Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

Flight Log : July 2008 : LX333

LX333  London Heathrow (LHR) - Zurich (ZRH)

Incredibly, although I flew the old Swissair a few times many years ago, this was to be my first ever flight on Swiss, and I was sampling their service as part of my new-found allegiance to Star Alliance. Boarding started late, but the gate agent announced that an on-time arrival in Zurich should still be possible. Strangely, boarding was by seat row and there was no exemption for Business Class, although Star Golds were allowed to board at their leisure. I assume this is an alliance-wide recognised benefit and it was certainly good enough for me! I settled into 1A and took note of my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was that, unlike parent company Lufthansa, there was no difference at all between Business Class seats and Economy seats, other than a guaranteed empty middle seat. No wider seat and no fold-down table to cover the squashed middle seat. It seemed strange that the seat was no better than what bmi offers Star Golds in Economy. Having said that, cabin presentation was excellent - perhaps not surprising for Swiss.   Also, full marks for labelling the first few overhead lockers as being for Business Class use only.

As the plane filled up, I realised that the flight was full, with the only exception that I could see being - happily - 1C. There were seven rows in front of the cabin divider. A flight attendant distributed small bottles of water and wrapped refreshing towels, following which newspapers were offered. Boarding was complete by 1400. It seemed to be looking good, until the Captain appeared to use the PA system. You always know it's bad news when the Captain wants to break it face-to-face with the passengers. I thought maybe the plane had gone tech, but it was just a lengthy ATC delay caused by bad weather over Belgium and Switzerland. There was no option but to pass the time sitting on the ground for another half hour or so.  

The flight attendants handed out little chocolate footballs, no doubt inspired by the recent Euro 2008 tournament.

We eventually left our stand at 1432 and made our way round to Runway 27R, taking off just two minutes before the big Heathrow switch-around at 1500. After climb-out, a very nice light meal was served. I drank water and a Swiss white wine - something I've never knowingly had before. We still had some time to run after coffee, so I indulged in a refreshing afternoon Gin & Tonic. I reflected that the service had been very friendly and professional, making up for the deficiencies in the 'hard product'. I was addressed by name throughout.

As we descended through thick cloud in Zurich, the weather looked very poor. I just hoped that the forecast would prove correct and that the next two days would bring wall-to-wall sunshine. (They did!) At this point, up-to-date transfer information was displayed on the overhead LCD screens. For those passengers who could still make their connections, gate information was shown. Those who couldn't (including me ) were advised that they had been rebooked on alternative services. We made a nice smooth touchdown at a very soggy ZRH at 1717 and were on-stand eight minutes later.

The overall verdict : excellent service, but being allocated a completely standard seat - even with a 'no neighbour' guarantee - was a bit of a shocker!


Date : Thu 03 Jul 2008
Aircraft : Airbus A320
Scheduled dep : 1350
Actual departure : 1432
Scheduled arrival : 1635
Actual arrival : 1725
Cabin : Business Class

Seat : 1A

Linked reports from same trip :-


Lake cruise to Montreux