Review of Austrian Airlines flight Vienna Sofia in Economy

Airline Austrian Airlines
Flight OS797
Class Economy
Seat 9F
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 17 May 21, 12:50
Arrival at 17 May 21, 15:20
OS   #60 out of 88 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 220 reviews
NewYorker
By GOLD 217
Published on 21st July 2021

introduction


A warm welcome back to my current series, ladies and gentlemen! As you may remember, in my last series, I flew to Bulgaria and was able to get my first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. In this series, I'll be taking you back to Sofia with me as it was time to get dose number 2 and have some fun in my country of heritage. Let's dive in!


trip information


I was once again travelling with my dad for this journey, and as we needed to be in Zurich, we booked a ZRH-SOF-VIE multi-city itinerary. The following flights were flown as part of this trip:


Routing


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-06-28-um-145431

The fare cost around €160 if I remember correctly.


transiting at vienna airport


Despite almost all jetbridges being vacant, my flight from Zurich arrived at a remote stand. As an AvGeek, I was, of course, quite happy about that. With all passengers piled into the bus to the terminal (with no social distancing whatsoever), the journey took a bit over 5 minutes. I figured that we'd be dropped off at an area where transit passengers could go their own way, and terminating passengers to go theirs.


But I was way wrong. There was a bit of a surprise on all the passenger's faces when we pulled up to the non-Schengen arrivals area. Into the terminal we went, and right before us was a border crossing station. There was a bit of confusion amongst the border patrol officers as to why they were dealing with ~160 passengers from Zurich, but once that was cleared up, they just let us through.


I thought that after that we would have to follow signs for connecting flights. But, once again, I was wrong, and all passengers ended up at the baggage claim section. Naturally, many passengers with tight connections were visibly frustrated as they headed upstairs to the departure hall. Perhaps the worst part of the transit experience was that we all had to rejoin the security line for originating passengers. Luckily, my dad and I were able to use the priority lane, but other passengers weren't as lucky.


austrian business lounge - schengen


After the horrible transit experience, I was relieved to reach the lounge and be able to relax for a little bit.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-19-um-234432

Unlike a month earlier, the main section of the lounge was pretty crowded, with only a few tables being empty. I took a seat in the side section, which was decidedly emptier.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-19-um-234441-82431photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-19-um-234448-54868

Just like the previous time, however, there was no food being served inside the lounge, instead I got a bag with a sandwich and water to eat on the flight.


vienna international airport (vie)


Once I cleared passport control (despite being an EU Member State since 2007, Bulgaria is still not a part of the Schengen Area), I passed through the duty-free section. It was still closed, but the lights were on and it looked as though it would soon be opening.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-19-um-234516

Further down the concourse, other stores were open and there were quite a few passengers, which was a welcome site.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-19-um-234821photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-19-um-234829

I didn't have to walk far or waste much time, as my flight would be departing from gate G1, and boarding would begin momentarily.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004624

boarding + initial impressions


Waiting at the gate to take its passengers to Sofia was OE-LBX, named 'Mostviertel', a 19.3-year-old Airbus A320 delivered to Austrian Airlines in July 2012. For the previous 10 years, it had flown for Finnair under the registration OH-LXG. It is also one of Austrian's A320s with WiFi onboard.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004641

Boarding was done through the automatic gates, and I soon made my way down the jetbridge.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004650photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004708photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004725

Fuselage.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004743

Unlike my previous flight, I was greeting by a very cheery male purser and his female colleague. That's the Austrian Airlines I'm used to!


I quicky found my seat, 9A, at the leading edge of the wing. The legroom was good.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004829

Waiting for me on my seat was a Bulgarian health declaration form…


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004841

…as well as a disinfecting towel.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-103821

In the magazine holder were the safety instructions card and the Austrian Melangerie menu.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004857

Classic Airbus PSU.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-103805

Definitely not May weather outside!


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-103835

austrian 797 - vienna to sofia


The flight was not very full, and as soon as boarding was completed the captain made his welcome announce, saying that he hoped we all felt "cozy" on board, which I thought was cute ☺️


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-004905

Soon after that, we pushed back.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164712

I was surprised to see an Emirates A380 at the end of the pier, which apparently had once again started flying to Vienna.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164726

Taxiing to Runway 29.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164739

OE-LPC, an Austrian 777 which I had flown once before in 2019.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164800

Reaching the holding point behind an Austrian A319…


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164813

…and ahead of an Embraer.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164838

departure from vienna


Lining up.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164855

Rolling.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164912

Airborne.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164920

Passing a field of stored aircraft, which are hopefully back in the air as I'm writing this.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164931photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164940

The usual left turn after departure.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164951photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-164958photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165009

Vienna in the distance.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165019photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165028

Flaps/slats up.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165038photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165046

Climbing through clouds.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165101

