Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To Vienna on United and Austrian Airlines

This is my journey to Vienna for MLK weekend. I left on Thursday morning and returned on Monday. The journey began at Orange County Airport around 7:00am for a 8:20am flight to Chicago O'hare and then nonstop from there to Vienna. This is a picture from the United Club at John Wayne. 

The flight to Chicago was uneventful. The plane had direct tv but it wasn't free like it is on JetBlue. The flight arrived in Chicago after lunch time, but there wasn't much time to stop and eat anything because the Austrian Airlines flight left from the International terminal, which requires going airside and taking a train to switch terminals. After getting a boarding pass from the Austrian desk and passing through security there was less than an hour before departure. The Swiss Airlines lounge is the one that Austrian uses. It is tiny with some snacks and drinks.

This is our Austrian 767-300 named "China". I don't know if it's my nostalgia for Northwest Airlines, but I just love seeing red tails on airliners. I also love the the light blue on the engines of Austrian Airlines.

The waiting area was sort of chaotic with no queues of any kind. The odd thing about boarding was that just inside the the jetway area there was additional security screening. It seemed like they were asking non-Americans to see their passports. There were a lot of Eastern Europeans on the flight and I wonder if this is some kind of targeted action by homeland security. Once on the plane, I noticed the interior to be very new even though this plane was delivered 10 years ago. It had the 777 streamlined interior.

This is the legroom shot of the first row of coach class. Unfortunately, the lavatory was on the other side of the wall, which made it a little busy during the entire flight. There wasn't that much legroom and the wall made it difficult to stretch out.

Soon after takeoff they offered a snack. I had never heard of these things and I got some red wine to go with it.

A little while later dinner was served. The portions were small and the food quality was good enough. They came around a couple of times offering bread, which was nice.

I watched a couple of movies but I just wasn't tired enough to sleep because my body was on west coast time. About 1.5 hours before we landed, they came around with a hot ham sandwich and drinks. It wasn't exactly breakfast fare and we were to land at about 8:00am.

This is us coming in to land at sunrise. I was really surprised how dark it was even until about 7:30am. I guess that far north over Europe in the middle of winter, the sun doesn't exactly come up early.

Landing in Vienna and entering the country could not have been easier. At passport control the agent didn't even say anything to me and just opened my passport and stamped it. The entire process must have taken 40 seconds. There was also no line. I think most people on the flight were connecting to somewhere else because there were no people around at all. It was actually kind of weird. After getting our bags and exiting to the arrival hall, I noticed this awesome wall. It's a glass opaque wall but it also lists the arrivals. So cool. You can't tell from this picture, but it is a huge wall that is probably 8 feet high or more.

Stay tuned for my next post for more on Vienna...

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