Last March, I enjoyed a sublime holiday in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa A330 Business Class Frankfurt to Male
- Review: Soneva Fushi, the Maldives’ original desert island hideaway
- Review: Soneva Jani, the Maldives’ most amazing resort
- Review: Shangri-La Colombo Hotel (Sri Lanka)
- Review: Wild Coast Tented Lodge (Yala National Park, Sri Lanka)
- Review: Aman tour in Sri Lanka: Amangalla
- Review: Aman tour in Sri Lanka: Amanwella
- Review: Austrian Airlines B777 Business Class Colombo to Vienna (today)
Today (June 26, 2018): Review of Austrian Airlines’ B777 Business Class from Colombo to Vienna.
On March 28th 2018, I flew Business Class in an Austrian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER from Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Sri Lanka to Vienna International Airport (VIE) in Austria. Austria’s flag carrier – a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group – only operates a once weekly flight to/from Sri Lanka in the winter months. Although its flatbed seats are not the best in the industry, Austrian Airlines is my favorite European airline for flying Business Class. The service and amenities are terrific, and IMHO, Austrian’s food is the best in the skies (similar to what you usually get served in First Class). Within the Lufthansa group – which comprises Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines – Austrian offers the best Business Class product.
Have you ever flown Austrian Airlines’ Business Class? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.
- Trip: Colombo (CMB) to Vienna (VIE)
- Airline: Austrian Airlines
- Aircraft type: Boeing 777-200ER
- Aircraft registration number: OE-LPC (name: Dream of Freedom)
- Flight Number: OS48
- Date: March 28, 2018
- On time departure: yes (10 am)
- On time arrival: yes (4.30 pm)
- Miles: 4630
- Flight time: 10 hours
- Seat: 5K
- Class: Business
In this review (more information & photos below my Youtube clip & slideshow):
- Cost of my ticket
- Araliya lounge at Bandaranaike International Airport
- Facts & figures about Austrian Airlines’ B777 fleet
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences (views, crew, lavatory)
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
The cost of my one-way ticket from Colombo to Vienna was 300 euros + 52,500 Miles& More miles. Miles and More is the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa.
2. ARALIYA LOUNGE AT BANDARANAIKE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Austrian Airlines does not have its own lounge at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, nor does its mother company Lufthansa or any other Star Alliance partner. Instead Austrian Airlines’ Business Class passengers have access to the uninspiring Araliya lounge, which is a contract lounge and also caters to passengers of other airlines (e.g. KLM, Qatar Airways). The lounge is basically a large room, with plenty of comfortable (but old-fashioned) loungers arranged around coffee tables. One side of the lounge features a mediocre buffet (serving hot and cold dishes, including a few Sri Lankan curries) with some dining tables on the side. There are also a few working stations with computers available. The lounge is in need of a refurbishment since the carpet and furnishings have a dated look. The best part of the lounge are the floor-to-ceiling windows which offer a great view of the apron and runway.
3. FACTS & FIGURES ABOUT AUSTRIAN AIRLINES’ B777 FLEET
Austrian Airlines currently operates a fleet of 83 aircraft, including:
- 5 Boeing 777-200ER
- 6 Boeing 767-300ER
The Boeing 777-200ER has a height of 18.8 m (62 ft), a length of 63.7 m (209 ft) and a wingspan of 60.9 m (200 ft), making it the largest aircraft in the Austrian Airlines fleet. It offers room for 306 passengers. The “Triple Seven”, as the aircraft is called in the airline sector, has a range of up to 11,500 km (7145 mi) after loading. It is deployed by Austrian Airlines on flights to Bangkok, Chicago, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and is also used in the summer months on flights to Los Angeles, Tokyo and Beijing as well as to Mauritius, Colombo, New York (JFK and EWR) in the winter season, and also to Cape Town starting on October 27, 2018.
4. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
Business Class on Austrian Airlines’ Boeing 777s is spread over two cabins: a large Business Class cabin with 32 seats (in seven rows) is located behind the cockpit, while a smaller and more intimate Business Class cabin with only 16 seats (in three rows) is located in front of the Economy Class cabin. Both Business Class cabins are divided by the main boarding door, a galley and two lavatories.
The Business Class seats are placed in a staggered configuration, a so-called Sogerma Solstys layout, whereby the foot compartment for each seat is located between and under the seats in front. The same layout can be found on Brussels Airlines’ A330, Finnair’s A330/A340, Swiss’ A340/A330, Delta’s B767, and American’s B767. The staggered Business Class cabin configuration on Austrian Airways comprises 10 single seats, while the remaining 38 seats come in pairs. The seats enjoy a high degree of privacy (albeit not complete), as none of the rows quite line up, so nobody is directly looking into the seat across the aisle. Most seats also have direct aisle access, except for the paired window seats, where the passenger seated along the window will have to climb over his/her neighbour’s legs to reach the aisle.
Austrian Airlines’ Business Class cabin design looks beautiful, airy and quite trendy with a red-blue-white color scheme contrasting with the dark grey seat covers. It definitely looks much fresher and feels more luxurious as compared to the design aboard its Lufthansa Group sister company Swiss, which uses the same layout (read here my trip report onboard a Swiss B777). If you have a choice, fly Austrian, not Swiss: although Swiss still has the reputation of being Europe’s best airline, IMHO, it is outclassed (in almost every aspect) by its little Austrian sibling.
Click here for the seat map of Austrian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER.
5. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
I had chosen seat 5K for the 10 hour flight from Colombo to Vienna.
