Review of SWISS flight Zurich Istanbul in Economy

Airline SWISS
Flight LX 1804
Class Economy
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 02:55
Take-off 30 Oct 13, 12:40
Arrival at 30 Oct 13, 16:35
LX   #21 out of 81 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 882 reviews
By SILVER 3734
Published on 16th February 2014
This is part two of a CDG-ZRH-IST trip. The whole itinerary is:

BOG-FRA on LH, not covered, just like this flight which was already covered.
FRA-BOG on LH, not covered neither…practically identical to this FR


So we had around 1h30m to spare in ZRH, we went through the duty free and check out something to eat, but my travel mates found everything very expensive and nothing worth eating anyway. I told them we would get something to eat anyway on the plane..

We bought a Lonely Planet travel guide for Istanbul so we could profit the most of our trip, also for learning some basic Turkish words.

Having that settled out we passed through the Police control at the B gates on to the D gates…the policewoman who checked me was very interested with my passport, something about my hairstyle…she even showed it to her partner. I was between angry and scared. Eventually she let me through.

And on we were on the D gates, I had hoped to depart from the E gates, but tough luck.
photo IMG_4988

The terminal is very modern but it is somewhat lacking IMO. Not much to buy or eat (affordably).

While waiting on the full boarding gate, we made use of the free WiFi to call our families in Colombia and report our status and check how everything was back home…in no time we were being called aboard.

While queuing a girl approached us and asked us if we spoke Spanish, we said yep…and she asked us if we knew if she needed a passport or a visa into Turkey. I told her a passport is most likely as Turkey is not in the EU. She got really scared and asked us if she could stick with us since she didn't spoke anything other than Basque and Spanish. How irresponsible of the guys at Barcelona (where she began her trip) to let her in without a passport. I had a little small talk to her and told her we would see each other at IST.

A BA A320 coming in (I suppose) from LHR
photo IMG_4992

And into my first A321 (gee 2013 was a year of a lot of first for me! great year) HB-IOM named after the bilingual city of Biel/Bienne.

The cabin was practically the same as the one in the A320 we had come from CDG, but it had the latest interior. It also seemed to have a last minute malfunction:
photo IMG_4997

And on we went into RWY 16, where heavies take off from…it seems. We were being followed by a company A333

Take off allowed for nice views of ZRH and its suroundings:

I had had brunch on this hotel during the summer, awesome views of planes taking off, little would I've known then that I would get to be on the other side eventually
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We then passed by other little towns in Zürich Canton, and eventually over my adoptive Swiss hometown, Winterthur

Grüetzi Winti! I could even see the street where I stayed, how exciting is that!
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Cabin view meanwhile…
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By the time we where almost into Austria the sky filled with clouds and the show was finished.
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So I checked the magazine… and found this really funny. Had to check for the Swiss Canton's shields displayed on the magazine so my GF would understand why.
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Nothing much to see or do…so I dozed for a while, till I smelled food. And soon it was served. No choice, no menus handed. One serving for all: tortellini.
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It was very hot and I burnt my tongue…that happens when you rush to eat. How infuriating…. but it was ok. Downside: the size of the serving was nearing miserable.

Desert was a nice tasting cake..but it crumbled a lot. So no fun to eat.

After the eating was done…the crew practically vanished. We were left to our fates watching a lousy laughs for all show. GF was entertained but I chose to doze.

The view was consistently hazy and did not allow for nice viewing. Really disappointing since Switerland was the eastmost that I've been at the moment, so everything was new sights for me. The lack of moving map, didn't make up for it either.

So more sleeping it was…

Till out of the blue we were told we were on approach pattern and so on…but what I was seeing didn't make sense, we were over the sea, but over the city at the same time, I guessed we were going to land on RWY 24…but then we moved into the sea again. The view was very hazy and the sun was setting. It was something very weird, at one point I thought I was just dreaming or something.

