Getting There in Austrian Business Class
Seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
The Road to Lofoten is Paved with Postcards
On the Way to Rorbu #15 in Lofoten
Spending the Night in a Traditional Rorbu
Exploring the Picturesque Lofoten Islands
A Night in a Traditional Rorbuer
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel (only 800 miles from the North Pole!)
Longyearbyen – the World’s Northernmost City
Crossing the Isfjord in a Boat
Barentsburg Mining Town
Face to Face with Esmark Glacier
I started the trip in Sirmione (one of my favorite places in Italy) and had a day of flights ahead of me.
I left at 6:20am in order to make the first flight at 10am, which was out of Milan’s Malpensa airport. The sun wasn’t up yet, and only the occasional fisherman’s boat broke the stillness of the glassy water.
Traffic was fairly light, but the city of Milan has a ring road that gets extremely slow at times.
Avoiding the road we were able to drop off the rental car right around 8am, which was right at Terminal 1. Security was quick and then it was on to the lounge. The Lufthansa lounge was nice but crowded and noisy, with hardly anywhere to sit. It also didn’t have restrooms inside the lounge.
Moving on to the Sala lounge, it was deemed a much better option. There were less than a handful of people in the lounge so it was quiet, with plenty of seating. By each section of chairs there were convenient wall outlets, in case there were any electronics needing last-minute charging.
There were pastries, breads, fruit and drinks for those wanting to grab a bit of breakfast.
Before long it was on to the first flight. I had redeemed United miles for saver tickets in business class (except for the SAS flight because they don’t have business but something called SAS+), and the only flights I could find had a rather convoluted routing to get me to my destinations.
The flight was off to a great start with three rows of business seats but only one other passenger. I took my seat in 1A with my husband next to me, and the other passenger was on the far side of Row 2. Although there were three seats in a row on either side of the aisle, if the business cabin had been full the middle seats would have been blocked.
Lunch was served, and it was much better than I expected for a quick flight. My husband enjoyed the meatballs and mashed potatoes, and because of my dietary preferences the flight attendant actually gave me the crew meal of hot pasta which was delicious.
The flight attendant was great, and extremely attentive. So much so, that the other guy in business class actually used his call button when it took too long to get his meal because the flight attendant was talking with my husband. I couldn’t stop laughing, which I tried to muffle by pressing my napkin against my mouth.
It was a smooth flight and hot lunch was followed by a tasty chocolate cake (with coffee crème on the side).
Landing in Vienna there was time enough to stop in the Austrian Senator lounge, which is open to Star Alliance Gold members and for those in First Class.
While there was plenty of food I’d already had plenty on the previous flight and knew there would be more on the next.
Boarding for the next flight started soon so I gathered my things together and walked to the F gates where my flight was departing from.
The line moved slowly, and because it was a bus gate there was no hurry.
The bus pulled up to our plane and everyone marched upwards. I settled comfortably in to my seat in the first row again, this time on the opposite side in seat 1E.
It was similar to the previous seat except that this aircraft was an old F70 with ashtrays (sealed shut of course) in the armrests.
The captain came over the intercom and said that we were set for an on time departure and would be pushing back shortly.
Soon we were airborne, and the air was smooth. Lunch was served, and even though I wasn’t terribly hungry I found the food to be very good yet again and couldn’t help nibbling.
For shorthaul flights, Austrian business meals really are pretty great. Both flights were less than an hour and a half, and both meals sure beat getting the “snack basket” on a domestic flight in the US. In fact, I think Austrian would be my first choice if trying to decide on a shorthaul intra-European flight when using food alone as the factor.
A quarter to 2pm the pilot announced that we were starting our descent, and the plane dipped below the clouds. We’d be on the ground in Brussels soon.
Stay tuned for the onwards journey…