Swiss » Business (short-haul) » User reviews
Class rating 7.5
- Boarding 5.5
- Seat for sitting 7.7
- Seat for sleeping 0.0
- Service 9.5
- Entertainment 1.2
- Food & drink 7.7
- Punctuality 7.0
- Baggage 4.8
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
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This was an onward connection in Geneva from London City to Moscow Domodedovo. I had arrived late into Geneva, and had been met at the gate by an agent to advise of my new departure gate and that my checked luggage would be taken care of - and that I should avail myself of a drink in the lounge as I had a short time until boarding.
I walked up to the Swiss business lounge, had a cool drink to refresh myself and checked with the affable lounge attendant on my luggage which showed on his screen as being loaded onto the aircraft. I wandered down to the gate to be met by a queue to have our Russian visas checked and boarding cards stamped as checked prior to boarding. After a brief wait my documents were checked by the award winner for the most dour, surly individual of the day - a promising career at the UKBA (or its successor) surely beckons if he fancies a move to the UK!
After a short time business class and elite card holders were called forward through a separate channel and then curiously we were made to wait at the top of the air bridge for a good ten minutes. I assume the crew were not ready, but this felt more like waiting for Easyjet than Swiss.
Once on board hand baggage was stored (again the front few lockers were marked business class only), jackets taken and a bottle of water and a refreshing wipe offered to all passengers. Newspapers and magazines followed, and then pillows and blankets were offered as this 2115 departure meant a scheduled 0350 arrival in Moscow.
The seats on boards this aircraft were the standard Recaro seats found on the Swiss short haul fleet. They are fairly comfortable but seem to be at a slight angle for my preference – not as comfortable as those on Air Malta which I had sampled a few weeks previous. I was in 2F which I had chosen as I would have the bulk head to lean on should I fancy a nap.
We pushed back slightly early, and after a brief PA from the Captain we were airborne minutes later following a short taxi. After the initial climb which always seems bumpy out of GVA the cabin crew commenced their service by taking individual drinks orders and serving them by tray – no trolley to be seen. No menus for dinner were offered, but the crew explained the choices and again dinner was served individually to the 8 people in business class on this flight.
Dinner consisted of a slightly different version of the smoked salmon and green bean salad I had been served on the previous sector, now enjoyed as a starter. This was followed by a filet of beef (not horrendously overcooked - BA please take note!) served with potatoes and creamed leeks which had a distinct flavour and were delicious. Dessert was a chocolate mousse with a summer fruit base, and the meal was finished off with a couple of very nice Swiss cheeses. Hot rolls of varying varieties were distributed throughout the meal. To accompany I had a very drinkable Swiss Pinot Noir, the name of which I am afraid escapes me. After dinner I settled back to do a little work and then caught up on some viewing on my iPad.
The crew continued to work hard through the flight, expertly balancing serving those like me who were awake, as well as not disturbing others who wished to sleep. Refills, if required, were plentiful and even when faced with the most demanding individual I think I have ever seen in 1F the crew kept their smile and charm.
As we were about hallway through our descent the Captain made a brief PA regarding the weather in Moscow and our expected arrival time and this had the effect of waking the cabin up. As the main cabin lights came back on hot towels and another bottle of water, along with the chocolate basket were offered by the crew prior to them securing the cabin for landing.
We landed in a very cold and snowy Moscow 20 minutes ahead of schedule and having cleared immigration surprisingly quickly I was re-united with my checked luggage about ten minutes later. As a Moscow newbie and with the stories I’d heard about immigration in Russia I have to say the immigration experience was far more friendly and efficient than my last arrival in the US.
Overall this was an excellent flight – both sectors were enjoyable with excellent customer service and considering the price paid I think unbeatable.
This was the first sector of a flight from LCY to Moscow Domodedevo via Geneva.
Arrived at the airport with a bit of time to spare and dropped my bag off at check in and was through security in a matter of minutes. One thing I like about LCY is that although security may not be the most friendly they are generally ruthlessly efficient and it doesn't usually take long to get to the front of even the longest queue.
