What is Austrian Airlines like on a mid-haul flight in economy class?
My business partner, John, and I spent a weekend in Yerevan, Armenia last month. We were in Vienna earlier in the week, so the nonstop Austrian flight from VIE to EVN made the most sense. We booked for 15,000 United miles each in economy class.
Business class would have been an extra 10,000 miles, but I figured 1.) the seat is the same, 2.) I already had lounge access, and 3.) we would be eating dinner just before the flight. So the upgrade did not make sense.
Vienna International Airport is such an easy airport to navigate. Check-in (John had to check a bag), security, and passport control took only a few moments. I’ll review the Austrian lounge in a separate post.
Boarding commenced precisely on schedule with business class passenger and Star Alliance Gold members invited to board first.
Austrian Airlines 641
Vienna (VIE) – Yerevan (EVN)
Friday, August 16
Depart: 10:35 PM
Arrive: 03:45 AM+1
Duration: 03hr, 10min
Distance: 1,479 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 25C (Economy Class)
I’ll start with the seats and the following warning: these slimline seats are very uncomfortable. By the time we reached Yerevan three hours later, I could not wait to get off. The seats do recline slightly, but the lack of padding makes for an uncomfortable flying experience on flights longer than 60-90 minutes. But that’s hardly a unique experience to Austrian. Seat pitch is 30 inches.
Notice that the only difference in business class hard product is that the middle seat is blocked:
A sticker on the aircraft fuselage indicated wi-fi internet would be available, but it did not function. There are no in-seat power ports.
But Austrian does a few things right.
First, I appreciated the pillows and blankets, both of which were better than many airlines offer in economy class. Heck, United does not even offer pillows in domestic first class except on premium transcontinental flight.
That said, it was roasting outside and the cabin was not overly cool…not exactly heavy blanket weather.
Second, I appreciated the meal, as small as it was. A vegetarian cheese pasta with cake and bread was served after takeoff. Talk about a load of carbs! Passengers were not offered a choice of meal.
Flight attendants came around before the meal and also about 90 minutes before landing with a beverage serevice.
Finally, the lavatory was very clean…these pictures are toward the end of the flight.
I appreciate that Austrian is full service in the sense that blankets, pillows, and meals are provided. But three hours really pushes the limit for this type of slimline seat. I’ll happily fly Austrian again, but ideally on a shorthaul route or on a widebody jet in business class…