Austrian Airlines is part of Lufthansa Group‘s so called ‘network airlines’. So unlike Eurowings and Brussels Airlines, they present themselves as a more premium brand. Their baseline is ‘The Charming Way To Fly’. So: how do they live up to that reputation?
Text and photos by Nico
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The Austrian Airlines Business Lounge is accessible for all business and first class passengers on Star Alliance flights, as well as some other airlines partners Austrian Airlines works with. You can also access the lounge if you are a Star Alliance Gold Member.
During web check-in, Austrian Airlines also offered to buy access to the lounge, paying 35 euros per passenger. So even if you’re flying economy and have no status in their airmile programme, you can get in the lounge.
Austrian Airlines has two lounges in Vienna: one for non-Schengen flights and one for flights within the Schengen-zone. As our flight was to Brussels, we’ll review the latter today.
So here is the lounge entrance:
After showing our Star Alliance Gold Card, the lounge employee granted us access. Actually there are two separate lounges:
The right door was for first class passengers and Star Alliance Hon members, the left door was for business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members. We went to the business lounge. The interior looks as follows:
Travel blog One Mile At A Time reviewed the non-Schengen lounge before and called the interior very “Ikea-ish”. I couldn’t agree more.
There is also a corner with some lounge beds, for people who want some rest. These beds have the same pillows and blankets as Austrian Airlines offers on board.
There was a stand with news papers:
Foods and drinks
We’ve visited the lounge in the early afternoon, so there was a lunch setup at the food counter. There were two sorts of soup, some salads, fruits, desserts and a mix of sweet and salty snacks.
And of course in Austria: there were sausages.
We’ve tried a few things, and I can’t say the food tasted incredible. It was okay at best.
And then to the drinks. Let me start with the positive part: there was a separate display with Almdudler, a local Austrian soft drink. I thought this to be a nice touch:
There was a coffee machine:
As Vienna is world famous for its Wiener Mélange and Austrian Airlines even has ‘barista service’ on their long haul business class, this coffee machine was definitely a disappointment.
There were also some wines, and it is of the same quality as their coffee: low.
Austria has great wines. They have an entire region called Wein Viertel (wine region), with great local grapes. And then, this is the red wine Austrian Airlines offers in its lounge:
‘Red Blend’, seriously? Even on the back of the bottle, there was no indication on what grapes were in there whatsoever. I’ve consulted the Vivino app on my phone and the wine had a really bad rating. So I decided not to taste it. The other red wine on offer was French, which I found odd in a wine country like Austria.
The same goes for their white wine.
‘Small hill white’, and no further details. It didn’t taste great. There was also an Austrian ‘Grüner Veltliner’ wine that was very decent.
There was also a large offer of liquor.
All in all I would say the drink section is large, but nothing luxurious or special as you would expect in a business class lounge.
The interior, the food and the drinks were okay at best. It looks like Austrian Airlines didn’t really put effort in the lounge. I would expect more Austrian quality products in wine, coffee and even liquors.
A lot of airlines use their lounge as a visit card of their country. I can’t say this lounge makes me eager to explore Austria, and that is such a shame.
For an airline that should be ‘premium’ and that brands itself as ‘The Charming Way To Fly’, this lounge is definitely underwhelming. There is nothing premium or charming about this place.
Lufthansa Group’s little sister Brussels Airlines offers a way better lounge in their home airport, without being a premium brand within Lufthansa Group, so this makes no sense. If I had to use one word to describe the entire experience, it would be: “meh“.
I would never pay 35 euros to access the lounge. For 35 euros you can have better food and drinks in a better designed place in the terminal.
Austrian Airlines: step up your game.