I've been traveling in Europe for the last month, mainly by rail, but the best way to get from France to my next destination quickly was by air. And luckily United allows one-way bookings and access to partner inventory online. The flights that worked best for my schedule only had business class availability, but it was only 20,000 miles and $79 in taxes so I thought, why not! Despite all of its recent woes, I do like how UA offers one-way bookings and partner inventory online - there were a lot of options to choose from. I also investigated using DL miles but it didn't seem to be possible to book online or there was no availability, so just went with *A.
(Also posted on my blog here
Edited to add: apologies for the pictures being so humongous! I'm using a different way to upload photos to blogger than I used in the past, and they're all full-sized images. Pictures are automatically resized on the blog, but I don't know of a way to change that within the Flyertalk interface...
Austrian Airlines Airbus A320
dep. 16:50, arr. 18:55
Check in was quick, although for some reason my bag could go all the way to WAW but I couldn't get a boarding pass for my LOT flight. It seems like OS and LO systems would be better connected, since they even share a mileage program? I was surprised that I needed to go to the transfer desk at VIE for my LO boarding pass.
Austrian flies from terminal 2D in CDG, which is an old 70s-looking building with arrivals and departures on the same level, and uses the Air France lounge. The lounge receptionists were very courteous, but the lounge itself has the same decor as the terminal which is rather ugly. Food was limited to chips and cookies.
We were bussed to the airplane. Being on the second bus meant waiting a long time for all of the stragglers at the gate. I guess the strategy to minimize bus time is to either try to get on the first bus or be the last person on the last bus?
As many of you probably already know, C-class on OS European flights is Economy Class seats with middle seat blocked. This is my first time flying intra-Europe Business
Our pilot gave us a nice present leaving CDG (at least those of us on the left side of the plane) - wonder views of Paris including the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe as you can see in this picture.
Dinner was lovely on this <2 hr flight! Everything was tasty and fresh. The salad had a few nice frisee leaves, mozzarella and tomato, the chicken was served with mashed potatoes and spinach, there were a selection of rolls, and to finish chocolate mousse cake. I like the mini clothes pin to pin the napkins to our shirts!
In VIE I only had 35 minute connection time, and a lot of that time was eaten up at the transfer desk. There was A LOT of typing that the agent had to do, and he even asked me midway through if I was on an electronic or paper ticket. I thought paper tickets went the way of the dodo a long time ago (except as I recall in Myanmar when I visited a few years ago), and besides, with my boarding pass and ability to see that I already had a bag checked through, isn't that information somehow visible without asking? Anyway, I still insisted on visiting the lounge even though boarding technically already started. Who knows when the next time I'll transit through VIE? I really wanted to see the lounge!
I loved the alps-shaped couch, especially against the light box image of the alps!
Had a couple (what I would like to believe are) Viennese pastries, and then I was off to the gate.
LOT Polish Airlines 737
dep. 19:30, arr. 20:45
This time I was the last one on the bus. The only other person on the bus was an HON Circle member - I found out because when the plane landed in WAW a fancy car (BMW 7-series?) was waiting for him.
LO has a similar set-up as OS.
This flight was less than an hour long, but we still got a snack. It was... interesting! I think it was triangles of pate on the left, with pears, sauerkraut with raisins, and maraschino cherry. On the right I think was a fish pate, with citrus section, red bell pepper strip, and mustard seeds. There were a selection of rolls, and a "Prince Polo" chocolate wafer. I learned later from my Polish friend that Prince Polos are very popular in Poland, at least among kids.