All Business Class seats feature the same dimensions: 152 cm (60 inches) in pitch, a width of 50 cm (19,5 inch), and a 180 degree recline. All seats have at least one large work surface on the side (where you can set up your laptop), with all single seats and some paired seats featuring this work space on both sides (a so-called ‘throne seat’). One side of the seat features a power port with international adapters, a personal reading lamp (at eye level), and a standard wired handset located below a flap in the arm rest. The latter controls the volume of the IFE (inflight entertainment) system, attendant call, overhead light, and monitor standby. The other arm rest holds the seat controls to adjust the seat position (from take-off position to fully flat) and firmness of the cushion (which includes a massage function), as well as the fold-out meal tray (which is hard to get out). In front of the seat, there’s a large, high quality entertainment screen (more on that below) and a foot compartment.
The seat is comfortable when you are sitting upright, but it’s a somewhat different story in its lie-flat position. Although it’s a 180 degree recline, the seat and your lower legs descend into a space carved out for it in the seat(s) in front, below the entertainment screen. This foot compartment is quite narrow, making it hard to switch position during your sleep while not waking up, as your legs will constantly hit the walls (although the seats that do not have the ‘throne’ feature have a little more space for the feet, hence making for a more comfortable sleep). In addition, in its lie flat position, the seat is just 45 cm (17 inch) above the floor, making it feel like you are resting on the ground or in a coffin (because of the seat walls), and making it very uncomfortable getting in and out to go to the restroom. On a positive note, Austrian Airways provides excellent blankets and very good pillows, which all greatly improve the sleeping comfort (and somewhat compensate for the not so good lie-flat seats).
What are the best Business Class seats on Austrian Airlines’ B777s? Click here for a seat map.
- The seats in the second cabin (row 8 to 10) are preferable since this cabin feels more intimate.
- The single best seats for solo travelers are the single seats (all of them are ‘throne seats’ on the B777).
- Travel companions should go for the paired, middle seats, which all have direct aisle access. There are also paired window seats in rows 2, 4, 6 and 10, but here the passenger in the window seat will have to jump over his/her neighbour’s feet to get access to aisle.
What are the worst Business Class seats on Austrian Airlines’ B777S? Click here for a seat map.
- I suggest to avoid the window seats in row 7 and 8 since the proximity to the galley may be bothersome.
- I also suggest to avoid the seats in row 10, which are directly in front of the Economy Class bassinet seats (so you may end up being close to young children).
Austrian Airlines provides excellent amenities to its Business Class passengers:
- An amenity kit, which comes under the form of a redesigned version of Austrian Airlines’ established ‘Schuhsackerl’ (shoe bag). Its content features travel essentials such as socks, sleeping mask, shoehorn, toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, and cosmetic Edition Edelweiss items (moisturizer and lip balm) by Sin.
- A comfortable, thick pillow.
- A stylish and comfortable, high-quality blanket.
- Noise cancelling headphones (you cannot keep these as the crew collects them before landing).
IMHO, Austrian Airlines has its meal service down to an art. First, the food comes from DO & CO, a catering company that has upscale restaurants and cafés in cities like Vienna, London and New York. Second, the crew rolls a selection of starters, entrees and desserts through the cabin, so for each course, you can always choose what you want. Then, to make certain the delectable dishes are complimented by the perfect drinks, Austrian Airlines has hired an on-board sommelier to develop wine pairings for its Business Class passengers. And finally, when you need a caffeine kick (and who doesn’t on those long international flights?), you get to choose from 11 different types of Austrian Meinl coffee. So, my expectations were very high, and Austrian did not disappoint.
Lunch was served after takeoff, and I choose the following items from the menu:
- Antipasta from the trolley:
- chicken curry salad
- traditional air-dried beef ham / mountain cheese
- grilled vegetables
- smoked eggplant salad
- salmon tartare / pine nuts with rosemary
- traditional black pudding pastries /herb dip
- Viennese style potato soup with rey bread croutons
- Main course: grilled prawns, homemade pappardelle, light tomato sauce, and fresh parmesan
- Dessert: cheese and exotic fruits from the trolley, double nougat tart, raspberry sorbet, and sweet curd soufflé crepes
A second, lighter meal was served 2 hours prior to landing:
Each seat features a private 15 inches (38 cm) entertainment touchscreen. The entertainment program offers a decent selection with a total of 50 movies and 60 TV programs (these are updated on a monthly basis).
9. ONBOARD INTERNET
Unfortunately, onboard WiFi is currently not offered by Austrian Airlines.
10. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: Austrian Airlines’ crew members – with their bright red outfits – are amongst the best and most friendly in the world, and it was not different on this flight.
# SNACK BAR: between the two meal services, a walk-up snack bar is set up in the galley between the two Business Class cabins.
# LAVATORY: There are 3 lavatories for Business Class passengers: one behind the cockpit and two in the galley between the two Business Class cabins. The Business Class lavatory design is very simple. The lavatories were kept clean during the flight.
# VIEWS: during the flight, there were some great vistas of the Indian Ocean and the mountainous scenery above Oman.
11. MY VERDICT
- Araliya lounge (Colombo): 2/10
- Cabin design: 8/10
- Seat comfort (upright): 8/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 5/10
- Seat privacy: 7/10
- Food (quality): 10/10
- Food (quantity): 10/10
- Inflight entertainment : 8/10
- WiFi: not available
- Service: 9/10
- Overall experience: very good: 8/10