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European Business class can be pretty nice!! LH/TP/LX/LO/VO/OS in C with 100+ pics!

European Business class can be pretty nice!! LH/TP/LX/LO/VO/OS in C with 100+ pics!

Old Mar 29, 07, 1:07 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In the skies of the world
Programs: SAS Gold, FB Gold, BA Gold, EY Silver
Posts: 3,167
European Business class can be pretty nice!! LH/TP/LX/LO/VO/OS in C with 100+ pics!

Folks, it’s time for yet another one of my more or less crazy trips.
I guess most people here have already seen the trip report of my 34 flights/57 days round the world trip with Star Alliance in First class from last year, in case you haven’t you can check it out by clicking here!
Well I’m not going to try to match that one again, but one thing I did not manage to include during that trip was some longer business class flights within Europe (only a few short hops to use up the remaining mileage of the RTW ticket), so that’s what I’m doing this time.

This trip includes nine flights in business class of which six have a scheduled flight time of two hours or longer to be able to experience a more substantial business class service. Total flight time is around 20 hours.
Six airlines will be covered: Lufthansa, TAP Air Portugal, Swiss, LOT Polish Airlines, Austrian Arrows, and Austrian Airlines.

Just like previous times I have made an effort to take photos of meals, cabins and lounges which have been uploaded for you to enjoy, there should be over 100 in total.

As always comments are welcome!

Cleared for take-off…

Read all my latests trip reports here: https://www.MorePremium.com

Check-in at London Heathrow

I took the Heathrow Express from Paddington station and arrived at Heathrow at 7.40 am, around two hours before scheduled departure time.
I haven’t flown out of terminal 2 at Heathrow for a long time but I had read on FT that the lines for security are notoriously bad these days and especially in the morning, so I wanted to have some marginal.

The departure hall at terminal 2 was fairly crowded this morning, but not a person in line for the single Lufthansa first class check-in desk which I am entitled to use with my SAS/Star Alliance gold card.
A friendly young woman was working at the F-counter and I was checked in in no time and given boarding passes for both flights that day. My luggage was through-checked to Lisbon and a red priority tag was attached accordingly.

I went upstairs and found to my surprise an almost completely empty security check, there were only a handful people in line and I was through within five minutes.
Amazing!! That’s not the Heathrow I’m used to these days, but I guess sometimes you can be lucky.
All of a sudden I had two hours to kill before departure, a lot more than planned, after a visit to WH Smith in the transit hall I headed to the Lufthansa lounge.

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3437.jpg]Lufthansa first class check-in at Heathrow terminal 2[/url]

Lufthansa Business lounge, London/Heathrow

The Lufthansa lounge is located in the left pier of terminal 2 on the first floor, it is divided into a Senator side and a business class side.
Until not many years ago all Star Alliance gold card holders were admitted to the Senator side, I was there many times myself, but because of many complaints that the lounge was always crowded Star Golds now have to use the business class side while the Senator side can only be used by HON Circle, Senator, and first class passengers.

I recognised the woman at the reception who has been working there on previous visits and I was directed to the business class side after showing my boarding pass.
The business class side is a lot larger than the Senator side, but other than that the lounges look pretty much the same. The main difference is the food and drinks, in the Senator lounge you can have a proper breakfast in the morning with bread, yoghurt, cold cuts etc while in the business lounge there was just snacks and pastries to eat. Same thing with drinks where you get spirits in the Senator lounge but only beer and wine in the business lounge.

I had a few cups of coffee and browsed through some newspapers while waiting for my flight. The lounge also had large panorama windows facing the apron so you could keep an eye on what was going on there, while I was sitting there a Lufthansa B737 arrived and parked just below the lounge, it turned out to be the plane flying me to Frankfurt an hour later.

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3438.jpg]The entrance to the Lufthansa lounges in terminal 2[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3440.jpg]Inside the Business lounge[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3441.jpg]The self-service buffet area in the lounge[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3442.jpg]The view from the lounge, that’s my plane to Frankfurt[/url]

London/Heathrow-Frankfurt, flight LH 4725 operated by Lufthansa
Departure: 09:50
Arrival: 12:20
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Class: Business Class
Seat: 02A

Boarding started in good time before departure, no priority boarding for business class passengers though which I think they have had in the past.
The flight to Frankfurt was operated by a Boeing 737 with a 3-3 configuration, however in business class the middle seat is always kept free and has been replaced by a console which you can use for drinks and snacks, pretty nice!!
The load in business class was quite light this morning so I had three seats to myself.
We pushed back right on time and took off shortly afterwards from runway 09R.

During the flight they served breakfast in business class which was not bad at all, in fact I was very positively surprised.
A rather nicely-decorated tray was handed out with cold cuts, fresh fruit (including blueberries and raspberries) and a pastry. The flight attendants then served warm breads, croissants, coffee, tea and soft drinks.
The breakfast was actually very nice, plenty of food nicely presented on the tray. The FAs passed several times with bread and refills of coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Before landing refreshing towels were handed out.

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3445.jpg]Breakfast in business class, pretty nice!![/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3446.jpg]The middle seat console in business class, and a glass of orange juice[/url]

We landed pretty much on time in Frankfurt but taxied to, surprise surprise, a remote stand.
Hence it meant having to take a bus to the terminal building, and just like previous times I have arrived in Frankfurt from non-Schengen destinations we were dropped off at the B-pier. That consequently meant a long and not particularly fun walk through customs, a new security check, and then that long dreadful tunnel to get to the A-pier.
Upon entering the A-pier I checked the departure monitors and noticed my flight to Lisbon was 40 minutes delayed and there was certainly no need to rush to get to the gate, I headed for the Senator lounge instead for some drinks.

Lufthansa Senator lounge, A-pier/Schengen-area, Frankfurt

The most convenient lounge for me was the Senator lounge in the A-pier located just opposite gate A26, by a coincidence it turned out A26 was also the departure gate to Lisbon, so it probably couldn’t have got more convenient.
The lounge was pretty nice as always and not at all crowded, plenty of free seats. I had some food and red wine from the buffet and browsed through some newspapers.
After a few minutes a female lounge attendant approached me with what I believe was some German dishes on a tray and asked me if I wanted to try. I politely declined as I really wasn’t hungry, but it was a nice touch.
I read in the Lufthansa forum they have lounge events in the Senator lounges in Germany this spring with different themes different weeks, so I guess that was part of it.
Very nice initiative! ^

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3447.jpg]The entrance to the Lufthansa lounges in the Schengen area/A-pier[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3449.jpg]Inside the Lufthansa Senator lounge[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3450.jpg]Comfortable armchairs in the lounge[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3448.jpg]The self-service buffet area[/url]

Frankfurt-Lisbon, flight TP 573 operated by TAP Air Portugal
Departure: 13:30
Arrival: 15:30
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Class: Top Executive Class (Business Class)
Seat: 02F

20 minutes before the new scheduled departure time I left the lounge and headed to the gate for my flight to Lisbon, the one right opposite the lounge.
Boarding had already started and most passengers were already onboard. Lufthansa handles the ground service for TAP in Frankfurt but TAP actually had a representative at the gate who spoke Portuguese and who was in charge of checking passports when I arrived.

The flight to Lisbon was operated by an Airbus A320 with a 3-3 configuration. Three rows were assigned for Top Executive Class (as they brand their business class) but in contrast to many other airlines the middle seats are not automatically kept free in business class.
The load in business class was very light this afternoon though, four paying passengers plus two TAP FAs returning home, so everybody got a free middle seat anyway.