Bought myself a beer and settled into a window seat (for anyone who hasn't used LCY there are no airline lounges as usually waiting times are short and there is a lack of space) when I noticed my flight had been delayed by an estimated 45 mins. Although I had deliberately allowed for a slightly longer connection in Geneva, this now meant it was going to be a bit tight.
I spoke to the Swiss customer service desk who confirmed the flight had left Geneva and that she would make a note in the system that I would be arriving with a very tight connection. Returned to my beer to await the arrival of the aircraft.
The estimated delay turned out to be correct and knowing how small the gates are I set off immediately for the gate once it was shown on the screen. As usual boarding cards were checked and then we waited as varying aircraft left and arrived until it was safe to walk across the apron to our aircraft. There was no priority boarding call which resulted in a crush once the doors were opened.
Boarded first to ensure I could fit my case in the overhead locker (interestingly the first three lockers on each side of the aircraft were marked "Business Class Only" and this seemed to be adhered to). Has pre-selected 3F and the configuration on the RJ is 2-3 with the middle seat left free on the "3" side. The seat were the usual Swiss short haul Recaro seats and comfortable enough for a short journey. Upon completion of boarding the crew handed out bottles of water and refreshing wipes to business class before giving the safety announcement.
As we taxied out to the runway the Captain made a brief PA, apologised for the delay which had been caused by a "minor incident" in Geneva earlier, gave us our expected time to take off as well as expected arrival time.
Once we were airborne the crew started their service which consisted of cold snack of smoked salmon served with an asparagus salad, accompanied by warm rolls, and a delicious chocolate mousse. I selected a very passable Swiss white wine to accompany this snack.
The crew is business class (which had 9 people in) worked hard throughout the flight, quickly clearing trays and offering refills of drinks right up to the seat belt sign being switched on for landing. A hot towel and the usual Swiss chocolate were offered along with more water prior to landing.
After landing I was met at the gate by a Swiss agent who informed me of the gate of my onward departure, and that they were expecting my tight connection and had therefore taken steps to ensure my baggage would make the flight. I was invited to go up to the Swiss lounge for a drink and to refresh myself prior to the next flight as I had 20 mins or so before they called my next flight.
From Budapest to Zurich, 1 Jan 2013, no pre boarding for Biz first class, so I had to wait like everyone else to herd on the plane. OK, not the end of the world. Service was very welcoming, only Champagne I could find in Hungary ! The landind was nearly disastrous, "overshoot" runway was the excuse given, so pilot quickly revved up engine and took off again, and circled around for another 10-15 nervewracking for me minutes. I shouldn't have refused the champagne 3rd refill
Zurich to London City on Swiss Business Class
The Business Class lounge offered a good range of drinks and a limited selection of food. Boarding started on time. The departure from Zurich was timely and the arrival in London was punctual. The crew on board the flight were helpful and the service efficient. A gluten free meal had been requested and was served. The food tasted very good. A nice comfortable flight on board an RJ100.
I checked in online (using the automated Swiss service which does it for you 24 hours before the flight. It's very good for the forgetful. It assigned me 2D which is what I would have picked myself so I didn't use the facility to change it). I had to pick up a boarding pass at the airport. There was a long queue at economy and even at the self check-in machines. There was, though, only one person ahead of me in the Swiss gold card queue and a vigilant staff member made sure that it didn't get swamped by other users.
The fast track at Geneva reads your boarding pass electronically and then lets you into the front of the security queue. I was through in a couple of minutes.
The Swiss Senator (gold) lounge is not impressive. There are only basic armchairs (some with electric outlets alongside). Food is of the cheap catering variety (couscous, pasta, chickpeas, fried cheese croquettes) but it's better than crisps. There was a decent choice of drinks but little cleaning and the place looks a bit unloved. The (next door) Hon Circle lounge is a bit nicer. I haven't been to the business lounge (about 100 metres down the hallway).
