In 2016, Austrian launched a direct, five-times-weekly flight from Hong Kong to Vienna. This was the fourth route flown between Hong Kong and Europe by the Lufthansa Group, adding to Lufthansa’s daily flight each between Hong Kong to Munich and Frankfurt, and Swiss’ daily flight between Hong Kong and Zurich. Austrian’s actually the only of the three airlines I haven’t flown, though I’ve heard that they have a great product, with a decent hard product and superb catering.
Austrian Boeing 777
On the route, Austrian flew a decent staggered business class seat (similar to the one I’d experienced on Swiss), a premium economy seat similar to Lufthansa’s, as well as an economy cabin featuring a 3-4-3 configuration. When booking connecting flights to secondary cities in Europe, Austrian’s prices were usually (but not always) lower than what Lufthansa and Swiss offered. I actually listed their business class product as one of the ones I wanted to try most, due to the good things I’ve heard about their catering in business class.
Unfortunately, Austrian will discontinue their flight between Hong Kong and Vienna from October 28, 2018. Presumably this is because they couldn’t fill their planes on the route, since Austrian is somewhat less of an established brand for us in Hong Kong, especially compared to Lufthansa and Swiss, who have been flying to Hong Kong for decades (and Austrian’s daytime 11am departure schedule from Hong Kong isn’t so attractive either).
Personally I’m quite gutted that the route is being cut, since I wanted to try Austrian in business class at some point, and will have to connect to do so in the future (since I probably won’t be in Europe anytime between now and October, and even if something comes up I probably won’t be flying a Star Alliance business class product). However, it’s a business decision that they decided to do so, since presumably there are more profitable ways for the airline to use their 777s.
The Lufthansa group continues to offer a separate A380 and A340 flight from Munich and Frankfurt respectively, and Swiss continues to operate a 777 daily between Hong Kong and Zurich. However, while Swiss’ lounge offering in Zurich is much better than what Austrian seems to have set up in Vienna, Austrian does seem to have the best catering out of the three airlines. So as far as business class passengers are concerned, I’m confident in saying that the best Lufthansa Group flight between Hong Kong and Europe will be cut, unfortunately.
Have you flown Austrian’s flight between Hong Kong and Vienna? Are you sad to see it go?