TRIP REPORT: Austrian Airlines, Belgrade - Vienna


I flew with Austrian Airlines in early September to the US. As I booked a ticket in business class (for the Vienna to US sector), it naturally came with the first sector being in business too. The reason I decided to write the report was to show what they offer on such a short flight in the premium cabin.

I arrived at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport well in advance of my scheduled departure time. The check-in process was smooth and efficient. Passport and security checks were very quick, and you get to use the fast track lane for both as a business class passenger.

I spent the next hour or so in the Business Club lounge. This is a Dufry operated lounge. Considering how crowded Air Serbia’s lounge is these days I preferred it here this time. While the Air Serbia lounge is nicer with better food and amenities, this one offers the basics you need without the crowd (at least on this visit).

Boarding for the flight began on time, and the process was organised.

The flight was operated by an Embraer E195 with a 2x2 configuration. Passengers in business have the seat next to them left empty. The business class cabin was full, with one passenger on each side of the first five rows. The passenger on the other side from me was traveling with someone so they moved to sit together. The cabin was clean. Seats are very slim, which is ok for such a short flight. The overall condition of the aircraft gave a positive first impression.

Once settled into my seat, the cabin crew offered a choice of newspapers and magazines. The pilot was communicative and gave all the necessary flight info. During the flight, a light snack consisting of a sandwich served on a plate and a selection of beverages were served. An Austrian Airlines branded chocolate was also distributed. One thing I do have to note though, Austrian offers a more substantial meal service on short haul flights over one and a half hours.

As it was a short flight, there was obviously no in-flight entertainment, but the airline provided a complimentary in-flight magazine, which increasingly seems to be a thing of the past for many carriers.

The cabin crew on this Austrian Airlines flight were attentive and professional. They conducted the service with a smile and the overall atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

The flight arrived at Vienna International Airport on schedule. Disembarkation was via the stairs and onto the bus.

My experience on Austrian Airlines from Belgrade to Vienna was positive. Would I book business class just for this short trip? Definitely not. There is literally no point in my opinion. The only difference to economy is a sandwich and a free drink. You disembark with everyone else and get on the same bus, so there is no advantage in that respect either. Looking at the fares for point to point travel in business on this route, I don’t really think it justifies the overall service. However, I assume many transfer passengers do use their business class on this short sector, after all there were 10 passengers in business on this flight.

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  1. Anonymous09:03

    Nice report. Business class in offered basically for business class transfer pax, IMHO.
    For p2p only if you want to be super fast through passport and security lanes in BEG, but this service can be purchased for 5 EUR

  2. Anonymous09:16

    Regarding the cabin condition, I can see that Marathon embrajers that flying for JU look far better than this OS

    1. Anonymous09:32

      That is generally disaster in JU business model and it is different story. I am here just talking about cabin condition

    2. Anonymous09:37

      That's because JU is still trying to find a model that suits them the best. Shame they don't offer business in E90/95. Unfortunately one person in the airline is calling these shots and he shouldn't be.

    3. Anonymous10:24

      Why aren’t they offering business class on leased aircraft? I was on KlasJet B738 and there was no business class there either.

    4. Anonymous10:27

      No Owens.

    5. Anonymous11:22

      There are cold meals that are good enough for the business class. Having no ovens is not an excuse to offer C class.

    6. Anonymous15:10

      'That is generally disaster in JU business model'

      Business model that pushed destinations to 80, passengers to around four million and record profit? Pretty good disaster if you ask me.

    7. Anonymous16:36

      Business class is were airlines that aren't LCC generate large part of the profit. But JU doesn't offer a business class on more than a half of current fleet. But yes you can still believe in story about "record profit"

    8. Anonymous18:04

      You can still believe in a story about Ju going out of business once government changes

  3. Anonymous09:31

    Business class in Europe became a joke

    1. Anonymous09:37

      Demand and supply. As aviaton became a mass business quality had to come down.

    2. Anonymous10:04

      Most flights within Europe are 1 to 2 hrs, I can`t speak for others, but for me, I do not need xtra service on such a flight.
      I second what others commented before: you mostly use it for a connecting long-haul in C. Even for the better ground service (lounge access and/or fast lane) there other ways, e.g. credit card memberships or just purchase the xtra service.
      I'm only aware of TK who has a business class seat for their short-haul, but that is because they basically use the same aircraft for long-haul as well (e.g. B 737s for flights to central Africa)
      Paying customers for short-haul business are less and less. Politicians because of ethics, and private companies are less and less willing to provide this to senior functions- a trend that occurred during the financial crisis and has stayed like that since. (my observation)

    3. Anonymous10:28

      Aeroflot and Icelandair another two carriers with a dedicated product in Europe

  4. Anonymous11:47

    According to online more reliable sources, the Austrian Embraers have a seat config of 120 seats mono-class. So, as the author indicated, there is absolutely no point booking business, unless you wanna pamper yourself at the airport but not worth it for a 1-2 hour flight.
    Interestingly, their A321s are all economy as well. It seems OS is becoming just another LCC legacy most likely because of the huge competition in VIE from FR and W6. Plus, FR are increasing their capacity in VIE.

  5. Anonymous14:07

    A3 has a nifty trick in ATH to make the bus disembarkation feel more 'premium' for business pax. The first bus is purely for business pax, so you are not in an overcrowded bus and you reach the passport control/baggage claim faster.

    1. Vlad08:28

      LX does the same in ZRH.

  6. Anonymous14:11

    Now that there is a second business class lounge, is the Air Serbia lounge only for Air Serbia passengers? Or can business class passengers on other airlines use the Air Serbia lounge, too?

    1. Anonymous16:58

      Several airlines use the Air Serbia lounge - Qatar Airways, Flydubai and Luxair while Turkish Airlines passengers can choose which one they want to use.

  7. Anonymous22:43

    OT I just flew into Budapest from Belgrade yesterday with JU and the flight was packed to the brim, with literally 1 spare seat- much to my disbelief! It's early December and reading some of the comments here I was expecting 30-40 passengers max. Majority of the passengers seemed to be Spanish speaking, lots of Chinese, a group of Malaysians as well as some locals obviously. Very positively surprised!

    1. Anonymous23:12

      What flight was it? Morning, noon or evening?


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