Our 12.35 flight was delayed by almost two hours. I found this out from an SMS. There were no announcements in the lounge and the staff were not interested. I went up to ask whether I should re-book onto Easyjet. Midway through a conversation, the receptionist got up and said she had to accompany an Hon Circle passenger to the gate; she would be back in 10 minutes. It was only when I started fingering the feedback forms that a collegue (who had been watching) bothered to call and find out what was going on.
Staff at the gate were as uninterested. There were no announcements, no apologies and no help for agitated passengers with connections in London. There was also no attempt at priority boarding.
On board, the crew were much friendlier. I discovered from one that they often work from 4am to 8pm. This crew had three London returns in one day. All crew are now officially based in Zurich, even if they live in Geneva so they have to get to and from Zurich in their own time unless they arrange swops between themselves to allow one another to start and finish in their home cities. There were only three crew for this Airbus 319. It was remarkable that they remained friendly and attentive but they did and even discouraged economy passengers from using the business class loos.
The seats are comfortable ad the middle one is always left empty so there is a good feeing of space. I had no trouble stowing my two carry-ons.
Disembarkation was at a gate at the end of terminal 1's old international pier. an elderly lady next to me found the stairs tough going. I carried her bag (and two of my own); she struggled up the steps; three "here to help" Olympic volunteers, Swissport ground staff and two BAA staff watched us. Welcome to Heathrow.
I don't very often fly in business in Europe any more but I did on this occasion because a flexible business class ticket was just over £400. Not bad value.
I had used the automated Swiss online check in process but I had not had a chance to print out my boarding card. There was no wait at the Swiss business check-in desk at Terminal 1. The staff were friendly, cheerful and helpful.
The great joy of business class is being allowed two carry-ons. I used it to avoid checking in a bag. Swiss can be a bit picky about the size of bags and one of mine was (I admit) 5 centimetres wider than their odd 20cm limit (not to mention heavier than their silly 8kg maximum). However. on this occasion, no-one said a word.
"Fast track" security at Heathrow is rarely fast and never pleasant. It was just over ten minutes on this Thursday evening and I almost got a smile from the woman at the X ray machine however, I as the lucky one and was surrounded by a chaotic scene of middle-aged American businessmen being grilled and frisked and told to "just wait". I suppose you can't be too careful about the cunningness of Osama's remaining followers.
We were boarding from Gate 43 which is in the section between terminal 1 and the new terminal 2. It's a long, long walk so I decided not to go to the Star Alliance lounge. It is, in any case, underwhelming without much in the way of comfortable seating. Like the rest of terminal 1, it is waiting to be pulled down in 2014. If only they would lock the airport management in before they let the wrecking balls go to work.
At the gate, the two agents were friendly but there was no attempt at a separate business class queue to enter the gate. I used the electric sockets there (a nice touch -- thank you BAA) for an emergency re-charge of my phone before boarding on time. Again, there was no attempt to allow business passengers to board first.
Swiss had automatically assigned me 1C (I could have changed it online but wasn't organised enough and, by the time I got to check in, there were no other seats left). This is a bad choice of seat: legroom is limited because of the bulkhead, it's very likely that your knee will be knocked during the service and, of course, there's no storage on the floor. However, the middle seat is always empty and I find the new space-saver Swiss seats quite comfortable.
The cabin was full -- mostly rather bumptious young bankers trying to look as affluent as possible. One of their group had to go back to economy as he had not been able to get a C seat. I felt that my life had found a new purpose.
I heard the crew berating the ground staff because there were not enough meals for all business class passengers. Just before we took off, the ground staff supplied very smart Prêt à Manger picnic boxes. My neighbour got one (as he had booked late). The crew were apologetic but, in honesty, he did very well. My own VGML was a nice piece of vegetarian pâté with salad and fruit.
Service was extremely friendly and very efficient. My diet coke was re-filled twice without me asking. It was business class service the way it used to be.
We were told that there would be a thirty minute traffic delay but we got a pleasant surprise and arrived only five minutes late. Boarding was the usual endless sets of steps at Geneva but was quick and I was out in 10 minutes.
The return trip was much less good (see the separate review) but I left this sector thinking business class was almost worth it.