Really impressed by Austrian’s new business class!

Good morning from Tokyo Narita! I just flew from Vienna on one of Austrian’s newly reconfigured 777s, featuring their new business class seats. I’m thrilled to have lucked out with the new business class, since only one of their 777s features it so far.

The first thing worth noting is that their business class seat is identical to the one on Brussels Airlines, minus the colors. I flew them two days ago from New York to Brussels, and as some of you may recall I found the foot “cubby” to be far too small, to the point that I would have traded it for an angled flat business class seat.

As many of you pointed out in the comments section of that post, the problem is that I selected one of the “throne” seats, which is the single seats. While they’re extremely spacious in terms of elbow room, they’re tight by the feet.

Conversely, the sets of two seats have plenty of legroom and limited shoulder space.

Having learned from that, I got the best of both worlds today. The flight was reasonably empty, so I hung out and had lunch in the “throne” seat, while I slept in one of the sets of two seats (of which there were several open).

This made a huge difference. There was plenty of room for my feet, and I slept like a baby. Of course the catch is that if you’re not actually traveling with someone it would suck to be stuck next to a stranger on a full flight, since there’s very little privacy between seats. But I do stick to my opinion that these are among the best business class seats out there for couples traveling together.

As far as the rest of the flight goes, it was simply awesome. Austrian’s catering is done by DO & CO and the best business class catering I’ve experienced, possibly on par with some first class products.

And they also have a dedicated coffee menu. Yes, you heard me right, a separate coffee menu with over a dozen types of coffee. They sure know the way to my heart!

I’ll have more details with the trip report, though this product is a winner. And so is Brussels’ for that matter, now that I know not to select one of the “throne” seats.

The fact that Austrian has amazing business class award availability between the US and Europe makes this even awesomer.

And now, in true crazy fashion, I’m doing a direct “turn” to Istanbul. I can assure you the check-in agent wasn’t amused when she learned I was traveling from Vienna to Istanbul via… Tokyo Narita!

I believe Turkish has wifi, so hopefully I can share my thoughts of that experience from onboard… I’m globally yours, after all!

On a semi-unrelated note I listened to an entire Taylor Swift album on the entertainment system because I ran out of other entertainment options. Why on earth would anyone date her? Damn, she’s angry!

Comments

  1. RakSiam says

    Sad to hear the IFE is so limited.

    I am booked on their 767 in the new seats this summer VIE-IAD. 1-2-1 according to the seat map so it will be interesting to see how it differs exactly.

  2. lucky says

    @ RakSiam — It’s not actually *that* limited, I’ve just been flying a lot the past month, heh.

    @ Mike S. — Yes, they should have them all reconfigured by summer or so. They’re not putting them on any particular routes, but rather rotating them around. That being said, this site says whether your flight is scheduled to have the new business class or not (which is subject to change):
    http://businessclass.austrian.com/en/index.html

  3. says

    Awesome! Flying Austrian JFK-VIE on my honeymoon this summer. Should be the new business class… looking forward to it!

  4. FlyingDoctorWu says

    Wow looks great- is the seat pitch the same as Brussels Airlines? IT doesn’t look as cramped…

  5. lucky says

    @ alan — Awesome! Enjoy and congrats!

    @ JetAway — I am, though not in Tokyo — just turning around here. Doing one night in Vienna, Istanbul, and Warsaw, though.

    @ Matt — Tokyo is technically my turnaround (destination) point, though my time here is so short that it classified it as a connection.

  6. lucky says

    @ FlyingDoctorWu — Yep, seemed identical to me. Might look less cramped cause it’s a 777 instead or an Airbus 330 (given the wider cabin).

  7. Dan says

    Hi Ben,

    I think OS J availability has dried up this summer. My wife and I were going to return from VIE in mid-October, and had to move up the return a week. I can’t find anything on OS for early Oct, or Sept for that matter.

    TK J, OTOH, has pretty decent availability coming back from IST.

    (I’m traveling to IAD, and leaving from BCN.)

    Also, it looks like SN has loaded their new IAD-BRU flights with plenty of Y award space, but nothing in J.

  8. lucky says

    @ Dan — There’s no doubt availability has largely dried up, and I think that’s because so many people have been snagging the space. It’s not that Austrian started releasing less space, but just that people have been booking it.

  9. Mateo says

    Great pics and article. I’m flying NRT – VIE end of April in biz. Will all planes be done by then?
    You mentioned only one 777 so far.
    767 from YYZ-VIE may also have this fab new interior ? Don’t you just love the new VIE airport?

  10. Aleks K. says

    Argh, I booked my return from my summer trip to Europe to include OS71 VIE-YYZ specifically because their site promised I would be “enjoying the new business class”, but when I check now, it’s changed its mind. :(

  11. Autolycus says

    I’m seeing nothing from IAD or JFK available on OS in December. How far out do they release space? I know some are 331 days and others are 10 months. It could, of course, be that I don’t actually know how to use the ANA tool correctly. :-/

  12. Jill says

    Nice! I’m flying Austrian back from my wedding this summer and I think we’ll be in the new seats. Yay!

  13. Shimon says

    I’ve selected a single seat for an upcoming BKK-VIE flight and i’m 6’2. How do these compare with LX’s throne seats? I flew LX last year and can’t remeber legroom being an issue.

    thanks

  14. lsed says

    Lucky, since you’ve flown could you give some insight.

    I’m from Singapore, and a good buddy of mine is from Austria.