Just after 2 pm when I thought we were getting close to departure (new departure time 2.10 pm) the captain came on the intercom and told us that there was now a technical problem with the aircraft which he expected would take 45 minutes to resolve.
The Portuguese passengers in business class (well everybody but me) literally freaked out hearing this and although my Portuguese is rather limited it was not hard to understand they were frustrated about how their own fellow countrymen always tend to screw things up and never complete things on time.
One of the passengers was working in Germany and I overheard his conversation in German with a Lufthansa gate agent who came onboard about how basically every TAP flight he has taken got delayed for one reason or another. It wasn’t the first time for him, more like the 30th time, I’m sure he had gold status with TAP based on what I heard.
One of the FAs came to talk with him and tried to calm him down a bit, the FAs were very apologetic but really couldn’t do much about it, it was very obvious how embarrassed they felt about the delay themselves.

After a few minutes the crew came around with soft drinks to all passengers, in business class with a choice and served in real glasses, in economy class only water in plastic glasses.
When the FA came to my seat I asked again if it was really going to take 45 minutes to fix the problems, and the answer I got from the now even more embarrassed FA was “at least”.
At 3.30 we finally pushed back, that “at least 45 minutes” became 80 minutes and in total we were now two hours behind schedule.
For a moment I regretted not taking the Lufthansa flight instead which departed roughly at the same time as the TAP flight. With that flight I would already have been somewhere over Spain at this point, but I really wanted to give TAP a try.
Fortunately no traffic in line for take-off so we were quickly airborne.

Once up in the air the cabin service finally started.
A very nice surprise was that they hand out menus in business class even on intra-European flights (at least on longer ones). We also got a drink list describing the wines and beverages they had on offer. A very nice touch! ^

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3701.jpg]The menu and the drink list[/url]

This is what was on offer in Top Executive Class to Lisbon this afternoon:

Originally Posted by Menu Frankfurt-Lisbon

Appetizer
Vegetable terrine

Main course
Veal escalope with pumpkin and apple mash

Penne tossed with cottage cheese, walnuts and Parma ham

Dessert
Cheese – crackers
Crème brulée with cane sugar and cinnamon

Sparkling wine
Espumante Luís Pato, Maria Gomes Bruto 2005

Rosé wines
Quinta de Cabriz, Colheita Seleccinada Rosé 2005

White wines
Quinta de Cidrô Chardonnay Reserva 2005
Lavradores de Feitoria 2004

Red wines
Quinta Sá de Baixo 2003
Outeiro de Águia 2004
Conde de Vimioso 2005

Aperitifs, liqueurs, digestifs
Scotch whisky, Whisky 12 years, Malt whisky, Vodka, Gin, Martini Rosso, Bailey’s Irish cream, Drambuie, Cognac, Portuguese brandy, Quinta de Tecedeiras, Vintage port 2002, Churchill’s dry port wine, Madeira wine

Cold drinks
Beer, Alcohol free beer

Soft drinks, juices, water
Coke, Diet coke, Tonic water, Orange juice, Apple juice, Tomato juice, Mineral water, Sparkling water
Shortly afterwards one of the FAs came to take drink orders. I asked for a glass of red wine, but since I’m really not familiar with Portuguese wines I asked if she could recommend a wine (they had three reds onboard). The nice FA was happy to assist and told me she would bring me a nice one which would also work well with the meal.
A minute later she was back with a bottle of Conde de Vimioso which was actually very tasty. A nice thing on TAP is that when they serve wine they bring a small tray with the glass on it to your seat and then pour the wine in front of you. It looks very elegant and professional!!
With the drinks they served peanuts and raisins.

Next it was time for the meal, they had two options and I decided to try the veal.
The meal was surprisingly good, both the terrine and the veal were really tasty and the red wine worked very well with the food. ^
Unfortunately the presentation of the food wasn’t the best and they did not remove the plastic cover from some of the food which felt a bit cheap, but otherwise I really have nothing to complain about regarding the food.
After the meal they served coffee, tea and liquors.

At this point I started to feel quite tired and dozed off for a little while and didn’t wake up until we had started the descent.

We finally landed at 5.20 pm on Lisbon Portela airport. As we landed on runway 03 and the airport is located just a few kilometres north of Lisbon we made the approach right over downtown Lisbon and I got an amazing view from my seat during the final approach and also took a few pics.
Back on the ground we were directed to a remote stand (despite many terminal gates being empty) and consequently bussed to the terminal.
A nice thing is that once the seat belt sign is turned off one of the FAs immediately goes to block the aisle between economy class and business class so business class passengers can collect their belongings and get off the plane before the others. Very nice!! ^

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3452.jpg]Red wine and cocktail snacks before the meal[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3453.jpg]Late lunch in business class to Lisbon [/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3457.jpg]Fantastic view of downtown Lisbon during the approach[/url]

In the arrivals hall the baggage delivery took absolutely forever, it did not start until 6 pm, 40 minutes after landing. As the flight was operated by an Airbus A320 with luggage containers onboard I just can’t understand why it had to take so long, was there a coffee break scheduled at that time which they couldn’t skip or what?
The priority tag didn’t make much of a difference either.
On the whole I thought the arrivals experience was rather frustrating, as did most passengers from the flight.

I took a taxi to the nearby Radisson hotel where I had a reservation. Because of my gold card I got a complimentary upgrade to a very large and spacious superior room (something like 40 square meters), which was very nice.

After check-in I took the metro to downtown Lisbon for an evening stroll, very nice to stretch my legs after a long day of travelling. Lisbon is actually quite a charming city and the prices are very reasonable compared to many other European countries.

Pics
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3463.jpg]Downtown Lisbon (the Baixa district) in the evening[/url]
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a132/jacob_m/Europe2007/IMG_3476.jpg]The famous "Elevador de Santa Justa" (a 100 year old lift/elevator)[/url]

Verdict

That was my first ever flight with TAP Air Portugal, and obviously I have mixed opinions about the airline.
The delay in Frankfurt was not managed well at all, very poor information from the crew (and the captain in particular) and it was definitely not fun to spend 90 minutes onboard waiting for departure.
Was there really no way they could have anticipated the long delay and the technical problems before starting the boarding? I could have spent those 90 minutes in the lounge instead being able to stretch my legs, have a few drinks, get some work done etc.
On top of the two hours delay the long wait for the luggage in Lisbon was really not acceptable and we were never given any information why it took so long or when they expected baggage delivery to start.
Basically I wasted the whole afternoon because of the TAP inefficiency.

The positive thing about TAP would be the nice crew and the inflight service which was actually very decent with menus handed out in business class and both tasty food and wine. ^
I actually read an article in the inflight magazine about a Portuguese CEO who was a frequent flyer with TAP and who travelled extensively to North and South America and the Far East.
He said he was also very annoyed by all the delays and problems and the terrible punctuality, but he still chooses to fly TAP whenever he can because he finds the crews to be very friendly and courteous and the service pretty decent.
I think that summarises it quite well, it’s a shame they can’t get their acts together when their inflight service is in fact not bad at all.
Although unfortunately, if I have a connection or if time is a problem, then TAP wouldn’t be my first choice in the future.

