabin is decked out in the same slim seats BMI used to have and which, if I’m not mistaken, Lufthansa also have. Very obviously the colour red dominates in the cabin. Today’s flight is rather full in the back but there are still a few seats left available in Business Class from what I can tell.


The Crew

The cabin crew is a nondescript bunch. This is not meant in a negative way or anything. It’s just that there is really nothing much in the way they go about their job that might set them apart from the crews of other airlines.

Take-off is from runway 28. It’s a lovely day for flying and we’re treated to some excellent views of the Alps on our way to Vienna.


The Meal

The meal consists of a round of hot and cold drinks. To eat there a Nuss Schnecke, which is a pastry with ground hazelnuts in it. I take one but eventually leave it untouched. My colleague, who later on eats both his and my Nuss Schnecke, assures me that it wasn’t as dry as it looked.



The quantity of the meal is perfectly adequate for a flight of only 80 minutes. The rubbish is removed and shortly after we begin our descent into Vienna.


This is the first time I’m using the new pier in Vienna. Perhaps it’s just me but I find the whole design somewhat inconvenient and unpractical. I also think the facility looks rather cheap and drab; the signage is really bad. Next stop: Larnaca.