BrianDromey From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 4023 posts, RR: 10 Posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
DATE : 04/NOV/2009
FLIGHT : OS418
AIRLINE : AUSTRIAN AIRLINES
ROUTE : CDG (Terminal 2D)-VIE-NRT
CLASS : BUSINESS CLASS
Austrian Airlines were offering some great fares on business class flights to Tokyo, needing miles to retain BG*G, I decided the trip would be a good way to see somewhere new, try a new airline and earn miles at a relatively affordable rate.
Booking & Check-In
Booking was made on-line at aua.com, here OS have a functional website, which works well, seat assignment is done on-line at the time of booking and OS also allow you to download your flight details as a calendar entry, very useful. A few days before departure an e-mail was sent with the usual flight information, but also weather and attractions as my destination. I was very impressed. The only negative about the experience was I could not check-in online. I’m not sure why, I think there may have been some issue with my booking, OS help desk said OLCI was not available on any of my selected routes, but I saw people with A4 paper boarding cards.
The check-in process was swift at CDG 2D and the check-in agent made pleasant and friendly conversation, boarding cards were printed for my entire journey. I was guided to the AF lounge, which OS use at CDG – there is extensive co-operation between OS and AF on the VIE-CDG route. The lounge was a bit tatty, dimly lit and a sparse selection of snacks and drinks, French language reading material only, but a number of computers were available, as were an ample number of seats. Definitely a better place to spend time waiting for boarding than the gate.
I was greeted at the door by a very pleasant crew and my jacket was taken very quickly once boarding was almost complete. There were just 131 of us on this A321 to VIE today, with five of us in business class. OS do not use convertible seating within Europe, the middle seat on both sides is kept free, although with the light load today all of us in J had a row to ourselves. The seats on this early-model A321-100 did not have adjustable headrests, but the seats were still very comfortable with more than ample legroom.
Newspapers and magazines were offered prior to take-off, with ample English language choices. Information on the flight time, etc was given from the flight deck in German, followed by English.
After take-off a meal was quickly brought to our seats – there were no menus or choices on the flight today, nevertheless, the prawn dish was delicious. The meal portions were just right in size and quality. A nice glass of Austrian red washed the whole meal down very nicely. The one negative was the bread, it was a little bit hard – like it had been flying around Europe all day, and neither was it warmed.
The crew themselves were very friendly, the purser remained up front to look after the few of us in J, while the 3 remaining crew looked after those in Y. Rounds of tea/coffee were made and as the trays were cleared away more drinks were offered.
All-in-all, it was a great flight, arrival into VIE was some 25+ minutes early, as would become a pattern on my OS flights.
The following morning it was time for my flight to NRT. I was able to enjoy a brief around Vienna after my night in a city centre hotel, I was struck by a very pleasant city, with very friendly people. I was able to check-in at the downtown “Wien-Mitte” station, where OS allow check-in and also a bag-drop facility. Check-In
VIE is a somewhat dated terminal, but very functional and easy to navigate. There are a number of lounges, being *G and travelling in J today, I had a choice of any lounge. All of the OS lounges are relatively small, but the lounge at the A gates has nice views over the airfield and a new terminal/pier which appears to be approaching completion.
The lounges are brightly decorated with excellent food options, soups, breads sandwiches, salads and drinks. I was very impressed, although the lack of Wi-Fi is perhaps the only area which could be improved. Although small, there is no lack of seats and plenty of variety, from formal seats with tables, to lounge seating and also chase-long type seating, all in bright colors. Very good.
Security at VIE is done at the gate – I’m not a fan of this as its hard to know exactly when is the right time to leave the lounge/enter the gate area. I was immediately admitted to the screening area via the Business Class/*G lane, skipping the long-ish queue. Boarding for business class passengers was via L1, Economy passengers board via L2. I was greeted by the purser and guided to my seat. Friendly cabin crew were helping with baggage, while the chef was already in his whites, complete with hat handing out Menu’s and taking dinner orders. Two Japanese crew were also on-hand and taking breakfast orders.