Cabin after departure.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-07-21-um-110617

Takeoff video:



mid-flight


As soon as we passed 10,000 feet, I pulled out my snack from the lounge.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165116photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165132

I can't recall exactly what sandwiches were on offer, but I remember that they were out of my first choice. I got my second choice sandwich, which was a whole grain roll with Liptauer and a pepper. It was quite tasty! I wish that Austrian would keep offering food to go from the lounge for those who are hungry but don't feel like purchasing something from the Melangerie. Unfortunately (or fortunately 😜), a few days after my flight, normal dining was resumed in their lounges.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165143photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165155

By the time I finished eating, we were just emerging from out of the clouds. For some reason, we had a very shallow climb rate.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165220

Making a left turn near Osijek, Croatia, as we reached our cruising altitude of 37,000 feet.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165235photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165243

A look down at the CFM56 engine. While I generally like the new Austrian livery, I really wish that they painted the engine red, or anything other than plain white.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165255

Not much to see during the flight. While WiFi was working (I saw others using it), I'm not in the habit of paying for it on such a short flight and instead listened to some music.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165309photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165319

Arrival into sofia


Commencing our descent north of Niš, Serbia. Around this time, the captain made another announcement, informing us of the weather and thanking us for flying Austrian.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165329

Approaching the airport.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165357

Iskar Reservoir in the distance.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165405

Flying the base leg.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165418

Turning final.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165426

Established on the ILS.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165434

Short final.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165442

Butter smooth landing on Runway 27 at 3:21 PM, 1 minute late, after a flight time of 1h14m.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165450photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165500

Vacating the runway.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165508photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165516

Landing video:



Pulling into our remote position.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165529photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165540

One last look at my home of the past hour-and-a-half.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165557

Deplaning.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165610

Instead of passing them out during the flight, the purser instead was holding a bin of chocolate for all passengers to take as we exited. I asked if I could take two and the response was "of course" and a wink. What I'd expect from an Austrian Airlines purser 😉


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165621

Some shots of the aircraft as I made my way into the bus.


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-20-um-165640photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-30-um-213121

routing of os797


photo bildschirmfoto-2021-05-17-um-200326

We departed Vienna via the SASAL 1C departure and then tracked towards eastern Croatia. From Osijek we flew direct towards Sofia and arrived via the NISVA 1C arrival. We cruised at 37,000 feet.


Thanks for following along on this short report. Stay tuned for the last segment in the coming days!

See more

Verdict

Austrian Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.0

Austrian Airlines Business Lounge Plaza

7.2/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services7.0

Vienna - VIE

6.5/10
Efficiency2.0
Access10.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Sofia - SOF

7.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Overall it was a very average, uneventful flight with Austrian, though the transit in Vienna was less than pleasant.

+ Kind crew
+ A320 with WiFi
- Horrible transit in Vienna

I really don't have much else to add.

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 9 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

2 Comments

  • Comment 576423 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5457 Comments

    In this series, I'll be taking you back to Sofia with me as it was time to get dose number 2 and have some fun in my country of heritage.

    Lucky you, so you must have a EU Green Pass QR code...for me, having been vaccinated in the US, there's no way of getting that EU QR code and I'm in France for the whole summer obligated to get an antigen test if I want to go out for a drink, as a fully-vaccinated French citizen...The "Pass Sanitaire" came into effect today for all cultural and leisure location with more than 50 people, and then is extended to bars, restaurants, and transport in 10 days...and here I am excluded. Grrrr..can you tell i'm frustrated? 🤣

    Glad you had a much better crew on this flight!

    the captain made his welcome announce, saying that he hoped we all felt "cozy" on board, which I thought was cute ☺️

    HAH! Though not as cozy as on one of their 180-seat A320s haha

    Unfortunately (or fortunately 😜), a few days after my flight, normal dining was resumed in their lounges.

    LOL! Guess you'll have to discretely bring along a ziplock bag next time

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 576539 by
      NewYorker GOLD AUTHOR 140 Comments

      Hi Kevin, thanks as always for reading and commenting!

      so you must have a EU Green Pass QR code

      Yes, luckily enough, I do! The whole travel system came into effect on July 1st, and I have already travelled a bit with the QR Code. It certainly makes the experience more convenient.
      I'm in France for the whole summer obligated to get an antigen test if I want to go out for a drink, as a fully-vaccinated French citizen.

      That really sucks! In Austria, we are required to show a proof of vaccination at restaurants as well, but it doesn't matter from which country. My dad was also vaccinated in the US and for him there's no problem in Austria. Do they accept vaccine passports in France? I get why you are upset!!
      Guess you'll have to discretely bring along a ziplock bag next time

      That's a good idea, I'll have to try it out next time! 😜
      All the best to you, happy flying, and I hope to see you in the next and final installment! ✈️

Login to post a comment.