Austrian Airlines 777-200 business class Vienna to Los Angeles

01. Introduction: “Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”
02. United Airlines 737-900/ER economy class San Diego to Chicago (ORD)
03. Turkish Airlines 777-300/ER exit row economy class Chicago (ORD) to Istanbul
04. Turkish Airlines A321 exit row economy class Istanbul to Vienna
05. Moxy Hotel, Vienna Airport
06. Figuring out how to use the Vienna CAT train
07. Austrian Business Class Lounge, VIE
08. Austrian Airlines 777-200 business class Vienna to Los Angeles

Don’t you hate it when they don’t post the departure gate of your fight until the very last moment? Giddy anticipation about this flight got the best of me while I was sitting in the lounge pretending to be important, and I decided to walk down to the main terminal a good hour and a half before the flight was even scheduled to begin boarding.

Even before leaving the lounge I knew that the departure gate hadn’t been listed yet for the flight, but it was showing as departing from terminal “G” (with no other information) so I figured it would be fun to take a walk and see if I could find the gate myself. I’m never one to turn down an AvGeek-style adventure – especially if it’s an airport I’ve never been to before.

Unfortunately, I quickly became convinced that terminal “G” does not exist at VIE (seriously, it’s nowhere on the map) and I found myself hovering around the only 777-200 I could find – which happened to be sitting at terminal F. “This has gotta be it” I muttered to myself over and over, thinking that if I said it enough times then it had to be true. “It’s just gotta be.”

Lo and behold, my chanting worked because 30 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin they posted the departure gate and it just so happened to be the one I had been pacing around at for the past 45 minutes at here in terminal F. I love it when I’m right!

OS081
Vienna, Austria (VIE) – Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Friday, August 17, 2018
Aircraft: 777-2Z9ER
Registration: OE-LPB
Duration: 11 hours 45 minutes
Seat: 7K (business class)

Austrian Airlines 777-200 side view

Austrian Airlines 777-200 side view illustration by norebbo.com (my other online brand). [sales pitch] If you didn’t know, I am available for hire to create highly-detailed side profile illustrations such as this for anyone who needs them. Any aircraft, any airline, any livery! [/end sales pitch]

Austrian Airlines 777-200 seat map

Seat map of this Austrian Airlines 777-200 (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat (7K) for this flight to LAX.

vie-lax route map

Our route from VIE to LAX today: 4720N:10256W PICHO Q842 WINEN Q73 EEVUN Q73 HAKMN

And here’s the video for this flight – although I do recommend reading this entire review first, since the pics and words are much more descriptive of the overall experience (and it’ll make the video even better). Huge thanks to Epidemic Sound for the background music!

Vienna airport international terminal

Remember what I was saying about the Austrian Airlines business class lounge looking like a hospital? Well it’s not much better down here in the main terminal, and I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to get my cholesterol checked.

SANspotter selfie Vienna Airport

Standing here in Concourse F looking down at my ride home to LAX which (according to the flight information displays) is parked at concourse G (which doesn’t exist at all). Stuff like this is why I always carry headache medicine in my backpack, btw.

Austrian Airlines 777-200

A closer look at my ride home to LAX, which just so happens to be one of the remaining few aircraft wearing the old (and much hated) Austrian Airlines “blue” livery.

I’ve been traveling nonstop since I was in my early 20s, and I’d like to think that I’ve pretty much got things figured out – at least in regards to airports and airplanes. There’s not a whole lot that surprises me anymore, and it’s rare that I find myself in awkward situations where I’m faced with something new with absolutely no idea how to get through it without embarrassing myself thoroughly.

20 minutes before boarding was scheduled to begin, I found myself in one of those new and awkward situations. I noticed that other passengers were walking up to the podium here at the gate and having the gate agents verify their passports. It’s a common thing that I’ve seen happen at other airports all over the world (just as it happened before my Edelweiss flight from ZRH to SAN last spring), so I decided to get in line and have them check mine as well. So far so good.

