In early Spring, I did a short trip to Vienna and flew Austrian Airlines. It would be 7 years since I last flew with OS, and that was from London to Beijing via Vienna. Both flights were excellent, and I rated OS very highly. I was interested to see how OS had changed in the intervening 7 years, at least on the LHR - VIE flight.
This trip report is only the return VIE - LHR flight.
30 May 2010
VIE - LHR
OE-LNR “Piz Buin”
After a lovely few days in Vienna, it was time to return home to London. Vienna is a lovely city, full of interesting places to visit and great food. A few snaps taken in Vienna -
Part of the Hofburg Palace complex in central Vienna
Schonbrunn Palace, in the suburbs of Vienna
Neptune Fountain, Schonbrunn Palace
State Opera House
A significant weather system moved across VIE just before we arrived , with dark clouds, lots of thunder and lightning and plenty of rain. Thankfully, it did not seem to disrupt the proceedings and our flight was not subsequently delayed.
After a quick check in (I had completed OLCI the night before at the hotel), we headed through to the departure gates. It took no time at all, even though the terminal was crowded. I found VIE to be quite pokey and cramped however - moreso with the volume of people who were passing through.
It was also difficult to get any decent pictures in the non Schengen part of the terminal and a lack of seating for waiting passengers seemed evident.
I did manage a few snaps though options were limited. Most of the Austrian long haul fleet were not on the ground - being the wrong time of the day to see most of the 767s or 777s.
OE-LVK at the gate
OE -LDB arriving
UR-GAK arriving from Kiev
OE-LNM heading out for departure
The best I could do with another arriving 737-800 (not our aircraft)
I found the waiting area at VIE to be pretty boring actually. There were only a handful of shops and places to buy anything to eat or drink.
We moved to our gate where we were processed by security. It took next to no time because people were gradually turning up to the gate, so there was never a long queue. The holding pen however, was quite small, and our 737 looked fully laden for this afternoon’s flight to London.
Our aircraft at the gate getting ready to operate OS455 to LHR
Sadly when our aircraft arrived, I groaned in dismay as it turned out to be the exact same B737 that brought us to London 3 days previously. Arrghh!
It was nice to see the B737 in Austrian colours, but the interior was still very much revealed its past with Lauda Air, with the seats being grey coloured.
Boarding was called on time. This is the view from 22A. It was still raining when we boarded. Goodbye Flughafen Wien!
Once all were aboard, and the flight was full, there were no delays and we pushed back for our short taxi to the runway. I can’t recall which runway we used, but perhaps VIE spotters will be able to tell from the location of the pics.
We had a flight time of just over 2 hours to London this afternoon, climbing out and getting a great view of the Austrian Alps on the left hand side, passing over Salzburg before heading in a more north-westerly direction.
Climbing out of VIE
Nice views of the Alps
Service on Austrian in 2010?
Service was very basic - just one drinks run and a rather stale sandwich. Not very impressive, and it was markedly different to the service I experience on OS 7 years ago flying between VIE and LHR. OS really seemed to have gone downhill in the catering stakes in that time. Cost cutting was certainly evident.
OS cabin crew also weren’t as friendly as I remember them in 2003. They did their jobs politely but I never saw any evidence of genuine warmth or friendliness by the crew. I guess you get that with any flight these days.
Seat pitch was pretty good actually (I am 6ft 1” tall)
Reading material. A nice article on Armenia was the main feature
Over central Austria
The weather in London was nice for our early evening arrival and during descent, we had some nice views of the City of London, Canary Wharf, and the rapidly developing Olympic site for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Entering UK airspace
Circling to the north east of London
Over north East London, looking south toward Canary Wharf and the Olympic site
The Olympic site closer up - still circling !
Getting closer - over Canary Wharf with LCY in the background. We’re almost directly overhead of my apartment in London at this point
Flaps down for landing
Passing Myrtle Avenue with the spotters down below before making a smooth landing on RW27L. Was anyone from A.net down there on Sun 30 May this year??
Welcome home to London - KQ 772 at the gate at T4 awaiting its evening departure to NBO.
Taxi to our parking stand with Tunisair A320 departing off 27R
We did not have an assigned gate, so were bussed to the terminal. This meant I was able to get a couple of shots of the aircraft from the bus. Thankfully nobody told me to put my camera away although I was discreet. You never know these days whether you’re going to get told off for taking pics of planes at airports.
Another view of OE-LNR after the 2 hour flight from Vienna, basking in the late spring sunshine
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed with OS but I wasn‘t overly impressed either. They performed an on time flight, and the aircraft was well maintained inside and out. Seat pitch was acceptable, even though the aircraft had been previously in service with Lauda, and I imagine it was primarily used to operate charter services. However, the standard of catering was average, and the crew were lacking in any real enthusiasm. I would still fly with OS again, but I would not be expecting anything like the stellar flights I had with them in 2003.