This CAT just “purrs” along
Vienna’s CAT (City Airport Train) is an amazing service and the best city-airport link we’ve ever experienced in all our travels.
This is a train dedicated just to moving people between Vienna’s International Airport and the city center. In only 16 minutes the non-stop train whisks you from the airport to the Wein-Mitte station, or vice versa.
The system makes it really easy for people to use. When you are collecting baggage at the airport, look for the CAT ticket machines in the baggage claim area, where you can buy your ticket. The machines take credit cards or cash (euros). If you miss that opportunity, don’t worry as there are more ticket machines on the platform. As you exit into the Arrivals Hall, turn right and follow the signs down the ramp to the CAT station: the distinctive CAT letters and logo of white plane on a green background are easy to see and follow.
Trains leave the airport twice an hour at :06 and :36, from 6:06 to 23:36. They also leave from Wein-Mitte every 30 minutes at :06 and :36 (from 5:36 to 23:06)—times that are easy to remember. The train is speedy, quiet, air-conditioned, with proper luggage racks and seating downstairs and upstairs.
You must have a ticket, as a ticket collector comes by on every train.
Getting into the city this way is great, as at Wein-Mitte you can connect to the excellent U-Bahn (underground) system that also links to the buses and trams, all of which can get you to almost anywhere in the city.
But, what is even more useful is the service offered when returning to the airport. At Wein-Mitte CAT station, you can check into your flight: they tag your checked luggage and get it to the relevant airline and you don’t see it again until your final destination, plus you get your boarding passes. So, it’s much easier than at the airport. How cool is that?!
We used this twice on our last trip: once from Vienna to Slovakia; and once to London via Dusseldorf (me) and to Shanghai via Frankfurt (Rod) and it worked perfectly—luggage in London and Shanghai.
A single ticket per person is 12 euros and a return is 19 euros (children under 15 are free). This is a great price when compared to a taxi one-way, which can cost up to 50 euros depending on traffic.