I'm not ashamed to say that I absolutely love SWISS. I had the pleasure of flying with them a few months ago from London Heathrow to Zurich and back on the same day for business. I'm not always a very confident flyer but I had no problems on this flight- the staff are very pleasant and cheerful, the planes lovely and clean and modern looking, and the entertainment and catering very good indeed.
I was on both the first and last flights of the day, and was very pleased indeed to get a miniature Swiss chocolate bar both times. I think it's Lindt chocolate. Either way it's very nice. On the outgoing flight I also got a chocolate muffin for breakfast and a Swiss cheese baguette coming back. All included in the price of the flight of course. Speaking of price, despite booking both flights about a week before I flew, the total cost was only 140 pounds. Very good for a national airline I think.
It was also a nice surprise to have some in-flight entertainment. Considering the flight is only around 70 minutes, we were still shown lots of adverts/promo videos for Swiss products and holiday resorts, and also a slapstick-type comedy show. It was all about practical jokes and had no sound, which to me seems like the perfect thing to show on a flight full of people of different nationalities who don't speak the same language. It also gives nervous flyers something to focus on and chuckle about :)
I would definitely fly SWISS again. It's just a shame everything in Switzerland is so expensive when you land!
*** Introduction ***
Swiss International Airlines has a total of 28 flights daily from the UK and Ireland to Zurich, Basel and Geneva, as well as to 90 other destinations worldwide. It's a Star Alliance Member and won the Skytrax 2009 Award for Best European Airline.
*** Where they fly ***
Obviously the airline specialises in air travel to Switzerland, but since Zurich Airport is a pretty large hub and the country itself is very centrally-located within Europe, I find them useful for getting connecting flights to other places on the Continent or further afield. I travel fairly regularly between Germany and Spain, and Swiss is very handy for me as an alternative to flying with Lufthansa or Iberia and changing in Madrid, which can be quite stressful.
*** Booking process ***
I always book online and find the website www.swiss.com straightforward to use (once you've sussed out how to get it into English - which can sometimes take a few attempts). A feature I appreciate is that your flight confirmation arrives in your inbox immediately and comes out as an easily readable 2-page document with an overview of all flight times and details, which is really handy as you can print it onto one double-sided page and it doesn't waste reams of paper with unnecessary insurance and speedy boarding/hotel ads à la Easyjet. The website allows you to claim cashback if you shop through sites such as quidco.com and mirrorcashback.com. There is also a handy link on the Swiss site to buying rail tickets in Switzerland online.
** My most recent experiences with Swiss ***
My most recent trip with Swiss was from Berlin Tegel to Valencia and back, via Zurich, in Airbus 320s with a good amount of leg room and grey leather seats. On the first flight out there weren't many passengers and the flight attendant offered me the opportunity to move so I could have a whole row to myself. The crew were very friendly, polite and non-officious, which is not always the case with all airlines.
The safety video was an animated, Monsters Inc.-style affair, featuring a Boo lookalike bouncing around a plane and looking fascinated by a safety instruction card and thrilled at the prospect of being evacuated and forced down a slide into the sea!
*** Onboard entertainment ***
The Swiss Magazine, published monthly, is very glossy, full of beautiful photographs and fairly serious travel articles (in English, German and French) and avoids having too many ads. It also contains medical advice e.g. on how to avoid DVT when flying.
The shopping catalogue was mainly full of luxury products such as watches and jewellery. While there were some perfume and cosmetics offers, it was difficult to work out just how good value they really were as the prices were only given in Swiss francs (CHF) - something I feel could be improved upon considering it's an international airline. The same products were also advertised on the TV screens - again only in the one currency.
Each row of three seats has an individual TV screen, which not only lets you watch the flight's progress and updates of the air temperature etc., but also makes it very difficult to avoid the in-flight TV shows. On all 4 of my most recent flights we were treated to several episodes of 'Just for Laughs', which I worked out was filmed in Canada, but it was silent, slapstick comedy, supposed to overcome any possible language barriers with the universal language of humour.
It was Candid-Camera style fare, with scenes designed to make fun of the general public and their reactions. e.g. a woman would pretend to drop her wallet into a river. She would then enlist the help of a kind and usually overweight passer-by, who would attempt to fish out said wallet, precariously hanging over the riverbank, when suddenly a giant, grey, slimy swamp-monster creature dressed in rags would jump out of the water and scare the poor passer-by silly, almost causing him to fall in. In another scene, the lights would be switched off in a doctor's waiting-room, much to the confusion of the patients, who were filmed with an infra-red camera.
