The Seat: It somehow still jars me a bit to see economy sized seats in a business class cabin but as a guy who appreciates elbow room I’m not completely put off by it. The seat next to you will always be without a passenger, replaced by a plastic divider allowing your elbows to roam free. It’s your backside and legs that will be squished just as much as those in economy.
In row 1 aboard this Austrian Airlines F100, you’ve got the added disadvantage of a close bulkhead wall and seats that are slimmer thanks to the tray-tables in the armrest. Even with a bulkhead wall a few inches farther away in the A & B seats in this row, it’s easy for me to recommend moving further back in this cabin. In row 1, You’re getting the business in business.
Tech/Connectivity: Unless you’ve got a tablet or phone that’s fully charged, your entertainment will be watching the seat-belt sign turn off and on. Hope for a bumpy flight.
Service: Flight attendants started and ended the flight in a slightly frazzled but not unfriendly mode. The smiles seemed a little forced, but I applaud them for trying. Much of the flight was pretty bumpy (as you may notice in parts of the video review) so we give a little rope to their demeanor as they did a great job getting meals served and efficiently breezing through economy class beverage and snack service.
Food: Austrian serves up a pretty robust meal-time spread in business class. It’s a great surprise for just a 2-hour hop, but we had already eaten, so skipped the service. From the looks (and sounds) of things, of our loud-eating neighbor across the aisle really enjoyed his breakfast.
Summary: I’m not sure we’ll ever get to a point where a business class cabin with economy seats will earn more than 3 “hops”. This particular row row (1) can’t even live up to that relative good rating. Legs and hips fall victim to walls and tray-tables so much that even your free-flowing elbows and a tasty breakfast can’t save a point from being shaved off.
Rating: 2 “hops” (of 5).
How we got it: This was part of a larger Star Alliance itinerary booked using US Airways Dividend Miles. Our friends at Points Pros helped us find business class seats to and through Europe. Points were earned through flights aboard US Airways and generous “buy miles” bonus promotions.