Last edited by jacob_m; Dec 5, 19 at 6:01 am
jacob_m is offline  
Old Mar 29, 07, 2:10 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HAM
Programs: LH (*gold) / EK / Flying Blue / BMI (*silver)
Posts: 335
Hi Jacob_M!

Great to see, you´re on a trip again. Looking forward to the next installments.

Sadly, I´ve to agree to your comments about TAP. A nice airline with great stuff, but everytime running too late and a little bit disorganised. The long waits for the luggage at LIS are standard. I had to wait 20-40 minutes every time - regardless of the airline (LH, TP, LX).

mijugo
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Old Mar 29, 07, 2:11 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Scotland
Programs: BA, BD, AF, LH, AA, EK, Hilton, ICHG, SPG
Posts: 1,500
And we're off again ^ ^

A most enjoyable start to what I'm sure will be another classic mega-report from jacob_m. The LH report brought back many memories from a few years ago and that was a most interesting insight into TAP, an airline on which I've yet to fly.

Really looking forward to the rest of this
Steady-EDI is offline  
Old Mar 29, 07, 5:14 pm
  #4  
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Excellent report so far. Say, we aren't crossing paths by any chance? (YGPM).
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Old Mar 29, 07, 5:37 pm
  #5  
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Lisbon-Madrid-Munich-Istanbul

Next part of the trip is Lisbon-Istanbul, basically a trip across the whole continent from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Black Sea in the east.
I had hoped to include Spanair on this trip as well, one of the few Star Alliance carriers I have not yet tried, but despite having a transfer in Madrid I did not manage to include Spanair in the itinerary, well I guess JK is for next time…
Instead the routing ended up being LIS-(TP)-MAD-(LH)-MUC-(LH)-IST.

Check-in at Lisbon airport

I arrived at Lisbon airport 90 minutes before departure.
According to the monitors two check-in desks were open for TAP departures to Spain located to the very left after entering the terminal building.
Funnily none of the desks were assigned Business class/Star Gold, I’m not sure if there was a TAP premium check-in area somewhere I could have used, well I didn’t see any signs.
Nonetheless there were only two people in line for the check-in desks so only a short wait before it was my turn.
The young girl had a hard time checking me in and eventually had to ask a colleague for assistance to get everything sorted out, this in spite of all flights being part of the same ticket.
I’m not sure what the problem was, but at the end she could only issue a boarding pass for the first flight to Madrid and told me it was because I was switching to another airline there, well my luggage was through-checked all the way to Istanbul though which was the most important thing.

Security was swift and I made my way to the TAP Navigator lounge in the transit area.

Pics
The departure hall at Lisbon Portela airport

TAP Air Navigator lounge, Lisbon

The lounge was a bit hard to find, despite the terminal being quite small. Somehow Lisbon airport feels larger and trickier to navigate than is really the case, not sure why.

The TAP Navigator lounge was located at one end of the terminal building and was quite OK, although it was surprisingly small to be the main lounge at the hub of a national airline.
The lounge had a modern interior with comfortable armchairs and new LCD TVs in different parts of the lounge (but with no sound). There were also three internet computers with free internet access.
The lounge also had a self-service area with plenty of drinks including wine, beer, lots of spirits and soft drinks. Not much to eat though, basically just some crisps and miniature desserts.

Pics
The entrance to the TAP Navigator lounge
The reception desk in the lounge
Inside the lounge
The self-service buffet area

Lisbon-Madrid, flight TP 706 operated by TAP Air Portugal
Departure: 11:20
Arrival: 13:30
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Class: Top Executive Class (Business Class)
Seat: 01A

Around 35 minutes before scheduled departure time the monitors indicated it was time to go to the gate.
I have to admit I almost regretted booking this flight with TAP after the delayed FRA-LIS flight. I did have two hours between flights in Madrid which should be more than sufficient, but somehow I had a worst case scenario in mind after having heard the TAP flights are consistently late. Thus I was happy to see the flight being called in good time before departure.

The flight departed from gate 14 which meant a gate at the terminal and not a remote stand.
The flight to Madrid seemed quite full and a gate agent was standing at the beginning of the passenger bridge letting 20 people onboard at a time to avoid congestion in the cabin.
The aircraft in operation was an Airbus A319 with three rows assigned for business class. The back of the bus seemed very full but in business class we all got a free middle seat.
Newspapers and magazines were offered by the purser and I had a Financial Times to read.

Boarding was completed in good time for departure, but just as I hoped we were about to depart the captain told us they needed to offload luggage as a few passengers had not showed up at the gate. Not what I wanted to hear!
I was assigned seat 1A on this flight, and it turned out while parked at the gate I could see inside the passenger bridge through my window. To my very surprise, around 11.25 am I see three people from the catering company entering the aircraft carrying several meal trays and a basket with breads.
It’s five minutes after departure time and the catering has not been loaded yet?? Well it sure seemed like it. Loading the meals took a few more minutes to get the paperwork done and count everything that had been loaded.
Fortunately immediately afterwards the doors were closed and we pushed back, around 11.35 am. A short taxi to the runway and we were quickly airborne around 25 minutes after scheduled departure time, I guess that’s acceptable.

On this one hour flight to Madrid they served a cold meal in business class which consisted of a prawn sandwich, fresh fruit and a dessert. They also had a full bar service onboard and served bread from a basket.
Same great service as the previous flight with very friendly and courteous FAs and once again with wine served from large bottles at the seat.
More breads were offered and finally coffee and tea and refreshing towels.

The weather enroute was great without a single cloud so I got a nice view of the Iberian peninsula during the flight.
The captain managed to catch up the delay and we landed pretty much on time at a sunny Barajas airport.
After the seatbelt sign was off, just like on the previous TAP flight an FA blocked the aisle between C and M so the business class passengers could disembark first.

Once again TAP proved to be a very nice airline to fly with offering a decent service in the air even on flights as short as 50-60 minutes. ^
I somehow felt a bit sorry for the FAs who worked so hard in the cabin and provided such a nice service but who are always let down by the poor on-time performance and have to cope with angry passengers instead.

Pics
Boarding to Madrid has started
Inflight service in business class
Minutes before landing at Madrid Barajas airport with central Madrid in the background

Transferring at Madrid Barajas airport

The flight from Lisbon arrived at terminal 2 while the onward flight to Munich departed from terminal 1.
I wasn’t quite sure how the terminal transfer would work, but once inside the terminal I checked the monitors and noticed the flight to Munich would depart from a C-gate, so I just followed the signs marked “C” and after a few minutes walk I ended up at my next departure gate without having to take a transfer bus or pass through security, it just couldn’t have got any easier.

I still didn’t have a boarding pass though, the only transfer desk in the terminal was closed, but I noticed there was a Spanair lounge nearby so I thought it could be worth a try.
The reception girl in the lounge was very friendly but unfortunately couldn’t help me as Spanair has a different check-in system, she told me I would have to go landside to the regular check-in desk to get my boarding pass, unfortunately.
Although just as I was about to leave she remembered there was another Lufthansa flight to Munich due to depart in just a few minutes, and there should be Lufthansa staff at the gate.
She checked which boarding gate it was and advised me to give it a try, nothing to lose.

