REVIEW | Eurowings EW 5888 from Vienna to Madrid-Barajas


I was in Kraków as part of my summer travels of 2017. With my plans taking me to Madrid after Kraków, I was left with the task of actually making my way westwards across Europe.

A quick search revealed that I would have better connections if I flew to Madrid from Vienna. The trouble was that as I’d left my flight booking to just a month before, the ticket prices were starting to look unhappily high by my frugal standards.

Enter Eurowings, the Lufthansa Group’s low cost carrier arm. With its €100.00 (incl. taxes) fare being one of the cheapest options, I quickly booked myself a ticket on flight EW 5888 from Vienna to Madrid with a 11:05 am departure.

2023 Update: Eurowings no longer flies from Vienna to Madrid.
First posted 12 August 2017.  Updated 17 February 2023.

Buying my tickets

I bought my tickets on the delightfully clean and minimalist Eurowings website. Unlike Ryanair and Easyjet’s strict no-frills for everyone approach, Eurowings sells tickets on a tiered basis. The lowest tier fare is called BASIC, and is your standard LCC style ticket with frills purchased as additions. The next tiers are SMART and BIZclass (formerly BEST) respectively, and offer increasingly extensive packages of frills.

In other words, Eurowings is a “hybrid” LCC – offering an option between a simple no-frills experience, or a more comfortable one closer to that of a legacy airline. Being part of the Lufthansa Group also has its perks, as passengers flying Eurowings can also collect Miles & More award miles. Do note that this does not extend to Star Alliance frequent flyer programs as Eurowings is not a Star Alliance member.

2023 Update: If the whole thing sounds familiar, that's because today a good number of airlines (including legacy airlines) offer similar fare tiers in Economy class alongside the legacy airline perks. 

My €100.00 BASIC fare came with an 8kg cabin bag allowance with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 23 cm. This was particularly helpful as I could stuff my backpack into my roller bag just before boarding, and then store the whole thing in the overhead lockers.

2023 Update: Eurowings has since downgraded their cabin bag allowance.  The BASIC fare now comes with an allowance for a single 40 x 30 x 25 cm small cabin bag.  Buying the SMART fare gives you the allowance for the small cabin bag and the 8kg cabin bag.
For more information on Eurowings' fare tiers, please visit

Getting to Vienna International Airport by train

Vienna International Airport (VIE) is well connected to the city with a variety of public transport options – the cheapest is by bus, while the airport’s train connections offer a more pleasant ride.

I got to VIE via the S-Bahn from the city centre. The S-Bahn operates a mix of old and new trains, and I was lucky to catch the newer “Cityjet” trains.

Vienna heavily promotes the unimaginatively named “City Airport Train“, departing from Wien Mitte station and running nonstop to the airport in 16 minutes.  A single ticket costs a pricey €11.00, but I personally don’t think its worth the money you pay. In contrast, my S-Bahn ticket cost only €3.90.

Then again if you’re thinking about saving money, you’re not the CAT’s target market.

2023 Update: An adult single journey ticket on the CAT now costs €14.90.  My advice would be to just take the S-Bahn.

Departure experience from Vienna International Airport

Eurowings operates from VIE’s Terminal 3. This isn’t surprising as Terminal 3 is also home to fellow Lufthansa Group member Austrian Airlines. As I had already checked in online, the only thing left for me to do was to head airside through the security checks.

With some extra time to spend, I opted to pay a visit to VIE’s very own outdoor spotting deck.

Outdoor spotting deck at VIE

VIE is one of the few airports with a brand new outdoor spotting deck. It was opened alongside Terminal 3 in June 2012. The price of a 2 hour ticket cost me €5.00.

2023 Update: The Adult 2 hour ticket now costs €4.00, and €2.00 for children aged 2 - 16.  Information on the spotting deck can be found on the German language version of the airport's website -

Airside experience & Boarding

VIE Terminal 3’s security was the quickest I’ve been through. In no time at all I was at my gate complete with an Austrian Airlines hand luggage tag that everyone received, even if you weren’t flying Austrian.

The Terminal 3 pier is essentially a long linear design with aerobridge gates on both sides intersped with retail and F&B outlets charging airport prices.

My flight was scheduled to depart from a remote stand, so when boarding was called we shuffled down the steps to a waiting bus. I know Eurowings is an LCC, which typically shuns jetbridges to save on airport charges, but I’m not sure if this is the airline’s general practice at VIE.

The bus ride to the remote stand gave some great opportunity for planespotting, but it can get a bit hard to do when you’re squeezed in a bus with an Airbus A320 load of passengers.

