On the way home from Berlin I used an award ticket from my United miles to travel Business Class on Austrian Airlines. This was rather an odd routing as effectively I spent time going in the wrong direction.
Having visited the Lufthansa Senator Lounge I ambled down to the gate that Austrian was using for this flight – 15. This is in the main part of Tegel which means that Security happens at the gate. As the flight was within Schengen there was no passport control.
We boarded on time with Business class asked to board first. Make sure you take your newspaper from the trolley just outside the plane.
We boarded on time and I took my seat in 2D.
Austrian has the painfully thin seats that airlines seem to favour these days. Their gesture to Business Class is that the middle seat is left empty.
The legroom was fine as there was no one in the row in front and so there were no reclining issues.
Shortly after take off the crew began the service, from the trolley, offering a wide range of drinks and a hot meal:
I cannot praise this beef and gnocchi combination too highly. Tasty and full of flavour it make a huge change from the intra-Europe meals I am used to with British Airways. These (BA’s) are almost always cold.
The crew finished with a round of tea and coffee.
We arrived at the new pier in Vienna but had to walk back in to the terminal to get to the non-Schengen part of the airport where my flight from London would leave.
I popped in to the non-Schengen lounge, after passport control, for a few minutes. They had a good selection of hot and cold food items:
The lounge has plenty of seating, free WiFi and its own bathrooms. Divided in to Business and Senator lounges, I was allowed in the Senator lounge as a Star Alliance Gold Member.
I left in plenty of time to get to my gate, although you could see my plane from the lounge. In fact it appeared that my outbound plane was the same aircraft as the inbound.
Oddly, at the gate we were told that we would be bussed to the gate.
As is typical with UK flights there is a passport check before you start boarding. However, this has been set up at the gate with the staff initially the boarding passes of those they had seen. As I had an electronic boarding pass on my phone this posed a problem, so I went and collected a paper one from the agent which was then dutifully initialled by the agent.
At boarding time, using the Automatic Gates, the boarding passes had to be checked again to see if they had the magic mark from the earlier check.
We proceeded down two stories of the terminal and boarded the same plane that had brought me from Berlin. Even the same flight attendants!
The meal this time was not as nice. The cabin was full and we had a little shift round to allow a last-minute upgrade to sit with his kid. The meal was a salad with a hot chicken skewer:
It was tasty but I would happily have settled for the gnocchi.
Arrival at Heathrow Terminal 1 was on time and we had the long walk to Immigration which was not busy – at least partly due to a number of airlines moving from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2. Austrian is due to go on 1 October 2014.
Two perfectly good flights where the food was the highlight. How often do you get to say that?