The gate was only a short walk from the lounge, and just like she had told me there were two Lufthansa agents working at the gate, and even better one of them turned out to be the Lufthansa station manager in Madrid.
I told him about my problem and when he also noticed in the system I was travelling in business class there was no doubt he was going to help me.
The problem was that they did not have a boarding pass printer at the gate, they could check me in, but they could not print my boarding pass.
The station manager was a creative person though and made a few phone calls and arranged so the check-in staff would print boarding passes for me and bring them to the gate in time for my flight.
He also asked me if I wanted to visit the lounge, I told him yes and after another phone call he had arranged so I would get access to the lounge without a boarding pass which is usually required to get in.
Wow, what a great service!! A big hands up for that!! ^ ^

Pics
The transit hall in Madrid with the closed transfer desk to the right

Spanair lounge, Terminal 1, Madrid Barajas

I went back to the Spanair lounge which Lufthansa also uses in Madrid. The reception girl had received the phone call from the LH station manager, although she asked me if I had a printout of the booking as she still needed to register me.
No problem to get access, great staff in the Spanair lounge as well!!

The lounge was very nice with a modern interior in wood and yellow colours.
Most Star Alliance carriers seemed to use the lounge including Spanair, Lufthansa, LOT and SAS, but still it was not particularly crowded despite many consequent departures.
Plenty to drink in the lounge and there were two self-service buffet areas inside, but not much to eat except for cookies and some kind of Spanish pastries.

There was one internet computer in the lounge, but it was occupied most of the time.
Plenty of Spanish newspapers and magazines were also available but the selection of international newspapers was disappointing and many of them 1-2 days old.
On the whole the lounge itself was very nice and the staff very friendly, but the facilities (food, newspapers etc) were lacking.

Pics
The entrance to the Spanair lounge
Inside the lounge, nice modern interior!
A sitting area in the lounge
One of the self-service buffet areas

Madrid-Munich, flight LH 4425 operated by Lufthansa
Departure: 15:25
Arrival: 18:00
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Class: Business Class
Seat: 03F

I left the lounge 30 minutes before departure and went to the gate only a short walk from the lounge.
Everything had worked out extremely well with my boarding passes, they had been printed and were waiting for me at the gate.
I thanked the gate agent very much for all the help, it saved me the hassle of having to go landside and pass customs and security and queue up at check-in and so on, very appreciated! ^
She seemed happy to hear I appreciated their efforts and whisked me onboard past all other passengers who were waiting patiently in line.

The passenger load onboard was very light in both classes. Three rows were used for business class with only four passengers sitting there, so I had my own row.
As on the previous Lufthansa flight the middle seats in business class are kept free and have been replaced by a console which you can use for drinks, definitely a very nice feature in business class.
Newspapers and magazines were offered in business class before the doors were closed. Because of the light passenger load on the boarding process was completed very quickly and we actually pushed back 10 minutes early (!).
A very long taxi to the departure runway though which was located next to the new terminal (it’s terminal 4 right?), a long long way from the old terminal complex.

After the seatbelt sign was off the service started immediately with a drink service and cocktail snacks in business class.
I noticed they had a bottle on the cart which looked like champagne, so I asked if it was. The flight attendant thought so but wasn’t quite sure, I had a glass nevertheless and it tasted pretty good, it was a French brand, can’t remember the name.
Minutes later she was back to take meal orders, as this was a longer flight they had a full meal service onboard with a choice of two main courses in business class.
The choices on this flight were filet with potato gratin or some kind of fish with rice (there were no menus so I can’t remember exactly what it was), I went for the filet.

After a few minutes the meal was ready, and it tasted pretty good.
As appetizer they had a Greek salad with feta cheese and olives, the main course was the filet with potato gratin and vegetables, and finally a fruit dessert and yummy chocolates.
The FA also passed with breads, offered more drinks (more champers for me of course), and finally they offered coffee and tea.
Overall the meal was very good and the service attentive and friendly. However after the FAs had served the business class passengers they helped their colleagues in the economy cabin, although they still passed regularly through the business class cabin to check that everything was OK and that we didn’t need anything.

Pics
The business class cabin to Munich
Champagne and cocktail snacks
Inflight meal in business class, not bad at all!
Nice view of the Pyrenees during the flight

The flight passed quickly and due to the early departure from Madrid we also arrived early in Munich around 5.40 pm, 20 minutes early, and taxied to the dedicated Star Alliance terminal.
A nice feature in Munich is that when you enter the terminal building at each gate there is a monitor displaying the departure gates for all the relevant connecting flights.
Somehow the computer looks up the passenger list of the arriving flight and checks what flights the passengers are connecting to and what gates those flights will depart from. I have never seen that at any other airport in the world.
My flight to Istanbul was of course displayed on the monitor but it was the same gate as printed on my boarding pass, so far there no gate changes.

I headed upstairs to the non-Schengen level and chatted a bit with two Spaniards on the way who were also in business class from Madrid and who were continuing to China.
The lines for the passport control were fairly long but there was a dedicated passport control for first class and business class passengers which was empty and which we naturally also used.

Pics
The modern transit hall in Munich

Lufthansa Senator lounge, non-Schengen area/H-level, Munich

I headed to the Lufthansa Senator lounge which I have visited many times before but which is also well worth a visit.
Always friendly staff at the reception, great food and drinks in the lounge (usually including hot food), plenty of newspapers, and they even have German beer on tap if you want to get the real Bavarian experience while on transit.
I prefer the Schengen lounge in Munich though with the little waterfall, but both the Senator lounges are fairly nice.
I wasn’t very hungry after two business class meals that day and with another one to come, but I did have some red wine and a cup of coffee and I couldn’t resist having one of those yummy rhubarb desserts from the buffet as well.
With a glass of tasty red wine and an exciting book to read my time in the lounge passed very quickly and I almost forgot checking the departure monitor for updates about my onward flight.

Pics
The entrance to the non-Schengen Senator lounge in Munich
Inside the lounge
The self-service buffet area with a good amount of food and drinks
Sitting areas and free newspapers

Munich-Istanbul, flight LH 3352 operated by Lufthansa
Departure: 19:15
Arrival: 22:45
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Class: Business Class
Seat: 03F

I arrived quite late at the gate which was at the very end of the long terminal 2, well I guess the long walk didn’t do me any bad after having spent most of the day in the air or in lounges.
The gate area was shared with a flight to Mumbai with quite a few people waiting but boarding had already started for my flight to Istanbul and most passengers were already onboard.
Economy class seemed almost full on this evening flight but we were only four passengers in business class and had three rows to spread out our belongings, there was certainly no lack of space.
Newspapers and magazines were once again offered in business class before the door was closed and it was time to push back. We took off pretty much on time from runway 08R.

The inflight service in business class was very similar to the flight between Madrid and Munich.
After the seatbelt sign was off the curtain between economy and business class was closed and there was a drink service with cocktail snacks in business class, I skipped the bubbly this time though and went for red wine instead not to mix too many alcoholic beverages that day.

Afterwards the FA came to take meal orders, they offered a full meal service on this flight as well with two main courses to choose between. The choices on this flight were Thai chicken or fish, I chose the fish which was served with noodles, mushrooms and cashew nuts.
On the tray there was also a skewer with vegetables as appetizer and fresh fruits and orange chocolates as dessert.
The FA also offered bread and more drinks with the meal and afterwards coffee and tea.

Just like on the previous flight after the business class passengers had been served the FAs moved back to help their colleagues serve economy class passengers. As this flight was almost fully booked in the back of the bus I’m sure it was appreciated, still they kept an eye on the business class passengers in case we needed anything.