Once I reached the gate agent and she verified my boarding pass and passport, she turned around and opened the barrier that was blocking the boarding area and asked me if I would like to go inside. I stood there like a deer in headlights not knowing what to say, because there was nobody else in the boarding area and it seemed weird that it was entirely blocked off – but somehow I was the only one invited to go in and wait. “…Or you could go to the lounge” she said, undoubtedly sensing my confusion. “Good idea!” I replied, figuring that was my chance to escape to somewhere where she couldn’t see me so I could collect my thoughts and figure out what the hell had just happened.

10 minutes later (after lurking in the shadows with one eye on the gate area trying to figure out what was happening), I realized that they were letting business class passengers into the gate area early, while economy class passengers had to wait outside. I totally wanted in on some of that action, so I confidently walked back up to the podium to see if they would let me in – even though I declined the first time. It worked, and I felt super-duper important sitting there in the gate area with just a few other passengers while everyone else had to wait out in the high-traffic hallways of the terminal. Business class travel has its perks here in Vienna I guess!

Gate G11 Vienna airport

Sitting here all alone in the gate area and…wait, what? Now I’m even more confused. As you can see, this gate is clearly labeled as a G gate, but I know for a fact that I am in terminal F. What the heck? I muttered confused obscenities to myself as I reached into my backpack digging for the Tylenol.

Boarding was delayed by about 10 minutes, but once they started the process of letting people on things went very smoothly.

Boarding gate Vienna airport

Boarding an airplane is infinitely more fun when you have to go up and down escalators to get to it.

Austrian Airlines jet bridge Vienna airport

Dang it, I guess I’m not going to be able to get a clean shot of the nose of this bird through these frosted windows. Oh well.

Boarding Austrian Airlines flight to LAX

I see red uniforms (a clear indication that this will be one of my best flights ever).

Austrian Airlines 777-200 business class seat

There it is: seat 7K, which is a single seat in the very last row next to the galley. I hope it’s a good one, because it’s mine for the next 12 hours!

Austrian Airlines business class seat review

A fine looking business class seat it is, though there isn’t much privacy and I’m gonna be mortified if anyone catches me watching something silly like “Dancing with the Stars” (or worse).

Austrian Airlines 777-200 business class cabin

Austrian Airlines 777–200 business class cabin. It kind of looks as if that woman on the far left is highly disappointed that she can still see the guy next to her. These seats are definitely not private!

My immediate first impressions of Austrian Airlines business class on the 777 were  quite good. The seats looked very spacious and comfortable, though I will admit that I had fleeting thoughts of being a bit too “out in the open” and not as sheltered as I would have preferred, but overall it looked like a really snazzy business class configuration.

Austrian Airlines 777-200 business class leg room

Despite the lack of privacy, leg room was quite generous and the overall layout reminded me of JetBlue Mint. Maybe that’s why I was feeling like drinking something green with a mint leaf protruding out of the top?

Austrian Airlines business class video entertainment

I wonder if it’s possible to watch the SANspotter YouTube channel on this bad boy? I’ve heard it’s quite good…

Austrian Airlines last row of business class

A quick look directly across the aisle, and you can see that I’m basically right next to the galley. Let’s just hope that they cook up some good smelling food on this flight!

Austrian Airlines 777-200 galley behind business class

At least it’s not a lavatory, right? As horrible as that would have been, I’m kind of wishing that it happened because it would have made this trip report a billion times more entertaining.

Austrian Airlines 777–200 business class seat details

Power ports, a reading light, and an illuminated cubby space that I knew for a fact that I wasn’t going to put anything in (because it would guarantee that I would forget about it and leave it behind after the flight).

Austrian Airlines 777-200 business class seat controls

You know how the James Bond car always has that flip up armrest with all the fancy buttons for rocket launchers and smoke bombs inside? That’s exactly what this felt like, and I quite liked it.

Lunch menus were distributed as I was getting situated, which is always a bit of an awkward feeling since I like to take my time and get things put away just right before getting settled in and feeling relaxed. The flight attendants were extremely friendly though, and right away I was getting the sense that the service on this flight was going to be phenomenal.

Austrian Airlines business class menu

Austrian Airlines business class menu. What would you choose? And no, “everything” is not a funny response!

Austrian Airlines business class wine list

And here’s a pic of the wine list – even though I lack the knowledge and etiquette necessary to make an informative comment about it. “Bottom’s up!” is all I’ve got.

