The day before my flight departed, I was in a Zurich till 4am (Friday=partyday for me) and arrived back home around 5am. So I was quite happy not to depart early in the morning but late afternoon on flight OK4583 (operated by Swiss) to PRG.
I checked-in in terminal B at a Swissport counter. The guy there did a good job, everything quick and correct. He also put in my FréquencePlus number. The funny thing with this flight is, that I physically fly Swiss but I‘m not able to earn Qualiflyer miles...quite an odd situation, but it is logical of course.
I proceeded through the passport control and went to terminal A. Although it was already 3:15pm there were still a lot of planes and pax in Zurich. This was, because in Switzerland the ‚fall break‘ just began and this is usually one of the busiest days for ZRH.
I went to the bus gates in terminal A, our gate was A06. On the screen I saw that our flight will be delayed at least 30min due to late arrival (from Paris CDG). So I took some magazines and newspapers and relaxed a bit before we were ready for boarding.
Before entering the bus we had to show our passports again. The bus brought us to the RJ85, HB-IXH, a plane in full Swiss colours. We entered, I had seat 14F, the plane was about 75% full. As I sat down, I closed the seatbelt...it seems to be a habit. But this time every pax had to open the belt because they were filling up the plane at this time...this situation confused a lot of pax and the crew had to explain it about ten times.
At 4:35pm they closed the door and we were ready for departure, got a towel (not a hot one, but still a towel) and a chocolate. The captain apologized for the delay and we were on our way to runway 28. The captain also said that we were number 4 in the take off sequence...but we had to wait for another 25min. At 5:07pm with a delay of more than an hour we took off.
On our flight we got a sandwich, chicken or cheese and something to drink. But the f/a came around with more and more sandwiches and asked friendly if I‘d like a second one...a third one...and finally a fourth one...very good sandwiches.
After an hour an 5min we landed in Prague and got a jetway at terminal B. I‘ve been in Prague once before but this was in the early 90ies and this airport really has changed! It seemed very new with a lot of windows and a nice duty free area. But for all this I had no time because my flight to Riga was ready for boarding. Security check was done fast and we were able to enter the plane, a CSA Boeing 737-500. It was already dark when we were pushed back around 7pm (this flight was ontime). The plane was absolutely full in economy class but empty in the two business class rows. I had seat 6D.
We took off after a 30second take-off roll into the dark sky. Soon after the take off the captain made his announcement about the route and these things, but the quality was bad and so I didn‘t really understand everything. The F/a was friendly when she served me my meal, but this wasn‘t food!?! Something looked like salad, something like potato salad with some strange meat beneath (everything cold). I was still full of all the great sandwiches so I only ate the dessert, which was a cake and not my taste.. On an evening flight only such a lousy meal, I was disappointed! But I have to admit that the other pax seemed to like this food, the guys next to me ate everything.
At least the coffee was good (oh, I forgot: No coffee on Swiss!).
After a flight time of 1h and 28min we landed some minutes prior to scheduled arrival time in Riga. It was absolutely dark and raining. To my surprise they had jetways at this airport. And what an airport! When I got off the plane and into the building I was impressed! A new airport, and everything is made out of wood, this gives a warm feeling. Very nice. There were almost no other pax in the airport. Passport control was done quickly, there were 4 counters and at every counter there was a man working and waiting for us. This is really good service for 10pm! Baggage came also after a short waiting.
I visited Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and after 2 weeks it was time to return to Switzerland, same way back.
Due to a early morning departure I had to get up at 5:30am. I took a taxi to the airport. There were not many pax in the check-in hall. Some people for a flight with Air Baltic and some for our flight OK833 to Prague. Passport control and security check were done efficient. Our plane today was an ATR72 (OK-XFB). CSA flies 9times weekly to RIX and only on one flight they are using such a small aircraft. The other planes I saw were mainly Air Baltic Fokker 50 and RJ70 but there was also a BA 737-400. Although it was short before 7am all duty-free shops were already open.
We had to depart with the bus to our ATR (obviously). This flight was almost 100% full, I saw 2 or 3 free seats. I had seat 6a. The funny thing with this ATR was, that we had to board from the back and business class was also in the back of the plane, the last 3 rows. I think I’ve never seen this before (ok, I admit that my ATR experience is very limited). With a delay of 10min we departed. Once in the air, the captain gave us detailed information about our route to Prague and the weather in Prague as well on the way.
Service started soon. Friendly f/a's served a cold meal with cold rolls packed in plastic. It was ok, but really nothing more than acceptable. They came around a second time with bread, coffee and tea. I really can’t write more about this flight because I was sleeping for the rest of the flight. After 2h23min in the air, we landed softly in PRG. There was a Travel Boeing 737-800 with winglets parked on terminal A the rest of the planes were CSA, including an Airbus A313.
Now I had to wait for almost 2 hours for my connection to ZRH. I haven’t done much during this time, only walking around, make some pictures and relaxing in the comfortable seats in the waiting area.
Our aircraft arrived, an Airbus A319, HB-IPT also in full Swiss colours. Thanx to the glass jetway, I was ablte to count the passengers who disembarked: 79. The lady announced that we had to show our passports again when we will enter the plane, but they didn’t even took a look at them. I had seat 6a, only 2 rows behind c-class. This flight was almost full, also in c-class. We got a towel and they showed us the security film during taxi to the runway. We took off 2min prior to scheduled departure time. The first officer gave some info about the route, weather and flight time. He expected 50min...I thought this might be a bit to short...but he was correct: 51min.
During this 51min the cabin crew had to serve the whole plane. Again sandwiches (ham or cheese). I still liked the cheese sandwich. But this time they only came around twice. After the sandwiches and a drink service we got a dessert: a cookie, which was too dry in my opinion. The f/a were friendly but you got the impression that they were a bit in a hurry...that’s never a good sign, nevertheless they did a good job. Before landing in ZRH we got in some strong turbulence, it was really bumpy. I kind of like that.
We landed 22min to early with a swing-over to runway 16 and our taxi to gate A72 was very short. Only a short waiting for the baggage and I reached a train which brought be direct home...an hour earlier than expected.
take care, bk