Pics
Boarding has started for flight LH 3352
Dinner in business class to Istanbul

We landed in Istanbul ten minutes early and taxied to the new international terminal. Well last time I was in Istanbul the old terminal was still in use (which is now used as domestic terminal) and I have to say the new terminal is a great improvement.
As I was sitting in business class I was one of the first passengers off the plane and was also the first passenger to reach an almost empty immigration hall.
Actually I was not the first person to get there, I think one of the passengers in business class was a HON Circle member. He was met at the gate by an agent and escorted to immigration on an electric car, the agent waited for him while he passed immigration and then helped him with his luggage at the baggage reclaim.
Any FTer who was in Istanbul recently?

After baggage delivery and customs I took a taxi from the airport to downtown Istanbul, the taxis are very affordable in this city.
This evening there had been a football game between Turkey and Greece and Turkey won with 4-1, so the taxi driver was very happy.

Best Western President Hotel, Istanbul

I had a reservation at the Best Western President Hotel in central Istanbul, not the most luxurious of hotels but perfectly adequate with an excellent location close all sights and the rates were pretty decent as well.
Since last year Best Western is also a partner of SAS Eurobonus, so I do earn points staying there.
Furthermore the rules indicate that SAS gold card holders should be given a better room if availability permits, the problem is that most Best Western hotels don’t know about this and probably have never heard of SAS gold cards either, at least not outside northern Europe.
However in Istanbul I was up for a surprise, I had written in the reservation I had an SAS gold card and upon checking in I was upgraded to a nice junior suite, score!! The suite was quite large and divided into two rooms with a separate living room and with two LCD TVs.
Very nice, but honestly the junior suite itself wasn’t that spectacular, however what really was spectacular was that the suite had a large private outdoor terrace with sea view, absolutely amazing view as you can see on the photo!!! I was really impressed!! Wow!! ^

Pics
The fantastic view from my private outdoor terrace at the President hotel, very nice!!!

Last edited by jacob_m; Apr 5, 07 at 12:53 pm
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Old Mar 29, 07, 6:15 pm
  #6  
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Join Date: Sep 2000
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Thanks for sharing this outstanding report and posting those great pictures. LH J intra-Europe is a great way to fly and your experience mirrors mine when I took them some time ago. The only negative about LH Business lounge is that it seemed that it was created for people with a sweet tooth. I remember seeing 1 selection of nuts and about 4 different types of cookies. I can hardly wait for your next installment. ^
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Old Mar 30, 07, 11:48 am
  #7  
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Istanbul-Zurich-Warsaw

Next part of the trip is Istanbul-Warsaw via Zurich with another two airlines: Swiss on the IST-ZRH leg and LOT Polish Airlines on the ZRH-WAW leg, of course with both flights in business class.

Check-in at Istanbul Atatürk airport

I arrived at the airport two hours before departure after a very quick taxi ride from downtown Istanbul, the traffic really wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

Security at Istanbul Atatürk airport is quite tight tough, it starts already when entering the terminal building. At the entrance there was an initial security checkpoint where all luggage was x-rayed and you also had to pass through a metal detector.
All visitors at the airport have to pass there, no matter if you are flying or not. One may think that because of this they are not very strict (all departing passengers have to pass a new security check at the gate anyway), but that was not the case, they even wanted to rescreen my bag to make sure everything was OK before letting me inside the terminal.

Four check-in counters were open for the Swiss departure to Zurich, three for economy class and one for business class and status passengers.
At the entrance to the check-in area a security agent checked travel documents and passports and put a sticker at the back of the passport to indicate the documents were in order before allowing passengers to check-in.
Only one person was in line for the business class check-in desk so it was soon my turn.
A friendly young girl in charge of the business counter and there was also a check-in supervisor standing next to it ready to answer any questions.
I was checked in all the way to Warsaw and received boarding pass for both legs, I was also given an invitation to the Millennium lounge.

After check-in and passport control I entered the transit hall and followed the sign for the lounges.
The new international terminal is really a big improvement compared to the old terminal which is now used for domestic flights. Plenty of shops were available in the transit area, but honestly you don’t really make any bargains there.

Pics
Swiss check-in area
The international transit hall at Atatürk airport

Millennium lounge, Istanbul

The Millennium lounge was located on the first floor above the main international transit hall. It is operated by Türkiye Bankasi (that would mean “Bank of Turkey” in English, a bank!) and it is used by virtually all international airlines in Istanbul.

The lounge was very large with plenty of sitting areas and because of the large panorama windows it was very bright with plenty of light.
The selection of food and drinks in the lounge was quite decent. The self-service buffet had a very good selection of proper sandwiches, hot soup, cookies and pastries.
On the other side of the buffet area was a bar which was manned, plenty of drinks there including wine and spirits but you had to ask the bartender to pour it for you, of course it was free though.
Coffee, tea and soft drinks were available for self-service.

There were three computers available as well with free internet, but the connection was painfully slow and I basically gave up after five minutes.

Pics
The entrance to the Millennium lounge with the bar counter in the background
The self-service buffet area
Sitting areas in the lounge

Istanbul-Zürich, flight LX 1805 operated by Swiss
Departure: 17:20
Arrival: 19:15
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Class: Business Class
Seat: 03F

I left the lounge 40 minutes before scheduled departure and headed to the gate after some last-minute purchases in the tax-free.
There was a new security control at the gate with two officers checking passports and boarding passes at the entrance to the waiting lounge and then the standard x-ray/metal detector circus of course.
I think that was the fourth time I had to show my passport at the airport!
At the same time the first boarding call was made for business class passengers, gold card holders (HON/SEN/*G) and passengers travelling with children.
I do appreciate priority boarding was offered, but unfortunately it was not enforced very well and most passengers ignored what was announced and just boarded the plane anyway.

The plane to Zurich seemed quite full in both classes, six rows were used for business class on this flight.
The flight was operated by an Airbus A321 with a 3-3 configuration, however business class had the new configuration with all middle seats empty and replaced by a console which you can use for drinks, same concept as on Lufthansa.
Despite the good flight load I still got three seats to myself, not sure if status made a difference or if I was just lucky.
Before take-off newspapers and magazines were offered in business class, a pretty good selection covering all relevant languages (Turkish, German, French and English).
We also got a bottle of water and a refreshing towel.

Push-back pretty much on time, but due to many subsequent departures in the late afternoon we were not airborne until 25 minutes later.

Immediately after the seatbelt sign was turned off the inflight service started.
Drinks were offered together with packaged cocktail snacks. I noticed they had a bottle of champagne on the drink cart which I decided to try. It turned out to be Jacquart, pretty tasty!!

Next an FA came to take meal orders. They had a choice between two main courses on this flight: chicken with rice risotto or a vegetarian option (can’t remember what it was), I had the chicken.
More drinks were offered (another glass of bubbles of course ) and then it was time for the meal service.
The chicken course was actually quite good. It was served as a skewer with pineapples together with rice risotto and some kind of black sauce.
On the tray were also a large green salad, a cheese plate, and a chocolate dessert.
The friendly flight attendant made a third round with the drink cart and also offered more bread and finally coffee and tea.
Overall very nice and attentive service and the business class cabin was never left unattended. After the meal the purser came through the cabin and checked that we were happy with the meal and the service and that we didn’t need anything else. ^

As this was a longer European flight (a flight time close to three hours) and operated by an Airbus A321 with video screens in the cabin, they did have some inflight entertainment.
They showed an episode of Simpsons for example and an episode of the Canadian “Gag Reels”.
Half an hour before landing they also showed a short video about Zurich airport and the arrivals and transfer prodedures at the airport. Somehow they also managed to retrieve transfer information for all the passengers onboard with the relevant gates displayed on the screens in the cabin. Great feature!!

