It’s been up and flying since 6 March – our all-new Austrian Airlines Premium Economy Class. To make sure Premium Economy became reality this quickly, though, we had to keep to a seriously strict schedule. (But we’re good at those, as you know.) So today, our blog offers a few exclusive and thrilling insights into this mammoth project…
The goal of the ambitious project was to create a completely new class of travel between Business Class and Economy Class. The project designed to achieve this was given the green light in October 2016, to be managed by Carsten Wortmann. While almost every department of the company played a part in one way or another, teams from divisions including Product Management, Branding, Technical Services, Marketing, Revenue Management, Sales, Network Planning, Ground Operations and eCommerce were particularly intensely involved.
“The general feeling at the beginning,” Carsten Wortmann explains, was ‘It can’t really be all that complex, can it..?’”. It soon became clear, however, that not only was it going to be ‘that complex’ – it was going to be worse! One cabin seat is far from the same as any other, after all, and the goal – to convert the entire long-haul fleet without limiting our ongoing flight schedule in any way whatsoever – was certainly ambitious! First up, we had to translate the concepts underlying this new travel experience – which existed nowhere but in the heads of the project team at the time – into reality on the aircraft proper, effectively using it to inspire our passengers as we went. To do this, though, we would have to keep to a tight schedule, because the aircraft would need to be refitted during maintenance dates they had already been booked in for.
The special Premium Economy seats were being produced by a German company. All the aircraft in our long-haul fleet – five Boeing 777 and six Boeing 767 – were then converted and refitted, in Hong Kong, Taipei and Beijing, during the winter months of 2017/18.
It had been possible for passengers to book the first Premium Economy seats since the official sales launch in September 2017. And for a period of a few months before all the aircraft were converted, people had been given the chance to travel Premium Economy by paying for a small upgrade. This was designed to let them lay back and enjoy the comfort of the red-grey seats for the first time, even if the level of service associated with the new experience wasn’t yet included back then.
Now the conversion has been concluded successfully (perfectly timed, of course, in line with the original schedule), the first flights to feature Premium Economy Class with all that special service have been taking off since 6 March 2018.
There are now 252 Premium Economy seats available on eleven aircraft working a regular cycle between Austria and China, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Maldives, Cuba, the US and Canada. You’ll also be able to enjoy this comfort on our new routes from Vienna to Tokyo from this May and from Vienna to Cape Town from October onwards.
Amongst a wide range of benefits, the features of Premium Economy Class include lots of legroom (approximately one metre), an extra-comfortable angle of inclination of 40°, a charming ‘amenity kit’ containing lots of items useful on a long flight, and the right to take with you a second item of luggage weighing 23 kg. To get a more detailed overview of all the different benefits you can look forward to, just click here. Alternatively, you might consider taking the seats home with you using the Premium Economy AR App…
Already interested? Thinking seriously about using new Premium Economy on your next flight? If you’re wondering what might be the right flight for you offering the new service, just click here: