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Munich was the last stop of my month-long trip. My husband and I had a great five day stay in the capital of Bavaria, but it was finally time to head home. I flew from Munich (MUC) to Vienna (VIE) to Newark (EWR). This is my review of Austrian Airlines business class flights: an intra-Europe flight and a transcontinental flight.
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Getting to Munich Airport
The easiest and the cheapest way to get to/from Munich International Airport is by train. The train ride takes about 40 minutes and the ticket costs 11 euro and change. This is not a fast airport train, but a suburban train that makes quite a few stops and it’s easy to catch from a few points in the city of Munich. We were staying in the city center near Marienplatz. There’s a huge transit hub right there, so it was a perfect location, very convenient to many points in the city.
You can buy the train tickets for any German train ahead of time and then just validate them on the date of travel. This is exactly what I’ve done because I had an early flight and had to catch the 5:19 A.M. train. Train tickets could be purchased at the automated machines or at the ticket office.
I find that in Germany, most people speak English pretty well, so if you can’t figure out the machines, don’t hesitate to go to the ticket office. Chase Sapphire Reserve’s automatic $300 travel credit can be used to cover the cost of train travel. Ticket machines don’t take credit cards without PINs, but you can use any credit card at the ticket office.
For intercity rail travel in Europe, I like to buy tickets online ahead of time. But because this is a suburban train, the fare doesn’t change, so there’s no need to plan far ahead.
Check-in and Lufthansa Business Class Lounge
I was flying business class so I had to go to a dedicated check-in counter for all Star Alliance business class passengers in Terminal 2. Economy class passengers need to look up the check-in counter number on the huge departures screen overhead. It was really early in the morning so there was no one at check-in and I was done in a couple of minutes.
I bought a couple of things in Munich and was hoping to get my tax refund. However, the Global Blue tax refund counter isn’t open till 6:30 A.M. It was 6 A.M. and I was craving coffee so I decided not to wait 20 minutes to get my 5 euro back and headed straight to security. There’s dedicated security for business class passengers, but so early in the morning, there were very few people in the regular security line as well. There’s no need to take off your shoes in Europe, so I just had to take out my laptop from my carryon bag.
There’s no Austrian Airlines lounge in Munich – Lufthansa lounges serve all Star Alliance business class passengers. I’ve been to a couple other Lufthansa lounges and you couldn’t tell them apart. I wish each club had just a little bit of local flavor. Bavaria is quite different from the rest of Germany, but once you enter the lounge, you couldn’t tell where you were.
This lounge has storage lockers, a standard feature for Lufthansa lounges. I really wish all lounges everywhere had them. It’s nice to store your bigger carryon bags and not to have to drag them all over the place, especially when it’s crowded. The showers are also available and I always recommend putting your name on the list as soon as you come in, as sometimes there’s a wait for the shower to open up.
The lounge is pretty big but it was already crowded. Considering how empty the airport seemed otherwise, it was a bit surprising. The food options are also pretty standard for Lufthansa lounges. There were scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, cereal, cold cuts, yogurt, fruit and a few kinds of bread and pastries.
The lounge had the standard assortment of wine, beer and other alcohol at a self-service bar. In Western Europe, alcohol is available as soon as the lounges open around 5-6 A.M.
There are also a couple of hot drinks stations scattered around. I discovered a snack section right before I left, with various treats like potato chips and marshmallows. Not a bad thing that I didn’t see it earlier, actually!
The departure board shows how long it takes to walk to each gate, which I found very helpful. After having a quick snack, I headed to my gate. We had to take the bus from the gate to the aircraft, but the boarding went quickly – they were boarding through both the front and rear doors. I don’t know why more airlines don’t do that because it’s so efficient.
Munich to Vienna Flight on Austrian Airlines
Austrian flies the Embraer E95 between Munich and Vienna. The aircraft has 2-2 seat configuration, but unlike the U.S. short regional flights, business class passengers don’t have a seatmate, as there’s only one person seated on each side. These are regular economy seats, but because there’s no one next to you, there’s more space.
On a plane with a 3-3 configuration, the middle seat is blocked off in business class, but otherwise it’s a regular economy row. For that reason, I’d never pay more miles or dollars to fly business class in Europe.
Somehow, European airlines manage to feed you even on short flights. Our flight was 45 minutes and as soon as the seat sign went off, the flight attendants started serving breakfast to business class passengers. Economy class passengers got the drinks service. Unfortunately for me (I don’t eat dairy or gluten), the breakfast was yogurt and warm bread and pastries, so I just had some coffee.