I noticed that the show was more popular with German-speaking passengers that Spanish ones. The German gentleman in front of me laughed so much that his seat - and my tray table - shook for much of the flight. I saw this programme four times in two weeks, so forgive me if I didn't find it as amusing! On my second flight, which was particularly long, we were also treated to an episode of Mr Bean causing chaos at the barber's and taking his teddy to a village fete, which once again has my neighbour in spasm of mirth. What is it with German-speaking countries and Mr Bean?
Swiss also seems to love playing cheesy pop and disco classics during the boarding and embarkation periods - it's just a shame that its repertoire only stretches to about 5 tunes. Try a few hours listening to 'Love is in the Air', 'Young Hearts Run Free' and 'Sexy Eyes' on a loop when delayed, so loud that they invade whatever you're listening to on your MP3 player, and see whether you don't also wish that the 70s - your whole life, in fact, never happened (see below).
*** Refreshments ***
Our snack on the short Berlin-Zurich morning flight was a nice, fresh, non-plastic-packed currant bun, but there was only thick cream available to whiten the tea - yuck! On the Zurich-Valencia flight we were given a ham sandwich. Both my return flights offered turkey sandwiches on seeded bread (with a veggie option if required, though this wasn't advertised). Every snack was rounded off with a small bar of deliciously melt-in-the-mouth Swiss chocolate.
*** Coping with delays ***
On my second flight, from Zurich to Valencia, there was an announcement towards the end of the journey that a cockpit loudspeaker had developed a fault and Spanish aviation regulations meant that we would not be allowed to land in Valencia after all. After a period of circling, we were told that we would be returning to Zurich to have the fault fixed. There was no landing slot in Zurich, so we had to fly to Geneva and sit on the runway for 2 hours, listening to the 3 above-mentioned disco tracks on repeat as a technician tried to repair the cockpit speaker (it's a shame it wasn't the cabin speakers that were broken). Unfortunately a piece was missing and had to be flown in from Zurich, so we were dispatched into Geneva airport, handed vouchers for 10 CHF (£6), and told to come back in 3 hours.
Although this was all obviously extremely annoying, I was impressed with the way that the passengers were kept informed at all times of what was going on. I've been delayed with other airlines who either didn't give out information or directly said it wasn't their problem and we'd have to continue the journey ourselves (e.g. Ryanair). At least with Swiss I got the impression that the crew were trying their best to ensure that we were comfortable, and when we finally boarded again for our second attempt to fly to Valencia, a steward went round asking whether everyone had had enough to eat and drink in the airport and offering extra food and coffee if not.
*** Conclusion ***
In general I enjoy flying with Swiss and would do so again. The routes are convenient for me, well-priced (Berlin-Valencia cost me Euro240 or roughly £212 at the time of writing, which was half the price of Lufthansa or Iberia for the same dates) and the customer service is second-to-none. The silly TV shows I can ignore if I try really hard! My only bugbear is the annoying music played on takeoff, landing and especially during delays.
Leather seats, fab service and great food... what more do you want!
I first flew with Swiss International Airlines on my first trip to Istanbul from Birmingham International Airport. My Journey was more than I expected in fact as I'm used to flying with 'no frills' airlines such as Ryanair and Fly Thomas Cook to various other destinations, including Turkey.
The aircraft was very roomy...I didnt feel squashed at all on my journey and staff were very attentive to my needs.
The aircraft was full of fairly affluent people mainly what seemed like people on buisness travelling to Istanbul itself and the aircraft was also NOT full on my outbound journey.
My flight was fairly expensive but I think that the service on-board made all the difference and made up for the price I had paid for my flight.
Inflight meal was also very tasty. that of which was a lot tastier than meals I have had on Long Haul flights in the past.
I will definitly use Swiss Airlines again... :D
Swiss International Air Lines, is, not surprisingly, the national airline of Switzerland.
I have flown with this airline twice, and I was absolutely delighted with the service both times. Let me tell you why.
Firstly, the staff were so helpful and friendly it´s hard to describe. They always had a smile on their faces, they were polite, and whenever you had a question they would be only to pleased to try to help you.
