Review of Austrian Airlines flight Vienna Sofia in Business

Airline Austrian Airlines
Flight OS797
Class Business
Seat 2A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 01:30
Take-off 21 Jun 21, 12:50
Arrival at 21 Jun 21, 15:20
OS   #33 out of 68 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 240 reviews
NewYorker
By GOLD 319
Published on 27th December 2021

introduction


Hello everyone, and welcome to a new series, covering yet another trip to Sofia, Bulgaria (yawn 😅). I took this trip back in late June-early July, and while I've decided to no longer post reports on OS flights from VIE to SOF and back (this is already my 9th such report!), I decided to make a report about this trip for two reasons: for one, the outbound flight was flown in Business Class, and two, I would be returning to Innsbruck, via Frankfurt, which made this trip a bit more interesting than my usual trips.


trip information


The following reports will be featured in this series:


Routing

  • OS797 - Business - Vienna → Sofia - Airbus A320 You are here
  • LH1429 - Economy - Sofia → Frankfurt - Airbus A320 Coming soon
  • OS286 - Economy - Frankfurt → Innsbruck - Embraer E-195 Coming soon

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I booked these flights as two different itineraries with miles, as my dates were inflexible and prices weren't good for those dates. Both itineraries, VIE-SOF and SOF-INN cost 8k United miles to book.


Now, you're probably wondering why I'd be flying in Business Class if I had only paid 8k miles for a ticket? Well, my dad had booked himself a Business Class ticket on the same flight as me, and since he couldn't care less about service on a one-and-a-half-hour intra-European flight, he let me take his seat while he took mine, which was much appreciated.


vienna international airport (vie)


We took the S7 from Wien Mitte and made it to the airport around 90 minutes to departure


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A look at the day's departures.


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We had both checked in via the Austrian app and headed straight for security.


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As is usual with Vienna, security was a breeze, and we headed to the Austrian Lounge. At the time, only the Schengen lounge was open.


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austrian business lounge - schengen


The façade of the lounge looks pretty classy.


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A look inside the lounge.


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I had been in the lounge twice earlier in the year - one in April and once in May - but this would be the first time that food was served inside, so I was excited to see what was on offer.


Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the lounge, most of the offerings had been taken, and the only thing that appealed to me was the soup.


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Soups in Austrian lounges are always very tasty, and this one was no exception. I also got a small piece of cake on the side.


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I was a bit disappointed that most of the food was gone, but was looking forward to the lunch that would be served on board.


On the way out, the lounge dragon asked us to fill out a contact tracing form in the conference room.


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Cheeky much? 🙈


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boarding + initial impressions


After clearing immigration, we headed straight to the gate, where boarding was about to begin.


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Down below, our aircraft was being loaded for the quick flight to Sofia. Doing the honors would be OE-LXA, a 2007-built Airbus A320-216. She was delivered to Italy's Air One in November 2007, for whom she flew until 2009. Between 2009 and 2015, she flew for Alitalia, followed by a two-year stint in Air Berlin's colors. She was first painted in Austrian's livery in April 2017, while being leased from Air Berlin, and official joined Austrian Airlines with her current registration in November 2017. Unfortunately, none of Austrian's 5 ex-AB A320s feature WiFi or entertainment, which would be a bummer on a longer flight.


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Boarding was announced a bit late, and I headed down the jetbridge.


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We had to wait at the beginning of the jetbridge for a few moments before we were allowed onboard.


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Fuselage shot.


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Confirmation of the type.


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A very friendly purser greeted passengers at the door with a box of sanitary wipes, and I headed to my seat, 2A. Note that Austrian decided to keep Air Berlin's seats.


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The legroom wasn't good for Business Class, which isn't surprising considering the Air Berlin cabins.


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The seatback pocket contained the safety card…


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…and the Austrian Melangerie menu.


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Annoying entertainment box, which luckily was underneath the blocked middle seat.


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Clean, modern PSU.


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Coat hook.


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Tray table latch.


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Great view out my window.


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austrian 797 - vienna to sofia


Once we were fully loaded, we pushed off the gate and began our short journey across Central-Eastern Europe.


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Starting our engines.


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Taxiing to the runway.


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Holding short for some landing traffic.


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departure from vienna


Rolling takeoff from Runway 16.


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Airborne.


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Climbing out past the town of Enzersdorf an der Fischa.


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Some windfarms around Vienna.


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Takeoff video:



Neusiedler See coming in to view.


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Turning left.


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lunch service


Less than 15 minutes after takeoff, the crew sprung into action, and a fabulous Austrian Do&Co lunch was served.


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The tray consisted of a main course of Rigatoni with Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella…


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…and a succulent, slightly crunchy chocolate cake with strawberries. It doesn't look like much, but this was GOOD! 😋


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The crew also came around the cabin with some bread.


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Real cutlery and a classy napkin.


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To drink, I had a glass of sparkling wine.