My first impression of the cabin was good. The forward cabin of the 777 has just 35 seats in a 2-3-2 layout, none of the middle seat were occupied, although every other seat was. In total there were 42 in J today (there are 14 additional seats behind doors 2). The purple seats looked classy and were comfortable – although the seat is definitely towards the “orthopedic” end of the scale. Usual welcome drinks were followed by the handing out of 500ml bottled water, it was then safety video time and the captain welcomed us aboard, flying time today, 10h25.
Shortly after take-off the IFE began, a somewhat antiquated tape-based system. No AVOD here, but a relatively decent selection of movies, games and music. The Purser then came to each passenger in turn, introducing herself and offering any assistance. A very nice touch. A refreshing hot towel was given to each passenger and tableware was passed out to each passenger.
I choose the Japanese, as did my seat-mate; Smoked salmon appetizer. Delicious - I ate this in one bite!
Pictures of my main course appear to have disappeared, sorry!
Vienesse Coffee to finish
The entire service is done from a trolley – its very classy and great for desert as you can pick and choose what you like.
After dinner and coffee, it was time to recline into “bed” mode. Although the OS seat is an angled lie-flat seat I did not slide down at all and had several hours blissful sleep, with the aid of the earplugs and eye-mask provided.
Spring Rolls, a lovely midnight snack was offered:
Two hours prior to arrival breakfast was served:
Again, this was delicious.
Arrival into NRT was almost an hour ahead of schedule. I was already looking forward to my return journey!
OS uses the ANA lounge (there is also a choice of UA Red Carpet Club, which I passed on). Check-in was at the First Class/*G area, handled by excellent and friendly ANA staff.
On the return service the following was served:
Main – Fillet of Beef – delicious
My only problem with OS – the tea cups are no larger than thimbles.
The contents of the seat pocket:
It was with genuine sadness that the flight touched down 40 minutes early at VIE. I was sad to leave the aircraft and would not have minded flying another 11h35 with this great, friendly and approachable crew.
Overall, I consider OS to be a highly under-rated carrier. The in-flight service is brilliant, the food incredible, the ground experience at VIE is certainly equally as stress free as at ZRH. Classy touches like trolley service and in-flight chef make a massive difference in terms of product differentiation and adding value. I thought the triangular service-wear to be both classy and functional. I loved the way the trianguals shapes wasted so little space and made room on the table for glasses, cups and so on. The long-haul business class seat is excellent, very comfortable as a seat. As a bed it is a truly flat (albeit not horizontal) surface, not like other carriers which can have many lumps and bumps. LX and ZRH are currently viewed as the crown in the STAR and LH group in Europe, I think OS are seriously underrated and if LH can get the financial situation under control then OS has everything it needs to become a great carrier. OS are certainly every bit as good as LX, both in the air and on the ground.
I hope you enjoyed this trip report. Any questions, comments, etc are more than welcome.
[Edited 2009-11-08 17:06:52]
Next flights: MAN-ORK-LHR(EI)-MAN(BD); MAN-LHR(BD)-ORK (EI); DUB-ZRH-LAX (LX) LAX-YYZ (AC) YYZ-YHZ-LHR(AC)-DUB(BD)
Aeroflot001 From Argentina, joined Oct 2009, 412 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Very nice trip report and the food does look rather good. An austrian foreign exchange student is attending my school and I am going to ask him if hes ever flown Austrian. Once again great trip report.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7094 posts, RR: 76
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:
Very interesting report, always nice to read about OS. The food looks great as usual.
Quoting BrianDromey (Thread starter): Overall, I consider OS to be a highly under-rated carrier. The in-flight service is brilliant, the food incredible, the ground experience at VIE is certainly equally as stress free as at ZRH. Classy touches like trolley service and in-flight chef make a massive difference in terms of product differentiation and adding value. I thought the triangular service-wear to be both classy and functional. I loved the way the trianguals shapes wasted so little space and made room on the table for glasses, cups and so on. The long-haul business class seat is excellent, very comfortable as a seat.