As usual they offered Swiss chocolates in the cabin before landing and we finally touched down at 7.05 pm, ten minutes early.

Pics
The middle seat console in business class and a bottle of water and a refreshing towel before departure
Lining up for departure on runway 36R with the international terminal in the background
The drink cart in business class
A glass of Jacquart Champagne and cocktail snacks
Dinner in business class
Flying over the Austrian Alps

Swiss Business lounge, Zürich

I didn’t think I would have time for a lounge visit in Zurich with only 40 minutes between flights, but due to the early arrival and the fact that we were assigned a parking position right next to the main transit hall and the lounge meant that there was time for a quick visit.

The lounge was just as nice as on my last visit with the “longest attended lounge bar” on the first floor overlooking the apron.
Plenty to drink in the lounge, both in the self-service areas and in the bar, but not that much to eat.
I didn’t have time for more than a few minutes in the lounge, just enough for a drink, before it was time to proceed to the gate.

Pics
The entrance to the Swiss lounges
One of the sitting areas in the lounge
The self-service buffet area
The longest attended lounge bar in the world!
The main lounge seen from the bar

Zürich-Warsaw, flight LO 420 operated by LOT Polish Airlines
Departure: 19:55
Arrival: 21:50
Aircraft: Embraer ERJ145
Class: Business Class
Seat: 01C

The lines for the security check (which all transfer passengers also need to pass) were horrendously long, but fortunately there was a fast track security for business class and first class passengers with only a few passengers in line.

The flight to Warsaw was operated by an ERJ145 and it was obviously parked at a remote stand so we were taken there by bus.
The plane had a 1-2 configuration with two rows used for business class, however we were only three passengers in C, a Spanish woman with her young son, and me.
I had a whole row to myself with plenty of space, although sitting on the first row meant I had to place all cabin luggage in the overhead bin during take-off and landing.
Before departure soft drinks and refreshing towels were offered in business class.

The flight got slightly delayed from Zurich due to some seating confusion in economy class (which was almost completely full).
Apparently a family of four had checked in very late and the two children had been given single seats on the left side of the aisle which did not comply with the safety regulations.
Both the FAs and a gate agent worked hard finding a satisfactory solution before we were finally allowed to leave.

Once airborne the service started in business class with drinks and peanuts, I asked for some red wine and had a choice between two reds, a Californian and a Chilean wine.
The Spanish woman sitting behind me in business class was not particularly interested in eating so the inflight service was basically personalised for me, which was of course very nice.
While I was enjoying my drink the passengers in economy class were served light snacks, but afterwards it was time for the meal service in business class to start.
A nice thing was that they used tablecloths in business class, well it did get a bit cramped onboard a regional jet, but still a very nice touch! ^
The meal in C was quite allright, if yet on the smaller side, but on the other hand I wasn’t very hungry.
It consisted of ham and some kind of paté as appetizer, beef and vegetables as main course (warm of course), and then cheese.
After the meal the FA offered coffee, tea and chocolates. I asked if they had any spirits onboard and it turned out they had four different whiskys which the FA brought to my seat so I could choose. They had Ballantines and Chivas Regal for example, my favourites, definitely not bad with four whiskys on a regional jet!!

Pics
Red wine and snacks served after take-off
Dinner in business class
Coffee, whisky and chocolates after dinner

Due to the late departure we also landed late in Warsaw and taxied to a remote stand.
Warsaw airport is undergoing some significant construction work at the moment and a new terminal (called terminal 2) is being built as the old terminal really cannot cope with the current passenger volume.
Funnily half of the new terminal is already in use, basically the arrivals hall and the baggage hall, while all departures are still handled at the old terminal.
This meant that the bus had to make two stops, one stop at the old terminal to drop off transfer passengers, and one stop at the new terminal to drop off all passengers finishing their journey in Warsaw.

The new terminal looked very nice (well I only got to see the arrivals hall), but what a great improvement from the old arrivals hall which was old, worn and rather dodgy!!
The new baggage hall looked bright and modern with LCD displays showing baggage information and with plenty of signs that were easy to read and follow. ^
Once the new terminal is fully in operation travelling through Warsaw will be a completely different experience.

Pics
Minutes before landing in Warsaw
Just landed at Warsaw ”Frederic Chopin” airport
The brand new arrivals hall in terminal 2 (which officially hasn’t even opened yet)

Radisson SAS Centrum Hotel, Warsaw

I took a taxi from the airport to the Radisson hotel in central Warsaw where I had a reservation.
The airport is only 8 km from the city centre so the taxi ride to downtown is very quick and not very expensive either (around 30 zloty).

The Radisson hotel is very new and modern, I had stayed there before and knew the hotel was fine.
I presented my SAS gold card at check-in and was upgraded to a nice business class room on the 8th floor. A business class room also gives you free pay-tv, bathrobe and slippers, and a free newspaper delivered to your room in the morning. ^
They have three room themes at the Radisson hotel in Warsaw: Scandinavian, Italian, and Maritime.
This time I was given an Italian room with a pretty cool interior, definitely something different. A really cool thing was that the room also had an espresso machine making lovely coffee and there were three types of coffee beans to choose between.
The view from the room was certainly not bad either, you could see pretty much the entire city centre including the Palace of science of culture from the room, really nice at night!!

Pics
My ”Italian-style” business class room at the Radisson SAS hotel
Fantastic view from my room at night with the Palace of science and culture in the foreground
My espresso machine (which made pretty good coffee!!)
The breakfast restaurant in the hotel

Last edited by jacob_m; Apr 13, 07 at 8:48 am
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Old Mar 30, 07, 12:47 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Thanks for the great reviews. I particularly like the review of LX from IST to ZRH, as I will be in C on that flight in a month or so.
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Old Mar 30, 07, 2:49 pm
  #9  
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Fantastic report! ^
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Old Mar 31, 07, 9:57 am
  #10  
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Warsaw-Vienna-London

Final part of the trip is from Warsaw back to London. To get there I managed to include another two airlines: Austrian Arrows from Warsaw to Vienna, and Austrian Airlines from Vienna to London.
I had heard many positive things about the Austrian Airlines business class and the food onboard in particular, but I had never flown OS in C before, so this was something I was looking forward to try.

Check-in at Warsaw airport

After checking out of the hotel the reception arranged a taxi for me, getting from downtown Warsaw to the airport by taxi is both quick and cheap, I arrived at the airport within 15 minutes of leaving the hotel.

The international terminal at Warsaw “Frederyk Chopin” (formerly Okecie) airport is quite small and definitely underdimensioned for the current traffic volume.
On top of that it looks old and worn and generally feels more 80’s and Soviet Union than an international airport of a modern EU country.
I’m glad they are constructing a new terminal now, I passed the new arrivals hall upon arrival in Warsaw and when leaving the taxi passed outside the new departure hall. It looked very nice, something that will bring the airport up to international standards.

Inside the terminal two desks were open for Austrian Airlines, one for economy class and one for business class/elite passengers.
Interestingly Austrian Airlines have their own staff at check-in rather than using the ground services of LOT.
I was checked in all the way to London/Heathrow, my luggage was through-checked and I received boarding passes for both flights.

