Vienna Airport and the Jet Lounge
Today we flew from Vienna to Amman by Royal Jordanian (RJ). We originally picked a Vienna departure as it has the lowest departure taxes of all European ports RJ operated from. We had a cheap business class fare back to Asia and this would be Jacqui’s first major trip in business class. We had had a great time in Vienna and earlier Salzburg and were a bit sad to be leaving Europe.
Transport from the city
Vienna Airport has a gluttony of public transport options to the city. We were coming in on a local train so chose the dedicated direct rail connection (CAT), similar to Hong Kong. It costs 10 euros for a quick connection. It departs from the central station and has a city check-in service, which a handful of airlines use (not RJ however). Okay sounds good, yeah? Well a couple problems. Simply said it is not frequent enough, only every 30 minutes, 15 minutes should be minimum unless truly off-peak. Also the terminal is under heavy refurbishment currently. Having taken a metropolitan rail service to connect through we infuriating had to follow a faded line outside then entire way around the building. Poor signage and they genuinely could not have made you walk a longer way to end up back in the same building. If they could put a door in the wall it would of taken a few seconds, instead we got to watch our train depart once we entered the CAT station. I can only hope it will be sorted once construction is finished.
Checking in with Royal Jordanian
Check-in was not exactly smooth either. This was caused by our itinerary. There was one priority desk, which meant little waiting time except for the people behind us… Notably there were only two actual RJ ground staff (managers?) at check-in and the gate, both male and Jordanian with different uniforms. Everyone else was contract staff, not a bad thing however. We had an experienced Austrian Airlines staff check us in who was highly professional. The computer simply refused to deal with sectors not originating in VIE so the supervisor had to help – the older of the two RJ employees. Eventually they got us sorted, with hand written tags + priority tags.
One last question was “where is the lounge”. I was told turn right immediately after passport control. Well that couldn’t be further from the truth. After getting my exit stamp, I walked for 3 seconds then realised I already passed the door. This is as paid/associate/partner/part-time/token lounge as they get. Oneworld currently has a minimal presence at VIE, which is dominated by OS. This may change of course with the joining of Air Berlin and their other half, Niki which is based in VIE.
Jet Lounge, Vienna Airport
Because of the limited space, drapes and full wall mirrors are used. Sometimes I felt like I was in somebody’s living room, it was like visiting friend’s apartment with a small counter bar and then the lounge room. It also felt like a horror house with hidden rooms in the walls, specifically the staff room. So the design is interesting, nearly feels like an overcompensating penthouse; maybe it is down to personal taste. Entry doors to the bathrooms are definitely unique!
The computer facilities were extremely limited, just one machine was working and I couldn’t print. They were nice enough to stick a note on the keyboard if you struggle with non-US layout keyboards.
Food options were also so-so but limited, including hot soup, a bowl of apples and salads. A plate of chocolate-coated banana confectionery were truly disgusting. There was a limited selection of alcohol.
The guy creeping into the final photo was the life of the party. Maybe adding to the vibe I’ve described so far, this gentleman and his entourage was the perfect clichéd old British rock star. The whole band was there, talking away loudly. My only other band-at-at-airport experience was Guns n Roses, these guys were a lot more chilled with their tea drinking.
We eventually decided to leave cautiously early, which turned out to be a bit in haste. Security is after all this but before the gates. I had read that Vienna Airport relied on bussing people out from gates a lot for non-Schengen flights. So we ended up waiting with the masses downstairs by the gate.