NceBoy From France, joined Sep 2004, 137 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4990 times:
This is my first trip report, this is english, so be indulgent ! Hope someone enjoy...
A long trimester has gone, and it is now time to leave the wonderful Montreal life to go back home for holidays.
I have multiple choices for my route YUL-NCE. LH is the cheaper, but it’s an AC codeshare, with no PTV’s, so it’s not an option. Then, in the same price range, AF, BA, KL, and LX (all in a 80 euro margin, cheapest KL, AF most expensive). I was satisfied with my first LX flight, so I decided to stay with them, which would bring me a free European flight for this summer as a member of their (generous) Swiss Travel Club.
Airbus A330-200 (HB-IQK)
December 23 2004
Scheduled departure time: 17h00
Actual departure time: 18h15
Scheduled and actual arrival time: 06h15
I called LX on the morning to check the schedule for the flight, the lady warned me about the plane being 1h00 late, so I decide to show-up at check-in only 1h45 before scheduled time flight, which is pretty much last-minute for a Y passenger. Line for check-in was, at my great surprise, inexistent.
They managed to get 5 check-in counters for economy passenger, making checking-in a breeze. 2 minutes later, my bags were gone, with a smile. I took a few minutes to shop, but a decided to go trough security. That was the most awful security line I ever seen. There was literally hundreds and hundreds of Air Transat—Charter-Caribbean going passengers waiting in line. Only two security points (out of 10) were actually opened, and it took me about 1h00 to get trough. The officer must have been jealous of all those charter PAX going to sun, because they scanned everybody trough both the metal detection door, the manual metal detector and hand check. The bags were all opened, and they collected dust on my laptop for explosive check. Boring.
YUL is just the messiest airport one could imagine : When I finally passed trough security, you are walking trough miles of corridors, with signs about a new international departure opening in fall 2004. Considering the date was December 23, I guess there are some delays...
Well, waiting, Boarding was announced, quickly done, and HB-IQK was waiting for me. It was kind of strange, as I saw the photo with the following caption on A.net on the morning of my flight: “Another day for Québéc Kilo So when I saw the reg, I kinda felt I knew this aircraft, which was fun (and no, I’m not insane)
My seat was 17K, window bulkhead economy with as much legroom as I want (time to thanks my travel agent for efficient pre-booking). Flight was full in Y, and I could see one free seat in J right in front of me (Ah…. Upgrades… well, as I plan to offer me an upgrade with some miles on my next flight, I bet I’m fine with not being upgraded for free, I would be bothered using some precious miles to fly along with someone who get that for free… got my point ?).
You can spot my seat on this picture, first economy row, window on the right :
On the seat was the expected standard pillow and blanket, sealed of course, along with earphones. A quick test showed there were non functioning, the FA solved the problem by giving me the one of the free J seat in front of me, some great noise-cancelling headset. Problem solving total time: 4 seconds. The captain then came on PA and told us that due to exceptionally strong tail winds, we will be at ZRH in the time of 6 hours. That is quick!
Nice take-off, then started service: complimentary drink service (choice of soft drinks, juices, wine or alcohols), followed by a meal service. Choice of boring but decent Y meals: pasta with tomato sauce on a spinach bed, topped with cheese or beef on a sauce, salad, tasty desert. Little stuff like hot bread and metal cutlery are really enjoyable. The FA came multiple times with hot bread basket to refill us. A nice touch was also that the plate was took away before the coffee service, allowing you to take your time during coffee (I admit I had a Bailey’s with my coffee!).
Those are not my pictures but are from Airlinersmeal.net and give a great impression of what the food look like:
My neighbour, to my great surprise, introduced himself, and has been graduated for the same business school I’m attending. He told me a bit about his frequent flyer life, I must say I was quite envious. After the dinner I went for one of the movie shown, which was Die Hard (There was 4 recent movies, on children movie and a old movie) that I had never seen before. At this point, you don’t want a movie review right ?
Anyway, let’s make things quick, at the end of the movie, was the breakfast served, which caused the FA and I to joke a bit about not being really angry for a breakfast, 2 hours after the end of the dinner, at 10:30 PM Montreal time (and 4AM Zurich Time, no really, it was not time for any kind of breakfast). Breakfast was nice hot croissant, yogurt, and orange juice. Pretty basic. But, like with the hot bread, multiple hot croissants were offered (despite that the flight was full), and the beverage trolley came out a few times too. Followed the Swiss chocolates, again a nice touch, and then the hot towel, too many nice touches! Landing.
