Review: Austrian Airlines 767-300ER Business Class from New York JFK to Vienna

After flying from Tokyo to New York in JAL first class and spending a day in the city, it was time to make my way to Europe. With Vienna being essentially my “home” airport back when I was living in Slovakia, trying Austrian Airlines’ long-haul business class was on my bucket list for a long time.

This flight, which I booked using Avianca LifeMiles I bought during one of its frequent promotions, finally gave me a chance to tick it off the list. It was also my first time to fly on Austrian’s 767-300ER. Continue reading this review to see what the business class flight was like.

Austrian Airlines 767 Cabin
Austrian Airlines 767-300ER business class.

Check-in, Lounge & Boarding at New York JFK Airport

I arrived at the airport about four hours before my flight’s departure since I wanted to stop by the TWA Hotel. before checking in. I stayed there a while back and wanted to spend some more time there to see the Lockheed Constellation parked in front of the hotel as well as the impressive architecture of what used to be the TWA Flight Center and is now the hotel’s lobby area.

Then, just before 6:30PM, I took AirTrain from Terminal 5 where the TWA Hotel is to Terminal 1 which Austrian Airlines uses.

TWA Hotel
TWA Hotel.
TWA Hotel
Historic departures board at the TWA Hotel.
JFK Airport Terminal 1
JFK airport terminal 1.

While there were some passengers in the economy class queue, there was no one in the business class line. As such, check-in was a breeze.

Going through security wasn’t nearly as quick, but the 12-minute wait was reasonable. Seeing a TSA agent react with “I think I know what I’m doing” after a passenger kindly asked him to handle her bag a bit more gently reminded me of why airport security in the US gets a bad rap.

JFK Austrian Check-In
Check-in counters.

Airside, I went into the Lufthansa Senator Lounge where I took a much-needed shower and spent a bit more than an hour relaxing. The lounge wasn’t anything to write home about but was a perfectly fine place to wait for a flight. Definitely better than the terminal.

To see what it was like in more detail, read my full review of the lounge.

JFK Terminal 1
Terminal 1 airside.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge New York JFK Entrance
Entrance into the Lufthansa Senator Lounge.
Lufthansa Senator Lounge New York JFK Seating
Lufthansa Senator Lounge.

Shortly before 8PM, the inbound flight from Vienna arrived at gate 4 which was the one just outside the lounge’s windows. Another 20 minutes or so later, I left the lounge and walked around the terminal a bit before making my way to the departure gate.

Preboarding started at 8:55PM. It was quite chaotic and took about 10 minutes until it finished. Then, business class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members were invited to board and so I made my way into the aircraft.

Interestingly, in the jetway, passengers received a bottle of water from the airport staff. It was the first time for me to experience this type of service – I wonder if it’s something that JFK does when the expected time in the take-off queue is long. In either case, it was a nice touch.

Austrian Airlines 767 at JFK
Austrian Airlines 767 arriving from Vienna.
JFK Airport Gate
Departure gate.
JFK Airport Free Water
Free bottle of water.

Austrian Airlines 767-300ER Business Class Cabin & Seat

The Austrian 767 I was flying on from New York to Vienna was equipped with 211 seats. Those included 26 full-flat staggered business class seats in a 1-2-1 layout, 18 premium economy seats in a 2-2-2 layout, and 167 economy class seats in a 2-3-2 layout.

It’s worth noting that while there are some differences in galley sizes/locations between Austrian’s 767s registered OE-LAW/LAX and the rest of them, they all feature the same number of seats.

The single seats along the windows alternate between “true” window seats in odd-numbered rows and aisle seats separated from the window by a console in even-numbered rows. My seat, 5K was a right-hand side window seat.

In the middle section, the pairs of seats alternate between being closer to the left aisle and the right aisle. The type of staggered seats Austrian uses similar to the one Swiss uses and offers no pairs of seats right next to each other like on Thai’s 777 for example.

Aisle seat.
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Window seat.

As for the seat itself, with mine being a right-hand side window seat, there was a large console on the left side of the seat. On the edge of the counter were the seat controls and a compartment with the in-flight entertainment system controller. The tray table was inside the console as well.

The panel above the console was home to a universal power outlet (for some reason it didn’t work when I tried it, though), a USB charging port, the audio output, a reading light, and a small storage compartment.

Adding a bit of originality to the otherwise fairly normal seat was some nice embroidery on the storage compartment cover.

Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
IFE and seat controls.
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Reading light, power ports, and storage area.
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Embroidery on the storage compartment.

On the seatback in front of the seat was a decently-sized screen. Its frame was also home to a USB charging port and another audio output.

Next to the screen, there were also a coat hook, a seat pocket, and a bottle holder. Under those, there was a small storage compartment. Additionally, there was a storage compartment under the screen which seemed large enough to fit a 13-inch laptop.

Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Seatback in front.
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Storage area.
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Another storage area.

Lastly, the seat had a foot cubby which was very small. It was not possible to store any luggage under it.

Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class Seat
Foot cubby.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Pre-Flight Service & Departure

Upon boarding, a blanket and a pillow could be found on the seat. There were also a very modest amenity kit in the embroidered storage compartment and noise-canceling headphones in the seat pocket.

The amenity kit came in a small pouch and included the absolute minimum – an eye mask, socks, a dental kit, and earplugs. In fact, it was no different than amenity kits offered by some other airlines in economy class.

The headphones came with disposable covers.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Blanket and Pillow
Blanket and pillow.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit
Amenity kit.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Headphones

About 15 minutes after boarding, one of the flight attendants brought me the menu.

Another one came shortly after to offer me a welcome drink – either orange or apple juice. I went with the former. The passenger seated across the aisle from me asked if there was champagne but he was told only the two types of juices were available.

Boarding was completed at 9:18PM and at that point, the business class cabin was nearly full.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Welcome Drink
Menu and welcome drink.

Five minutes later, one of the flight attendants came to take my dinner order and to ask if she should wake me up for breakfast. Saying yes to the latter, I was asked which of the breakfast options I’d like to have. More about that later, though.

We were pushed back at 9:28PM – seven minutes ahead of schedule – and a minute later, we were welcomed onboard by the cabin crew.

From there, in a typical JFK fashion, it took forever until it was our turn to take-off. More precisely, at 10:20PM – almost an hour after push back – the captain welcomed us onboard and mentioned that we were number five for take-off. Then, at 10:28PM – a full hour after push back – we finally took off from runway 22R.

Austrian Airlines JFK - Vienna
Ready to go.
Austrian Airlines 767-300 Wing View
Departure from JFK.

Austrian Airlines Long-Haul Business Class Dinner

The seatbelt signs were switched off about 15 minutes after take-off and another ten minutes later, the dinner service started.

First, a warm towel was provided, and shortly after, one of the flight attendants came to collect the towel and set up the table. As I struggled with pulling out the tray table (I didn’t realize there was a button to release it), the flight attendant took it out for me and put a nicely-patterned tablecloth on it.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Wet towel.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Table cloth.

As mentioned earlier, the meal order was taken before take-off. There were two appetizer options (Caprese and roast beef), three main options (chicken, fish, and pasta), and two desssert options (profiteroles and strudel).

I opted for the roast beef appetizer, stuffed chicken breast main, and apple strudel.

Below is the full meal menu.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner Menu
Dinner menu.

As for a drink, I decided to have Almdudler, an Austrian soda made of herbal extracts. With it being one of the most popular drinks in Austrian, it is not surprising Austrian offers it onboard; still, as a non-drinker, I always appreciate when there is some unusual soft drink option like this or Qatar Airways’ So Jennie and try to go for it whenever possible.

Below is the full drink menu.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Drinks Menu
Champagne and sparkling wine menu.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Drinks Menu
White wine menu.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Drinks Menu
Red wine menu.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Drinks Menu
Other drinks menu.

It took a bit less than 15 minutes from when the table was set to the appetizer being served. I was mistakenly served the Caprese but after pointing it out, it was replaced with the roast beef in no time.

At that time, one of the flight attendants also brought a bread basket. Of the several types of bread available, I chose a pretzel roll which was excellent (I could eat ten of those a day).

While the presentation was a bit off (the food seemed to have shifted off the center of the plate), the roast beef was tender and highly enjoyable.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Table setup.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Appetizer – roast beef.

The main was served at around 11:30PM New York time and was nothing to write home about. There was nothing wrong with the chicken and the edamame was nice, but the presentation left a bit to be desired.

Shortly after that, one of the flight attendants stopped by to ask if I wanted anything else. She forgot to bring it the first time around, but she brought it in no time once I asked for it the second time she came to ask if I wanted anything else. 

Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Main – chicken.

When the flight attendant came back to clear my table, she asked what I wanted for dessert (apple strudel) and if I wanted anything to drink. I decided to have a cup of peppermint tea.

A couple of minutes later, I was served chamomile tea – different from what I ordered, but no big deal. It was also nice that the tea was served on a small metal tray as it would be in a cafe.

The strudel – which I really enjoyed and was my favorite part of the meal alongside the roast beef – was served six or seven minutes later.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Austrian Airlines Business Class Dinner
Apple strudel.

I finished the meal shortly before 11PM at which point the flight attendant came to clear the table while saying “thank you so much and good night.”

I should note here that in spite of the small misses (forgetting to bring the pretzel roll and bringing the wrong items a couple of times), the cabin crew was very friendly and professional throughout the meal service and flight. I also realized during the meal service that the flight attendants were not wearing masks. It was the first such flight for me in over two years and it was nice to see their faces again.

Austrian Airlines 767-300ER In-Flight Entertainment System

As mentioned earlier, noise-canceling headphones were ready at the seat upon boarding. I didn’t have the chance to try them, though, since the flight was fairly short and I wanted to maximize the time I had to sleep. That said, I did browse around the in-flight entertainment system a bit.

