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Transport : Airlines

In this trip report, I review the Business Class on Austrian Airlines Boeing 777-200ER in March 2018. This 10 hour flight was from Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Sri Lanka to Vienna International Airport (VIE) in Austria.

Austria Airlines (part of the Lufthansa Group) only operates one flight per week to/from Sri Lanka in the winter months. I have reviewed a number of Austrian Airlines Business Class flights.

Its flatbed seats are not the best in the industry, but Austrian Airlines remains my favourite European airline for flying in Business Class for the service, amenities and food, which is the best in the skies (similar to what you usually get served in First).

Within the Lufthansa group, which is made up of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines, Austrian offers the best Business Class.

The cost of my one-way ticket from Colombo to Vienna was 300 euros + 52,500 Miles& More miles, the frequent flyer program of Lufthansa.

Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and all other Star Alliance airlines do not have their own lounge, Instead Business Class passengers have access to the uninspiring Araliya lounge at Bandaranaike International Airport.

Business Class on Austrian Airlines’ Boeing 777s is spread over two cabins: a large Business Class cabin with 32 seats (in seven rows) at the front, with a smaller and more intimate Business Class cabin with only 16 seats (in three rows) in front of the Economy Class cabin. The Business Class cabins are divided by the main boarding door, a galley and two toilets.

The Business Class seats are in a staggered layout. 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 are in pairs. The seats enjoy decent privacy, as none of the rows quite line up. Most seats also have direct aisle access, except for the paired window seats.

Austrian Airlines’ Business Class cabin design looks beautiful, airy and trendy with a red-blue-white colour scheme contrasting with the dark grey seat covers. It looks fresher and feels more luxurious when 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.

Business Class Seat Review

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, 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, and a standard wired handset located below a flap in the armrest. The other armrest 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. 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.

Interestingly, the seats that do not have the ‘throne’ feature have a little more space for the feet, so are better for sleeping.

In its lie flat position, these seats are just 45 cm above the floor, making it feel like you are resting on the ground or in a coffin (because of the seat walls).

On a positive note, Austrian Airways provides excellent blankets and very good pillows, which all greatly improve the sleeping comfort.

What are the best Business Class seats on Austrian Airlines’ B777s?

The seats in the second cabin (row 8 to 10) are preferable since this cabin feels more intimate.

The single best seats for solo travellers 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 their neighbour to get access to the aisle.

What are the worst Business Class seats on Austrian Airlines’ B777S?

I suggest avoiding the window seats in row 7 and 8 because of the proximity to the galley.

I also suggest avoiding the seats in row 10, which are directly in front of the Economy Class bassinet seats (so you may end up being close to noisy young children).

Amenities

Austrian Airlines provides an amenity kit, with 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 (which you cannot keep).

Amenities

IMHO, Austrian Airlines has its meal service down to an art. The food comes from DO & CO, a catering company that has upscale a restaurants and cafés in cities like Vienna, London and New York.

The crew offers selection of starters, entrees and desserts through the cabin, so for each course, you can always choose what you want.

Finally, Austrian Airlines has hired an on-board sommelier to develop wine pairings for its Business Class passengers. You can also choose from 11 different types of Austrian Meinl coffee.

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 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:

Starter:
Mediterranean feta salad.

Main course:
Viennese style red pepper chicken, homemade spaetzle.

Also: Austrian chocolate cake, oven fresh bread selection, and freshly brewed coffee or tea.

A walk-up snack bar was also set up in the galley between the two Business Class cabins.

Entertainment

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.

Onboard WiFi is yet not offered by Austrian Airlines.

Austrian Airlines’ crew members are amongst the best and most friendly in the world.

If you are inspired to fly away, you should always check with our Luxury Travel Concierge before booking to get further discounts and free upgrades on luxury hotels and Business Class flights.

Don’t forget to also check out our luxury travel auctions for amazing bargains.

Review by my friends at Luxury Travel Expert