Introduction
Brussels Airlines Check-in New York JFK
Brussels Airlines Business Class New York to Brussels
Brussels Airlines and SAS Business Class Lounges Brussels
Austrian Business Class Brussels to Vienna
Hotel Imperial Vienna
Austrian Senator Lounge Vienna
Austrian Business Class Vienna to Tokyo Narita
ANA Business Class Lounge Tokyo Narita
Turkish Business Class Tokyo Narita to Istanbul
Park Hyatt Istanbul
Turkish Business Class Lounge Istanbul
LOT Business Class Istanbul to Warsaw
Hotel Bristol Warsaw
LOT Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Business Class Warsaw to Chicago


Austrian 51
Vienna (VIE) – Tokyo (NRT)
Thursday, January 31
Depart: 1:10PM
Arrive: 8:25AM (+1 day)
Duration: 11hr15min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 5A (Business Class)

I was the first aboard the 777 and seemed to catch the crew by surprise, as I don’t think they were expecting passengers quite yet. Since the cabin was still empty I was able to snap a few pictures of the cabin before anyone else got in the way.

So you guys have an idea of the cabin layout, here’s the business class seatmap (rows one through seven are in the forward business class cabin, and rows eight through ten are in the rear business class cabin).


Business class seatmap


Forward business class cabin


Forward business class cabin

I took the opportunity to snap pictures of as many different “configurations” of seats as possible, so that you guys can get an idea of the difference between the “paired” seats and the “throne” seats.


Seats 6D & 6G


Seats 5D & 5G


Seats 4A & 4C

I quickly found my seat, 5A, which was a single “throne” window seat.


My seat, 5A

At my seat was a pillow and really soft blanket, probably one of the most comfortable I’ve ever had on a plane. Interestingly the wrapping around it indicated that it was for sale in the duty free shop for 50 Euros. Not sure it’s worth that much, though it is a very nice blanket.


Pillow and blanket

I quickly realized that the seat was literally identical to the one on Brussels minus the colors. On the left and right side were were pouches, and on each side of the TV screen were bottle holders


Left pouch


Right pouch

On the left side of the seat were the seat controls.


Seat controls

And on the right side were the entertainment controls, power ports, and a storage compartment.


Entertainment controls


Storage compartment and power ports


Cabin view from 5A

Within a few minutes of settling in I was offered a pre-departure beverage by one of the crew members. He was extremely friendly, and jokingly asked if I had snapped enough pictures yet. Fortunately he shared my excitement, as it was his first time flying the new business class as well. Actually with the exception of one flight attendant, it was the first time anyone in the crew had flown the new business class. So they were actually taking as many pictures as I was throughout the flight.

For my pre-departure beverage I had a glass of water.


Pre-departure water

Within a few minutes the Japanese flight attendant (I’m not sure if she spoke German because she seemed to speak Japanese and English to everyone) offered me headphones, an amenity kit, and slippers.


Headphones, amenity kit, and slippers

The amenity kit consisted of a toothbrush, socks, mints, earplugs, a shoehorn, and some lotion. I was surprised to see that the slippers were actually a decent size.


Amenity kit contents

Shortly thereafter the chef came by to distribute the menu and wine list.


Menu and wine list

The flight was fairly empty so boarding was complete within about 15 minutes, at which point the captain came on the PA to advise us of our flight time of 10hr30min. As the door closed the business class cabin was about half full, which I was really excited about. I had selected a “throne” seat, though as some of you may recall, I found it quite uncomfortable for sleeping on the New York to Brussels flight. So I was excited to lounge in the throne seat and then sleep in one of the double seats, which have more legroom.

As we pushed back the safety video began to play.


Wing view during push back


Coolest plane ever or what?

We were taking off from runway 29 today, and the taxi was so short that as soon as the video finished we were on our takeoff roll.


Taxiing to the runway

We had an extremely long takeoff roll and gradual climb out of Vienna.


View on climb out


Can anyone identify the airport?

We had a bit of chop on the climb out, and it was about 20 minutes before the seatbelt sign was turned off. Interestingly even though Austrian and Brussels have identical entertainment systems, the one on Brussels is made available on the ground, while the one on Austrian is only made available about 20 minutes into the flight.


View on climb out

Once we leveled off I changed into British Airways pajamas, reclined my seat, and got comfortable. I find the “throne” seat perfectly comfortable for lounging given the amount of shoulder room.


Foot “cubby” in throne seat


Flight path for today

I began to browse the entertainment selection, and found it to have a better selection and be organized more intuitively than the one on Brussels.


