I am on my way to Vienna for a meeting with ICAO, which the Austrian Civil Aviation Authority has kindly offered to host. We are reviewing an ICAO document ahead of its publication in the second quarter of 2023. But we have a lot of ground to cover, and I am not sure we will manage in the time we have.
Getting to the Airport
I leave the office after lunch to make my way to the airport. Allow me to introduce you to yet another fine specimen of brutalist seventies architecutre in the guise of the main station in Winterthur.
Oh good, and the train taking me to the airport is one of those dreadful Dostos that rattle your brain…
Check-in & Security
I have checked in online using the SWISS app. Unlike most other airlines, they still have not managed to have the boarding pass in the wallet show up on the lock screen.
The train pulls into the station at 13:35, so I have one hour before boarding starts. It is a lovely day, so I immediately head for the sports bar and its outside viewing gallery. Tragically though, it seems that the season has not started yet, even though it is a lovely, sunny day outside. The door is locked, so I figure I might as well try the SWISS Senator lounge.
SWISS Senator Lounge
The lounge is also very quiet. But I do not stay long, seeing as there is absolutely no view worth mentioning from the lounge and it is otherwise nothing special either.
I must say though, they have great hand soap in the loos!
I soon leave the lounge again and park myself near one of the big windows overlooking the apron and runway 28. There is a steady trickle of movements, but the ramp is far from busy. While I wait, an Air Cairo A 320 taxies out to runway 28, and I contemplate that probably the amount of money does not exist that would even make me consider flying with them. I am not a brave man.
Eventually, boarding starts at 14:35 for our 15:05 departure. The announcements are made by an untalented young woman. Her announcements are useless. I would like to say it is a lack of foreign language skills, but her German announcements are no better… I count 90 passengers on the flight.
There are six rows of Business Class for a total of 24 passengers. However, there are only thirteen passengers in the forward cabin. Which means that I get a whole row to myself. I am seated on 4F, and the seatt pitch is good. Just a piece of advice, on flights from Zürich to Vienna try to get a window seat on the starboard side. In the opposite direction try to get a seat on the port side.
You see, the journey between Zürich and Vienna has the aircraft fly along the north side of the Alps. On a day like today, the view is simply gorgeous.
Okay, first you get a view of Zürich, which is rather ugly. But the view improves quickly.
The Cabin Crew & Service
There are three cabin crew on this flight. They are an interesting study. One of them is a Frenchman, and it is strange that the announcements he makes in French are completely different in content to those made in English and German by the purserette. The other thing that strikes me, is the crew’s refusal to interact with passengers in anything but German. Having said that, there is generally little interaction with the crew anyway. There are no welcome drinks and no refreshing towel during boarding.
Yeah. No. The meal is a strange combination of some sausage, green beans and some other pulses. With that comes a roll of warm bread. There is also a chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
The cake is very rich and delectable. To drink I have a glass of fabulous Almdudler. After the meal, the crew pass through the cabin handing out little chocolate coins.
The crew mange to get us a short cut, which mean that ATC brings us in for the approach over the city. We fly straight over Schloss Schönbrunn right before the landing.
My intention had been to avoid mentioning in this trip report just how bad Vienna airport is. But I cannot help myself. I just do not get this airport. And I do not understand why they let somebody build an airport who, apparently, has never seen what a passenger terminal should look like from the inside before. But I digress.
Getting into Town
To get into town by public transport there are several options. The CAT airport train is the fastest option to Wien Mitte. It makes the trip in 16 minutes. Mind you, it is also the most expensive, costing EUR24 for a roundtrip.
This short trip with Austria Airlines was okay. It always makes for a pleasant experience if the aircraft is not full. For the time being, SWISS is not flying to Vienna anymore, supposedly due to an acute staff shortage in the company. However, given that both Austrian Airlines and SWISS have been fully integrated into Lufthansa, I wonder whether SWISS will ever make a return. Which is of course a shame because Austrian was rather bland, and quite frankly boring. Of course nobody picks an airline on a route simply to be entertained. But Austrian Airlines was so non-descript that there was nothing about the experience that stood out and would make you look forward to your next trip with them.