I arrived at Terminal 4 about 90 minutes before departure and immediately noticed a huge queue for security. Luckily, as I was flying in Club Europe, I could use the Fast Track line which had almost no queue at all, which I did after collecting my boarding pass from the self-service check-in machine.
I decided to head for the Lounge Pavilion which I had actually not visited before (well, not the Terraces section). I was pleasantly surprised by the layout and view over the airport and immediately preferred it to the larger Terraces lounge.
I had a few glasses of an excellent Rioja from the World Wine Bar and some sandwiches as I hadn't eaten since lunchtime. It was soon time to board, so I headed down to gate 24.
I was pleasantly surprised on entering the aircraft to find myself on one of BA's brand new Airbus 321 aircraft. I took my seat (2A) and was offered some orange juice or water. The cabin was very empty for this evening's flight, only five people in 30 seats of Club Europe.
As we were pushing back, we had a slight problem, the tug broke down half way out, leaving us stranded at a 45 degree angle to the terminal. There were plenty of spare tugs on the left hand side of the aircraft (see photo!), but unfortunately they were all "too big" - presumably for use with BA's 747 and 777 aircraft.
After 15 mins or so, an engineer had come and fixed the tug and we continued our pushback and taxied out to runway 27R for a quick take-off, followed by a big left turn which allowed a great view back over Heathrow in the evening sun.
Drinks were soon offered and I took the Heidsieck Monopole champagne . The dinner choice was chicken salad or ravioli. I chose the latter and it was delicious, accompanied by a couple more mini-bottles of champagne. I then finished off with a lovely Marlborough sauvignon blanc. As the stewardess said "Oh, go on, it is the weekend after all!".
Talking of the cabin crew, the lady who served or cabin on this flight was excellent, very attentive, always asking if she could fetch something for me. Wonderful service .
We were soon on our way into Vienna in the darkness which had now enveloped us. There was little delay and we soon landed and were bussed to the terminal. Overall a superb short haul business class experience.
Flight 1 photos
I used the excellent CAT (City Airport Train) to get to the airport and arrived about two and a half hours before the flight. After an initial cock-up involving missing the lounge (which is before security) and having to go back through security to find it, I settled in and enjoyed some good beer and snacks.
The lounge is two adjoining rooms of similar size, one has a tiled floor with comfortable leather chairs and some patio-type chairs and tables. The other room is carpeted, but is the smoking section, so I avoided that.
Once it was time to board, we were in for a shock - the queue for security was suddenly huge and all manner of people were having to queue-jump to avoid missing their flight . The trouble was that everyone was in a similar position so it all got a bit tense. But I managed to get through in about 15 mins and then only had to queue up for about 2-3 mins at the gate (as BA still don't use priority boarding on short-haul flights ) before boarding the bus to the remotely parked plane.
Anyway I chilled out once I was on board, back on another A321 and back in seat 2A. More bizarrely the guy in 1A was the same guy who was in that seat on the flight out!! This time however, the cabin was much busier, maybe half the seats were taken.
There were no problems taxiing and take-off was powerful into the clear Austrian skies. I once again chose the Heidieck Monopole champagne and had a lovely prawn masala for dinner, very similar to the one I had on my Washington flight back in April. It was delicious and again I washed it down with a few more mini-bottles of champers (got to get your money's worth!!!)
The flight was relatively quick, but we were delayed by 3 loops over Essex as we waited for permission to land. Landing was over central London and the views were, as usual, superb.
The crew on this flight were absolutely excellent again, despite the cabin being fuller. I was very impressed with both my flights and it is wonderful that there is still a full service business class airline operating in Europe.
VIE lounge photos