Tried & Tested

Austrian Airlines Fokker 70 business class

27 Jan 2008 by Mark Caswell
FIRST IMPRESSIONS I arrived at London City airport at 0915 for my 1025 flight OS468 to Vienna’s International airport (often referred to as Schwechat airport due to the nearby town of the same name). Austrian Airlines began this new route on October 29, with twice daily flights (Monday-Friday) between the two airports. The evening flight from LCY departs at 2000, and Austrian also serves Vienna with five flights per day from London Heathrow (see other options below for more details).

CHECK-IN As always at London City, check-in and security were a breeze – if only all London airports could be like this. Checked baggage allowance for business class passengers is 30kg (23kg in economy). The departures board advised there would be a ten-minute delay to the flight, which was probably due to foggy conditions.

BOARDING There are no lounges at City airport, but we sat in the airside restaurant until called to Gate 3 at 1015. At Vienna airport, Austrian has a large, bright lounge for business class passengers, with a relaxation area, self-service bar and snack area, and wifi internet access throughout. Boarding of the Austrian Arrows-branded aircraft (the name of Austrian Airlines’ regional service operated by Tyrolean Airways) started at around 1025, and we took off at 1105.

THE FLIGHT Austrian plies the LCY-Vienna route with a Fokker 70 aircraft, configured 2-3 across. The plane has capacity for 80 passengers, but due to restrictions at London City this is limited to 70. The business class cabin is a flexible space, with the dividing curtain being moved forward or back depending on demand, but generally speaking I was advised there are about 20 seats in business class – on the right hand side of the aircraft (where there are three seats in a row), the middle seat is left unoccupied in the business cabin to give more room. On the outward bound journey to Vienna the business class section was fairly quiet, but on the way back on a Wednesday afternoon nearly every seat in the cabin was taken. A selection of magazines including The Economist and Newsweek was offered along with hot towels, before a lunch was served of antipasti, warm bread rolls, a chicken dish with a morel sauce and gratinated potatoes, and cherry strudel. Austrian Airlines has recently started using catering company Do & Co (whose other clients include BA, Emirates, Air France and Eos) in both its cabins and lounges, and menus are adorned with gastronomy-themed caricatures by the artist Erich Sokol.

ARRIVAL We touched down at 1355, having caught up some of the delay at departure (scheduled arrival time is 1340), and with a very quick customs and baggage reclaim process we were outside the airport by 1410. There is an NH hotel opposite the airport, and the efficient City Airport Train (CAT) makes the 15-minute journey to the centre of Vienna every half-hour (E8 single, E15 return).

VERDICT The proximity of both airports to their city centres makes this route a convenient way to travel from London to Vienna. Service onboard was welcoming and efficient, and regular passengers can earn loyalty points through membership of the Miles and More scheme.


Mark Caswell
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