Secondly, the aircraft was very clean. I know that airlines are on tight timelines and often an aircraft is given a quick clean after a flight, and then turned around and flown again. I don´t know how long the staff spent cleaning the plane, but it must have been longer than an average airline because the plane was spotless when we got on.
Thirdly, the flights were on time- we actually landed a little bit early both times, having taken off on time and having favourable winds.
My only complaint with the airline is that we had to fly via Switzerland on both flights. This meant a total of four flights when we could have had two. We did not, however, have to wait for long (about an hour in each case) and the airports that we trasferred through (Geneva and Zurich) were very clean, also with helpful staff.
We could have made this flight with one of the low cost airlines, but we booked it at the last minute and found that Swiss International Air Lines was actually the cheapest carrier. A pleasant surprise!
Firstly, I would like to introduce myself and why I was flying on SWISS. I am writing this review after four flights with Swiss, which were London-Zurich-Moscow and back again. I had to go to Moscow to visit my family, and flying on Swiss wasn't a hard choice to make. A direct flight with a British Airline such as BA or BMI can be expensive, whereas Aeroflot is renown for poor customer service.
Anyway, lets get on with the review.
I arrived at Heathrow early in the morning, and proceeded to the Swiss check-in desk. The staff were very helpful, however at Heathrow most Swiss duties are performed by Lufthansa staff as Lufthansa bought the original 'swissair' after it went bankrupt as a result of 9/11. The staff were very efficient and helpful, and any queues were non-existent (this may be partly to do with the fact it was 5.30 in the morning), so we got served instantly. We exchanged the 'receipt' tickets given to us by our travel agent for paper tickets, and a tag to put on our hand baggage (very useful but not something that other airlines have caught on to), and that was check in over.
The Flight opened for boarding on time, so we promptly finished up the obligatory Duty-Free browse, and made our way to the gate. The ticket and passport checks were around as efficient as usual, and we were not kept waiting for too long before the plane was ready to board. Boarding was very smooth and was done to soft background music which added a quality feel to the experience.
Coming back from Moscow, the experience was very similar, however the plane was late arriving so we had to wait for a while, which led to a tight connection in Zurich.
DURING THE FLIGHT
The flight was very comfortable, the seats were leather (a rarity on economy class), and legroom was more than adequate. On one flight I was seated by an emergency exit, which gave me masses of space, but the lack of a standard 'back of seat' table, which was replicated by a very clever one that folded out of an armrest.
The plane was a modern Airbus A321, which had the usual fold down televisions which displayed a mixture of information displays and maps that went through a cycle of 5 languages, and a comedy programme which was actually very funny even with a lack of sound.
The cabin crew were helpful and friendly, and were led by a 'Maitre de Cabine', which I suppose is a Chief Cabin Crew member. On shorter flights (90 minutes or under), a 'snack' is served, where either a muffin or a sandwich is served, along with the usual drinks as well as an individually wrapped square of swiss chocolate. On flights over 90 minutes, a hot meal is served, which is very good, and consists of the usual, as well as two rounds of cold drinks, and a round of tea and coffee. On these longer flights Duty Free is also available.
Making a connection genuinely is a breeze, and is the best connection experience I've ever had on flying this journey 7 times. Before you land at Zurich, onward connections and their respective gates are displayed on the overhead screens. On landing, there is a representative waiting at the end of the walkway, who tells you exactly what gate to go to for your onward flight. This is a feature I have not seen on any other airline, and when we almost missed our connection coming back to London, 'SEE GROUND STAFF' was displayed on the overhead screens, and it was nice to speak to a member of SWISS staff at the gate, who was also armed with a CB radio, which they could use to contact staff at the onward gate to inform them you are coming and to delay push back. This contrasts starkly with a terrible experience I had with Lufthansa several years ago when my flight was running late. If you are unlucky enough to miss your flight, the ground staff will either book you on the next flight of the day, or pay for you to stay in a hotel free of charge.
Making a connection at Zurich is also a breeze, there is one simple terminal which is well signposted (again a stark contrast with my Lufthansa experience). The terminal is very new and spotlessly clean.
On Arrival at both Moscow and London, my baggage arrived intact and promptly.
The first point about this airline that i want to make is why SWISSAIR, its old name/company went bankrupt. It is such a good airline! I have flown with them twice now, just on short distances from London City to Zurich but I thoughtit was of such a high standard.
