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November 20, 2019

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Austrian Airlines’ coffee shop in the sky

Austrian Airlines is offering an exclusive package to its Chinese customers that includes heritage features instead of merely upgrading premium class facilities and services to attract first class passengers.

Austria’s national carrier, which operates the only “coffeehouse above the clouds,” serves 10 different types of Viennese coffees in Business Class on its long haul flights to and from Vienna.

And these authentic Austrian treats have been brought to Shanghai recently to meet the demands of its Chinese customers.

Between October 30 and November 5, the Austrian airline promoted its capital city through its Viennese coffee culture at Mia Fringe at 627 Huaihai Road M. in downtown Huangpu District.

Renowned Austrian coffee company Julius Meinl provided Shanghai with authentic beans, baristas and coffee machines for the event.

Meinl coffees, the same brand travelers may find in Austrian coffeehouses and restaurants, are primarily blended from the costly blue, highland grown Arabica beans.

Served coffee choices include specialties such as the Wiener Mélange (the classic mélange contains hot milk, foamed milk and black coffee), the Franziskaner (black coffee with foamed milk, whipped cream and cocoa powder), the Einspänner (Viennese specialty made from black coffee, prepared with whipped cream and powdered sugar), the Maria Theresia (black coffee with orange liqueur) and the Fiaker (black coffee magic refined with cognac and whipped cream).

Traditional Viennese coffeehouses have been part of the UNESCO National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2011.

“The China market is very important to Austrian Airlines. It is one of the three top strategic markets for the airline around the world, apart from Austria and the United States,” said Michael Knapp, Director of B2C Marketing Asia Pacific at Lufthansa Group Airlines — Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS.

Knapp is responsible for planning and implementing all integrated B2C activities for the Lufthansa Group Airlines.

To better serve Chinese customers, Austrian Airlines have opened a WeChat account and is offering a wider range of Chinese and Western food on board.

Passengers can also enjoy Chinese movies, videos and music on board to make them feel home, according to Knapp.

Led by the charm of the imperial city Vienna and tourist attractions in the rest of the country, Austria is becoming more and more attractive to Asian leisure and business travelers. Statistics reveal that from 2008 to 2018 Chinese overnight stays increased sixfold to 1.4 million.

Austrian Airlines offers four direct flights from Shanghai to Vienna every week using its flagship aircraft, the Boeing 777, which has over 300 seats. The Austrian home-carrier will also operate up to five weekly flights between Beijing and Vienna in the upcoming winter season 2019/20.

The Austrian cabin crew, dressed in their distinguished red uniform, provide an effortless service and provide a unique experience in customer care with their own hospitality and charm.

“The carrier aims to bring the Austrian hospitality and charm on board, so that when you step on board, you are already in Austria,” Knapp said.

The historical coffee culture of Austria is one of the highlighted campaigns to send the message.

Vienna has about 2,600 coffeehouses. Out of these cafes, around 100 are part of UNESCO cultural heritage. Apart from a wide variety of beverages and pastries, a Viennese coffeehouse is famous for its marble-topped tables, Thonet chairs and chandeliers.

Famous musicians such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven and Joseph Strauss often visited Viennese coffeehouses, making the place a popular gathering place for artists, intellectuals and citizens.

At the Mia Fringe in Shanghai, these coffee specialties were prepared following traditional recipes by an Austrian barista and local customers got a vintage feel of a traditional Viennese coffeehouse.

Every day, coffee lovers participated in barista workshops and learned how to prepare special coffee recipes.

Furthermore, guests could also slip into the lives of Empress Sisi and Emperor Franz Joseph and take a selfie in front of the historical backdrop of Schönbrunn Palace, one of the most iconic landmarks of Vienna, where the imperial couple used to live.

Concerts were also given by Schloss Schönbrunn Orchestra on the first three nights of the event, which attracted a large swathe of music fans.

Through the airline’s WeChat mini program, local visitors could register for different activities, such as barista workshops, concerts, morning yoga, travel salon and, last but not least, a voucher of a cup of Wiener Mélange.

Austria is famous for its imperial buildings, its celebrated composers like Mozart, its coffeehouses, the backdrop of the Alps and the world-famous movie “The Sound of Music.”

Passengers will also find one of the largest travel networks in Europe in Vienna. Travelers can continue their journey to over 100 European destinations in the Austrian Airlines’ network or switch to any long-haul flights for America or Asia.

In total, Austrian Airlines fly to 130 destinations worldwide.

The three Lufthansa Group airlines — Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS — are offering distinctive services to global customers, Knapp said.

Austrian Airlines aims to bring its authentic national flavors to the cabin, while Swiss International Air Lines promotes chocolate, cheese and other local culinary delights. In addition, Swiss cosmetic brands are featured in the amenity kits.

Lufthansa focuses more on European spirit and German features, such as open-mindedness, quality and engineering.

Austrian Airlines is the nation’s leading airline. The once state-owned airline operates a route network to around 130 destinations.

Thanks to its favorable geographical location, the Austrian home airport of Vienna Schwechat is still a hub between the East and West today.

About 120 of the country’s 360 daily flights lead to Central and Eastern Europe, transporting around 14 million passengers a year and employing 7,000 staff from 58 nations.

The airline has been part of the Lufthansa Group since 2009. Austrian Airlines is also a member of the Star Alliance, the first global alliance of international airlines.


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