Entertainment system


Entertainment system

As we leveled off the chef came around to take entree orders. The lunch menu read as follows:

And the drink menu read as follows:

At this point it’s probably worth noting that there were about four flight attendants working business class, in addition to the chef. There was the purser, a lady in her mid-40s, and three guys in their 30s-40s. They were all extremely professional and friendly, but damn, Austrian really needs to change their bright red uniforms. They’re painful to look at, unless they’re aspiring to be elves in Santa’s workshop at a mall.

Austrian’s catering is done by DO & CO, the same catering as the Lufthansa First Class Terminal and Turkish business class.

All service was done by cart, starting with the table being set. I ordered a Diet Coke with ice and lemon, and was also offered prosciutto, olives, and cheese to snack on.


Table setting

Next the chef came around with the starters. I loved the fact that they plated them at your seat based on your preferences, much like many airlines do in first class. I asked for the kataifi prawns, smoked salmon tartare, and avocado tomato salad. All three were phenomenal.


Appetizer cart


Kataifi prawns, smoked salmon tartare, and avocado tomato salad

Next the chef came around with a cart consisting of procini mushroom consomme and butter dumplings.


Procini mushroom consomme with butter dumpling

Then the main course was served, consisting of herbed chicken breast with spinach ricotta stuffing and saffron risotto. Again, it was excellent.


Herbed chicken breast

Next the dessert cart was rolled around, and the dessert was also plated at your seat, so you could have as little or as much as you wanted. I had the pear chocolate souffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. I’m sure you can guess how it tasted.


Pear chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream

At this point trays were cleared. Remember how on Brussels I said the tray tables were unnecessarily difficult to operate? Well, I couldn’t figure out how to stow my tray on this flight either, and it took me getting out of my seat and four flight attendants before we could figure out how to stow it. Here are the “instructions” on the table:


Stowing tray table instructions

And little did I know the best part of the meal was yet to come. I’ve always wanted to fly Austrian for one simple reason — I’m a coffee fanatic, and they’re the only airline with a separate coffee menu. After dessert the chef came around the cabin to distribute coffee menus. Yes, coffee menus. I was in heaven.

The coffee menu read as follows:

Now, read this part carefully and learn from my mistakes if you’re also a coffee fanatic. I was literally going to sample my way through each type of coffee throughout the flight, though later on I learned two lessons:

  • Only the chef can prepare the “fancy” coffees, so don’t expect to have one while he’s resting
  • The ice cream melts after the main meal service, so if you want an Eiskaffee order it first

But what I did instead was order a Kaffee Baileys, thinking I’d have an Eiskaffee later in the flight. The coffees take about 20 minutes to prepare, so at that point I was served my coffee. It was, not surprisingly, delicious, and I loved how it was presented as well.


Kaffee Baileys

As the meal finished bottled water was also distributed.


Bottled water

On the whole it was simply a phenomenal meal. Hands down the best I’ve ever had in business class, and on par with many first class meals I’ve had. The quality was top notch, everything was plated at your seat just as it would be in first class, and the crew was genuinely friendly and attentive.

The meal was done about two hours into the flight, at which point the sun was beginning to set.


View from the window

After lunch I moved forward to seat 4A to try and get some shuteye. As I mentioned in the Brussels report, the sets of two seats have quite a bit more “foot” room than the throne seats, so for sleeping they’re much better. Since the row in front of me was empty I decided to build a pillow and blanket fortress to make it as comfortable of a seat as possible. I put a blanket on the seat itself, another on top of me, and used a couple of pillows to make an all around very comfortable bed. There was noticeably more room for my feet in this seat, and I was able to sleep much better than I would’ve been able to in the throne seat.


Reclined seat

I wasn’t especially tired so only managed to nap for a couple of hours, and woke up with over six hours to go to Tokyo.


Airshow upon waking up

I decided to browse the entertainment selection, and settled on a show called “Pilot Globe Guides.” It was quite possibly the most poorly produced and offensive TV show reviewing hotels that I’ve ever seen. Seriously, what the hell? I guess that would explain why it never entered production beyond a pilot…


Pilot Globe Guides

This is the point at which I learned the above lesson regarding coffee the hard way. I tried to order an Eiskaffee, though was informed by the flight attendant that it would only be available when the chef is awake. About 30 minutes later I asked the purser, and while she didn’t mention anything about the chef, she said that she thought the ice cream was already melted. So she made me an Eiskaffee, except the ice cream was already melted. It tasted just as good as far as I’m concerned, but I still wish I had ordered one after the meal service.


