My husband is a definite member of corporate America, and for him to actually take a vacation longer than five days it has to be a pretty special occasion. And when it is possible for him to do that, I do everything in my power to plan the flights and hotels to maximize our travel experience. Our vacation trip, which happened to coincide with our anniversary, to Istanbul and Malta in July was no exception.
After reading Lucky’s review of Austrian Airlines, and at the urging of a friend, our outbound flights to Istanbul would be business class on OS88 from JFK to Vienna, a Boeing 777-200. There we had a five hour layover before continuing on in Austrian business class to Istanbul.
While relaxing in the Senator Lounge at JFK, I snapped this picture of our aircraft being catered by DO & CO.
We boarded and found our Row Four seats, H and K. The business seats provide a lot of free space on all sides and a fully horizontal flat bed a little over six feet in length. The air cushion system allows passengers to individually adjust the degree of hardness of the seat from soft to firm. A crisp linen sheet was provided and the duvet had to have been the most comfortable and cozy I have ever used on a plane. The pillow was actually large enough to be considered a ‘real’ pillow.
The amenity kit was very basic and consisted of a little felt pouch tied with a red felt ribbon containing an eyemask, pair of socks, a shoe horn (in case your feet swell during the flight perhaps?), earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a very small single tube of body lotion. One thing that was a little interesting (strange) was that the inside image on each pouch had a decidedly ‘western’ feel to it although the images are of early 20th century Austrian moments. The amenity kit is produced by Formia and more information can be found here. Although noise cancelling headphones were offered, we used our own.
One of the really neat things about Austrian Airlines is the Flying Chef. The Chef on our flight happened to be a woman who actually did walk through the cabin and greet each of the passengers while delivering the evening’s menus. I was surprised to see that we were only given a regular menu and a wine menu. Austrian touts its Coffee House Above the Clouds as part of its stellar business class culinary experience. But, where was the Coffee Menu?
I managed to catch the eye of the flight attendant and mentioned to her that I was really looking forward to one of their special coffees. She looked at me, leaned over and replied rather conspiratorially, “If I were you, I’d wait until we land and have a coffee in the lounge.” And with that she sailed off down the aisle. What? Where was this coffee that everyone raves about?
I think at this point I was still holding out hope…
For dinner, I ordered the Potpourri vom Rauchererlachs (a medley of smoked salmon dishes) as an appetizer…
And the Crevetten Curry (prawns curry) with spinach and rice for my main course.
For dessert I had the Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) with warm vanilla sauce.
Everything we had was incredibly delicious, however, I was very disappointed that there was no dedicated Coffee Menu. And, to be honest, one of the reasons we wanted to try Austrian had a lot to do with the fact that the airline advertises the following:
In the coffee shop above the clouds Austrian Airlines will serve typical Austrian coffee specialities, such as an Einspänner (black coffee with whipped cream) or Melange (coffee with milk foam).
Indeed, that was one of the high praises that Lucky also had about his experience. He said:
“And little did I know the best part of the meal was yet to come. I’ve always wanted to fly Austrian for one simple reason — I’m a coffee fanatic, and they’re the only airline with a separate coffee menu. After dessert the chef came around the cabin to distribute coffee menus. Yes, coffee menus. I was in heaven.”
However, on this flight the after dinner coffee looked like this…
……and the Flight Attendant was right….
……we should have just waited until we landed.
So, final verdict? The hard product on Austrian Airlines is truly excellent. The meals and service… also outstanding. The entertainment system was great and had many new movies to choose from with better choices than most. The amenity kit left a little to be desired but was adequate.
However, I may never get over the fact that the coffee menu was missing.
Have you ever looked forward to a particular aspect of a flight only to be disappointed?