Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Back Home in Style on Austrian Business Class

We were able to upgrade our seats to business class on Austrian Airlines from Vienna to Chicago O'hare, but unfortunately the second leg from Chicago to Orange County would still be in coach. We arrived at the airport about 2.5 hours before our flight left. After a very quick check-in and security check, we were through passport control in no time. The Austrian business class lounge was right next to passport control so we went there to wait until the flight boarded. The lounge has great views of the tarmac and it has some snacks and beverages. 

We ended up doing some duty free shopping for Kinder Bueno and the Mozart balls candy. All of the shopping is in one area of the terminal which is convenient. Once at the gate, they check passports and boarding passes and keep you in the gate area. Business class passengers were the first to board and I quickly found my seat after turning left from the boarding door. The seat itself is really nice and comfortable. Our plane was a 767-300 named Salzburger Festspiele.

The seat control panel looks like it is an LCD screen but it isn't. There were lots of bells and whistles. The seat itself does go completely flat. The only strange thing about the seat is that bottom cushion inflates every now and then on its own or at least mine did.

The entertainment system was very nice and the screen was huge. I ended up watching a couple of movies and some TV shows. They gave out noise-canceling headphones along with a nice amenity kit case with the usual stuff in it.

I really liked having both a window seat and an aisle seat. Having no one next to you is such a unique flying experience. This particular version of Austrian's 767 has 7 rows of business class with only 4 seats across in a 1x2x1 configuration.

After take off the chef came around and took meal and drink orders. I think he was the one who arranged all of the meal trays and the other flight attendants served it. It's a classy touch to have the chef on board.

On my side of the cabin, the purser was doing the serving. The amount of food was really plentiful. Just about everything was good and I really enjoyed the Austrian wines. Below is the first snack service.

The purser asked what I wanted for appetizers and I actually wanted to try everything. He had no problem with that and gave me some of everything. It was delicious.

This was the same consommé soup with dumpling that I had the night before at Cafe Landtmann in Vienna.

I ordered the chicken that was cooked in the schnitzel style. It was really tasty and I was practically full after the appetizer and soup courses, but oh well.

I thought it was very cool that Austrian Airlines has their logo engraved on their Riedel wine glasses.

After the main meal, there was the dessert and cheese course. I didn't take any cheese even though it looked great.

I ordered the kaiserschmarrn and the Mozart ball tarte thing. They were both outstanding. Because Austrians are so serious about coffee, there was a separate coffee menu after dinner. There were probably 14 different items on the menu. I ordered the Maria Theresia which was coffee with orange liqueur.

Once we were somewhere between Ireland and Iceland, the purser came around and drew my attention outside. We were flying over the Faroe Islands and he said it is a rare treat because they usually only see them once every 5 years because of the combination between the cloud cover and the flying route. The archipelago is incredible and the size of the islands made it look like we were flying very low. It was an amazing site. Later on our route took us over both Iceland and Greenland, but neither was visible because of the cloud layer.

This is a picture somewhere over Iceland but it is not visible. 

At less than 2 hours before landing we were served another meal. I chose the cold cut plate and the apple dessert thing was really good.

The flight and service experience was wonderful and it was disheartening having to leave the plane and get back to reality. Getting through customs in Chicago was very easy, but once again we had to use the train to change terminals to get back to the United Airlines terminal. This was the view from my seat at the United Club in Terminal C.

My experience in Austrian Airlines business class ranks up there with one of the best flights I've ever taken. Just about everything was perfect. 

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