OS has been famous for good service for many years. Btw - it was Niki Lauda who introduced Do&Co gourmet catering and triangular service-wear on Lauda Air. Fortunately, OS decided to keep that, together with the ex-Lauda Air 777s.
AustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1423 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report, unfortunately the pics are not working any more .
OS are really nice. I flew them this March ZRH-VIE (in Y), and I was amazed. The highly praised LX on the return trip gave me a small dry turkey sandwich which makes you even more hungry than you've been before, plus a tiny cup of coke.
On OS outbound, I recieved a filling roastbeef sandwich with horseradish, mayo, and lettuce, plus a small salad and a piece of cake. As a drink I had a nice glass of red wine plus a whole 300 ml bottle of sparkling water. In Y intra-European, the only legs I have the comparison as I have flown neither long-haul, OS is in my opinion clearly ahead of LX.
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
Rogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1211 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Thnaks for this unusual TR on OS, it is not often we get to see their long-haul product.
I think OS and LX offer one of the best European products up in the sky.
I have tried to fly OS but their schedules do not often accomodate to my needs, try to work on those myself and get a chance to try it by myself.
As much as you praise their inflight service, there are a couple of things that call my attention negatively. I do no quite like the colors of the seats, it looks some quite outdated to me and the fact of having 3 people seating together in the middle is quite apalling.
Food presentation looks superb, I hope it lasts.
BTW, does the cook come around the cabin after meal service to collect any comments from passengers?
"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
Shamrock350 From Ireland, joined Mar 2005, 6424 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report Brian!
Sounds like you had a really good flight with OS, their product looks brilliant and I'm impressed with the way they present meals, the triangular dishes are something I haven't seen before. Great photos as well, at first I didn't like the colour scheme Austrian have for their business cabin but now I think it's unique and makes a great change from the blue and grey which have become so common.
BrianDromey From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 4023 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Thanks for all the comments so far, I would love to be able to embed the photos properly, but can't edit the post any longer - I wonder if a mod could temporary unlock it?
Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10): does the cook come around the cabin after meal service to collect any comments from passengers?
He didn't on either of my flights. He is kept quite busy though, the mid-flight snack on the NRT-VIE leg appeared to be made from "leftovers" - i.e. spare portions not handed out.
Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 10): I do no quite like the colors of the seats, it looks some quite outdated to me and the fact of having 3 people seating together in the middle is quite apalling.
I was unsure about the 2-3-2 layout, but in reality is is quite ok. the middle seat is only a problem if one is a single traveller on my eastbound flights the centre seats were not occupied at all, on the westbound it was couples traveling together that had an aisle and centre together. Airlines like Ba hand UA have 2-4-2 on the 777 in J - even worse! As for teh colours, greens and purples are contemporary. This is the risk that an airline takes when a colour other than grey or blue is selected - opinion will be polarised, I loved it!
Quoting Shamrock350 (Reply 11): I think it's unique and makes a great change from the blue and grey which have become so common.
Personally I really like both purple and green, so the cabin colours really suited me. The wood paneling on the seats reminded me of BA F, it felt really classy, welcoming and warm, when combined with the red uniforms of the crew there was plenty of colour! It all worked really well, IMHO. Once on board there could be no doubt that one is on OS.
Next flights: MAN-ORK-LHR(EI)-MAN(BD); MAN-LHR(BD)-ORK (EI); DUB-ZRH-LAX (LX) LAX-YYZ (AC) YYZ-YHZ-LHR(AC)-DUB(BD)
Shamrock104 From Ireland, joined Sep 2000, 524 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 32042 times:
Great report. Nice to see as I'm doing exactly the same routing in March - for the same reason : ) Definately a fan of OS shorthal, although I noticed on a recent trip catering again has been cut back signifcantly. Business is still good though.
Directorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1784 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 28829 times:
Great TR, I have always felt that OS was an underrated gem, glad others think so. A very efficient and pleasant experience; the catering looks simplistic but better safe than sorry. Thanks for sharing :P