Amazing Business Class Award Space for Four People to Europe

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Until late last year, getting to Europe in business class was much easier than it has been lately, especially for traveling parties of three or more. In December of last year, Austrian Airlines stopped releasing business class award space until about three months before departure. This made advance business class award redemptions for larger parties much more difficult.

In the past I’ve booked families of four to Europe and even to the Middle East on Austrian Airlines, and it is a very solid and comfortable flat bed business class product. See my full review for my thoughts on the onboard chef concept and the comfort of the bed.

Minced veal patty, potatoes, and veggies in Austrian Business Class

I was very excited several weeks ago to discover that Austrian Airlines was again releasing business class award space as soon as the schedule opens for up to four passengers.

  • Where does Austrian Airlines fly?
  • What kind of business class product do they have?
  • What miles are best suited for travel on Austrian Airlines
  • How good is award availability?

Where Does Austrian Airlines Fly?

Austrian Airlines operates four direct flights from Vienna to North America:

  • New York-JFK
  • Washington-Dulles
  • Chicago-O’Hare
  • Toronto

All routes are operated by planes which have the new flat bed business class product installed.

They also fly direct from Vienna to other desirable locations such as Male, Delhi, Dubai, and Reykjavik.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 10.44.30 AM

Austrian Airlines Business Class Product

Austrian Airlines has one of the best business class products for travel to Europe and beyond.

Many argue (and I tend to agree) that the most important feature about a business class product is the seat and bed. And the seat on Austrian Airlines does not disappoint.

The cabin has a staggered layout so that your legs, when in bed position, go under the armrest of the seat in front of you and his legs go under the armrest of the seat in front of him. This picture gives a sense of that.

The food on Austrian is great too. Catered by DO&CO, the choices were extensive. They even had kids meals for children although you have to request those online before traveling.

And the inflight entertainment was great. They had plenty of on demand TV and movie options for all ages. For a current listing of their IFE offerings this month, check out this link.

The Miles

As a member of the Star Alliance, there are many different programs that you could use to secure award seats on Austrian Airlines. However, you want to avoid any program that collects fuel surcharges on Austrian Airlines flights because the surcharges on roundtrip Austrian flights to Europe is $670. In order to avoid the $670 per ticket in fuel surcharges, I’d recommend using United Airlines miles since United never collects fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.22.18 AMUnited charges 70,000 miles each way between the United States and Europe in Austrian Business Class.

The Award Space

The best place to search for Austrian Airlines award availability is on united.com. There, you can isolate award space on direct flights by choosing the relevant Austrian-served city in North America  as your departure city and Vienna as your destination.

It may take a little searching, but once you find award availability on any day, you simply need to click the “Non-Stop Flights Only” button and re-run that search. You’ll be presented with a calendar of award space with direct routes to or from Vienna on Austrian Airlines.

You don’t need to live in any of the cities that Austrian serves for this to be very relevant to you. For instance, you don’t need to live in New York to use the space on Austrian Airlines flight from there to Vienna. You just need to live somewhere that has flights to New York.

The following searches are for two people:

Yellow days have Saver economy space. Blue days have Saver business space. Green days have Saver economy and business space. If you want business class space, you want GREEN and BLUE days.

New York JFK – Vienna:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.15.58 PM

Washington Dulles – Vienna:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.16.25 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.17.14 PM

Chicago – Vienna:

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.17.46 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.53.54 AM

The following search is for four people:

Yellow days have Saver economy space. Green days have Saver economy and business space.

New York JFK – Vienna:

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 11.38.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.07.26 PM

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 1.07.42 PM

The best award space I found was from New York-JFK. Award space is widely available for two passengers this month or next winter–and most times in between–in economy.

Bottom Line

Increased award availability on Austrian Airlines makes it easy to connect all over the world in a top business class product. The best business class availability is from New York-JFK in the coming weeks, next winter, and July 2015. Economy space is plentiful year round.

United miles are best suited for securing these award seats due to the lack of fuel surcharges imposed by United on award tickets.

For folks who do not live in a Austrian Airlines hub city, you can connect on United for no additional miles.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Scott: How would you compare Austrian biz to Turkish biz (which also has wide open availability next summer from SFO to IST)? I beleive TK is also catered by Do&CO. Thanks.

    • You can only book with United miles through early July 2015 right now. Space is great on Austrian at that time. If you fly out of London in business class, you will pay taxes of about $300. Better to return from Dublin.

  2. “For folks who do not live in a Austrian Airlines hub city, you can connect on United for no additional miles.”

    Connect on UA only if you live in LAX or SFO

    (AC connections also possible)

  3. Scott, I took your excellent advice to heart and we will be flying in biz class on board an Austrian 777 from IAD to VIE as well as from VIE to MUC on board an A319 next spring via the use of UA miles! One question: using the Austrian confirmation code, I tried to reserve seats on the OS flights but could not do so. In fact, the Austrian website states I do not have a booking on the OS flights while the United website says I do. Any ideas?

    • United and Austrian have different confirmation codes. You need the Austrian one. You can find it by pulling up the reservation on united.com and finding the link at the top for other confirmation codes or something similar. Or by calling United or Austrian and asking for it.

      • Yes sir, I’m aware of that and have been using the OS confirmation code and not the UA confirmation code. Unfortunately, I still cannot choose seats as the Austrian website is not recognizing the OS confirmation code. I’ll call Austrian directly about this…..

        • Definitely do that. You may have uncovered a problem with the ticketing that you’ll want to address ASAP.

  4. I’ve been holding reservations on UA for NYC-VIE-TLV for a couple of weeks on Austrian Air.
    This morning, just as my reservations expired, all Austrian availability disappeared for July 2015. There was availability for all dates in July and August yesterday. Now there is none.
    Is this the airline pulling back the seats that are too far in advance, or will it reappear at some point closer to the date?

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