, carrier ID AUA
) is the
national carrier of Austria (duh)
and quite possibly
the most boring
airline on the planet.
Founded in 1957, Austrian flew its first flight on 31 March 1958
, Austrian's hub ever since. Like every
other European airline, AUA then proceeded to ditch its Vickers
s for Caravelle
jets, switching over to DC-9
they came out, and later started buying Airbus
In 1990 Austrian was partly privatized, after which it promptly gobbled
up competitors Tyrolean Airways
and Lauda Air
, retaining their brands
but turning them into cogs in the machine now known as the
Austrian Airlines Group
. In March 2000 the Group joined
Not yawning yet? Try flying with them. Flights on Austrian aren't
particularly cheap, but neither are they more expensive than the
competition. Service on Austrian is average,
a notch above Lufthansa
, a mile below Singapore Airlines
Amenities from onboard music
are average, although they
continue to cater to terrorist
s through providing cutlery
made out of
(gasp!). And Austrian's safety record is average, since while
the main carrier hasn't killed anybody since a 1960 belly flop
with 31 fatatilies, Lauda Air
had a 767
disintegrate in midair near Bangkok
in 1991, taking 223 passengers
and crew along with it. There was also a hijacking
when a Bosnian refugee facing deportation threatened the crew with a small
knife, but he was overpowered by police with no casualties,
and sentenced to 7 years in prison.
However, Austrian's marketing slogan, "The Most Friendly Airline",
while undoubtedly boring, gets minus points for being
grammatically incorrect. Could somebody advise their PR department
about the conjugation "friendliest"?
So Why Fly Austrian?
Well, it's not necessarily a bad thing at all in the airline industry
to be boring (I would have cited Swissair
here, but they made the
mistake of going bankrupt), and -- other than that slogan -- it's
quite difficult to think of anything bad to say about them.
And Austrian does have one thing going for it: geography.
Their hub, Vienna, is the easternmost capital of a Western European
country, making it the logical choice for Westerners flying into
the region who'd rather not experiment with the likes of
Air Moldova. Nearly all traffic to former
Yugoslavia, for example, passes through Vienna.
For the same reason, Vienna is well located for flights from Europe to
the Middle East; odd as it may seem at first thought, the fastest
way to get from Helsinki to Tel Aviv is on Austrian.
Management has also realized this, and Austrian
has expanded its network of destinations quite a bit during the 1990s,
so now you can fly Austrian to anointed places like Skopje, Kluj, Kosice,
Krasnodar, and Amman.
The other thing Austrian has going for it is that they often (but not
always) include an authentic Mozartkugel for dessert in their
in-flight meals. Yum yum!