While I flew with Austrian Airlines numerous times in the past, both long- and short-haul, it was always in economy class. As such, I was excited to have a chance to try the airline’s business class back in September 2020. Even though it was on a one-hour hop from Zurich to Vienna, I at least had a chance to try Austrian’s highly-rated catering provided by Do & Co.
Continue reading to see what the flight was like.
Boarding Austrian Flight 566 & Departing Zurich
After arriving from Tokyo, I headed directly through immigration and into the Swiss Senator Lounge at A gates which was the only open Star Alliance lounge at the airport. Once the lounge closed at 6PM, I headed back out into the terminal and did some plane spotting until boarding time.
One of the movements I saw was the arrival of an Austrian Airlines Airbus A319. The aircraft that arrived at around 6:50PM was, of course, the one that took me to Vienna an hour later.
My flight, OS566, departed from gate A62. Boarding started at 7:20PM, thirty minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time of 7:50PM. The process was rather disorganized with everyone boarding at the same time and no real priority given to any group of passengers, whether those needing assistance or those traveling in business class.
Regardless, I managed to get onboard less than five minutes after boarding started. At the aircraft door, I was welcomed by one of the flight attendants and offered an alcohol wipe. After grabbing one, I settled myself in seat 4A.
Not long after that, the first officer welcomed everyone onboard and mentioned that we were ready to go as soon as “documents are sorted.” The flight attendants closed the aircraft doors at 7:44PM and a minute later, the purser welcomed us onboard and mentioned that the flight time would be about one hour.
We pushed back exactly on time, at 7:50PM, while the flight attendants were performing a manual safety demonstration. With the flight taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone wearing masks, people were reminded to remove their face masks before putting on an oxygen mask in case of emergency.
A few minutes of taxiing later, we reached the threshold of runway 28. At 7:57PM, we took off bound for Vienna.
Austrian Airlines A319 Business Class Cabin & Seat
Like most other European airlines, Austrian Airlines uses economy class seats with a blocked middle seat for its intra-European business class. Doing so allows it to keep the business class cabin size flexible and adjust it to the demand seen on each flight.
In the case of this flight, there was a total of seven business class passengers occupying four rows of seats.
The seat itself offered decent legroom and was comfortable enough for a one-hour hop. That said, it was nothing to write home about. After all, it was a regular economy class seat.
Austrian Airlines Short-Haul Business Class Meal
Going back to the flight itself, the seatbelt signs were switched off just five minutes after take-off. At that point, the flight attendants started the meal service. While some airlines like Turkish Airlines cut down on their service as part of their COVID-19-prevention measures and only offer cold meals even on long-haul flights, Austrian Airlines offered a regular hot meal even on this short flight.
“Bitte schön, Mister Nukina,” said one of the flight attendants as she handed me the meal tray which included chicken with pörkelt sauce and a passion fruit dessert. Separately, I was also offered bread from a bread basket.
As for drinks, to go with the main, I asked for a glass of water. To go with the dessert, I had a cup of tea.
Overall, the meal catered by Do & Co was excellent and more than made up for the lack of a proper business class seat.
To give you a better idea of what the meal on your short-haul Austrian Airlines flight could be like, below is the breakfast from my flight from Vienna to London which I took a week and a half later. I won’t be reviewing that flight in detail as it was operated by an A319 as well and thus, other than the meal, was more or less identical to this one.
Arrival at Vienna Airport
While the aircraft was equipped with wi-fi, the log-in page wouldn’t load for me and so I wasn’t able to try it out. That was not a big deal, though, since by the time I was done with the meal, it was almost time to start our descent.
At 8:29PM, the seatbelt signs were switched back on, and a few minutes later, one of the flight attendants came to ask if there was anything else she could get me. About ten minutes later, the captain announced that we had less than fifteen minutes to go and that it was 20 degrees Celsius and clear in Vienna.
As we descended, we were offered some excellent views of the city.
We landed at 8:54PM, and reached our remote parking spot at 8:57PM, thirteen minutes ahead of schedule.
Austrian Airlines A319 Business Class Summary
Considering that this was just a short, one-hour intra-European hop, there wasn’t much that could go wrong. The seat obviously wasn’t great, but that is to be expected on short-haul flights with European airlines these days. The meal, though, was excellent – and especially so considering that some airlines have downgraded their service to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Overall, flying Austrian Airlines short-haul business class as part of my long-haul itinerary was nice. That said, it’s definitely not worth paying extra to fly business class if you’re only flying within Europe.