Review: Austrian HON Circle & First Class Lounge Vienna Airport

Introduction
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For my return to the US, I redeemed 62,500 Aeroplan miles to fly from Vienna to Frankfurt to Newark, with the shorthaul segment being in Austrian business class, and the longhaul segment being in Lufthansa first class.

I got to the airport at around 8AM for my 10:10AM departure to Frankfurt.

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Vienna Airport exterior

I quite like the departures hall of Vienna Airport, at least for a medium sized airport.

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Vienna Airport departures hall

I quickly found the business class check-in area, where there was no wait. I had a bit of an odd check-in experience, as I wrote about in my post entitled “Passport Psychology.” 

Basically I spoke to the agent in German, but as soon as I handed her my US passport, she refused to speak to me in anything but English. But I won’t dwell on that too much (again). 😉

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Vienna Airport business class check-in

From the check-in hall it was a quick walk to security, and I especially loved the view of the Qatar 787 right by the checkpoint.

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Qatar Airways 787 Vienna Airport

There was a separate premium security queue, which I was through in a matter of minutes (certainly a more pleasant experience than at Manchester Airport).

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Vienna Airport security checkpoint

My flight was departing from gate F4, so I followed the signage in that general direction, past the duty free shops.

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Vienna Airport duty free shopping

It was actually a bit of a maze to find the lounge — it required going up an escalator and making a handful of turns.

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Vienna Airport departures hall

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Vienna Airport departures hall

Eventually I found myself at the Austrian Lounge, which had a modern yet neutral reception area.

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Austrian Lounge entrance Vienna Airport

Austrian doesn’t have a first class product, so I assumed at best I’d get access to the Austrian Senator Lounge, which is for Star Alliance Gold and first class passengers.

But as soon as I handed the associate my boarding pass she directed me to the separate HON Circle agent (where the red ropes are in the below picture), who said she’d hold onto my boarding pass and let me know when the flight was ready for boarding. For those of you not familiar with HON Circle, it’s Lufthansa’s uber-top tier elite status, for those who rack up 600,000 elite qualifying miles every two years.

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Austrian Lounge reception Vienna Airport

She then walked me into the separate HON Circle & Lufthansa First Class Lounge. Lufthansa and Swiss are well known for their first class ground services in Frankfurt, Munich, and Zurich, though I had no clue that they had a separate HON Circle Lounge in Vienna… awesome!

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge entrance Vienna Airport

As I entered the space, I was the only guest there. It was a really cute lounge, with a dining area in the center, lounge chairs with ottomans by the windows (there were obstructed tarmac views, basically), a few benches with dining tables next to that, and then some more lounge chairs with ottomans facing the TVs.

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge Vienna Airport

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge Vienna Airport

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge Vienna Airport

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge Vienna Airport

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport view

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge Vienna Airport

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge Vienna Airport

On top of all that there was a small business center with some PCs.

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge business center Vienna Airport

And then there was a relaxation area with two day beds of sorts.

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge sleeping area Vienna Airport

The lounge also had a small but high quality buffet setup, catered by DO&CO.

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Austrian HON Circle Lounge buffet Vienna Airport

There was cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheese, croissants, bread, fresh fruit juice, and then some scrambled eggs and breakfast meat.

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport breakfast buffet

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport breakfast buffet

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport breakfast buffet

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport breakfast buffet

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport breakfast buffet

In terms of drinks, there was an espresso machine, a well stocked fridge with beer, soft drinks, and water, and then a self serve bar.

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport espresso machine

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport drink selection

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport drink selection

There was a friendly and attentive server constantly roaming the lounge, and she almost seemed moderately offended that I didn’t want anything. So I ordered a cappuccino and had a glass of still water to start off my morning — I was saving my appetite for when I was onboard Lufthansa!

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport cappuccino

Across from the HON Circle Lounge were the bathrooms and showers, which seemed to be reserved exclusively for HON Circle and Senator Lounge guests (not Business Lounge guests, it would seem).

