Review of Austrian Airlines flight Vienna Sofia in Economy

Airline Austrian Airlines
Flight OS799
Class Economy
Seat 19A
Aircraft Embraer E-195
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 21 Apr 21, 22:00
Arrival at 22 Apr 21, 00:30
OS   #64 out of 99 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 206 reviews
NewYorker
By GOLD 616
Published on 24th April 2021

introduction


Well hello again, dear Flight-Report community, and a very warm welcome to my newest series! After being on the ground and confined to Austria for 222 days, it was finally time to take to the skies again on April 21st, 2021, for a quick trip to Bulgaria. Boring as the destination may be, I was still beyond excited to be flying again, and to leave my beloved adoptive country of Austria and see relatives in my country of heritage again. And little did I know it at the time of the flight, but I was eligible for a vaccine in Bulgaria, which I received, so this flight marked the end of a bleak year of uncertainty! 😃


trip information


I originally booked a basic VIE-SOF-VIE roundtrip for 16,000 United Miles. Upon booking, my routing looked like this:


OS799 | Vienna - Sofia | Embraer 195
OS798 | Sofia - Vienna | Airbus A319


However, I got my vaccine dose, my dad (who I was travelling with for this journey) and I decided to celebrate the occasion by changing the return to a very exciting routing, involving two extra flights, an airport that I have wanted to visit for quite some time, and a new aircraft type for me. Now that the second report has been published, I'll reveal the entire routing:


Routing


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In addition to the cool routing and being able to fly Turkish Airlines again, this trip was also special for two other reasons: it would include my first flight on an Airbus A321neo, and also, sadly, my very last flight on an Austrian Dash 8, which are being retired next month.


the evening of departure


After a very enjoyable day exploring Vienna, I headed to the airport at around 7:30 PM. I took the S7 from the Wien Mitte - Landstraße station.


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The train as very empty and quite nice on the inside. Most of Vienna's S-Bahn trains are very new CityJet trains, which are very comfortable as well.


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After a 22 minute ride, my train pulled into the Vienna Airport station at 8:11 PM.


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vienna schwechat international airport (VIE)


After arriving at the airport, I followed the signs to Terminal 3, which in normal times is just the Star Alliance terminal, but during Covid times houses all operations.


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There were only 4 other airborne departures that night.


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I was shocked and saddened to see just how empty the airport was. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.


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I checked in my bag with a very friendly agent and made my way to security. I was once again shocked to see just how empty it was, as just a year and half earlier I misconnected due to massive lines at the exact same checkpoint


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Needless to say, it didn't take more than a minute to pass through security, and I made my way into an eerily empty concourse.


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Just like in the summer, the only lounge open was the SKY Lounge in the Schengen concourse. But I wouldn't be able to visit, as it has already closed.


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I had hoped that by 2021 airports wouldn't look like this anymore 😢


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The sole flight from the Schengen pier that evening was OS913 to Innsbruck. With nothing to explore, I headed up to the non-Schengen pier…


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…which was just as empty.


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Only 4 non-Schengen flights including mine, all departing within 35 minutes of each other.


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I walked through the concourse a few times trying not to cry about the state of the airline industry before heading to my gate.


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boarding + initial impressions


From the next gate over, I caught a glimpse of my aircraft. Operating my first flight of 2021 would be OE-LWQ, Austrian's youngest Embraer, named 'Silent Night'. It was built in August 2012, making it 8.8-years old at the time of my flight. Before joining the Austrian fleet in 2017, it flew for Lufthansa CityLine for 4.5 years.


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Boarding was called on time, and I made my way down the jetbridge. While still feeling a little down after seeing the emptyness of the terminal, I was also thrilled to be experiencing that feeling again!


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A look at the fuselage.


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Special sticking commemorating the Christmas carol for which the aircraft is named.


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I was greeted by a friendly purser who handed me a desinfecting wipe and made my way to my seat.


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Reaching 18A, my home for the next hour and a half.


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Cleaning the tray table.


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The legroom was quite good for my 5'8 (175cm) frame.


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In the seatback pocket were the safety instructions…


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…and the new buy-on-board menu, Austrian Melangerie.


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Standard Embraer PSU.


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Cabin during boarding.


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Nice view of the wing and the A319 off to Yerevan.


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austrian 799 - vienna to sofia


As you may recall, I flew to Bulgaria in Business Class in the summer, as I was worried that the flights might be full and I wouldn't be able to distance well enough. Those flights ended up being empty, so I figured that I should be fine to fly in the back this time around. Well as it turns out, I was wrong, and the flight ended up being around 80% full. Luckily I was sitting next to my dad, so I didn't have to worry being next to a random stranger. Once boarding was completed, Captain Stefan made his welcome announcement and we pushed back a few moments later.


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The last remaining Dash 8s in the Austrian fleet, OE-LGI and OE-LGJ. Sad to see that awesome little airplane being retired from the skies of Austria, but that had been planned since before the pandemic.


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As we pushed back, I moved back one row because the guy in front of me kept lowering his mask to talk to his seatmate, and I wasn't interested in possibly getting infected 😜


Taxiing to Runway 29.


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departure from vienna


Lining up.


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Rolling.


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Airborne.


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Sharp left turn after departure, and a last look at Vienna Airport.


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Climbing out over Burgenland.


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Cabin after departure.


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Takeoff video:



mid-flight


Just a view minutes after takeoff, the lights were turned on and the crew began preparing for their service.


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I took the time to look at the BoB menu.


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The menu is pretty expansive and consists of cold snacks…


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…hot meals…


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…traditional Austrian desserts…


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…quick snacks…


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…and beverages.


