The airline with the best average rating is Austrian Airlines with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 33 minutes.More information
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we've made it to the final installment of my Summer 2019 travels across Europe! It's been a loooong series, and I can't wait to bring you the next one in a few days time. As one final reminder, this is how the entire itinerary looked like:
The was a revenue flight, and I paid $107 for it. Much more expensive than Bulgaria Air's SOF - VIE flight (which priced around $75), but I chose Austrian for two reasons: to get more miles to keep my elite UAMP status, and because after spending a summer in Bulgaria, moving all my stuff back home to Austria would require a large baggage allowance, which with my *G status is included. So, without further ado, let's go back to September 6th, 2019 - and Austrian Airlines flight 794!
As usual, I took a taxi to the airport.
I arrived at Sofia Airport's Terminal 2 at 6:55 PM, an hour and fifty minutes prior to departure.
Lufthansa Group's check-in at Sofia is always a breeze, and that time was no exception - within three minutes of arriving at the airport, I was heading to security.
Security and immigration, however, took some time as usual. The wait wasn't terribly long though, and before I knew it, I was airside.
A little bit of planespotting: Lufthansa A319 'Kelsterbach' to Frankfurt.
Alitalia A320 'Scirocco' to Rome-Fiumicino.
TAROM ATR 72 'Somes' to Bucharest-Otopeni.
After surveying the traffic, I headed to the Vitosha Aspire Lounge, which is the contract lounge Lufthansa Group flights use at Sofia.
For the first time in my many years of visiting, there was only 1 (later 2) other people in the lounge, which meant that I could take more pictures.
And that's the entire lounge! More like a nice waiting room, TBH, but when it's empty, it's very comfortable. And the food offerings are consistent: in the morning there are breakfast pastries, and later on there are tasty little sandwiches, like the ones I got.
I chilled in the lounge until 5 minutes before boarding. All Austrian flights from Sofia (except the morning OS800) leave from remote stands, for some reason, which means that a bus boarding takes place from the lower level of the terminal.
Air Dolomiti E195 operating the last Lufthansa flight of the day to Munich.
A glimpse at my aircraft wearing the Star Alliance livery. Hopefully not OE-LGO, as I flew that bird earlier in the year (see that report here), and nothing worse than a repeated registration!
Boarding began a few minutes late, and we all piled into a very old bus - one that felt like it was around during communist times!
Qatar Airways A319 from Doha-Hamad.
As we pulled up to the aircraft, my worst-case scenario was confirmed: OE-LGO, a 2009-built Dash 8-Q400 named after my European hometown of Innsbruck, would be flying me back to Austria.
Innsbruck formerly flew for Augsburg Airways (2009 - 2013) and North Cariboo Air (Jan. - Jun. 2014), before being transferred Austrian in July 2014. She also carries a more comfortable cabin than her fellow Austrian Dash 8's (except for OE-LGP, LGQ, and LGR, who have the exact same cabin as LGO)
The only thing that had changed since March (when I previously flew OE-LGO) was that the 'Operated for SWISS' paint was replace with an Austrian sticker.
Once onboard, I was greeted by a friendly middle-aged flight attendant, and then passed through the mini-Business Class cabin, which remained empty for the entire flight.
At my seat, 3A, there was a great view of the prop.
Due to the fact that we had a very light load, all passengers managed to fit into one bus, and as soon as everyone was on board Captain Karin came on the PA and announced a flying time of 1:30.
Soon enough, the engines were fired up, and we began our taxi to Runway 09.
D-AIPA, Lufthansa's very first A320, which will sadly never fly again.
Bulgaria Air's Headquarters.
Passing Terminal 1, the LCC terminal.
Lining up on Runway 09.
Cabin after departure, if you can make it out.
One final look at Sofia's Airport.
Climbing through darkness.
Decent legroom, though row 3 is normally a Business Class row.
Inop drink holder.
Once we reached our cruising altitude of 24,000 feet, a quick service began. I got a glass of water, and the eat there was a choice of sweet or savory. I went with sweet. While the snack was sufficient, Bulgaria Air serves a sandwich on this same route, which is much better.
Belgrade, Serbia (I think?)
Rural lights in Northern Serbia.
Paks, Hungary (again, not 100% sure).
As we began our descent east of Lake Balaton, the Captain came back on the PA to announce that the remaining flight time was 20 minutes, and that we'd be flying a straight-in approach to Runway 29. The cabin was prepared for landing at this point.
Descending through a cloud.
Bruck an der Leitha, Austria.
Over the runway.
Touching down so hard at 9:26 PM that my back hurts just thinking about it!
Vacating the runway.
Servus Flughafen Schwechat!
Emirates 777-300ER to Dubai.
Turkish A321 from Istanbul-Havalimani.
Taxiing with one engine, as is the norm with Dash's.
Austrian 777-200ER 'Dream of Freedom' to Bangkok. I also flew 'Dream of Freedom' in March, so be sure to check out that report, too!
I bid farewell to the charming crew, and my my way onto the bus to the terminal.
The final routing of my flight.
Thanks so much for joining me on this trip. Stay tuned for my next series, which will be about my most recent trip back to the US. Spoiler alert: there will be some premium travel as well!
A pleasant-yet-forgetable intra-European flight with Austrian.
+ Empty lounge in Sofia
+ Empty Flight
+ Friendly Service
- Tiny snack
- Small, cramped Dash 8
- No WiFi/Entertainment
I guess the best word to describe Austrian's Intra-European service is "meh" - they aren't bad, but they aren't good either. And that's what I consistently experience with them.