Austrian Airlines Business Class Chicago to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Schengen Lounge Vienna
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Vienna to Prague
Turkish Airlines Regional Business Class Prague to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul
Turkish Airlines Business Class Istanbul to Tokyo Narita
Park Hyatt Tokyo
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule Hotel
Swiss Business Class Tokyo Narita to Zurich
Park Hyatt Zurich
Oneworld Lounge Zurich Airport
Swiss Business Lounge Zurich Airport
Austrian Airlines Regional Business Class Zurich to Vienna
Austrian Airlines Business Class Vienna to Chicago
Vienna (VIE) to Chicago OHare (ORD)
Thursday, January 2nd
Duration: 10h 45m
I had already flown Austrian Airlines Business Class across the Atlantic at the beginning of my trip, and I was generally disappointed by the experience. The lauded food and coffee service was lacking because the airline failed to plan its staffing appropriately, and the actual service provided by the flight attendants was indifferent at best. This time around, my flight had the full food and coffee menu, and the food was actually quite good, but the service was absolutely horrid, and several flight attendants need serious retraining.
I was offered a pre-departure beverage and chose Austrian’s cocktail, which was okay. I settled into my seat, and everything about the hard product on Austrian is slightly better than that of Swiss, as it seems a little newer, the screen is better quality (although the selection is worse), the screen is a touch screen, and the seat controls are nicer.
I started noticing deficiencies in the service almost immediately with the onboard chef. He was the meanest, least helpful crewperson I’ve seen onboard a plane in any class of service. He was extremely gruff and curt, and he was completely unwilling to engage in conversation. I overheard people asking him for recommendations, and he seemed exasperated that someone would even bother to waste his time. He would also tell passengers things like, “I’m just the chef on board, I can’t help you with that”, and not offer to find someone who could help.
Beyond the terrible service of the chef, no one else on the crew seemed to be at the standard of an international business class product. I had to ring my call button multiple times to get trash taken away, and even when I would ring the button and I would ask the person to take certain items, they wouldn’t take everything so I’d have to ask someone else. If you needed to go to the bathroom during a meal service, they wouldn’t get out of the way, nor would they make room for you in the galley. And I didn’t get a single response to a pleasantry or a thank you.
Service aside, the food was actually quite good. The appetizers were all pretty tasty, to the point where I wouldn’t mind paying for that sort of food on the ground. I opted to get the soup, which I’d say was considerably better than the soup that I tried in the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and the chocolate dessert was probably the best dessert I’ve ever had on a plane. The entree was a little bit tasteless, though.
I was also able to enjoy the coffee menu. It seems more like a gimmick than anything else, but it can be a fun complement to dessert. (As an aside, I was a bad trip reporter and slept through the pre-arrival meal service.)
Overall, I really, really wanted to like Austrian given their great hard product and good food, but the service is the worst I’ve experienced in any international business class product. They have so much to offer, but I never felt the sense that the flight attendants were there to serve or make my flight more pleasant. I know that many others rave about Austrian, so perhaps I should chalk up my two bad flights to bad luck with crews, but Austrian will definitely be at the bottom of my list of airlines to fly in the future.