I flew with Austrian Airlines in early September to the US. As I booked a ticket in business class (for the Vienna to US sector), it naturally came with the first sector being in business too. The reason I decided to write the report was to show what they offer on such a short flight in the premium cabin.
I arrived at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport well in advance of my scheduled departure time. The check-in process was smooth and efficient. Passport and security checks were very quick, and you get to use the fast track lane for both as a business class passenger.
I spent the next hour or so in the Business Club lounge. This is a Dufry operated lounge. Considering how crowded Air Serbia’s lounge is these days I preferred it here this time. While the Air Serbia lounge is nicer with better food and amenities, this one offers the basics you need without the crowd (at least on this visit).
Boarding for the flight began on time, and the process was organised.
The flight was operated by an Embraer E195 with a 2×2 configuration. Passengers in business have the seat next to them left empty. The business class cabin was full, with one passenger on each side of the first five rows. The passenger on the other side from me was traveling with someone so they moved to sit together. The cabin was clean. Seats are very slim, which is ok for such a short flight. The overall condition of the aircraft gave a positive first impression.
Once settled into my seat, the cabin crew offered a choice of newspapers and magazines. The pilot was communicative and gave all the necessary flight info. During the flight, a light snack consisting of a sandwich served on a plate and a selection of beverages were served. An Austrian Airlines branded chocolate was also distributed. One thing I do have to note though, Austrian offers a more substantial meal service on short haul flights over one and a half hours.
As it was a short flight, there was obviously no in-flight entertainment, but the airline provided a complimentary in-flight magazine, which increasingly seems to be a thing of the past for many carriers.
The cabin crew on this Austrian Airlines flight were attentive and professional. They conducted the service with a smile and the overall atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.
The flight arrived at Vienna International Airport on schedule. Disembarkation was via the stairs and onto the bus.
My experience on Austrian Airlines from Belgrade to Vienna was positive. Would I book business class just for this short trip? Definitely not. There is literally no point in my opinion. The only difference to economy is a sandwich and a free drink. You disembark with everyone else and get on the same bus, so there is no advantage in that respect either. Looking at the fares for point to point travel in business on this route, I don’t really think it justifies the overall service. However, I assume many transfer passengers do use their business class on this short sector, after all there were 10 passengers in business on this flight.
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