I was very lucky to be assigned window seat 28A upon check in, and so I boarded the aircraft at the rear. The boarding experience was smooth so far, but things were marred a bit when I discovered that one of my two seatmates had claimed my window seat as their own. I asked nicely to let me sit at my seat, but they tried dismissing my requests to move by waving me to the one of the aisle seats located nearby.

I wasn’t going to give up my seat that easily so I persisted, and eventually he moved elsewhere while his travelling companion moved to the aisle seat on my row, leaving the middle seat between us as a de facto wall. Talk about being petty.

We powered out of our stand, and the regular welcome and safety announcements were made in both English and Austrian accented German. Our aircraft stand’s proximity to the runway threshold taxi took less that 10 minutes and we were soon taking off from runway 16 on time.

Cabin & Onboard Amenities

My first impressions of the cabin were good – It was clean and the seats were in good condition. An interesting feature I noticed on the overhead passenger service units was that the no-smoking signs were painted on rather than being back-lit installations. I suppose this made sense as smoking is prohibited throughout the flight, making it more cost efficient to have a sticker instead of a light.

The airline also seems to have a great sense of humour in its corporate branding, as seen on airsickness bag in the seat pockets.

Eurowings Airbus A320 Economy class seats

Eurowings outfits its Airbus A320 family with Recaro made slimline seats in a 3-3 configuration across 30 rows. I found these seats to be more comfortable than the then new Ryanair Safran made slimline seats, especially thanks to the 30 inch seat pitch and recline.

I’d just like to note that Eurowings isn’t the only airline equipped with these Recaro seats, as the exact same seats are fitted onboard Lufthansa and Austrian Airline’s intra-Europe fleet.

Onboard Amenities – the Wi-Fi

Eurowings’ fleet is equipped with Wi-Fi and a wireless entertainment network. Both are branded as “Wings Connect” and “Wings Entertainment” respectively. You need to subscribe to 1 of 3 paid packages to get access to the internet, with the cheapest instant messaging only – Wi-Fi package costing EUR 2.90 for flights less than 2 hours and EUR 3.90 for flights longer than 2 hours.

Wings Entertainment on the other hand has pretty neat feature. While you have to pay to get access to the entertainment content, the inflight map feature is blissfully free to use throughout the flight.

Onboard Catering

Eurowings runs a buy onboard (BOB) model for its food and beverages with variations depending on your choice of fare tier.

My BASIC fare did not include a meal, and so did the SMART tier. This means that passengers on the BASIC and SMART fares would have to buy their choice of food and drinks. BIZclass fare passengers, on the other hand, have an À la carte meal catering included in their fare.

I wasn’t feeling hungry so I bought myself a small can of Coca Cola.

From my observations during the meal service, I found the onboard crew to be very friendly and proactive. At one point, a flight attendant offered to heat up a meal for a passenger who had slept through the meal service. There were also no language barriers as they spoke fluent English.

The view outside

We made a right turn westwards after take off.  Our flight path took us over the Austrian Alps on our way out of Austrian skies, and it was a spectacular view from the top.

The landscape changed drastically when we entered Spanish airspace.  The ground seemed dryer and a lot more brownish-orange than the green of France and Austria.

An interesting sight as we entered a holding pattern was the Trillo nuclear power plant, which was my first time seeing a nuclear power plant in all its glory.

We also flew over a collection of small towns, with prominent ones being Brihuega with its distinctive bullfighting ring, and Hita with the ruins of the Castillo de Hita on the hill.

Arrival at Madrid-Barajas Terminals 1-2-3

There was some crosswind on final approach and we could feel the corrections being made by the pilot, before touching down firmly on Runway 18L.  

Eurowings uses the Terminal 1-2-3 complex on the south side of the airport so this meant a long taxi southwards from the northern Terminal 4 side of the airport.

I didn’t have any baggage & nor were there any arrival immigration for this intra-Schengen flight, so it was simply a 30 minute walk from the aircraft to the airport’s Metro station into town.

Final Thoughts

Eurowings offered a very pleasant LCC experience on this intracontinental flight.  The crew were friendly and the seats were comfortable enough for the short haul  run.  The addition of Wi-Fi was also a bonus since I wasn’t expecting an LCC to have it installed.

All in all, I must say that I would choose Eurowings over Ryanair in the future if I had to make that choice.






2 responses to “REVIEW | Eurowings EW 5888 from Vienna to Madrid-Barajas”

  1. […] previously arrived in Spain from Vienna via a Eurowings flight, and the end of my holiday meant that I had to make my way back to Belfast from Spain. While there […]

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