Flight: London Heathrow to Zurich, then Zurich to Brussels
Airline: Swiss Air
Plane: A220-200 then A320
Seat: 1D (LHR to ZUC) then 1A (ZUC to BRU)
This is a review of two of my short-haul flights from Heathrow to Zurich and then Zurich to Brussels.
This was a business trip, and BA (I usually fly OneWorld) wanted over £650 economy – whereas Lufthansa wanted around £350 in Business – although operated by other Star Alliance partners.
This flight departed from Heathrow’s Terminal 2, who are well known for their ‘issues’ at the moment.
With that said, my airport bus drove past Terminal 3, with passengers queuing outside at 10am – so T2 didn’t seem too bad!
Originally this flight was LHR -> FRA -> BRU – but the LHR to FRA was canceled, so I ended up going via ZUC.
T2 was absolutely bustling with people, and I had to fight my way through to get to the Swiss Counter. Here the check in agent explained that my new route hadn’t been ticketed (after the Frankfurt cancelation), so after many calls, it was eventually resolved.
I proceeded through to Fast Track security, which wasn’t fast at all! In fact, it took a good 20minutes to get to the Security machines – and it was a fight to get to the Fast Track lane!
As I review here, the Lufthansa Lounge isn’t great – and the other lounges in B-Zone are excellent!
Because I was aware of the issues at Terminal 2, I got to the airport 4 hours ahead of my flight – and decided walk to B-Zone to visit the United, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines lounges. You can read my reviews of each of those lounges by clicking on the links above.
In my view the ‘small inconvenience’ of a 15 minute walk from Zone A to Zone B was well worth the MUCH better quality of Lounge!
With even more time on my hands in Zurich, I visited the Swiss Business Lounge, the Alpine Lounge and the Aspire Lounges – you can see my reviews by clicking on each of those links.
Boarding was fairly swift from Heathrow’s Gate A18, and then Zurich’s A75.
Sadly, in Zurich, the plane was late for unexplained reasons – so much for Swiss timekeeping!
The LHR to ZUC was operated on an A220-200, with the ZUC to BRU on an A320.
Seemingly the A220 had a total of 8 rows in Business, much more than the A320 – but the A220 is fairly modest in size.
The A320 was a pretty standard layout, with 4 rows of Business, in a 2-2 format.
The A220 has a 2 – 3 layout – two seats on the left and 3 on the right of the aisle.
However, for Business Class passengers only 1 on the left and 2 on the right (with an empty seat in the middle) is sold.
The A220’s seat is generally the same as the A320’s – it has a fair amount of leg room.
The tray tables in the A220 are similar to the A320 but a LOT smaller (smaller than an A4 piece of paper). They are also incredibly bendy – meaning that I was using my knee to support the table whilst I was attempting to eat on the plane. I didn’t even bother to get the laptop out – and there was nowhere to plug it in!
The A220 did not have any form of charging for devices or laptops.
Interestingly the A220 had very small screens (about the size of an iPhone) it uses for safety demo’s and a moving map. The screen was so small that with the sun combined I didn’t see the safety briefing at all – and there was no demo by the cabin crew.
The A220 is a modest aircraft, and competes with the Embraer 195, fine for a short flight – but forget trying to work in one!
The A320 is almost identical in layout to the A220, apart from it has a 3 – 3 layout. The window and aisle seat are sold – leaving the centre seat free.
Legroom appeared around the same as the A220.
In a similar way to American Airlines A320’s I had the silly flippy tray tables – again meaning knee support was required! As I write in my SEA to ONT review – Alaska are winning at the moment!
The A320 had screens which came down to show the safety video – this time I did manage to catch it!
Similar to the A220 – there were no phone or laptop chargers!
Food and Drink
Heathrow to Zurich
Heading out to ZUC, the food was a single tray service. There was no choice of food – it was a case of take the tray or not! A second member of the cabin crew followed with a breadbasket.
What did I have to eat? I’ve no idea! I did ask, and the Cabin Crew didn’t know either! I tried it, and it was fine. I can’t really say any more than that! Some kind of meat!
A variety of beers and wines were offered, I took an India Pale Ale, which was quite nice.
Towards the end of the flight a chocolate was offered.
Zurich to Brussels
In a similar way to my previous flight, a single tray service was offered.
This time there was a problem. The Cabin Crew told me that the dinner was Tuna. I explained I don’t eat fish, to which I was told “don’t eat it then” – no other options were available or even considered.
To me, chicken or beef is one thing – but fish is very subjective, as is pork. I appreciate this overlooks vegetarians – but plenty of people eat meat and not fish.
So, I ate the bread, cheese and tiramisu – which collectively were ok, I guess.
No chocolate was offered at the end of this flight.
All in all, I wasn’t impressed with the food on either flight. Poor effort Swiss.
No Amenities Kit was offered on either flight, which is understandable given the relatively short flights.
Interestingly on the A320 there were screes which came down, which did the safety demo. Unlike the previous flight on the A220, I managed to catch it!
During the course of the flight, a rotating flight map was offered on both aircraft.
No wifi was available on either flight.
The Cabin crew for both flights were generally polite, but that’s about as far as it went.
On the Zurich flight, they did address by name, when asking me what I wanted to drink – but didn’t on the Brussels flight.
One thing that was very apparent, is that the food/drink service wheeling the carts down the aisle didn’t work – the carts got backed up, and it was a mess during service. Drinks took ages due to being backed up behind the food cart – and so it went on.
Other airlines, such as TAP on short haul take your order (ahhahahha, as if there is a choice of food!) – and then deliver with a tray. Much cleaner!
Despite my gripes above, there was a redeeming feature!
Landing into Zurich we were bussed to the terminal (ohh great, I thought) – but Swiss had clearly thought about this! Awaiting were two busses, one for Business Class and the other Economy.
All too often, I’ve been first off the plane with a tight connection – to only then wait 15 minutes for the bus to fill up with passengers of all classes – making those connections even tighter. So well done Swiss, I like the fact that was thought about!
Landing Brussels was this time on a gate – but forget getting out quickly! It was over 1 hour wait for baggage “due to lack of manpower”. Very frustrating indeed!
Instead of writing this review I could summarize my experience with Swiss as follows;
- Cheap ‘business class seats’ with charging devices in the seats
- No WIFI
- Poor food, with no choice
- Little care or attention given to allergies
- No cabin crew knowledge on what the food is (basics?!)
- Scraping average cabin crew
- Over-crowded lounges
- Poor timekeeping
- Poor ground staff
I appreciate this was two short haul flights – but Swiss did nothing whatsoever to sell the idea of flying with them ever again! I am very grateful it wasn’t a long-haul flight to the US – I may have had to jump out of the window! Neither the airline, nor airport impressed me at all.
That’s not because flying premium airlines has tainted me – my short-haul trips with TAP recently were great. Sadly, it’s simply down to quality.
The only redeeming feature is the busses on landing, which was a great idea!
Given that my trip started in Heathrow, one advantage of this ticket was to have access to United, Air Canada and Singapore’s lounges – which were each very nice indeed!
48 out of 84, which is 57% – and somewhat generous!