Austrian Airlines flew its maiden flight, to London, in 1957 following the merger of two smaller carriers. In 1963 the airline commenced its first domestic flight and in 1969 crossed the Atlantic with its first service to New York. The airline acquired the cheeky competitor Lauda Air, founded by Formula One champ Niki Lauda in 2001 and another Austrian carrier Rheintalflug in 2002. The next year all three were merged under the simple brand; Austrian. In 2009 Lufthansa took over Austrian; however management and operations remain independent. Austrian Airlines operate short leg flights through its subsidiary; Tyrolean Airways. The airline’s network has contracted recently and they’ve terminated their longest routes in 2007 by ending services to Melbourne and Sydney. The irrepressible Niki Lauda has relaunched a competitor to Austrian with Air Niki. In 2011 Austrian begins services to Baghdad.
Austrian Airlines doesn’t make any great claims about providing the best service in the sky, the way so many do. Austrian provides an efficient service and crew do their job efficiently. They do not provide comedy acts, attempt to win friends and influence people and they aren’t exactly Milan cat walk models either. In fact, their uniforms are quite unattractive. Crew dispense meals, offer drinks on long haul flights and do their job – that’s it.
Austrian’s network is far more than just serving the needs of Austrians; they link all of Europe to the Middle East and beyond, while offering some very good connections to off-the-beaten-track destinations. Austrian Airlines serve five cities in Ukraine for example. New York to Yerevan (Armenia) for example is covered by Austrian. While other airlines shy away from places like Kosovo and Baghdad, Austrian is eager to fly there.
Austrian Airlines can’t and won’t match Air Berlin or the super discounters but they are competitively prices with peer airlines. The airline is a genuine full service carrier who’ll take care of you if something goes wrong when discounters disappear and hide. Austrian offers reasonable value and is especially good for German speakers with entertainment to erase the boredom of flying.
Austrian provides its customers with regular airline fare and they do not pretend it to be anything else. Clearly central Europeans demand quality in their bread rolls with their bread leaving American, Australian and UK airlines for dead. Economy meals are standard airline food served in aluminium foil trays or plastic while Business Class is quite sophisticated with very nice cutlery and china. The airline cannot be compared to the leaders in on-board catering but is better than similarly priced carriers such as British Airways or United. Even on short flights the airline provides catering, however meal sizes reflect the length of the flight rather than times of the day, so passengers taking a lunchtime flight to Brussels will receive the same roll and drinks that 4pm flight passengers get.
Austrian provide a modest selection of entertainment. Short haul flights typically have TV screens at the front or drop-down while long haul passengers can enjoy multi-lingual films from seat back individual video monitors. The entertainment unit also has games and TV shows to distract you. Austrian provide up to 12 movie selections in Business Class which is belittled by Emirates who provide literally hundreds of choices. Short haul flights provide newspapers and magazines while Long Haul has TV and the mediocre in-flight magazine.
Austrian efficiency is on display at their check-in counters. The airlines focus is more on efficiency rather than glamour so passengers can expect to be treated fairly, politely and their luggage to be handled correctly. Passengers, even in Business Class, will not be treated like Hollywood celebrities so expect no Red Carpet treatment. While ground services are relatively mundane, they typically also exclude any baggage dramas and ticketing issues are resolved speedily minus the argument encountered on cheaper rivals.
Austrian’s Business Class passengers are generally treated like businessmen rather than Royalty. The Business Class cabins are spacious and pleasantly appointed but cannot be described as luxurious. Meal presentation is naturally better than Economy but does not compare to restaurant fine dining. Austrian’s premium class seems designed to provide professionals with a relaxing trip aimed at preparing them for business meetings soon after arrival. If you’re after glamour then Austrian just does not compare with Emirates, Etihad or Singapore Airlines. Their lounges are nice but sterile.
Austrian delivers an ordinary Economy Class experience for its passengers. Flights are punctual, baggage is handled efficiently, meals are more than adequate with crispy bread rolls and flight attendants do their jobs. Seats are standard and the airline is not known for its generosity in excess baggage. In short, Economy passengers get exactly what they paid for and nothing more.
Austrian is owned by Lufthansa and they use the same Miles & More frequent flyer programme which is one of the world’s best; if not the best. However, as with all schemes a lot of travel needs to be taken before the benefits begin. As a member of Star Alliance a Miles & More membership will come in handy the world over. Miles can be redeemed on-line for anything from concert tickets to flight upgrades.
Austrian Airlines seems to be managed efficiency. Management is not an ‘old boy’s network’ as it is with legacy airlines like Qantas and the board is not staked with political appointees the way others, such as South African Airways are. Promotion is based on talent and skill. Austrian’s parent was involved in a dishonest price fixing cartel which does not seem to have involved their Vienna based subsidiary. Higher ethics perhaps? The airline cooperates with unions and employees rather than confronts them.
Despite operating in a highly competitive market where pressures to cut costs are strong, Austrian has not compromised aircraft maintenance like so many competitors. They have an excellent safety record with regards to aircraft maintenance, pilot professionalism and have not been targeted by international terrorists.
An efficient European airline providing a reliable standard service without, bells, whistles or dramas.
Home | Activities | Aeroflot | Aerolineas | AeroMexico | AirAsia | Air Austral | Air Berlin | Air Canada | Aircalin | Air China | Air Europa | Air France | Air India | Air Koryo | Air Malta | Air Mauritius | Air NZ | Air Tahiti Nui | Alaska Airlines | Air Vanuatu | Air Zimbabwe | Alliance Airlines | Alitalia | American Airlines | ANA | Ariana | Asiana | Austrian | Avianca | Bangkok Airways | British Airways | Cathay Pacific | Car Rentals | Cebu Pacific | China Airlines | China Eastern | China Southern | Cubana | Delta | Dragonair | easyJet | EgyptAir | El Al | Emirates | Etihad | EVA Air | Fiji Airways | Finnair | Flights | flydubai | Frontier | Garuda | Gulf Air | Hainan Airlines | Hawaiian | HK Express | Hotels | Iberia | Icelandair | Insurance | Iran Air | Iraqi Airways | JAL | Jet Airways | jetBlue | Jetstar | Kenya Airways | KLM | Korean Air | Myanmar Airways | Myanmar National | Norwegian | LATAM | Lufthansa | Malaysia | Maps | Nok Air | Olympic Air | OneWorld | Our Airline | PIA Pakistan | Philippine Airlines | Qantas | Qatar | Rex | Royal Jordanian | Ryanair | S7 | SAS | Saudi Arabian | Scoot | Sichuan Airlines | Silk Air | Singapore Airlines | Shanghai Airlines | Shenzhen Airlines | SkyTeam | Skywards | South African Airways | Southwest | Spirit | Star Alliance | | Swiss | TACA | Thai Airways | Tigerair | Transport | Travel Tips | Turkish | United | VietJetAir | Vietnam | Virgin America | Virgin Atlantic | Virgin Australia | WestJet | Xiamen Air |