The airline with the best average rating is SWISS with 7.8/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 30 minutes.More information
Since SWISS is amongst my very favourite carriers within Europe, it is often my airline of choice. I've been trying to fly in their Business class to celebrate my 100th flight in September 2020. Since then, they cancelled my flights 10 times and I kept rebooking them 10 times as well. Finally, in June 2021, after nearly a year, I was finally able to take a flight with my beloved SWISS, though one leg was operated by Helvetic. Did they keep up to my high expectations? You'll have seen in the previous report and you will also see in this report. The flights back from Rome were on Lufthansa which I will review in following reports.
When I booked this flight, it was scheduled on the A220-100, it then swapped for an A220-300, then A320neo and finally to the very old A320 - which I was quite obviously not very happy about. I was excited to try out SWISS A320neo and the new seats from Lufthansa Group but they just changed to a regular A320 a few hours before departure :(
This report contains: the connecting experience at a VERY busy Zurich Airport, a flight on a 23-year-old A320 from SWISS, a review of some SWISS Saveurs items (new on-board catering concept) and the arrival experience in Rome Fiumicino.
I hope you'll find it an interesting read!
Flight number LX1736
Route Zurich - Rome Fiumicino
Flight date 12th June 2021 1235-1410 (actual 1244-1345)
Scheduled flight time 1:35 (actual 1:01)
Aircraft model Airbus A320
Aircraft registration HB-IJS
Seating configuration CY180 (3 rows of SWISS Business)
Aircraft age (at the time of flight) 23.4 years
Seat number 5A
Departure gate A84 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate E21 (jet bridge)
Load factor (approx.) 85%
Flight price 300 PLN/65 EUR for WAW-ZRH-FCO (Eco basic)
Boarding passes for both flights that day.
My previous flight LX1343 left us at a remote stand from where we were transferred to the terminal by bus in no more than 3 minutes. After that, no additional checks - just straight up with an escalator and I found myself in the magnificent main part of ZRH main building, between gates A and B/D. This is why I love connections at Zurich, they are so smooth! Together with my new friend Adalberto, we decided to go to the Sports Bar and Terrace where you can sit outside and observe the airside. We also walked past SWISS lounge A, and there was a huge queue to enter it :/
From the terrace, you can see the main terminal building - the design was inspired by a wing. We ordered drinks and enjoyed the views over the tarmac for some time, having discussion about our home countries (Brazil and Poland).
I just love this terrace with that beautiful view, it's simply amazing. And the bar wasn't even that busy, comparing to the rest of the airport. By the way, Edelweiss is definitely high up on my "to fly" airline list - I heard so many good things about them. With my pretty short, 1:20 connection time, I had to soon leave the bar and proceed to my gate A84, one of the furthest A-gates.
With this picture I just wanted to show you, how busy the A pier was at ZRH. Wow, Europe is waking up again (except for the UK of course)! Such a nice and uplifting view :)
And this is my gate, A84. Boarding was conducted using the automated gate and also by the ground agent. I boarded as one of the last passengers to avoid the gate lice - the flight was quite full (luckily I still found a place for my suitcase in the overhead bins but I took the last one around my row).
At A86, our neighbour HB-IOM was also preparing for its takeoff.
And here is the fuselage shoe of our 23-year-old A320, HB-IJS previously flying for Swissair only. It was named KLOTEN, which is the city where ZRH airport is.
At the entrance, I was greeted by the crew, who felt a bit busy preparing the cabin. I was also given a disinfecting tissue, as previously. Like I already mentioned, I managed to squeeze my hand luggage in the overhead bin, taking the last space in the front of the cabin. I then took my seat 5A. I had a neighbour in 5C but it was still nice to see that SWISS blocks middle seats as long as it is possible (if the flight isn't 100% full). I was lucky to be able to select row 5 during check in, as the A320s from SWISS feature extra legroom in rows 1-5.
Here's us at A84 and our neighbour HB-IOM once again.
What can I say, legroom in row 5 is impressive for short haul Economy (though this row can also be use for Business class if needed). For the record, I am 1.87m.
The aircraft, although being 23-year-old, didn't feel that dated inside, and the cabin must have been refurbished a few years ago. It featured the old, well-known Lufthansa Group Recaro seats.
Here are the seat backs - featuring one seat pocket, one literature compartment and a reasonably big tray table. There are no power outlets or USB ports on this aircraft.
And the seat itself. It is quite elegant with white stitching and beige antimacassars, the SWISS colour scheme which is quite warm and welcoming. They are however super slim line and I must say I am not the greatest fan of the comfort of these seats. They did on the other hand recline.