Then things begun to make more sense..we were landing on RWY 06

Hello you…weird to see you
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The lighting felt so martian.
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I liked this
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The vast amount of planes around is mesmerizing, welcome to the Turkish (airlines) empire!
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After leaving the plane I understood why IST was considered as insufficient. The biggest crowd I've ever seen, not even in AAs midday bank at MIA. The girls wanted to visit the WC so we waited, but it was so full they told us to rush and check for other one. Not only the crowd was impressive, the amount of people hailing from all around the Middle East and Africa…really awe inspiring.

Sadly, we missed our Spanish acquaintance, and I never knew what was of her fate. Hope everything turned OK for her.

Now something really weird happened. For the first time having a Colombian passport turned to be better than others, and we were on the line directly to immigration, other nationalities needed to do a previous line for visas. The line was extremely long though, but it moved fastly. The guys at the booth found it funny to see so many Colombians at the same time, one asked the other if we were OK without visa, the other one said yep…and we were stamped into Turkey!

We had enough time to spare, as our flight to Kayseri was leaving afterwards, so we changed some currency to get us through the following days and claimed our bags. And then on to our next flight!
See more



Cabin crew7.5

Zurich - ZRH


Istanbul - ISL



I had expected LX product to be better. In a nutshell is OK, not horrible, but not the best thing I've ever had. My previous flights had been short so I attributed that to the lack of a proper experience. But this one was long enough to test them. I've noticed that European carriers seem to give the same standard service on continental flights regardless of the duration, I thing that's wrong. Compared with Avianca, TACA, Delta or AA on similarly long sectors LX did not surprise positively.

LX: IFE was mediocre at the most, Catering while nice tasting was really cheap, and the fact that the crew scurried away for the rest of the flight is a big no no IMO. Seats were comfortable though.

ZRH: Not the best place to connect, not many shops or restaurants a traveller without a big wallet could afford or be interested in. Maybe in the future when I'm no longer a student my view will be different.

IST: Modern and big, but not big enough for the size of TKs ops.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the rest of the trip!


Information on the route Zurich (ZRH) Istanbul (ISL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 10 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Zurich (ZRH) → Istanbul (ISL).


The airline with the best average rating is Turkish Airlines with 8.0/10.

The average flight time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 100000 by
    Ted34 179 Comments

    Thanks for this FR !
    TK do better for catering on this flight but I find that meal acceptable for this flight.

    For French citizens, ID is sufficient in Turkey so I hope and think that this is the same for the Spanish...

  • Comment 100014 by
    lagentsecret 12308 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    Zurich is an expensive city

    The meal is quite disappointing

  • Comment 100032 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thanks for sharing another interesting leg of your series. Your impression about LX catering just confirms how great TK is in comparison, especially in Y.

    The airline with the golden tail and arrows is Lybian Arab which in my opinion is quite exotic.

    As others have mentioned, Zurich can be prohibitively expensive, but you get quality and a high level of consistency which are comforting qualities for some.

    I think you will be pleasantly surprised with TK domestic service.

    • Comment 288442 by
      Chibcha SILVER AUTHOR 508 Comments

      Indeed, one of the guys I was traveling with made CDG-IST directly and was thrilled with TK. My GF went IST-FRA with them and said it's the best airline she's flown in.

      The Libyan plane was very exotic, and although it's not easily noticeable it had the new flag and all. I was really excited about spotting that one.

      Regarding the Zürich issue, ZRH, and GVA, cater to a clientele to which I'm not yet part of (at least when not traveling with my mum, or with my employer's travel expenses) so take my comment with a pinch of salt, I acknowledge that it is a great airport and (if one can afford) provides great shopping and dinning experiences. But since I was more on a backpacker trip, this time ZRH didn't do the job.

      I was really surprised by TK's product, I didn't expect the least about them on domestic runs and have rightfully put those thoughts to shame.

  • Comment 100049 by
    Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10142 Comments

    Thanks again for sharing.
    The hotel where you've had brunch on Summer seems to be the Hilton Zürich Airport, isn't it ?
    On European longest LX routes (to LIS and IST), I have always found the Y catering disappointing regarding what TK can offer.
    IST is an unpleasant following of queuing and waiting on arrival as well as for departures.
    I'm looking forward to see the ZRH E gates tonight again !

  • Comment 103923 by
    CDG Addict 1630 Comments


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