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My seatmate and I both ordered sparkling wine, so the purser brought a mini bottle for us to share.


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Cheers!


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Another world-class Austrian meal! OS is generally a mediocre airline, but their premium catering is truly among the best in Europe!


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mid-flight


When my seatmate went to use the lavatory, I took the opportunity to take a few cabin pictures. The business class cabin consisted of an intimate 2 rows, and the load factor was 7/8.


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arrival into sofia


As we neared Sofia, the captain added his welcome aboard and announced the latest weather at the airport.


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The crew distributed the signature Austrian chocolates during our descent. The crew on this sector was fantastic - proactive, kind, and genuinely seemed to enjoy their jobs, so props to them.


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Descending into the cloud layer…


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…and reemerging a few moments later.


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Slowing down.


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Aerial shots of Sofia.


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Sofia Airport.


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Flying the downwind leg.


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Turning left base…


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…and final.


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Passing the village of Elin Pelin.


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Short final.


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Over the airport.


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Beautifully executed flare…


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…and a super smooth landing on Runway 27 at 3:26 PM, 6 minutes late, after a flight time of 1h10m.


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Deceleration.


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Vacating the runway.


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Landing video:



Passing Terminal 2.


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Pulling into our remote stand.


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One last look at my seat. While the legroom wasn't great, I felt like the seats were slightly more padded than Austrian's "normal" seats.


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I thanked the crew for their excellent service and made my way down to the bus, snapping one final picture of our bird. Thanks for the ride, X-Ray Alpha!


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routing of os797


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We departed Vienna to the south and had a relatively low climb rate, as we reached our initial cruising altitude of 37,000ft over the Hungary-Croatia border. We flew direct from Osijek, passing south of Belgrade and briefly cruising at 35,000ft, before commencing our descent into Sofia near Niš. Our approached was conducted via the NISVA 4H arrival.


Thanks for joining me on the quick flight. I hope to see you again in the next report. In the meantime, all the best and happy new year!

See more

Verdict

Austrian Airlines

7.5/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi4.0
Meal/catering10.0

Austrian Airlines Business Lounge Plaza

6.8/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services7.0

Vienna - VIE

7.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access10.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Sofia - SOF

6.5/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services3.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

An overall uneventful intra-Europe Business Class flight with Austrian Airlines.

+ Wonderful crew
+ Tasty meal
- No WiFi/entertainment onboard
- Poor legroom

I'm not a big fan of Austrian, but for intra-Europe flights in Business Class they are probably the third-strongest Star Alliance airline, after Turkish and Aegean.

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 10 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

3 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 590973 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5655 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this 1st report in a new series!

    That's quite a zig-zaggy itinerary there! It's funny because the map makes it look like you're going through SOF and FRA to end up in INN from VIE (I know it's over a whole trip)

    Unfortunately, by the time I made it to the lounge, most of the offerings had been taken, and the only thing that appealed to me was the soup.

    Boo! Animals!

    Unfortunately, none of Austrian's 5 ex-AB A320s feature WiFi or entertainment, which would be a bummer on a longer flight.

    Yeah and they have tighter cabins with an extra row of seats compared to the standard OS A320 cabins.

    Less than 15 minutes after takeoff, the crew sprung into action, and a fabulous Austrian Do&Co lunch was served.

    It does look good as always, though the main seems a bit on the small side, or is that just me?

    While the legroom wasn't great, I felt like the seats were slightly more padded than Austrian's "normal" seats.

    Surprising to hear that since they certainly don't look any thicker. I keep hearing good things about the new Geven seats though, so hopefully those will roll out fast at OS.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 592243 by
      NewYorker GOLD AUTHOR 174 Comments

      Hi Kevin, thanks for your comments and apologies for the late reply!

      That's quite a zig-zaggy itinerary there! It's funny because the map makes it look like you're going through SOF and FRA to end up in INN from VIE (I know it's over a whole trip)

      It does look cool, and even if I wasn't spending time in Sofia, I'd gladly fly from VIE to INN via SOF and FRA in a single day! 😜
      It does look good as always, though the main seems a bit on the small side, or is that just me?

      For us Americans it's definitely on the small side, but it's the same size as usual. Just fine for a flight of ~75 minutes.
      Surprising to hear that since they certainly don't look any thicker.

      Yeah I know, I might have been imagining a bit, but at the time they did seem more padded - at least where my head was resting
      Yeah and they have tighter cabins with an extra row of seats compared to the standard OS A320 cabins.

      I keep hearing good things about the new Geven seats though, so hopefully those will roll out fast at OS.

      It's a shame that OS didn't change the cabins, and while I had a nice experience with the new A320 cabin, I highly doubt that there will be a fast roll-out of the new seats. AFAIK, there aren't even any retrofitting plans going on at the LH Group. "5-Star"hansa and it's group - once again leading the race to the bottom 🥴😂
      Thanks again for stopping by, happy flying and all the best to you! ✈️

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