Austrian Airlines Business Class Flight 452 London-Heathrow – Vienna – Review
There’s nothing quite like the feeling that one gets upon arrival at the ticket counter, in this case in the in-transit area of Terminal 1 at London Heathrow, presents an electronic ticket, and is told that the ticket cannot be found. That having been said, the two Austrian Airlines agents I dealt with, Farouk and Eva, were determined to find my ticket and get me on my flight to Vienna. Despite the delay, I had ample time to enjoy the nearby Star Alliance lounge until boarding.
Boarding from gate 21, a short five-minute walk from the lounge, was quick and efficient and business-class passengers were invited to use the Star Alliance priority line.
When I arrived at the gate, the agent there, Maria, somehow knew who I was and greeted me by name very warmly. Boarding was well underway and I was one of the last to board. While the main cabin of the Airbus A320 was completely full, the business class cabin was relatively empty.
As I entered the aircraft, I heard the strains of Strauß waltzes and the fold-down video displays were showing sights of Vienna. It is a lovely way to board, in three-quarter time.
Austrian business class on the A320 is in a 2-2 configuration although technically it’s 3-3. Like almost all European airlines’ short-haul aircraft, the business-class seats are the same as in coach except that the middle seat is always blocked.
The Europa leather seats, designed and manufactured by Recaro, as well as the carpeting, are in a rather elegant shade of grey, set off by accents in Austrian’s trademark red. This includes the rather striking red seatbelts.
The seat design is so thin that it allows for the addition of roughly 8% more seats (one or more rows of seats depending on the aircraft) without reducing the living space allocated to each passenger.
The fact that the seats are closer together doesn’t really tell the whole story. The seats themselves use less padding and substitute a strong mesh that is similar to what is used in better office chairs today. The seat designers at Recaro moved the magazine pocket to the top of the seatback to provide for additional knee room and the seats themselves are more comfortable as well. Each seat is roughly 18” wide and a coat hook is provided at each seat.
As a result, passengers end up with more useable room than they had in the older configuration with a 32”pitch.
After occupying the seat for a little over two hours, I found it to be was very comfortable with excellent thigh and back support.
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