Moments after sitting down, one of the flight attendants stopped by with a tray of drinks. From what I could tell, there seemed to be two kinds of juices and champagne being offered. I wasn’t feeling like orange juice or champagne, so I chose the other “juice” – not really knowing for sure what it was. I really do live on the edge, don’t I?

It turns out that I was never able to identify exactly what kind of juice it was, but I do know for a fact that it was spiked with something strong, and I had a pretty good buzz going as we were waiting to push back from the gate.

Austrian Airlines business class pre-departure drink

I have no idea what this was, but wow was it ever potent.

SANspotter selfie Austrian Airlines drinks

At least they were keeping a good eye on me while I was getting hammered. lol

We ended up having to wait 20 minutes for connecting passengers to arrive, and in that time the flight attendants took the opportunity to take lunch orders. I was so buzzed that the choice didn’t seem like a big deal, and I believe I just pointed my finger and said something along the lines of “I’ll have that please”. Whatever showed up on my tray table during the meal service was cool with me. Hot towels came next.

Austrian Airlines 777-200 safety card

SANspotter travel tip: safety cards are a LOT more entertaining when you’re drunk, and I was almost looking forward to hitting the ground nose-first at 600mph. Wheeeeee!

Austrian Airlines business class amenity kit

Oh – and here’s the amenity kit. Just once I’d love to see an airline offer an extra little trinket or other type of fun souvenir which would help make the experience of opening the amenity kit even more exciting and memorable. If this full-time travel blogging thing doesn’t work out, I’m totally going to start my own airline and fill the amenity kits with toys.

The purser also took the opportunity to walk through the cabin and personally greet every passenger. And exactly as it happened on my Korean air A380 business class flight from ICN to LAX several years ago, there was a bit of a language barrier between the flight attendant and I so the greeting was brief and consisted mostly of awkward smiles and rapid head bobs as we pretended to understand each other.

Beginning of Austrian Airlines long haul 777 flight

Pushing back from the gate now, just moments away from getting this flight underway (even though I had been flying for at least 20 minutes now thanks to whatever it was that they spiked my drink with).

Austrian Airlines safety video

Sadly, the Austrian Airlines safety video is nowhere near as high quality and entertaining as the Turkish Airlines video. I miss LEGO Wonder Woman.

Austrian Airlines livery blue engines

According to what I’ve read on the interwebs, this old Austrian Airlines livery with the baby blue engines was the most horrifying thing ever. I don’t get the hate at all, because I think it looks really sharp in person!

Austrian Airlines business class cabin

I do have to agree with the fact that the light blue seems out of place though, because it’s not used anywhere else in the Austrian Airlines brand colors – at least not here on the inside of the planes.

Austrian Airlines 777-200 GE 90 engine

Yep – I’m convinced that the GE90 is one of the most beautiful man-made objects of all time. I’ve been tempted to go out and buy one of my own, but I’ve got nowhere to put it (and that’s probably a good thing).

Austrian Airlines 777 takeoff from the Vienna airport

Static pictures don’t do this thing justice. You have to watch the video (at full volume) to appreciate how amazing the GE90 is!

Departing Vienna airport Austrian Airlines

So long Vienna – your city (and your trains) are amazing, and I know that I’ll be back eventually.

I was still pretty full from that huge plate of eggs and bread from my time in the lounge that morning, but I was still excited to see them begin the meal service within 15 minutes of takeoff. A small bowl of cold nuts came first (I’m of the opinion that the pre-meal nut service should always be warm – not cold), followed up very quickly by the start of the lunch service – which came in courses.

Austrian Airlines pre-meal snack business class

It’s been fun telling people that I had cold nuts on this flight. Only those of you with an adolescent sense of humor (like me) can totally appreciate how funny that is.

The food on this flight was some of the best I’ve ever had on an airplane, and posting detailed pics of what they fed us is the only way to truly appreciate it. Here we go!

Austrian Airlines business class appetizer

The appetizer (smoked salmon ratatouille, black pudding pastries, roast beef truffled cole slaw): it was really good, but I think I was more impressed with the triangle platter that it was served on.

