Austrian Airlines – Premium Economy – Brief Review

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    The recent article on Austrian’s aged fleet has prompted me to write a brief review on a recent trip that I have done in Austrian’s new Premium Economy cabin. This came about as a result of Lufthansa’s MIA / FRA PE cabin being full, so instead I was routed MIA / VIE in PE with Austrian and then on to LON in Economy.

    As the article reveals, Austrian has a somewhat aged long-haul fleet. The aircraft operating my MIA / VIE sector was a B763 which rolled off the production line in 1992 for delivery to Lauda. Most B763s of this vintage have either been converted to freighters or have gone to the scrapyard. First impressions upon entering the cabin is the dated feel of the interior, notwithstanding that it has, of course, been refurbished. The cabin was clean. PE comprises three rows behind a bank of toilets. Curiously, neither the Austrian seat plans nor Seatguru show these toilets in that position. However, I mention this as they attracted a constant stream of people from Business, PE and Economy. If you happen to be sitting where I was – in the centre row bulkhead seats – the legroom is compromised by people queuing for the toilets. This occurred constantly for the first 3+ hours of the flight and then off and on throughout the rest of the flight. Whilst the bulkhead would otherwise be the seats to go for given the supposed extra space in front, these seats are much narrower than those behind by virtue of having the tv screen folding into the space between the two seats. I am of average build and there was precious little room between me and the armrests whilst I noticed another passenger in the bulkhead row literally having to squeeze himself into the seat. The bulkhead seats have leg-rests, the seats behind don’t. It’s some time since I’ve flown a B763 long-haul but one thing I did notice was the higher level of noise in the cabin as compared to modern day aircraft.

    I had been under the impression that the catering in PE was an uplift from Economy but the meals were Economy by most other legacy airline standards and on that basis, they were adequate.

    Overall, this was a disappointing flight. The aircraft type and age is a turn-off for me but I found the seat desperately uncomfortable to the extent that I had real difficulty in getting any meaningful sleep. Many airlines do PE nowadays and most make a reasonable fist of it – sadly, Austrian doesn’t.

    The onward connection to London was on a “relatively” new A320 – delivered in 1998!

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    STORMIN’ – Glad that you found our piece useful.

    Your experiences were on a transatlantic route.

    Imagine how passengers would feel if flying to the Gulf and beyond (to Asia/Afria/Australasia etc) or to Asia itself where Austrian would be up against Emirates’ A380 or newer B787s/A350s.

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    Recently I flew a couple of times LAX-VIE on OS in Premier Economy. Yes the 777 seems to be mature, just look at the last century lavatories. Meal/service, as on most OS flights, was above average, although I had to beg in the galley for an after dinner brandy. Entertainment such as movies was below average. However I was the limited pitch was disappointing. I measured: it’s only 5 cm = 2 inches longer than in regular economy class. Yes the seat reclines somewhat, yet owed to the minimal distance to the seat in front or behind its senseless. Reclining back, the person behind you bumps into the seat when getting up, respectively with the person ahead reclining, the monitor view is compromised. Spending almost double the price of economy, one expects reasonably more leg-room, not merely 5 cm.
    At least to me, it’s the legroom (stupid!) that makes the difference – legroom, legroom, legroom. Entertainment and meals really are a lot less important.
    Parent LH’s legroom in Premier Economy in A340 and A380 is 20 cm = 7-8 inches longer than in Economy, meals are comparable and it seems that LH has more movies loaded. Being Austrian I would prefer flying OS over the pond but not at same expense yet 15 cm less legroom.


    BluePacific – Maybe that’s a seasonal route for Austrian ? It launched non-stop service only last year. But for this month it appears there no longer non-stop flights (by any carrier) on this route.

    Austrian Airlines will serve Los Angeles from April 2017

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