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport exit

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport showers

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Austrian First Class Lounge Vienna Airport showers

My flight was scheduled to board at around 9:40AM, though it was only around 9:45AM when the friendly agent came by to inform me that my flight was ready for boarding. Off I was!

Austrian HON Circle / First Class Lounge Vienna bottom line

Usually I know full well what my lounge options are when arriving at an airport, though for whatever reason I had no clue that there was an Austrian HON Circle Lounge in Vienna. So this lounge definitely exceeded my expectations, in terms of the setup, food, and service (both the server in the actual lounge, and the lady at reception who held onto my boarding pass and told me when my flight was ready for boarding).

Kudos to the Lufthansa group for offering this!

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Dang, on my last trip I was thinking of flying out of VIE! Didn’t realize they had great ground service there too!

  2. Yup – there is and in fact always was a HON lounge at VIE even before the terminal 3 opened. Back then in the old days (before 2012) the lounge had to be accessed from a completely different entrance than the main airport terminal and was rather exclusive (as only HONs were allowed and now also LH/LX First Class pax connecting in FRA, MUC or ZRH are allowed to enter).

    Too bad, Lucky, that you missed the dedicated HON Check-in/Security Check though!
    It is at the far left end of terminal 3 and makes for a super smooth experience (think of something you’d experience in FRA at the FCT and definitely worlds better than what LX offers in ZRH).

    OS also provides limousine service when departing/arriving from a remote stand (either as HON or LH/LX First Class pax). When flying into VIE one usually has to point that out to the crew so they can inform VIE and request the limousine. It is not as smooth and a routine as it is in FRA and sometimes a bit of a struggle to get…. ^^

    Come back to VIE soon to check out the HON/First Class offerings!

    Gerald / Vienna

  3. I was just in Vienna airport and the Austrian Business lounge last week.

    Then Austrian business lounge is decent, but in term of food I think the other priority pass lounge next to it was better. I got into the Austrian business lounge with my boarding pass, and the PP lounge with my Lounge Club card.

    What’s bad about the Vienna airport though, is that it has absolutely no electric outlet to plug your devices in in the arrival/departure areas. You either have to trek all the way to a lounge, or you can ask nicely at the information desk to use their outlets.

  4. Hi Ben-I used to fly several times a year internationally now not so much but thanks to you I get to travel the world and see really cool places 🙂 Good report!

  5. @neil s
    Maybe Ben has the up to date info, but according to a German documentary I watched a few years ago there were some 4000 HONs. Keep in mind though, the 300k miles per year (average over 2 years) requirement is completely different from those of US legacy carriers. For HON miles, only paid F/J flights in the LH group count — Y doesn’t count at all. The simplest case would be to fly 100k in LH/LX F (which counts x3 miles). So you can think of HON as the EXP of AA, except 100k all in F, and only on AA/US metal!

  6. I flew IAD-FRA in LH F, then FRA-VIE and on to my final destination. I was denied HON lounge in VIE. My flight in VIE was departing from a remote position and I really wanted a ride but no such luck. The attendant told me it was only for F passengers departing on F on arriving from F.
    The attendant at the FCT said they would send a telex to the VIE ground crew to keep an eye on me, but nothing happened.

  7. From the pictures it looks quite similar to the Sen lounges at VIE (though obviously less crowded). Note also that there are showers in the Business lounges also. In fact, of the last 3 times i was passing through VIE and needed a shower twice the Sen showers were closed and i was walked to one in the Business lounge.

  8. Hi ben. We call it the HONdehütte (As in Hundehütte 😉 ) – small but cozy.
    And there’s never more than 3-5 pax inside the Lounge. Glad u enjoyed my hometown. Next Time u’re around buzz me by txt to +436648231853.

  9. There is a designated HON/F-Class entry at the departure level at Terminal 3. Just the last entry door and then just to the left – looks like prison entry, but fine and you cut the line…

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