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I found the menu offer a lot of good things, but a bit on the pricey side. I was looking forward to enjoying the Sachertorte, but unfortunately they didn't have any left, so I didn't consume anything while onboard.


On a night flight like the one I was one, it was a bit annoying to not have form of entertainment onboard. Austrian's Embraers don't have WiFi and I didn't download anything before hand to watch, so I most stared out the window but couldn't see much outside. Ultimately, on such a short flight it's not such a big deal that OS didn't provide any entertainment, but on a longer flight it could certainly be frustrating, and I hope they add some form of entertainment on their Embraer fleet.


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Passing Belgrade.


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While somewhere over Serbia, the crew handed out health declarations for entry into Bulgaria.


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arrival into sofia


Commencing our descent just north of Niš, Serbia.


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Cabin during descent.


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With the introduction of Austrian Melangerie, OS also decided to copy SWISS and hand out chocolates on descent, which I thought was a nice and cute touch.


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Descending further over the suburbs of Sofia.


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Overflying the airport.


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Turning final.


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Established on the Runway 09 approach.


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Smooth touchdown at 12:17 AM, 13 minutes ahead of scheduled, after a flight time of 1 hour and 13 minutes.


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Slowing down.


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Vacating the runway.


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Landing video:



Pulling into the terminal…


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…and into the gate next to a Lufthansa A319.


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One last look at my seat.


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Deplaning.


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And into the all too familiar Sofia Airport.


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routing of os799


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We left Vienna flying what I believe was the SOLLENAU RNAV depature then flew southeast, made a left turn near Osijek, Croatia, and flew more or less directly from there to Sofia. We cruised at an altitude of 39,000 feet.


The arrival procedure was easy enough, though it turned out that my negative Antigen test wasn't valid to enter the country, as Bulgaria only recognizes PCR tests. They told me that I needed to do a PCR test the next morning, which I did. My bag was already on the belt by the time I got there - a first for me in Sofia. Thanks for reading this report, and I'm very excited to continue the series in a few days on another, more exotic airline. Hope to see you there!

See more

Verdict

Austrian Airlines

7.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering7.0

Vienna - VIE

8.5/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness8.0

Sofia - SOF

6.2/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

My first flight back in the air was very nice, but sad at the same time. Seeing Vienna Airport so empty really hit me, and I hope that soon enough, once more people are vaccinated, it will be back to normal operations. As for the flight itself, it was absolutely unremarkable.

+ Friendly crew.
+ Comfortable Embraer cabin with good legroom.
+- New expansive but pricey BoB menu.
- My choice of food was not available.
- No entertainment.

Like I said, I hope that Austrian will add some form of entertainment on the Embraer fleet, but even without any entertainment they are still a pretty comfortable ride.

Information on the route Vienna (VIE) Sofia (SOF)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Vienna (VIE) → Sofia (SOF).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Austrian Airlines with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 30 minutes.

  More information

4 Comments

  • Comment 573470 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5399 Comments

    Hey NewYorker, thanks for sharing and welcome back to the skies!

    As we pushed back, I moved back one row because the guy in front of me kept lowering his mask to talk to his seatmate

    It's silly when people do that...like the point of wearing a mask if for you NOT to spew your droplets all over the place hah. Good thing there was extra room on board...everything here in the US is full full full

    The new BOB menu is quite extensive and does look to have to nice options, but you have to be reeeally hungry at those prices! It is a shame the LH Group have begun introducing BOB where they were doing free sandwiches and snacks before. Still it's good to have the option to buy food on board where so many carriers have stopped it altogether.

    Like I said, I hope that Austrian will add some form of entertainment on the Embraer fleet

    I agree. There are so many good and cost effective streaming IFE options for carriers these days. IMO streaming IFE should be standard for legacy carriers on non-PTV equipped aircraft.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 573488 by
      NewYorker GOLD AUTHOR 122 Comments

      Hi Kevin, thanks for your comment!

      It's silly when people do that...like the point of wearing a mask if for you NOT to spew your droplets all over the place hah.

      My sentiment exactly. And rather annoyingly, the crew didn't seem to be particularly bothered by people like, as there were a few on the flight.
      It is a shame the LH Group have begun introducing BOB where they were doing free sandwiches and snacks before.

      A shame indeed, but unfortunately not entirely surprising either. I think that they were considering a switch to a BoB menu well before Covid.
      There are so many good and cost effective streaming IFE options for carriers these days

      Exactly. Just add that and some WiFi, and the experience would already be much more enjoyable.
      Thanks so stopping by, happy flying, and I hope to see you in the upcoming installments!

  • Comment 573542 by
    Matthevv GOLD 92 Comments

    Hi NewYorker!
    And I’m really glad you’re back to flying. I guess even though it was a pretty standard flight for you, it must’ve still been exciting!
    It’s a shame they didn’t have the food option you wanted, to be fair I’d also opt for a Sachertorte, I love it.
    I’m really curious what your flight back was - is it my national carrier LOT? ;-)

    PS. I’m happy you’ve already got the vaccine :)

    Mateusz

    • Comment 573548 by
      NewYorker GOLD AUTHOR 122 Comments

      Hey Mateusz, nice to see you here!

      I guess even though it was a pretty standard flight for you, it must’ve still been exciting!

      Yes it absolutely was! While I wish my first flight back was a bit more special, it was a thrill to feel a takeoff roll again.
      I’d also opt for a Sachertorte, I love it.

      Haha good choice. Sachertorte is my favorite dessert by far.
      I’m really curious what your flight back was - is it my national carrier LOT? ;-)

      Hmm good guess... but you'll have to wait and see! :-)
      PS. I’m happy you’ve already got the vaccine :)

      Thanks! All the best, and hope to see you at the reveal of the onward journey!

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