Swiss Economy Class Zürich-London – Short flight in Europe
This was the second flight in what has almost become a concept in business class, “Summer travel 2013”. A short and unremarkable, but otherwise nice flight in Swiss economy class between Zurich and London.
At the Airport
I landed at Zurich Kloten Airport at 6pm with 2 hours and 45 minutes to my next departure. Since I was traveling on a through ticket, staff in Stockholm was able to print boarding passes for the next flight and my baggage was also sent directly to London. The only formality that remained in Zurich was passport control as the flight continued to a destination outside the Schengen area.
Swiss now also have a lounge in the non-Schengen area at the airport, in what is called the D-pier. The lounge is situated somewhat away from the pier and the gates, at the end of a long corridor, but is otherwise well signposted. The lounge was a positive surprise. A very stylish, modern and well-run lounge with fine views over the apron, friendly staff and a good range of food and drink. Also, there was a large freezer with Mövenpick ice cream for dessert. On top of this, the lounge was almost completely empty; there were not more than a handful of visitors throughout my visit.
Boarding and First Impressions
Boarding started 25 minutes before departure at gate D35, with priority for business class passengers and passengers with golden cards who could use a separate counter and queue. This was controlled properly, which was appreciated. Directly behind the gate, followed the checking of travel documents.
I was the first to board and was welcomed by a friendly and smiling flight attendant at the entrance. I quickly found my place on the seventh row and was able to comfortably settle in before most of the other passengers came on board. The occupancy on the flight was high with a load factor of over 90 percent. Business class took up three rows; the rest of the cabin was used for economy.
Due to some late arrivals transfer passengers, we came away from Zurich quarter after schedule, with an estimated flight time of one hour and 15 minutes, there was some margin in the schedule.
The seat on board was a comfortable leather seat in black. Legroom was perfectly acceptable for a flight within Europe, I suspect, however, that the legroom was somewhat smaller in the back of the plane.
Overall, the cabin felt new and modern, giving a fresh impression. Traveling in Europe is rarely spectacular when it comes to comfort, but the interior was probably as good as it could be.
There was no entertainment was on board, however, some short television series appeared on the screens in the cabin during the flight. First shown was an episode of Mr. Bean and then two episodes of the cartoon, Looney Tunes.
In economy class we were served a cheese sandwich as well as an optional beverage from the serving wagon. The beverage selection was beer and wine, all sorts of soft drinks, coffee and tea. Later during the flight, we were offered Swiss chocolate from a basket. The cheese sandwich tasted absolutely fine and it was a positive to have a glass of wine at no cost.
The service on board was friendly and courteous, even if the flight was a fairly quick one and in economy class. The cabin crew spoke German and excellent English and were also able to converse in the other official languages in Switzerland. Nothing special was provided for me as a gold card traveler.
The flight ended with an almost magical approach to London, with an amazing view of central London, followed by the western suburbs. There was not a cloud in the sky and a beautiful sunset could be seen in the distance. Even more surprising was that there was no queue at Heathrow. It tends to be almost standard to have to circulate at least once over the airport before one is allowed to commence the approach but this evening there was no wait at all.
As a result of the rapid approach, we landed ten minutes prior to schedule at Heathrow and were quickly able to park at terminal 1. Passport control was fast when I used one of the automated controls and the priority tag worked with no problems; my bag came out sixth on the luggage band.
A short and unremarkable, but otherwise pleasant flight with Swiss economy. Swiss offers a good service in Europe with a decent snack and free drink, better than what many others have reduced to nowadays.