Those are not my pictures but are from Airlinersmeal.net and give a great impression of what the food look like:
Again, Swiss FAs are great. They know how to keep it simple and smooth. Its coach, so no need for unpleasant pretentious attitude (AF, if you here me!). My only problem with that flight is definitely the schedule. You arrive in ZRH at midnight YUL time, so no chance to get sleep in the plane, nor at Zurich, nor for the rest of the December 24 day, meeting back your family.
Avro RJ-100, call it weakness or jetlag, I forgot to write the reg of this one !
December 24 2004
Scheduled departure time: 10h15
Actual departure time: 10h20
Scheduled arrival time: 11h35
Actual arrival time: 11h20
There is not that much to comment on a 1h00 flight in the cattle class of a classic, 4 engine airliner, the Avro. I’ll just say something about Swiss European service, which as you know is not offering free food anymore. Sincerely, I don’t care. On those intra-European flights, Swiss offer incredible fares. If people want to pay for this flights the same price as for an Easyjet flight, fine, but expect the same service. I can survive 1 hour without food. Swiss chocolate as well as nice and smiley FA’s are still complimentary anyway. Funny thing it was my first female in the cockpit, and the captain made an announcement that she will be doing the landing. Good job anyway, it is said that NCE approach is not that easy (I read that somewhere) despite being really beautiful.
“Funny stuff”: I have tagged my bags with my mother’s Swiss Travel club silver tags. She gave it to me when she got gold . Anyway, on NCE I was stopped by a custom officer.
“Do you transport goods of 150 Euros or more? What are you a student?
- Yep, Only a poor student !
- Allright, go !”
As I walked out, I thought he was staring at my bags but actually I noticed he was looking at the big blue and red “Swiss Business Priority” paper tags LX has attached to my bags because of the Travel club tags!
Avro RJ-100, HB-IYW
January 8, 2005
Scheduled departure time: 7h25
Actual departure time: 8h15
Scheduled arrival time: 8h45
Actual arrival time: 9h15
Got a digital camera for Christmas. I guess it will help for my next trip report (unfortunately, my travel plans look like YUL NCE on LX for quite a time! Maybe this summer!). For the moment, I was getting used to the camera and felt kind of uncomfortable using it inside of the plane. What would an occasional traveller think about someone who takes picture of his seat, of the meals, and of the plane? Anyway I managed to get some pictures, forgive me by advance, I’m not a photographer.
My Avro after his flight:
There must have been something going on with LX on this morning. I heard the words “Late”, “Connection”, “Luggage” and “Run trough the terminal straight to gate ….” a good thousand times. Anyway, our flight was late because of some slot problems in ZRH – 3 active runways may I remind you- that is a busy airport in the morning when all the heavies came in from North-America.
Boarding by bus, no comment. 21st century, we are boarding airplane with buses. Seated in the plane, waiting, very nice captain over PA to announce the delays, the cause, and start this stuff with connection. There must have been 50% of the plane connecting. And not large 4 hours connection like mine, stuff like 50 minutes connections. Once we were on air, the captain made a weird announcement about those connections. Something like: “To passenger connecting, please don’t worry; I have the situation on hand you’ll be on your plane on time”. Exactly what a cab driver would have told you in your way to the airport !
Finally on descent, FA’s were circulating with the gates number to tell the passenger that their connections were waiting for them. Well, once it started, connections waiting for PAX connecting and slots for take off that are gone and .. oh well, who cares, my flight is in four hours !
Airbus A330-200 (HB-IQK)
January 8, 2005
Scheduled departure time: 1255
Actual departure time: 1320
Scheduled arrival time : 1610
Waiting for me:
On this flight the service was pretty equivalent to the inbound flight. I will notice changes only. The first non-change was the reg. I was hoping to discover another Swiss A330, so I was a bit disappointed.
Captain on PA: “Well, we are waiting a few minutes for passengers connecting from Milan”.
Some companies are not keen on waiting; a friend of mine was travelling the next day on KLM from LYS. While the door of the plane was not even closed they denied her boarding, because of her luggage not being on the MD11. She, along with no less than 40 other connecting people, were handled hotel and food coupon, and put on various Northwest flights with connection somewhere in the US, on the next day (question being, if they were not leaving on the direct flight anyway, why didn’t they rebook her-anyone-on a NW plane on the very same day ? Is it that hard to find a few economy ticket to US cities at 14h00 in AMS? Doesn’t Air France, KLM partner doesn’t have 3 direct flights to YUL? ).
The Airbus A330-200 gives you a nice feeling; it’s a quiet and beautiful aircraft. Swiss is distributing chocolates during the wait. The two connecting PAX finally came in. We were pushed-back almost instantly.