Eiskaffee(ish)

After another coffee I decided to try and get a bit more sleep, and managed to sleep for another few hours, waking up about 90 minutes out of Narita Airport.


Airshow upon waking up

I opened the window shade and was able to watch a beautiful sunrise. Forgetting about all the champagne, food, and good service, isn’t watching a sunrise from a few miles up what makes flying awesome?


Sunrise

The breakfast menu read as follows:

Breakfast service began with orange juice and a fruit smoothie.


Orange juice and fruit smoothie

The breakfast service is efficient given that it’s all on one tray, though still beautifully presented.

It consisted of fruit, ham and cheese, fresh bread, and I selected a mushroom omelette as my entree.


Breakfast

There was also muesli served in a cup, though my tray was so full that I waited till I was done with the rest of my meal before ordering it.


Muesli

We began our descent early, about 45 minutes out. We hit some pretty abrupt turbulence on the descent, though the ride got smoother as we leveled out at around 10,000 feet, where we must have cruised for a good 20 minutes or so as we were put in a holding pattern over the ocean.


View on descent

Once we were released from our holding pattern we approached the coastline, and had about another 10 minutes of flying.


View on approach


View on approach

We had a smooth touchdown at Narita and about a 10 minute taxi to gate 36, taxiing past the cargo and then Star Alliance terminals.


Taxiing in


Korean Air, ANA, and Thai


Singapore Airbus A380

I felt surprisingly well rested for a longhaul in business class, ready to tackle the 12 hour flight back to Istanbul in a few hours.

On the whole this flight blew me away. Austrian must have one of the best business class products out there, probably the best of any European airline. While I do still prefer the seats offered by Cathay Pacific, the catering was on par with what I’ve been served in first class on most airlines, and the service was extremely friendly as well. Oh, and they have a coffee menu, which quite possibly makes this the best product in the world. ;)

Once Austrian’s entire fleet is reconfigured with the new business class (which should happen by sometime this summer), I think this is the way to fly to Europe in business class.

How you can use miles/points for Austrian Business Class

The two best ways to redeem for Austrian business class are through United and US Airways. It’s worth noting that Austrian also flies to North America, with service to New York, Washington, Toronto, and as of May, Chicago. They also offer service on their longhaul aircraft to Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Dubai, the Maldives, and Tokyo.

The best program through which to book in most cases is United. You can book Austrian business class roundtrip between the US and Europe for 100,000 miles, or Austrian business class roundtrip between the US and Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi, Dubai, the Maldives, or Tokyo, all via Vienna, for 120,000 miles roundtrip. In each case you’re allowed a stopover and an open jaw, so you could stop in Vienna while enroute to any of those destinations if you wanted to. The best way to rack up United miles is through Ultimate Rewards, which is their 1:1 transfer partner. This can be done through cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Ink Bold Card, Chase Ink Plus Card, and Chase Freedom® Visa Card.

US Airways is another great option, as they charge 100,000 miles for roundtrip business class between the US and Europe, or 90,000 miles for roundtrip business class between the US and North Asia. This means you could fly between the US and Tokyo or Beijing via Vienna for just 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class, and you could even have a stopover in Vienna. That means you’re basically getting a 10,000 mile discount for choosing to continue to Asia after your stop in Vienna. The best ways to rack up US Airways miles is through the US Airways Premier World MasterCard or by taking advantage of one of their 100% bonus buy miles promotions, like the one they’re offering right now on a targeted basis. If you need to further top off a US Airways account you can transfer in points from Starwood Preferred Guest at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred. The best cards for racking up Starwood points are the Starwood American Express Personal Card, and the Starwood American Express Business Card,

(In the interest of full disclosure, some of the above links earn me a referral bonus, and all are for the best available offers for each card — thanks for your support!)

  1. February 25th, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Michael T said,

    If I’m not mistaken, I saw an extremely small clothes pin on the tray in one of your pictures. If so, I’m glad to see that Austrian still provides the micro pin to use to pin your napkin to your shirt. Much nicer than the button hole, IMO.

  2. February 25th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Jason said,

    What a fantastic sounding flight, definitely will want to give them a try. I love that as business class is becoming the new norm for premium cabin flights for most people, the product continues to trend towards a more first class like experience. Thanks Lucky.

  3. February 25th, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Michael T — You’re not mistaken, they did indeed!

    @ Jason — It was indeed, thanks!