    He insists that this is the best long haul business class available today (even though he only flies LH F)
    Do und Co catering, with on board chef, huge screen, etc… …

    While I feel SQ’s business class is not too bad (albeit 6+ years old now), I’ll like to know how this OS’s new cabin compares in terms of the seats, service and the catering.

    Thanks very much!

  15. wwk5d says

    Lucky, just curious, what is the cabin layout by rows? Swiss alternates between 1-2-1 and 2-2-1, was curious how Austrian and Brussels compares…

  16. lucky says

    @ Aleks K. — There’s a chance it’ll switch back, so I wouldn’t be too worried… yet.

    @ Autolycus — They just don’t seem to release space that far out. I see a lot more space about eight months out than 11 months out, for example. I’d be patient.

    @ Shimon — Hmmm, I haven’t done the throne sweet on Swiss. Id assume it’s similar, but have no firsthand experience.

    @ lsed — I definitely don’t think it’s the best longhaul business class in the world. I think both Cathay Pacific and Singapore still have a leg up on Austrian’s new business class.

    @ wwk5d — It alternates between 2-2-2 and 1-2-1, though because of the way the seats are staggered it doesn’t feel tight at all.

  17. autolycus says

    @lucky, thanks. That’s good to know. For the trip I’m planning in December, I will probably just go on and book with Skymiles since there is some availability showing on good flights for the destinations we’re considering. Since I’m in ATL, I don’t have to worry about the domestic legs except for the one potential route ATL-JFK-PRG, and both AF and KLM are surprisingly showing good availability ATL-CDG and ATL-AMS or return in December. Whether it’ll book . . .

    But definitely good to know the time table for their release of space, since I might also be trying to get to VIE or further east in Europe in spring 2014. ATL-IAD-VIE is just as convenient as ATL-FRA-VIE, ya know?

  18. Michael says

    Austrian much better than Lufthansa. Just a small airline trying to make it even after it got swallowed up by seee Germans. Lufthansa is just an ugly assembly line product.

  19. Aleks says

    @lucky — Thanks, this is what I am hoping too. I check every so often to see if I get the “congratulations” message. :)

    As an alternative, I may be able to snag new LH J FRA-IAD on the 747-8i or the new SN J BRU-IAD. I think you’ve flown both, so any preference?

  20. lucky says

    @ Aleks — I’d choose either over Austrian’s old business class, with a slight preference for Lufthansa maybe because I love the 747-8i. But if it’s Austrian’s new business class I think that’s the best bet.

  21. Cheryl says

    Looking good. Itching to try it now.

    Taylor Swift sounds like torture. I’ve yet to sit through her angry musings completely. Hope it didn’t ruin the flight experience too much ;)

  22. M says

    Are the seats between the isles ok as far as leg space? If so, they would be the best bet for solo travelers.

  23. John Grasty says

    Re: the OS availability,

    I’ve noticed that they are not releasing it for the JFK-VIE route that far out. I’ve not counted the days, but yesterday July 23 was the latest available; today it is July 24. If tomorrow has available on July 25, that may indicate a pattern.

  24. lucky says

    @ M — Yep, the ones with two sets of seats did have plenty of room, so I’d definitely recommend them.

  25. maguro says

    flying YYZ VIE but OS Biz not configured in May from YYZ, however found a biz ticket ORD-VIE, so was able to book on aeroplan points
    hope 4 hour stopover is worth it for retrofitted Biz class

  26. says

    Awesome pics and review! Great to get some first hand knowledge, I’m hoping to fly on OS BKK-VIE in J class in July and experience myself.

  27. Daniel Politeski says

    Great article.

    I had a question, that I guess should be self explanitory based on what you have written.

    I am a 6’4″ big guy, currently I am booked in the “throne” seat to go from Vienna to Tokyo. I am wondering how bad it is with the little foot cubby in the throne seat. usually I try to sleep on my side, would that help with the smaller foot cubby or would it make it more difficult. I am just wondering if I should switch to the 2 seat config versus throne. I am travelling by myself. Thanks.

  28. lucky says

    @ Daniel Politeski — It’s really tough to say. You’d be giving up “personal” space in favor of a bit more “foot” space. I’d say keep the throne seat and hope that the flight isn’t too full, and then you can always switch to another seat aboard if there’s room.

  29. Kai 2 says

    Great pics, thank you! I will be flying the new Austrian Business Class from VIE to BKK this month (single traveller, so it’ll be a “Throne Seat” ;-)). Would you prefer the larger compartment (rows 1-7) or the smaller compartment (rows 8-10)? Where do they put famlies travelling with little children? They are my favourite travel fellows ;-) So far I have 5K going to BKK and 9A coming back.

  30. lucky says

    @ Kai 2 — I didn’t really notice a big difference between either cabin. I’d probably go with the forward cabin so you’re served first, but really can’t go wrong either way.

  31. Sheila says

    My husband will be flying to Athens next August 2014. Will our plane have the new business class seating?
    We wonder if the two ‘blue’ seats in the foreward cabin are your suggested seats for us as there was no key to your article?
    Thanks for your very informative text.

  32. says

    @ Sheila — Yes, all Austrian longhaul aircraft now feature the new business class. In your shoes I’d probably choose any two seats next to one another on the side of the aircraft.

  33. Chris says

    How is the clearance getting into and out of the Throne Seats for a normal-sized person? All of the photos make it look like the gap between Throne armrest and the seat in front is tight. I’ve also read the seats are pretty narrow for the class. How do they compare to the new LH J seat?

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