Austrian Airlines business class soup

This creamy carrot ginger soup was remarkable. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t served in a triangle-shaped bowl, but whatever.

Austrian Airlines business class lunch entrée

I still cringe every time I order fish on an airplane (thanks to watching “Airplane!” a few too many times), but this grilled butterfish was nothing short of incredible. And no, I didn’t become violently ill with uncontrollable flatulence and failure of my central nervous system (as it happened in the movie).

SANspotter selfie Austrian Airlines 777 business class

Just in case you ever wondered what I look like when I eat fish on an airplane.

Not only was the food fantastic, the way they served it was nice as well. There is a dedicated chef for all long haul Austrian Airlines business class cabins, and it’s a special feeling to be served by someone who appears to be a food expert. Heck, it could’ve just been a regular flight attendant wearing a fancy chef’s uniform, but it felt really special and I thought it was a nice touch.

Austrian Airlines business class fruit plate

Do you know how difficult it is to deliberately ask for a plate of fruit when there is a trolly of ice cream and cheese right next to you?

Austrian Airlines 777 wing and engine

A quick peek out the window as I licked the grape juice off of my fingertips. Sounds like a good intro to a kinky trip report, but I’m not going there.

I complemented my meal with four episodes of Ballers, followed up by watching the entirety of The Intern – which ended up being a pretty good movie in my opinion, despite the preview looking like it was going to be nothing more than a light comedy with zero substance. With 7 hours and 15 minutes of flying time remaining after the movie finished, it was time to relax – which eventually led to sleep.

Austrian Airlines business class experience

Stretching out after the meal service with what ended up being an amazingly warm and comfortable duvet. And it’s blue too, which is significant considering that I mentioned earlier that I didn’t see any blue here in the business class cabin. It took a while, but I’m starting to get a better sense of how the Austrian Airlines brand colors play together – and I quite like it.

Austrian Airlines 777 business class review

I guess one of the benefits of an open business class layout is the fact that it’s easy to see what everyone else is up to. And no, I’m not going to judge anyone’s taste in video entertainment.

I ended up sleeping for a full three hours, but the noise and the light from the galley just over my left shoulder finally got to me and I gave up on sleep with just over four hours of flying time remaining. I don’t know what it was they were doing in that galley, but it sounded like “clean up duty” and it was getting to be extremely annoying with the sound of clattering dishes and forks and knives being dropped on the floor every few minutes. The only other time that I’ve been this annoyed with noise from the galley was on my TAP Portugal flight from Lisbon to Toronto last year – if you recall, the problem on that flight was hyper-talkative flight attendants, which was slightly more annoying than the clanging of the dishes on this flight.

 Austrian Airlines business class illuminated footwell

FYI, it is possible to turn off the night light located in the foot well, but it looked far too nice to even think about it.

Unable to sleep, I decided to make good use of my time by working on my latest trip report (which at the time happened to be for the Hawaiian airlines A321neo SAN-OGG flight), and I ended up cranking on that thing for a little over two hours.

Travel blogger

The life of a travel blogger.

Austrian Airlines 777 business class bathroom

There’s not a whole lot to say about the Austrian Airlines 777 business class bathroom experience except for…

weird airplane lavatory pic

…the sink backed up with ice water. Huh?

With one hour and 45 minutes of flying time remaining, the lights in the cabin came on and the flight attendants came down the aisles with another round of hot towels. Shortly thereafter, the chef stopped by to ask what I wanted for the second meal (breakfast?), and to this day I can’t figure out what possessed me to choose the most unhealthy option on the menu. Normally I am a very healthy eater, but for some reason that gooey macaroni and cheese option sounded impossible to resist. “About Schmidt” was my entertainment of choice during this second meal service, which just so happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies.

Austrian Airlines business class breakfast

The second meal was also served in courses, starting with this salad served in one of those wickedly cool triangular shaped dishes.

Austrian Airlines business class meal review

*sigh* Yes, it was really good, but a huge bowl of macaroni and cheese is about the worst thing you could possibly eat when you’ve been sitting idle for 10 hours. I could feel myself getting fat just looking at it.

