Vienna International Airport

Vienna International Airport (Flughafen Wien-Schwechat IATA: VIE) is the busiest and biggest airport in Austria, located just outside the city limits of Vienna on the far side of the City of Schwechat. The airport is the home base of Austrian Airlines and Niki.

Understand

Vienna International Airport

Vienna International Airport has one terminal separated into three check-in areas. Check-in 3 is used by the Austrian Airlines Group, Emirates, Qatar and most Star Alliance members. Check-in 1 (formerly known as Terminal 1) is now mainly used by Air Berlin and Niki as well as several other oneworld and SkyTeam airlines. Check-in 2 is being refurbished.

Flights

The curved main concourse is very pleasing to the eye

Most European airlines and a significant number of intercontinental airlines have direct connections to Vienna. However, only Austrian Airlines fly to the American continent (New York, Toronto, Chicago, Washington and Punta Cana), and there is direct service to some countries in Africa (Egypt, Libya and Tunisia).

Schwechat is well-integrated into the Star Alliance network, with all European Star Alliance members having a direct connection from their main hubs (usually country capitals), as well as secondary cities. In particular, Lufthansa, the parent company of Austrian Airlines, flies directly to Vienna from all of their bases, including flights by its low-fare sister airline Germanwings from smaller German airports. Those flights can be booked on a single ticket with Lufthansa or Austrian flights.

As the airport is also a base for airBerlin's sister airline Niki, it is a oneworld hub as well. There are direct flights to most oneworld hubs in Europe and the Middle East, including Amman (Royal Jordanian) and Doha (Qatar Airways), from where you can continue onto Asian destinations. Do note, however, that there is no direct flight to Abu Dhabi, the hub for Niki's ultimate parent airline Etihad Airways.

Skyteam also has a significant presence at the airport - apart from flights from European hubs of most members, there is a direct flight to Seoul-Incheon by Korean Airlines.

Low-fare airlines have a rather low presence in Schwechat, apart from Lufthansa Group flights operated by Germanwings. Ryanair prefers to use the nearby airport in Bratislava, as do Norwegian Air Shuttle. EasyJet has a single connection to London Gatwick, Germania operates a direct connection to Bremen, Vueling flies between Vienna and Barcelona and Transavia offers direct flights to Rotterdam.

The City Airport Train at its platform underneath the airport

Ground transportation

To get to Vienna, you can use two different railway options (cheaper but slower S-Bahn and more expensive but faster CAT), buses or taxis. If your final destination is not Vienna, it might make sense to take one of the direct ICEs that were introduced in 2014 and will be supplemented with more connections when the timetables change in December 2015.

Regular S-Bahn trains depart from the same station underneath the terminal, but from a separate island platform - the CAT platform is the remote one on the right in this photo.
City check-in and baggage drop-off at Wien Mitte/Landstrasse
The Vienna Airport City seen from a remote parking lot, with the unmistakeable curvaceous Control Tower and the NH Hotel, the only one on the airport grounds
You should find Schwechat easy to get around

Get around

Schwechat is not an especially complicated or large airport, but do note that while gates B, C and D are close to each other and the check-in area, the lenghty extension containing gates F and G is physically removed and may require some time to traverse if you have a connection to catch. No travellators or people movers are available to help you do that.

The Austrian Airlines lounge has a nice view of the apron

Wait

There are three main airport lounges at the Vienna International Airport - the two smaller AIR and JET lounges, as well as the SKY lounge complex divided into the Schengen and Non-Schengen sections. The SKY lounge complex is also where you find the Business Class, Senator and HON Circle Lounges of Austrian Airlines, which can be used by Austrian's passengers with an appropriate flight ticket of a higher class, as well as eligible Miles & More members and other Star Alliance loyalty programmes members.

See here for locations of lounges.

If you'd rather enjoy your meal on the ground than above, Vienna Airport will probably cater to your taste and budget

Eat and Drink

A number of gastronomic outlets of various standards is available both airside and landside. Those range from McDonald's and Burger King to concessions run by Vienna's famous delicatessen and restaurants.

Buy

Vienna airport has a duty free shopping area with 70 shops. Plan around one hour if you're going to visit every other shop. The shopping area is just after ticket control counters, so you only need to check in before getting to shops, not pass security check nor passport control.

A general grocery store, Billa, can be found downstairs in the check-in area 1. It has Austrian Mozartkugeln and small snacks for usual Austrian prices. Once the check-in passed special prices do apply. In the arrival area there is a Spar supermarket.

Tax refund

Refer to the brochure for locations and tips. Your best bet for receiving tax refund is to find a refund office in the city. Otherwise, indicate that you need to receive tax refund at check-in. You then take any checked luggage containing tax-free purchases to a customs office (right in the check-in area) to get a stamp and drop off the checked luggage; then visit a nearby refund office.

Customs officers don't normally ask you to actually unpack and show your purchases. You will be asked if any applicable purchases are in your hand luggage. Although it is illegal, you may be encouraged to lie to agents, saying that everything is in your checked luggage even if it isn't. This is due to an otherwise tedious process; you have to visit yet another office by the gates. (Especially at the C Gates—there you will have to ring for an officer, wait to be picked up by bus and taken to the a refund office and back to your departure, allow 1 hour for the whole procedure.) Alternatively, you can visit a refund office on arrival in your home country—provided that you visited customs and had your receipts stamped in Vienna. Additional commission or unfavourable exchange rate can apply if refunding in other country.

Connect

The Vienna International Airport has on the new terminal comfortable chairs with plugs. The airport provides free and good internet connection without time limit.

Sleep

Nearby

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