The system could either be controlled through the touchscreen or using the controller. The controller, however, had a little pad used to move a cursor around the screen (similar to Lufthansa’s A340) which was not very user friendly.

Austrian Airlines 767 In-Flight Entertainment
IFE system.

In terms of content, there was a selection of over 100 movies of all genres, a variety of TV shows (the few I checked had several episodes of each), dozens of albums to listen to, and 12 games.

While the selection was not as extensive as Emirates or Qatar Airways offer, I’d say it was above average and more than enough for any long-haul flight.

Of course, there was also an in-flight map.

Austrian Airlines 767 In-Flight Entertainment
Austrian Airlines 767 In-Flight Entertainment
TV shows.
Austrian Airlines 767 In-Flight Entertainment
Austrian Airlines 767 In-Flight Entertainment

Austrian Airlines 767-300ER In-Flight Wi-Fi

While on the topic of in-flight entertainment, it’s also worth noting that the aircraft was not equipped with in-flight wi-fi. In fact, at this point, none of Austrian Airlines long-haul aircraft (767s and 777s) are.

Interestingly, some of its short- and medium-haul A320 series aircraft are equipped with in-flight wi-fi.

Sleeping Onboard Austrian Airlines’ 767-300ER

As I was tired after flying from Tokyo to New York and then spending a day in the city, I decided to go to sleep right after finishing dinner.

Before doing so, I paid a quick visit to the lavatory.

It was extremely no-frills and, other than soap had no amenities whatsoever. There was an empty bottle stand, though. I am not sure whether it was empty because of the pandemic (although I would not expect that to be the case considering the crew wasn’t wearing masks) or simply because the airline doesn’t care enough to provide additional amenities.

By the time I turned my seat flat and went to sleep, it was around midnight New York time and we were flying near St. John’s, Canada.

Austrian Airlines 767 Lavatory
Austrian Airlines 767 Flight
Shortly before crossing the Atlantic.

When fully flat, there was quite a large crease in the middle of the seat. This was noticeable when laying down, especially because Austrian doesn’t provide mattress pads. What bothered me more, however, was the trash that was left in the crease.

As for the footwell, while it was small, personally I didn’t find it something that would prevent me from sleeping well.

In fact, all in all, I managed to get about five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Austrian Airlines 767 Business Class Bed
Austrian Airlines 767 Bed
Trash in the seat seams.

Austrian Airlines Long-Haul Business Class Breakfast

As soon as I woke up (around 11AM Vienna time, about one hour and twenty minutes before landing), one of the flight attendants brought me a wet towel. Soon after, she offered me water and orange juice – I took the latter.

Another 10 minutes later, the tablecloth was set.

Austrian Airlines 767 Wing View
Cruising toward Vienna.
Austrian Airlines Business Class Breakfast
Wet towel and orange juice.

It wasn’t until another 25 minutes later, though, that the breakfast was served.

There were two options – omelet and scrambled eggs. The order was taken before take-off and I chose the former. Below is the full menu.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Breakfast Menu
Breakfast menu.

After one of the flight attendants brought me the tray with the omelet, fruits, juice, and tea, another one came around with the bread basket. I decided to go with pretzel rolls once again, this time asking for two right off the bat.

The breakfast was decent and – once again – the pretzel rolls were the highlight for me. I should also note that while there might be more practical layouts, I like Austrian’s triangular plates.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Breakfast

Arrival at Vienna Airport

Around 11:50AM, the cabin crew went through the cabin stowing pillows and asking people to fasten their seatbelts. At 11:55AM, the cabin crew was asked to prepare for landing by the pilots and the seatbelt signs were switched on.

Fifteen minutes later, the landing gear was lowered, and at 12:13PM, we landed at Vienna airport.

Austrian Airlines 767 Approaching Vienna
Shortly before landing.
Austrian Airlines 767 Landing in Vienna
Braking after landing at Vienna airport.

Immediately after landing, an announcement was made. Because it was made only in German, I did not understand what was said other than “40 years.” However, considering that a large portion of the passengers started clapping, I assume that it was the last flight of the captain after flying for 40 years.

Not long after the announcement was finished, we made it to our arrival gate. Coming to a full stop at 12:19PM, we arrived 19 minutes behind schedule.

Vienna Airport
Vienna airport.
Vienna Airport
Inside the terminal.

Austrian Airlines 767-300ER Business Class Summary

Overall, the flight was about on par with what one would expect on a seven-hour-long night flight. The cabin crew was friendly, the meals were alright (the pretzel rolls were excellent), and the seat was comfortable enough in both the upright and bed modes.

That said, with in-flight wi-fi being more or less a standard offering these days on long-haul flights, it would be great if Austrian retrofitted its 767s and 777s with it. After all, it is more important on long flights which these aircraft operate than on the A320 aircraft which mostly fly short-haul routes. It would have also been nice if Austrian offered simple mattress pads too.

On a separate note, while the flight checked the box for wanting to try long-haul business class on Austrian, I still want to fly between my two “home” airports (Vienna – Tokyo) on an Austrian 777.

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