The headrests were pretty much non-existent but I like the beige antimacassar a lot with the SWISS logo embossed.
Yet on the ground, the crew passed through the cabin and distributed medical face masks for passengers who only had ones made of fabric - this is the Italian government requirement.
Probably one of the nicest features of SWISS A320s/A320neos are the overhead monitors (and I don't think SWISS is planning to get rid of them!). There are not too many airlines in Europe left that have these TVs in their short haul fleet. They show information about the flight, the safety demo, some info about SWISS and cities that you fly above. And there are not too many advertisements ;)
With SWISS precision, we pushed back at 1234, 1 minute before schedule and taxied towards RWY 28. We let HB-JPB to depart before us and we departed shortly after, at 1244.
I am looking forward to trying SWISS A320neo or A321neo in the near future and to experiencing the new seats of Lufthansa Group.
Takeoff was surprisingly bumpy for such nice weather in Zurich but we had wonderful views over the city of Zurich and the Lake Zurich, which I was lucky enough to see only 1.5 weeks later from the ground (spoiler: more SWISS reports coming soon…).
Only a few minutes later, we were already flying above the Alps, and oh my dear - this is definitely my favourite view from the airplane window! The mountain tops still had snow on it, wonderful place to take a picture for a new phone wallpaper :-)
With a flight time of just over an hour, it was a massive sprint for the crew to do the service, both in Business and in Economy. SWISS Saveurs (the new, paid catering concept) was announced by the Maitre de Cabine before the service started. She spoke fluently in German, English and Italian, I was well impressed. In general, the crew was professional and kind but not overly remarkable.
A quick look into the SWISS Saveurs menu. You can find the full menu here or in my previous report. The menu card looks elegant and reflects the image of Swiss International Airlines that I have in my mind - a "premium" airline (but is it suitable for a premium airline to have paid catering in Economy?)
This time I went for the orange juice, Luxemburgerli (Macaroons from Confisserie Sprüngli). Whilst both items were of very good quality and tasty (quite honestly best macaroons I've ever eaten, they were very fresh too), they were too expensive in my opinion… (7.50 CHF for 4 tiny macaroons and 4.00 CHF for equally small orange juice).
With one trolley and a full airplane, it took the crew around 30 mins to get through the whole cabin with the service… 3 or so minutes after that we started our descent into Fiumicino. I still managed to have a short walk around the cabin and visit the lavatory.
It was clean, working in order but very tiny, SWISS deployed SpaceFlex in their Airbus fleet…
… but I liked the futuristic and unusual design of the sink! (As you can see the fasten seatbelt sign was already illuminated so I quickly got back to my seat. We will be landing in around 15 mins).
I still managed to take a pic of our busy cabin. It doesn't look that old, right? Though you can tell it's the old Airbus cabin design, looking at the walls and overhead panels. Overall, I must say, SWISS does a very good job keeping their old aircrafts still look quite nice inside.
The last row - 38, has no window but cannot be occupied anyway. These seats remain blocked in the system.
I love that design of the rear bulkhead. But I experienced very suspicious and strange looks from the passengers and the crew at the rear, when I was trying to take this picture…
After I returned to my seat, we started our final preparations for landing in Rome. The weather outside was brilliant, but already looked scorching hot. The approach was straight pretty much, without any holding, nevertheless it was a bit shaky.
We touched down smoothly on RWY 16R well ahead of our schedule and then pretty quickly taxied to our gate in dock E.
To make the disembarkation more organised, we were asked by the crew to leave the aircraft in groups of 4-5 rows. It was, I believe introduced for COVID reasons but we were boarding the aircraft randomly so people got mixed anyway. But nevertheless I think this disembarkation in groups improves the efficiency of the process, even if it does not improved COVID safety.
There wasn't too much going on at Fiumicino regarding flight operations…
Last shoot of HB-IJS. Our arrival gate was E21, the furthermost in pier E, which means that we needed to walk around 15 mins to reach the baggage reclaim hall and the exit and we also needed to go through the whole airside, all the shops etc. That wasn't too convenient to be honest, at least it wasn't too busy.
After arrival I went straight to the exit and then took a train to the centre of Rome (Roma Termini). I spent a wonderful 4 days in there, I will share a few pictures with you in the next report. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my wonderful SWISS experience in the previous report and a pretty standard but still nice (maybe standard+) experience in this report.
See you on the way back, with LH.
A standard but still nice experience in SWISS Economy. The flight was everything that I would expect from this airline, yet nothing extraordinary this time. They deserve a solid 7.6 points out of 10 overall. SWISS has been one of my favourite airlines and my opinion did not change after this flight. They are simply great to fly with, definitely recommended!