Pics
The departure hall at Warsaw airport with the Austrian Airlines check-in desks to the left of the information

In Warsaw security takes place at the gate, but you still need to pass passport control before being allowed inside the transit area.
The international transit hall is very small, it’s tiny and you can basically walk from one end of the terminal to the other in a minute.
There is some shopping available though, but due to the size of the terminal building the number of shops is limited and the assortment is by no means spectacular.

Pics
The international transit hall in Warsaw
The departure board in the transit hall

Fantasia lounge, Warsaw

There are two lounges in Warsaw called Fantasia and Preludium.
The Fantasia lounge is located in the western part of the terminal right opposite gate 11 and 12.
I read somewhere that only Star Golds can use the Fantasia lounge (whereas the other lounge can be used by all premium passengers), that could make sense as we were only two passengers in the lounge with a third passenger arriving after a few minutes.
I never showed my gold card though since I was travelling in business class, but my boarding pass clearly showed my status and perhaps that was enough.

The lounge was OK but nothing special, it was also completely windowless. I did appreciate that it wasn’t crowded though, lots of space!!
Plenty to drink in the self-service area including lots of alcohol, but “food” was limited to Polish chocolate bars and crisps. Some sandwiches would have been nice.
The lounge also had one computer with free internet access and a rack with newspapers, but otherwise the facilities were rather limited.
OK place to spend half an hour waiting for your flight, but I wouldn’t arrive there hours in advance.

Pics
The entrance to the Fantasia lounge
Sitting areas in the lounge and the reception desk
The self-service buffet

Preludium lounge, Warsaw

As I still had plenty of time before departure I decided to try the other lounge as well which was only a short walk away.
In contrast to the Fantasia lounge the Preludium lounge (located opposite gate 4) was very crowded with lots of people inside and most seats taken.
I think it was some kind of generic airport lounge, the sign outside indicated that virtually all airlines at the airport use it, thus there is no doubt which lounge to go for in Warsaw if you want some space and privacy.

The lounges were generally identical, but the Preludium lounge had a slightly more modern interior. Same selection of food and drinks, i.e. plenty of alcohol but only snacks to eat.
There were also three internet computers in the lounge.

Pics
The entrance to the Preludium lounge
Inside the lounge
Plenty of drinks in the lounge
The bar counter

Warsaw-Vienna, flight OS 624 operated by Austrian Arrows
Departure: 15:15
Arrival: 16:40
Aircraft: Dash8-400
Class: Business Class
Seat: 02A

A boarding call was made in the lounge and we made our way to gate 2 only a short walk from the lounge.
Security took place at the gate before entering the gate lounge, there was one security checkpoint for gates 1, 2 and 3 which had a shared waiting area after the security check.
Boarding was announced shortly afterwards but due to construction works the aircraft was parked at a remote stand and we were taken there by bus.

The flight was operated by a Dash8-400, my booking reference indicated it was supposed to be operated by a Fokker 70, so I guess there was a last minute aircraft change.
The plane had a 2-2 configuration but in business class we all got two seats each. I’m not sure if that’s standard business class configuration on Austrian Arrows or if the load was just light in business class, nevertheless it’s always nice to get some extra space.

Before departure water and orange juice were offered in business class as well as newspapers.
We finally took off at 3.40 pm, a little bit delayed due to air traffic restrictions.

Once in the air late lunch was served in business class starting with a drink service and hot towels.
The meal was surprisingly large for such a short flight (roughly one hour) and I was surprised a hot meal was served onboard, I had expected more of a snack.
As appetizer they served herring, the main course was beef with some kind of potatoes and vegetables, and as dessert they served something similar to apple strudel but with raspberries and served with custard.
Overall I though the meal was very good and definitely above standard for a flight of that length!! ^
The FAs passed a second time with the drink cart and offered more drinks, more bread, and finally coffee and tea.
On the whole a very nice flight with very decent food and service!!

We landed pretty much on time on runway 11 at Schwechat airport.
Interestingly we made most of the approach over central Vienna and because of the nice weather I got some great views of the historical city centre which you can see on the photo below.
Again a remote stand in Vienna so we were taken to the terminal by bus.

Pics
The Austrian Arrows Dash 8 on the apron in Warsaw
The new terminal 2 seen from the plane
Late lunch in business class, quite good!
Red wine and water to drink
Fantastic view of central Vienna during the approach with Hofburg and St Stephan’s Cathedral in the foreground

Vienna Schwechat airport and a look inside the Austrian Airlines premium check-in room

I had lots of time before my next flight and felt I needed to stretch my legs a bit, so after passing passport control I went landside to have a look around.
Everything looked pretty much the same as on my previous visit, but they had finished the premium check-in room now which was not ready last time I departed from Vienna.
It is located immediately to the left before the boarding pass control (to the transit hall) and seems to be available to Star Golds, HON Circle and Senators.
I had a look inside and it looked pretty nice, I really do like facilities like that one, greatly enhances the value of having a gold card, being able to get preferential service away from the crowds. ^

Plenty of shops in the transit hall, if that’s what you enjoy doing at an airport, overall Vienna airport is quite pleasant. I headed for the lounge instead though…

Pics
The main departure hall at Vienna Schwechat airport
The entrance to the Austrian Airlines premium check-in room
Inside the Austrian Airlines premium check-in room
The main shopping area in the transit hall
Plenty of shops in the C-pier as well

Austrian Airlines Senator lounge, Schengen area/C-pier, Vienna

There are two Senator lounges in Vienna, one located in the C-pier/Schengen area, and one located in the A-pier/non-Schengen area.
The Schengen lounge is the largest of the two, basically twice as large as the non-Schengen lounge and easily my first choice due to the size and the extended facilities.

Overall the Schengen lounge is quite pleasant with a very hip design. At first I thought the design was strange, especially compared to the old design, but now I think it’s quite allright, always nice with some originality.
I just love the cool lounge chairs in front of the TV (see photo below), I could fall asleep in one of them.
Plenty to drink in the lounge but not as much to eat. Well there is always snacks available (chocolates, fruits etc) and during meal times also something more substantial (usually a hot dish), but the food is not as good as in the Lufthansa Senator lounges.
They had yummy Mozartkugeln on the reception counter though, something that many lounge guests took advantage of.

Pics
The entrance to the Senator lounge in the C-pier
The reception desk in the lounge
Inside the lounge
Plenty of drinks at the self-service buffet
Newspapers and magazines
One of the sitting areas
Very comfortable lounge chairs with a cool design!

Austrian Airlines Senator lounge, non-Schengen area/A-pier, Vienna

After an hour I left the lounge and headed to the non-Schengen lounge instead in the A-pier which meant I had to pass passport control again.
Somehow I just assumed my next flight to London was leaving from the A-pier (non-Schengen pier) as UK is not part of Schengen. I never bothered to have a look at the departure monitors (or my boarding pass for that matter) and it wasn’t until the lounge attendant saw my boarding pass that I noticed it wasn’t the case.
Anyway, it turned out the flight to London was 30 minutes delayed so I decided to spend some time in the lounge anyway.

The lounge was very crowded and I was just lucky finding a seat immediately after I arrived, most people who arrived after me had to wait a few minutes before a seat became available.
They really should expand that lounge a bit as it gets very crowded when the transatlantic flights leave in the late morning and the Asian flights in the evening.

