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

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Date: 08. July 2016
Departure:
16:00
Arrival: 17:05
Flight time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Seat: 18A

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Introduction

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.

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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.

Check-in

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.

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Airside

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.

Boarding

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.

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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
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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!

Arrival

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.

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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 – Fokker F 100: Munich to Vienna

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Transfer in Munich

Transferring in Munich is easy enough. My flight to Vienna will be leaving at 19h25 and is boarding from gate G 38.

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Boarding

Available but a bit useless. The first boarding call is for Business Class passengers and Senators only, which seems a bit superfluous given that a bus will be taking us to the aircraft. So priority basically means that you get to choose the best seats on the bus…

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The Cabin

Configuration: 2 + 3
Seat: 15A, window seat on the row of two. The seat looks rather nice and the dark colours give the cabin a very classy appearance. It looks as though Austrian has refurbished its F 100s. The overhead bins for example have a much more modern look and feel compared to KLM’s F 70s. Having said that, the capacity of the overhead bins is limited in comparison to KLM. And as a result, this being a full flight, passengers and crew are having difficulties finding enough space in the cabin to store the copious amounts of luggage people have carted on board.
Pitch: 30 inches.
Width: 17 inches.

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The Crew

There are three female cabin crew on this flight. And to be honest, all three of them exude the warmth and charm of a corpse. The most senior one of the three witches of Eastwick is standing at the door to welcome passengers as they board. At least that is what I think she should have been doing. But in actual fact she is standing there eyeballing the passengers with this serious couldn’t-give-a-fuck expression on her face. She also seems to have lost her ability to speak somewhere along the way. I say ‘hello’ when she looks at me and I all I get in return is another glare and silence. Oh yes, she’s definitely a really class act this one.

The Meal

The meal consists of a small packed of savoury biscuits and a cup of still water.

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Arrival

Fortunately, our flight time is only 40 minutes and we land in Vienna right on time at 20h20. Unfortunately, it is going to be yet another bus to the terminal. I wait for all the other passengers to disembark before I get up to collect all my stuff and put on my coat. Obviously, by this time the bus is completely packed. There are still passengers standing around on the apron trying to figure out where to sit. And that includes me. Not that the crew or the bus driver could give a shit.

Getting to the Hotel

I shall be leaving Vienna again fairly early tomorrow morning, so I will not bother to go into the city. The NH Hotel is located just a short distance from the terminal and is easily accessed via the subway that leads to the airport’s railway station. Just follow the signs marked ‘Hotel’.

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Conclusion

Lufthansa, whatever happened to you? I mean, I know it has been a while since my last intra-European flight with the Lufthansa group. Even so, I really am quite amazed at how service standards have deteriorated – even by Economy Class standards. On the Lufthansa flight from Luxembourg to Munich the crew were anonymous and completely exchangeable, there was nothing about them that made you think ‘ah yes, this is what I like about Lufthansa’. And I assume that is probably because it is not even really Lufthansa anymore. The aircraft was branded as Lufthansa Group and an announcement was made that apparently the flight was operated by Germanwings. God who pays the crew’s salary. The overall effect though, is of a totally soulless and undefined carrier that really does not in any way stand out from the competition and probably even looses in some areas, like inflight service, when compared to operators like Easyjet.

And Austrian Airlines are simply bizarre. I just do not understand. Their crews are like the aeronautical equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. On long-haul flights I find that Austrian Airlines really shines and its crews are something else. But on European short-haul they just suck very much.

A while back I abandoned Lufthansa and Miles & More, mainly because I could achieve Platinum status with Air France and Silver status with British Airways with only half the effort it takes to remain a Senator. Unfortunately, my experience with Lufthansa and Austrian on these two short flights did nothing to make me want to reconsider and return to the fold.

So long Lufthansa, it was nice while it lasted but all good things must come to an end…