IAG’s new budget airline, LEVEL, opened a new base in Vienna this year. To make routes from Vienna more profitable, LEVEL sold 50,000 tickets for €0.01. At the first sale I was working, but I could buy a return trip at the time of the next sale. I booked VK4050 departing Vienna (VIE) at 10:50 arriving at London Gatwick (LGW) at 12:10, a 2 hour and 20 minute flight. My return flight VK4053 which departs LGW 18:35 and arrives at VIE at 21:55.
I didn’t have to pay taxes or fees, so only €0.02 was taken out of my account. It wasn’t my cheapest flight, however, as I book hotels through airlines, which gives me back flight credit. However, this time it was something else, as I didn’t do anything to fly for “free”.
I arrived at Vienna Airport 2 hours before my flight. I bought food for myself in the airport supermarket (on city rates). I printed my boarding pass in the empty T1A terminal, then went through the security process. My flight departed from the D gates which is known as the “worst” part of the airport as it is the oldest. However, it wasn’t bad for me. The passport check took only 10 minutes, the security was another 15 minutes, and the not-very-spacious boarding area had a toilet and a duty-free shop. There were seats, but I couldn’t find anywhere to sit. If I compare it to Budapest Airport’s low cost “terminal” where there are no seats at all, no toilet, duty-free, and where is no temperature control, VIE’s D gates are nice.
We boarded our 15-year-old Airbus A321, registered OE-LCF, by bus. This is the only aircraft of the fleet which does not have a winglet nor USB ports under the seat. My original seat was 24B, which is a seat in front of the emergency row. I had a free window as there is no 24A seat.
After takeoff, I managed to change my seat to 13F, behind my friend. That row was empty, so I had a lot of space. The seat also reclined. Cabin staff were nice, the seat was comfy, and the legroom was big (even on 24B). LEVEL is punctual, as was my flight. We deboarded by jetway.
The security took eight minutes in LGW, which has a nice terminal. The boarding process was also smooth. My seat was 21A, a comfortable seat in the back. The aircraft was the 3-year-old OE-LCN which is equipped with a winglet and with a working USB power socket. The legroom was the same, and I could sleep with no problem. The uneventful flight took 1 hour and 44 minutes.
LEVEL is a great airline which can overrule legacy airlines if their business plan works. I wouldn’t have expected this amazing service for only €0.02.
All images by Miklós Budai/Aeronautics Online