Otherwise the facilities were about the same as the previous lounge, same selection of food and drinks, in this lounge they are available for self-service in a small separate room.
Again more Mozartkugeln on the reception counter…
There were also three internet computers available with free access.

Pics
The entrance to the Senator lounge in the A-pier
Inside the lounge
The self-service buffet located in a small separate room
Some of the food available

Yes it turned out my flight to London was leaving from the C-pier (where I had just been), so I had to walk all the way back again, through passport control a third time (which ended up being a fourth time at the gate).
Apparently they can use those Schengen gates for non-Schengen flights when needed, they just open a passport control counter at the entrance to the gate area and problem is solved.
In Vienna security also takes place at the gate, so with both boarding pass control, passport control, and security control at the gate the lines tend to get long and slow.

Vienna-London/Heathrow, flight OS 457 operated by Austrian Airlines
Departure: 19:45
Arrival: 21:20
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Class: Business Class
Seat: 01F

Due to late arrival of the incoming aircraft (from Tel Aviv I think) our departure to London also got delayed and boarding did not start until 8.15 pm, already 30 minutes after scheduled departure time.

The flight to Heathrow was operated by an Airbus A321 which seemed quite full in both classes.
The aircraft has a 3-3 configuration but in business class the middle seats remain free. They don’t have a middle seat console as on Swiss and Lufthansa, but the headrests on these seats had “Reserved for your comfort” printed.

Pics
Many departures in the evening, my plane is the one to the right
The business class cabin onboard the Airbus A321
The middle seat “reserved for your comfort” in business class

At 8.35 pm we were finally airborne and once in the air the service could start.

The inflight service in business class is quite decent onboard Austrian Airlines.
It started with hot towels and then an amuse bouche served on a specially designed spoon accompanied by white wine or water. On this flight the amuse bouche consisted of caviar and egg (and I think also mayonnaise or something similar).

Next the meal trays were distributed and a drink cart passed through the cabin with all kinds of drinks. They had two reds and two whites onboard served from large bottles and I think they had champagne as well.
The appetizer was a prawn cocktail (I honestly don’t know exactly what it was, pretty good though).
The main course was pork with some kind of mashed potatoes and asparagus, and finally a custard dessert.
More drinks were offered and finally coffee, tea and liquors.
A pretty good and tasty meal for an intra-European flight in business class! ^

The Airbus A321 had screens on every three rows and they did show some inflight entertainment during the flight including candid camera, an episode of Everybody loves Raymond, and an episode of Friends.
Earphones were handed out to passengers who wanted to watch.

Pics
Amuse bouche
Dinner in business class
Inflight entertainment

Despite the very late arrival from Vienna we landed just a few minutes late on runway 09L at Heathrow airport. Quite impressive as we are talking about Heathrow where you usually have to wait like 20-30 minutes for a landing slot (at least from my experience ).

A long long taxi to the gate though around the entire central terminal complex but once at the gate I was the first passenger off the plane and the first passenger to reach the empty immigration area.
With my bag appearing on the baggage belt the trip was eventually over.

Always a bit sad when a nice trip comes to an end, but most likely there will be a next time…

Thanks for reading!!

Last edited by jacob_m; Apr 2, 07 at 10:22 am
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Old Mar 31, 07, 10:10 am
  #11  
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Summary

A short summary of the trip

Map of the total itinerary

Total flight time: Around 20 hours
Total distance: 6676 miles according to Great Circle Mapper
Total mileage: 15900 points credited to my FFP for the flights and hotel stays

Airlines: LH, TP, LX, LO, OS, VO
Aircrafts: B737, A319, A320, A321, Dash8, ERJ145
Lounges: LH (LHR, FRA, MUC), TP (LIS), JK (MAD), LX (ZRH), LO (WAW), OS (VIE), Generic (IST)
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Old Mar 31, 07, 4:25 pm
  #12  
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Thanks for the report ^
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Old Mar 31, 07, 7:32 pm
  #13  
 
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Many thanks, indeed!

Where will your travels take you next?
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Old Apr 1, 07, 11:32 am
  #14  
 
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Jacob_m,

Another GREAT trip report comes to a close.

I followed your RTW F TR with great interest and enthusiasm, and wasn't sure what to think about a European business class TR. My European business experience has been limited to KL and AZ and thus, ahem, less than stellar. I found this TR to be fascinating; seems like Star Alliance is the place to be!

Question: what kind of ticket was this? And putting any discretion aside (sorry in advance), what did it cost? Did you take advantage of any special arrangements (like a Europe Pass in conjunction with a TATL flight)?

European C class is IME prohibitively priced, if you bought point-to-point tickets I imagine this could have cost as much as a short RTW in C!!!

Originally Posted by jacob_m
The flight to Heathrow was operated by an Airbus A321 which seemed quite full in both classes.... http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...7/IMG_3687.jpg
Man, it looks like Row 1 is THE place to be on an A321! Loads of legroom! Doesn't look like that's the case in Row 2 and higher; am I right?
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Old Apr 1, 07, 1:54 pm
  #15  
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Many thanks for all the nice comments!!

Originally Posted by TrayflowInUK View Post
I followed your RTW F TR with great interest and enthusiasm, and wasn't sure what to think about a European business class TR. My European business experience has been limited to KL and AZ and thus, ahem, less than stellar. I found this TR to be fascinating; seems like Star Alliance is the place to be!
Surely European business class isn't as fancy as longhaul C/F and on very short routes it's really just a waste of money. However on longer flights the service can be quite decent (as I hope my report has proved) and that's also the reason why I decided to post a report. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Originally Posted by TrayflowInUK View Post
Question: what kind of ticket was this? And putting any discretion aside (sorry in advance), what did it cost? Did you take advantage of any special arrangements (like a Europe Pass in conjunction with a TATL flight)?
European C class is IME prohibitively priced, if you bought point-to-point tickets I imagine this could have cost as much as a short RTW in C!!!
You are perfectly right, buying this itinerary as one-way tickets would have cost a minor fortune, just a one-way ticket LIS-IST with LH in C is priced at almost £700 which is ridiculously expensive!!

Instead I booked this itinerary as a multi-segment ticket (Expedia is a good site to use).
It does require a bit of work and some knowledge about fare rules and how different airlines and tickets can be combined, but I have done it before with good results.
Basically if you book everything as one ticket and follow the fare rules and ticket combination rules then each part of the trip will be priced as half (or less) of the cheapest business class return fare on the route, to put it simple (and if I've got it right).
If you do your homework you can also make use of special offers and if a fare requires Saturday night stay or minimum two nights stay it will be calculated over the whole itinerary.
We are still not talking about any bargains, but you should be able to get a rather extensive multi-segment itinerary in C for £700-850 incl taxes depending on which destinations you include.

Originally Posted by TrayflowInUK View Post
Man, it looks like Row 1 is THE place to be on an A321! Loads of legroom! Doesn't look like that's the case in Row 2 and higher; am I right?
Well I never made it past row 1 (for obvious reasons), but I suppose you're right! Great legroom and definitely the row to go for.

Originally Posted by hoyateach View Post
Many thanks, indeed!

Where will your travels take you next?
Who knows?!
No specific plans at the moment, although I do have an invitation for a wedding in Mexico this summer and I'm getting increasingly tempted to attend.

Last edited by jacob_m; Apr 1, 07 at 3:07 pm
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