  4. February 25th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    concorde02 said,

    I do not like the front wall paper of the cabin. It’s like a children play room!

    The food look amazing…. just like my experiences on Austrian in J.

  5. February 25th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Lantean said,

    at least they give out the slippers now, they didn’t do that last year. it’s good to hear their food is still good… it’s really much better than any business class food out there.

    i guess the airport you’re trying to identify is Bratislava? it seems like it’s on the way…

  6. February 25th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    SINJim said,

    Lucky-that’s a trick question, yes? That appears to be Vienna International Airport from which you just departed. The tell is the Fanta bottles adjacent to the terminal. :)

  7. February 25th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Craig said,

    I think it’s Porcini mushrooms – typo on the menü.

  8. February 25th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Michael T said,

    Lucky, what kind of award availability are you seeing on Austrian in business? I remember checking last year and there was zilch. Is it much better now or did you luck out with the new route?

  9. February 25th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Michael T — Award availability on Austrian is EXCELLENT at the moment.

  10. February 25th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Jerry H said,

    @lucky – typo as I think you meant “Red” uniforms
    “change their bright read uniforms”

    Very nice J product, the food looked better than the LX food I had (although hardware is very similar, or the same?)

    Now I wonder if I can route YYZ-VIE-NRT-Asia on Aeroplan, but crazy YQ may hit me first :(

  11. February 25th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Jerry H — Whoops, thanks. Fixed! Yeah, the YQ on Austrian is a killer through Aeroplan, which is why I left them out as one of the best redemption options.

  12. February 25th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Max said,

    Do they only release from a certain time out, or does United’s tool just suck? I’m looking for year-end availability and not seeing anything VIE-NRT.

  13. February 25th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    LarryInNYC said,

    Nice to see them serving “procini”. Normally all you get are the anticini.

  14. February 25th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Max — I should have mentioned they suck at releasing award space far in advance, they seem to release a lot more space in the short to medium term.

  15. February 25th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Max said,

    OK, so if you want to book a US Airways Europe or N Asia award far in advance, you’ll incur the change fee to switch to Austrian once it comes available, right?

  16. February 25th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Max — Right, if you wanted to book far in advance. That being said, if you’re looking to go to Europe and North Asia in winter I doubt you’ll have any trouble finding space closer to departure (I booked my trip only a few weeks out as well).

  17. February 25th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Jorge said,

    Wow, that is amazing. I have flown Austrian in Europe only ( Brussels to Vienna and Bucharest) and was blown away by their service.

    Will keep them in mind now that LH is getting more difficult to book. And that business class is of first class quality.

  18. February 25th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Cdiddy said,

    How would you say this compares to Singapore business in the 380/777? Both in terms of hard product and soft product/food?

    Thanks!

  19. February 25th, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Cdiddy — I’d say on Singapore the seat and entertainment are still a bit better, but I found the food to be better on Austrian and service comparable (though it can be tough to compare service on a European and Asian airline given how different the styles are).

  20. February 25th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Seegs said,

    Lucky, what would you say is the ideal pair of seats for a couple? The middle pairs look to have more space but window pairs look more private. I’m flying BKK-VIE in August.

  21. February 25th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Seegs — I’d probably go for any window pair. As you note they’re a bit more private and one person gets a window view. Seems worth it to me.

  22. February 25th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    David said,

    Is the food and coffee options on all OS longhaul? Or just departing VIE?

  23. February 25th, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    lucky said,

    @ David — I believe it’s on all longhaul flights.

  24. February 25th, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Alan said,

    Great TR, Lucky – looks like a really brilliant flight. Glad to hear footwell space better in the non-Captain Kirk seats, will definitely bear in mind. Definitely keen to give them a go sometime!

  25. February 25th, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Ed said,

    Did you happen to notice what foot space is like for the bulkhead seats?

  26. February 25th, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Ed — It was actually excellent, probably the best in the cabin. The cutout looked very big.

  27. February 25th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    stephan said,

    In your photos it looks like there is a single “throne” seat at A and K at the very back which are not on the seat map. Is there an extra row or are these crew seats?

  28. February 25th, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    lucky said,

    @ stephan — Those are seats 7A and 7K. Rows 8-10 are in the rear mini-cabin. :)

  29. February 25th, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    stephan said,

    Your airport image is of Vienna airport. Did you take off to the east and double back and get mixed up? It is not Bratislava.

  30. February 25th, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    stephan said,

    Sorry, that should have said: …take off to the west…?