Captain on PA, with a tone of the bad news to be announced: “Concerning connecting passenger’s bags.” The look on the face of people was funny. Anyway, the captain did not say anything for almost 30 seconds. A long time for those people.
Captain on PA, on a much light tone “ I’m pleased to report that all bags are on board. I repeat, all bags on board.” Relief. But I felt a bit weird that in today industry, it became necessary to announce that.
Because the funny thing about the KLM story was that my friend was denied boarding because she couldn’t fly if her bags were not on. But they were on and flew to YUL without her, and it took one full week to find them and bring them back to my friend’s home. Not trying to draw a comparison between the two airlines (different sizes, different number of PAX, etc), but you can somehow feel which one in that particular case you would have preferred to fly.
Captain on PA “We are sorry to report that due to strong headwinds, our flight time will be an exceptionally long 8h50 minutes.” It says it all.
Anyway, my seat was 28B, not a window one but infinite legroom due to the emergency exit. Always nice. I taught I recognize one of the FA. I asked her on which flight we could have met, and I find out that she was doing my short ZHR-NCE on December 24, and that it was her first long haul flight Nice FA’s. We were served a lunch and before landing a very weird pizza stuff, along with great ice cream that I really appreciated.
Landing was my first(noticed) cross-wind landing. IT was absolutely amazing. It seems that no pax noticed. I think we had a 50° angle with the runway. I was literally over my seatmate, and kind of worried not to sea the beginning of the runway. It was because we were coming from the side! The touchdown was however really soft (and well welcomed).
As a conclusion, there’s no such common thing as a transatlantic flight on those days. But I wanted to get used to the “Exercise” before doing a really interesting trip. I’m seriously thinking of taking some widebody flights within Europe (Varig MD11 ?), or any crazy and non-expensive thing I could find. I would however highly recommend LX economy class; it’s probably one of the best way to cross the Atlantic in coach those days. By the way, forgive my English, it took me a lot of time to write this report, but I still find (big) mistakes. Hope this read was pleasant !
Coyoteguy From Mexico, joined Oct 2001, 432 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4765 times:
Good report! Swiss is pretty good, I flew them twice last summer from MIA - ZRH - PMI (the best connection from MIA-PMI if you refuse to fly Iberia like I do....) and I enjoyed the service. The warm bread rolls are a great touch, and really make the meal for me, and the clean, efficient, friendly Swiss service is always welcome.
FLYYUL From Italy, joined Jun 2000, 4935 posts, RR: 53 Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4735 times:
"YUL is just the messiest airport one could imagine : When I finally passed trough security, you are walking trough miles of corridors, with signs about a new international departure opening in fall 2004"
-Sir.. the new customs hall is ready for 2004.. the international concourse is ready June 2005.
NceBoy From France, joined Sep 2004, 137 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4717 times:
I'm really looking forward to the new and finished YUL. I think it will be a great airport. The new custom hall is great, took 10 minutes to go trough in the middle of the afternoon intl arrival rush.
However, it was a long long walk from the aircraft trough, again, long corridors. I guess the baggage find that long too, cause they took forever to come ! Anyway, if the whole thing is as great as the new custom hall, well, I guess it is worth waiting.
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 4 Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 3996 times:
very nice trip report.. Liked to read that... flow this weekend ZRH-LHR-ZRH with Swiss and I also liked the service on the plane. Simply but good. Heard also that the longhaul service is very good
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2895 posts, RR: 24 Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3984 times:
Great report, I enjoyed reading. I agree about your impression of Swiss: Their transatlantic Economy product is certainly outstanding, and even on shorthaul flights where they charge for meals and drinks, the friendlyness and motivation of the crew simply creates a nice atmosphere, even if you can't really talk about "service" on these flights.
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1702 posts, RR: 42 Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3690 times:
Excellent trip report. Good to see the cabin crew on Swiss still carry that special charm from Swissair. I have not had a chance to fly LX, or at least not since they changed the name to SWISS. This report only makes me want to try them out more.
ZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5544 posts, RR: 40 Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3460 times:
Because I have relatives in NYC I travel at least twice a year between ZRH and JFK/EWR. Always with Swiss. I have never had a bad crew, they were always very friendly and helpful. Thanks for this trip report. When you read newspapers in Switzerland they only bring negative reports about Swiss. This is simply not true, specific in comparison to many other airlines.
AlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 15 Reply 12, posted (8 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3454 times:
It looks like LX serves a nice dinner for Y passengers!! Very good presentaion.
I have been debating wether or not to fly LX to DXB, but your report has convinced me, I will probaly end up flying AZ becuase they are the cheapest
no PTVs on the AZ B767-300. I will try to push on my parents for LX though.