Austrian Airlines Announces Flights To South Africa & Japan

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Star Alliance carrier Austrian Airlines has announced that it will add two new international destinations to its network in 2018 – Cape Town, South Africa and Japan’s capital, Tokyo. Technically the airline is “returning” to Tokyo as it served the city from Vienna up until September 2016 but, apparently, the market conditions that led to the cancellation of that route 9 months ago are no longer an issue.

Vienna – Tokyo

From 15 May 2018 Austrian Airlines will offer a 5x/week service between Vienna and Tokyo operating on the following schedule:

OS051 VIE 17:55 – 12:05+1 day NRT (Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun)
OS052 NRT 14:00 – 19:00 VIE (Mon – Thur & Sat)

Austrian Airlines CCO Andreas Otto is quoted as saying:

We are pleased to be able to renew flights to Tokyo earlier than expected. We temporarily terminated flight service to Tokyo in September 2016 because the route had become unprofitable as a consequence of the economic downturn and currency devaluation in Japan. However, market conditions have substantially improved in recent months, which is why we see potential once again. Demand for this route does exist

Vienna – Cape Town

From 27 October 2018 Austrian Airlines will fly to Cape Town twice a week for the winter season only (this is not planned as a year-round service). The proposed schedule is as follows:

OS031 VIE 10:15 – 22:40 CPT (Tue & Sat)
OS032 CPT 00:20 – 10:50 VIE (Wed & Sun)

The Aircraft

Austrian has confirmed that the addition of a single 777-200 aircraft to its fleet in 2018 is allowing the airline to add of these new routes…and that makes me wonder if Tokyo is planned as a seasonal route too (there’s no mention of this in the airlines release).

The Austrian Airlines 777-200 offers an all-aisle-access Business Class cabin which, on the seat plan, looks a lot like the SWISS Business Class cabin:

a diagram of a plane

The airline also has a 360 degree YouTube video showcasing its premium product:

It’s not clear just how many Business Class seats there will be (the current count on the 777-200 is 48) as, from fall this year, Austrian Airlines will begin the process of installing a Premium Economy cabin in all of its long-haul aircraft and presumably space for that cabin will come from the Business Class cabin (at least partly).

a row of seats in an airplane

Reports indicate that the 777-200 Premium Economy cabin will have 24 premium Economy seats and travelers wishing to fly the new routes will have to hope that PE is both affordable and comfortable…because Economy Class looks horrible.

Austrian Airlines Economy Class in the 777-200 offers 10-across seating….

a screen shot of a computer game

…which means passengers have just 17″of seat width on flights of 10+ hours.

That’s horrible…and the fact that the seat pitch is just 31″ means that this is about as cramped as it gets from a legacy airline (it’s not quite as bad as Air Canada’s Rouge subsidiary)

Bottom Line

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Austrian Airlines’ Business Class product so the addition of these new routes will be a big positive for flyers…..and I’m hoping to burn some miles to try them out in comfort.

The airlines’ Premium Economy product is an unknown quantity at this point as I hasn’t entered service yet but I can still comment on the Economy Class product – avoid it!

I’ve never flown in Austrian Airlines’ long haul economy class cabin (and I never will) but I can tell you now that 10+ hours with just 31″ of leg room and just 17″ of seat width is tantamount to torture. No trip is worth that kind of suffering.

Featured image courtesy of Austrian Airlines