Swiss serves many destinations across the globe from it's Swiss hub of Zurich. With regular flights from many local UK airports, the opportunity of worldwide travel is huge! Many of their offers are for long distance destinations such as Tokyo, Johannesburg and Los Angeles but it also appeals to the Buiness travel market with its short distance business deals.
I have found the prices to be very competitive, particularly for indirect flights to Europe although this does mean a short (but slightly annoying, in the fact that you have to wait) time at Zurich airport. £99 return or less to several European destinations.
On board, the staff are friendly and the aircraft are always cleaned. Leather seats are as standard, as are complimentary drinks and a snack for the journey (often a cheese and salad roll)
Airport staff (although i think, particularly in the UK, the staff belong to a larger subsidary company) are very accomodating and helpful, despite luggage restrictions, they have been very helpful to me and have always seemed very genuine in their approach to customers.
I haven't experienced delays with them and made up time on one of my journeys (although London City is only small so this could be quite easy)
Their current gradual integration with the Lufthansa group has meant the company has become more efficient with code share agreements and the like. The other plus is the ever expanding Miles And More points scheme, whereby you can earn miles with both companies along with many other codeshare airlines as well as hotels banks and you can even register for the credit card to earn more points.
All in all I really don't understand why they went bust!
Firstly, let me know assure you in my ability to compare ;-)
I am 31 years old and I started travelling at the age of 11. Since the age of 20 due to my profession I have flown all over the world. My minimum amount of flights per month is about 4 and there is no limits. The record so far is 8 flights in 10 days
As someone who lives in London, I often find myself spoiled for choice of different airlines flying to the same destination.
And in this case it's all comes down to value for money, customer service and convinience offered by competitors.
I have flown Swiss on numerous occasions. I have used it's services when it was Swissair few years back.
This airline went through lots of troubles and successes.
My most recent travel experience with Swiss happened just over a week ago.
In few words, I have no hesitation at all booking with this airline.
Booking : I'd always reccomend checking their own website for prices but also make sure you always check the fares offered on well known online travel agents (expedia, lastminute etc)
This airline offers real bargains on connecting flights to Europe (for example London to Moscow @ 112 pounds inclding taxes.. that is 4 flights in total) as well as really cheap fares to/from Switzerland
Booking proccess is very straightforward.
I am big fun of online check in. At the moment Swiss only offers limited amount of airports with which you are able to do that. You still get your Eticket on most flights and check in staff at the airport is quite efficient.
The planes are quite well maintaned. Since Swiss has changed it's status couple of years back (after it's had big financial troubles) I have noticed that average age of the cre has risen dramatically and they don't seem to enjoy doing what they do as much as used to.
Still, for your money you still get clean planes, some kind of snack/drink on shorthall flights, proper meal on medium hall flights and lots of small extras
if you booked on connecting flight via Switzerland with Swiss you'd be pleased to know that the airline offers the shortest connecting times posible on the market (minimum I have expiriencd so far was 35min)
Not long ago at Zuric Airport they have opened new terminal which is just incredible (22 century)
When landing in swiss airport, while still onboard, you are given onscreen information about your next flight (gate, terminal etc)
In case you were unfortunate enough to miss your connection you'd be booked on next available flight and provided with great quality hotel in case you had to spend overnight.
I have flown both economy and business with this airline.
I really apreciated their services after booking rel bargain flight with them in economy class. Things went wrong with flight being delayed due to poor weather. I was treated just I would expect when flying business class
One last tip:
If you flying out of London, Swiss offers real bargain fares out of London City Airport. This Airport is very small in size and located close to city. It benefits from really short check in times and practically no queing anywhere
To give you an idea of my ability to compare, this year(2006) so far I flew on BA, BMI, Swiss, Lufthansa, Easyjet, Aeroflot, Ryanair and VLM
This is the most disapointing airline I have ever flown. I flew with them New York to Zurich at the begining of this year, with my son only aged 11 months. The aircraft was almost falling apart, but most disapointing: they were unable to provide my son with a basinet on our return flight. They blamed their problem on the travel agent, but they could have gotten a baasinet at their own airport without a problem, instead they swept it under the carpet.
What's worse: I had back pains with their uncomfortable seats for days after the flight. The aircraft also had cabin pressure problems, the staff were very rude. the food was terible, it's as if the food was made in the baggage section of the aircraft...
I don't plan to fly with them ever.