I was excited to fly Austrian Airlines business class between Los Angeles and Vienna this past summer. My family was traveling to Istanbul for my cousin’s wedding and I was able to redeem a combination of 70,000 United miles and 57,500 Aeroplan miles per person for me, my sister and two nieces. Since my nephew didn’t turn two until a few days after we arrived in Turkey, he qualified as a lap child. I simply added him to my sister’s Aeroplan reservation for $75 (though you can also redeem 10,000 miles).
Austrian Business Class Check-in
When connecting to LAX, we had the option of arriving five or 2.5 hours early. Something always goes wrong when I travel through LAX, so I felt better arriving super early. I’m glad we did because there was an issue with my nephew’s lap child ticket. Even though Aeroplan gave me a confirmation number, Austrian couldn’t find it in their system.
The Austrian Airlines agent was being ridiculously difficult. I asked if she could call Aeroplan to hash it out and she said no. I had to do that. So I called Aeroplan and ended up with the most helpful, patient agent I could ask for. Deb stayed on the phone with me for over an hour and a half, trying to sort it out. She insisted on speaking with the Austrian check-in agent, who refused.
I finally lost my cool and told her off – she was being unreasonable and I needed her to do her job and meet me half way. All she needed was to spend 10 seconds on the phone with Deb to resolve it. She finally did and still couldn’t match the Austrian confirmation number Aeroplan had on file with our reservation. This did finally motivate her to do something, so she took off to speak to an IT rep. About a half hour later she reappeared (with a much better attitude) and handed me the ticket. Crisis averted!
Austrian Business Class Seat
Austrian’s business class seat is nice and spacious. The seats are about 20 inches wide and lie completely flat. There were no mattress pads, but I found the seat to be very comfortable for sleeping. My niece fell asleep after take-off and just as I started converting her seat into flatbed mode, a flight attendant came around to finish the job, unfolding the blanket and tucking her in.
Some have reported the foot cubbie to be cramped, but that’s not at all the case in the middle seats. In fact, you could probably fit a carry-on bag in that compartment (though they specifically tell you not to use it for storage). It was very roomy and I’m sure taller folks would find that to be the case as well.
What I learned on this trip was that kids need their own seats – even in business class. While my sister swears she had a great flight and my nieces were total angels, my nephew had his moments. Right before take-off, he pushed his sister out of her seat and would not move. It took a lot of coercing, but we finally managed to get him to sit on my sister’s lap. Other than that, we had a very comfortable (and restful) flight.
The seat controls were located on the left side of the armrest. With the touchscreen, you could control the seat position, overhead light, and massage function.
Next to the headrest was the reading light, power outlets, and a compartment for headphones.
From what I recall, these were supposed to be noise-canceling headphones, though the noise-cancellation function didn’t work. That was perfectly fine, considering my history with noise-canceling headphones.
Austrian Business Class Amenity Kit
Austrian’s business class amenity kit comes in a soft drawstring bag. The label says “Schuhsackerl” which means “shoe bag”, but it didn’t contain any slippers. Instead, it was stuffed with a pair of socks, lip balm, moisturizer, tooth brush, ear plugs, eye mask, and toothbrush + paste.
Austrian Business Class IFE
The IFE had tons of movies, tv shows, games and reading material. I spent the flight watching Tully, Girl on the Train, and about an hour of Downsized (which btw is a terrible movie – halfway in it totally changes course and becomes an unwatchable clusterf***). I also started watching Donald Glover’s show, Atlanta, which has got to be one of the best things on tv right now.
Austrian Business Class Dinner
During boarding, the flight crew came around with drinks and pointed out the in-flight menu. It was stuffed into a pocket next to the IFE and it was pretty extensive.
I ordered the fillet of beef for myself and my niece. She fell asleep during take-off, so when it came time to distribute meals, the flight attendant offered to keep her meal until she woke up. I let her sleep and she woke up right after I finished eating. The FA did not skip a beat, bringing out the steak before I had a chance to ask for it.
The meal service started with peanuts, followed by appetizers. Unlike most airlines, Austrian doesn’t just give you one option and serve it to you. Instead, the FA’s come around with a cart containing all the appetizers and you can choose from multiple options. I’m one of those people who won’t order at a restaurant unless I’ve seen pictures of the food on Yelp. This set-up suited me just fine.
I got the samosa, seafood salad, and pretzel bread. You can’t fly a German or Austrian airline and not eat pretzel bread – it’s practically illegal. The bread was nice and soft and the crew made three rounds with that bread basket.
Next came the gingered butternut squash soup, which was bland but edible.
Lastly, the steak was served. The steak was a little on the dry side but the sauce was great and helped with that. My nieces are pretty picky eaters but they love a good steak. They both cleared their plates, except for the “potatoes” which were actually onions.
Afterwards, the FA’s came around with the fruit, cheese and wine cart. I passed on all three.
Dessert was served soon after. The molten chocolate cake was pretty dry. Again, the sauce made it edible and so did the iced coffee.
Austrian Business Class Iced Coffee Menu
Let’s talk about the iced coffee for a minute. Austrian Airlines famously has a 10-item coffee menu. Starbucks doesn’t even have that (I don’t count the runoff they serve as “coffee”). For an iced coffee addict, it really doesn’t get better than a 10-item coffee menu. After much contemplation, I ordered the Wiener Eiskaffee. It was delicious and really made me wonder: Why don’t we put ice cream in coffee stateside?!?!
The meal was served at a reasonable pace. I never felt rushed or like I was waiting excessively between meals.
About six hours before arrival, the crew came around and offered everyone cheese sandwiches. My niece took a bite out hers and complained it was too dry. I ate the leftovers and it was definitely bland and dry. Come on Austrian – at least warm up a boring sandwich like this.
Austrian Business Class Breakfast
The Australian Business Class breakfast menu consisted of two options: A “California style omelet” or two eggs sunny side up with bacon or fried ham. In addition, passengers could choose from a selection of fruit smoothies, bread and pastries, coffee, yogurt, muesli, cereal, and lots more.
I choose the two eggs, which were topped with chives and served with toast and a bowl of fruit. The eggs tasted pretty good, and not just for “airplane eggs.” The crew came around several times with a bread and pastry basket, which I skipped. No need to load up on carbs during a long flight like this.
Austrian Business Class: Final Thoughts
Overall, I had a great experience flying Austrian business class from Los Angeles to Vienna. The seats were very nice and spacious and the food was delicious overall. The staff was also very attentive and meticulous when it came to taking care of passengers. Whether it was keeping drinks refilled or promptly removing unwanted items off the tray table, they were on top of their game.
They were also patient when it came to accommodating the milk monster we had with us. My nephew drinks milk constantly and the crew had a good attitude when it came to the non-stop refills. Plus, any airline that has a dedicated coffee menu in business class is right by me.