Review: Shorthaul business class VIE -> CAI (with a lounge)

When my wife and I arrived in Vienna after our overnight Austrian Airlines flight from JFK we had a two-hour layover in the airport on our way to Cairo. We decided to spend it in the lounge, eating some snack food and taking a rest before our next leg. The airport was pretty quiet since it was early on in the day and the lounge was not that full. It had a host of amenities: food, drinks, magazines, and included a special area to rest. The chairs were pitched backwards with a noise machine going on in order to make sure occupants could rest. We took full advantage for the hour or so we were there.

The flight was pretty remarkable for a few reasons. Firstly, it was the traditional European business class wherein there were no larger seats but the middle seat was left empty for the two of us to have extra space. We were also given preferential treatment for meals and drinks. The plane, however, lacked in-flight entertainment options. They did give free wi-fi, however.

The food was adequate, mostly – definitely not as good as our international flight. And the seat was large enough but not much bigger than a traditional US carrier would provide. This business-class leg definitely did not feel the same.

It was a pleasant and short flight during which I ate and slept in preparation for a whirlwind tour of Cairo that was about to take place. It got us from point A to point B in moderate style, indeed.

Spring Break Review: Austrian Airlines Business class JFK -> VIE

Over Spring Break my wife and I had the opportunity to visit a small bit of Cairo, Egypt as well as spend a wonderful week in South Africa. In order to make sure that our time spent was of the highest quality I took it upon myself to make sure we had business-class seats on our flights so we could arrive rested and make the most of our time spent. Over the next few posts I will detail some of the time we spent on these flights, in lounges, and just in general in transit from April 7 Р18.


At the time I had just received bonuses from meeting minimum spending requirements for the American Expression Business Gold card, earning us around 80,000 Membership Rewards points. Additionally, we had something like 50,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points in our account, so I transferred them all to Aeroplan, knowing that I would only need 75,000 points each for a one-way business class flight from the US to South Africa.

I was able to find the following flights which – while not direct – still gave us a good view of some business class products and allowed us a nine hour layover to explore Cairo (something we have been meaning to do for some time).

Our first two flights were on Austrian Airlines, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, and an airline I had never flown before. I had done research to know that not only was their business class fully lie-flat and a comfortable product, but their dining service is one of the best in the world. We were not disappointed.

After going through security and finding our gate, we were greeted with signs for priority boarding and found our seats on the plane. They were nicely prepared with comfortable blankets, pillows, amenity kits, and headphones. There was plenty of space in the seat for my feat under the seat in front of me and the in-flight entertainment system was fully operational. Finally, there were plenty of places to plug in and charge my electronics.

Before we pushed back from the gate we were asked what food we wanted from the menu which, while simple, was robust in its taste. The chef came around himself (in his wonderful hat and clothing) to ask us what our choices were. One of the interesting choices Austrian Airlines has made is to bring around some of the menu choices on trays for you to simply choose from instead of bringing each dish out individually. It was an interesting way of ordering our food – it reminded me of dessert service years ago at the Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec Fin. Even after a brief sleep on the lie-flat bed, the breakfast service was quite tasty (although not as elaborate).

The last two comments I will make about this flight were that the bed was quite comfortable and completely lie-flat. There was a small pad they put down and the blanket was warm enough for us to sleep. There was definitely enough space for my arms. My feet were a little packed together Рbut I just thought of it as sleeping in a mummy-style sleeping bag and I was fine. I got about 4-5 hours of sleep and was pleasantly woken up for breakfast (they asked in advance). I checked my IFE screen before landing to see where our next flight was departing from (a very nice service, if I do say so myself).