SANspotter selfie Austrian Airlines

Does this pose make me look fat? What about the light? Because I felt like I was expanding outward in every direction devouring every morsel of that mac and cheese dish.

Flying over California Austrian Airlines 777

Almost home now, which is a good thing because the food was so good on this flight that I would have kept eating if they kept putting stuff in front of me. This needs to stop!

The approach and landing into LAX was largely uneventful, though congestion was obviously a problem because we ended up having to do a zigzag approach on our way in to add some space between us and the traffic ahead of us. It wasn’t as fun as the three or four complete loops that I once experienced on a Northwest DC-10 from MSP to LAX back in 2000, but it was still a neat little extra twist which made the approach interesting.

Flying from Vienna to Los Angeles

On the approach into LAX now, and as you can see, we’re doing a little dance out here over the desert to help create some space between us and the traffic ahead. Either that or the pilots are just showing off.

Flying over downtown Los Angeles LAX approach

Good to see you again, LA – it’s been a while!

Austrian Airlines 777 approach and landing in LAX

Say what you will about the color of that engine, but it sure does make for some ‘purdy approach shots.

Austrian Airlines 777 LAX

Welcome to Los Angeles!

The most interesting part of the landing sequence was the fact that it was beautiful and sunny at the spot where we touched down on 25L, but by the time we finished our rollout near the end of the runway, we were directly under the heavy marine layer that was hugging the coast of southern California that day. In just a matter of seconds, it went from a beautiful sunshiny California afternoon to a dark and gloomy one. That’s coastal life for you.

Austrian Airlines in Los Angeles

It was nice and sunny on the eastern side of LAX, but by the time we rolled over to the western end it was gloomy and overcast. Or maybe it’s just always cloudy wherever there are United Airlines hangars.

United Airlines 787–9 LAX

I thought was a bit odd that we kept rolling in a westerly direction away from the TBIT, but the views are never dull here at LAX and there’s always something neat to see no matter which direction you’re headed. Still, I didn’t like the fact that the TBIT was getting smaller and smaller in my window…

Remote boarding gate LAX

Uh oh. Does this mean we are going to be docked at one of those dreaded remote gates?

This Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna concluded at one of the remote gates on the far west end of LAX, which meant that we would have to to be bussed in to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. There were quite a few groans around the cabin once people realized what was happening, but in all honesty I didn’t mind that much since I’ve never docked at one of these remote gates before and I was curious to see what the experience was like.

Long story short, it’s not much of an experience at all. Basically, you get off the plane using a regular jet bridge, walk through what looks like a county jail, get on a bus, and five minutes later you’re at the TBIT.

Inside LAX remote gate

As much of a bummer as it was to be offloaded at one of these remote gates, I’ve never been on the inside of one so it was neat to see. Yeah, it looks like jail – and I couldn’t help but to chuckle at all the first time visitors to LAX on this flight who might have thought that this was what the entire airport was like. “What a dump!”

Austrian Airlines 777 remote gate LAX

At least the views were pretty good while we waited for a bus to show up. Can you believe that I was the only one who took a picture as we stood there waiting? How could anyone NOT turn around and appreciate the machine that just flew you halfway around the world?!

Anyway, that’s it folks – the trip report ends here, although I did connect to a United 737-900ER down to SAN several hours later. As I mentioned in the introduction to this trip report series, I decided it would be best to spare you (my faithful readers) the pain of yet another UA LAX-SAN review, because I fully understand that there’s only so much a human can take of really bland and repetitive segments such as that. It was tough enough to experience it yet again for myself, so there’s no need to spread the pain around and make everyone miserable.

Thanks for following along with me on what ended up being an amazing business class flight on Austrian Airlines! It’s an airline that I didn’t know very much about before this trip, but I feel like I’ve got a pretty good sense of what they’re all about now. This is definitely an airline striving to be a world-class carrier, and it featured some of the best onboard service that I’ve ever experienced on any flight anywhere in the world. It’s too bad they have such a limited long haul network though, because I would definitely love to fly with them more frequently in the future.

I’m sure that I’ll get the chance, but for now there are a lot of other airlines I want to try – as a matter of fact there will be a couple new ones in my next trip report series (which begins soon)…

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