  31. February 25th, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Diana W said,

    If you’re such a coffee fanatic, why do you hang out at Starbucks? Besides having that fancy metal card you mentioned awhile back =)

  32. February 25th, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    lucky said,

    @ Diana W — I far prefer other coffee places, but Starbucks is convenient and a nice place to kill a couple of hours a day on laptop when you otherwise work from home.

  33. February 25th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Lantean said,

    @Stephan

    You’re right, it’s way too big to be Bratislava and its definitely not Budapest so it must be Vienna…. Not sure if Lucky was trying to confuse us with his question… ;)

  34. February 25th, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    wwk5d said,

    You really need to try out Swiss’s staggered BC, just to compare the seats and overall service. Good to know you’d place Austrian ahead of Brussels in terms of overall experience.

  35. February 25th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    lucky said,

    Got y’all! :p

    @ wwk5d — Hope to try them very soon.

  36. February 26th, 2013 at 5:54 am

    sjs said,

    Think the person who drafted the English version of the breakfast menu must have been Canadian. “Beeries.”

  37. February 26th, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Danny said,

    Hi Lucky,
    I’m in a situation where I’m earning points for both my wife and me. The problem is I’m close to enough points for a ticket in USAir and in United. Do you think it’s possible to get an award ticket on the same flight using two diff programs? Thank you.

  38. February 26th, 2013 at 11:05 am

    lucky said,

    @ Danny — Absolutely, I do it all the time, and it should be quite easy. US Airways freely allows holds so I’d suggest holding one ticket through US Airways, then booking the United ticket, and then going back to purchase the US Airways ticket.

  39. February 26th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Niraj K said,

    Hi,

    We are booked on Austrian in Jun to DEL. Hopefully it will be new config 777 and 767 by then. Great report.

  40. February 27th, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Michael said,

    I must disagree with your assessment about the red uniforms. The red is tasteful and in stark contrast to the usual tired uniforms flight attendants have to wear.

  41. February 28th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Matthew said,

    Your cabin pictures are always so nice. Do you ask to board early or leave the lounge early so you can be among the first to board and snap some pictures of the empty-ish cabins?

  42. March 6th, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    David said,

    Marvellous report. As I am flying in Biz on OS VIE-BKK next month I must say my anticipation level is much higher after reading this.

    One request though… When reporting on the lounges.. could you include whether or not they have showers??

  43. March 6th, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    lucky said,

    @ David — Will be sure to do that in the future. Thanks!

  44. March 12th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Superguy said,

    This is a great review, and answered everything I wanted to know about OS’s new C! Thanks!

    My wife and I are returning from Europe in July and we’ll have the new C on an OS 767 (VIE-ORD). I’m really stoked for this. She will be too, especially after going over on UA. :D

  45. March 22nd, 2013 at 10:13 am

    maguro said,

    booked the second week of service ORD-VIE, 90K aeroplan points
    Hope the retrofit is complete as promised.
    the food looks typically germanic, hopefully there are some lighter options.
    Previously flew YUL-ZUR Swiss first..amazing product, no longer offered on points thru aeroplan

  46. April 3rd, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    anon said,

    Will this flight be the same as the Tyrolean Airlines? I booked OS87 and OS88 this coming summer to Vienna and wanted to know if I will be able to enjoy this nice business class. Thanks.

  47. April 3rd, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    lucky said,

    @ anon — Yep, Tyrolean is Austrian’s operating name.

  48. August 5th, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Where's the Coffee? A review of Austrian Airlines Business Class - First2Board said,

    [...] Our vacation trip to Istanbul and Malta in July was no exception. After reading Lucky’s review of Austrian Airlines, and at the urging of a friend, our outbound flights to Istanbul would be [...]

  49. August 6th, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Where’s the Coffee? A review of Austrian Airlines Business Class | Hack.Travel said,

    [...] reading Lucky’s review of Austrian Airlines, and at the urging of a friend, our outbound flights to Istanbul would be [...]

  50. March 6th, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Edward said,

    Are those touch-screen seat controls?

  51. Add A Comment

home top

One Mile at a Time is owned by PointsPros, Inc. Some links to credit cards and other products on this website will earn an affiliate commission, and this website has a financial relationship with several credit card issuing banks. All content unless otherwise noted or quoted is the author's own, and not provided or commissioned by any other entity. This site is for entertainment purpose only. The owner of this site is not an investment advisor, financial planner, nor legal or tax professional and articles here are of an opinion and general nature and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.