The flight departed late, we spent about 25 minutes on the tarmac, so I was worried that my already short 55 minutes connection wasn’t going to allow me enough time to make it to my Newark flight. We arrived at a remote stand location again and even though I was among the first off the plane, we had to wait for the bus to fill up before heading to the gate.
Connecting in Vienna International Airport
I like connecting in Vienna because it’s a compact airport and there is, of course, chocolate. But because my Munich to Vienna flight was delayed, there was no time for wandering (or shopping for chocolate), and I had to run for my connecting flight.
Passengers departing EU have to go through passport control in Vienna – another obstacle on my way to the gate. There was a line a few people deep at the passport control but a nice Canadian couple let me jump ahead of them. When in a hurry, it doesn’t hurt to ask, I know I can usually count on the kindness of strangers. After my vigorous run/walk through the airport, I made it to the gate just in time.
Vienna to Newark Flight on Austrian Airlines
I love flying Austrian Airlines in business class. It’s such a great airline with comfortable business class seats and a friendly and polite crew. There’s even a chef on board who prepares business class meals.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Seat
The business class seats on this Boeing 767-300 aren’t the widest but the 1-2-1 configuration offers a good deal of privacy for passengers seated in window seats. I always get cold on the airplane so I chose a window seat with the wide armrest by the window.
You can adjust the softness of the seat cushion and lumbar support. The seat reclines into a lie-flat bed and the Relax button turns it into a comfortable lounger. There’s a really nice size pillow and a warm duvet. Some people find it too warm, but not me. I was comfortable overall, but because of the wide armrest, I felt a little cramped as the seat felt a bit narrow.
There’s a decent amount of storage space. In addition to the seat pocket, there’s shoe storage compartment, and a couple of other smaller compartments. The bigger armrest is wide enough for the laptop. A universal power outlet and a USB port are located by the reading light and there’s also a USB port on the IFE screen.
The inflight entertainment system is great! The LED touch screen is very responsive and there’s lots of good stuff to watch, including one of my favorite shows, The Big Bang Theory.
The lovely amenity kit included all the usual suspects, such as an eye mask, earplugs etc. It seems like Austrian changes the pouches for their amenity kits often because I’ve been on Austrian a few times and I’ve never gotten the same kit twice.
There are two meal served on this 8.5-hour flight. For lunch I chose the pork, and, because the meals are individually prepared, I asked the chef to leave off the creamy sauce and the dumplings.
The lunch service started with a flight attendant offering drinks, bread and, strangely, quite a big plate of cream cheese. I declined both the bread and cream cheese because of my dietary restrictions.
I didn’t have to wait too long and another flight attendant came by shortly with an appetizer cart and I was able to choose a couple of things I can I eat.
The flight attendant told me that I could order a gluten free meal but I am hesitant to do this since I am afraid it might come pre-packaged as a TV tray-meal and I’d rather pick what I can eat from the inflight menu myself.
The pork was delicious and tender. My dessert was fruit, but you could also choose chocolate cake, strudel, ice cream and/or cheese and crackers. We were also offered port.
After the lunch service, the chef walked around and passed out coffee menus similar to one you’ll find at a Viennese coffee house. I had been up since 4 A.M. and wanted to get some sleep so I passed on the coffee.
When I last flew on Austrian Airlines in business class a couple years ago, flight attendants passed around some chocolate pralines, but not this time. When I asked about this, the on board chef told me Austrian cut their food budget and there aren’t any more chocolates.
For the second meal, I chose the sausage option and it was delicious too.
Overall, this was a very good flight (even without chocolates). I was coming back home after a month-long trip tired but happy. This was my first long trip and I was really ready to come home.
As expected, because of the delay of my Vienna to Munich flight, my bag didn’t make it to Newark. I thought I was a savvy traveler and knew how to deal with missing bags so I went to the Austrian counter in the baggage claim area in Newark. It sounds logical to file a claim with the airline that lost your bag, doesn’t it?
I was wrong and it turns out I had to file a claim at my final destination with the airline responsible for the last leg. So as soon as I landed in my home airport of Cleveland, I filed a claim with United and my suitcase was delivered the following night, about 28 hours later. I asked United about delayed bag compensation and received a $75 voucher.
Long trips are great, but so is coming home!