Swiss International Air Lines
Flight LX 17
Scheduled Dep: 6:35pm
Actual Departure: 6:35pm
Scheduled Arr: 8:15am
Actual Arrival: 7:30am
Aircraft: HB-IWN, MD-11 Ex Swissair Asia
My friend and I just returned from a 10 day trip to Italy. We wanted to fly on the cheapest fare and found it on Expedia, for $373 R/T on LX. Our departure was on January 7th, just a few days before the JFK-ZRH route was upgraded to the A340-300. (We returned to JFK on LX on the A340).
Check in at Terminal 4 was uneventful, other than the fact that LX informed us that there would be a 10 hour ATC strike in Italy and so we would be booked on a later departure the next morning from ZRH to FCO, rather than our planned flight. The staff at LX at JFK were borderline rude and indifferent, but at least they took care of our problem.
Boarding began at 5:40 and was quick and efficient. After a final count of the passenger list (230 confirmed), we pushed back. The MD11 was spotless on the inside. No PTV's of course in Economy and the legroom was very tight, but we were fine. The plane did not look old at all. It did not look new either. I found the MD11 cabin to be very wide and airy, even compared to the A340 we came home on. Seating in Swiss Economy was 3-4-2.
Taxi to the runway was slow but at 7:01pm, we were cleared for take off. Take off roll was fast and powerful. Within seconds we were airborne and off to Europe. The flight was smooth the whole way there.
We had pre-dinner drinks consisting of Prosecco (sparkling Italian wine) and then dinner was served. It was chicken or pasta. I chose the chicken which was bland and tasteless and very meager, but that's airline food in coach today, even on Swiss. The cabin crew were polite, smiled, efficient, and did their job as quickly and smoothly as possible to allow people the time to sleep.
Descent into the early morning Zurich fog was quick. It was pitch black and due to very strong tail winds, we arrived at 7:30, 45 minutes early and taxied to the Terminal E gates, on the back side, and parked alongside a Thai 747-400, South African A330, and a Swiss A340.
The Zurich Airport is nice, particularly the new E terminal. I have not flown into Zurich since the early 1990's. It is clean and user friendly, if a bit on the bland side. The E dock gates are wonderful. We proceeded to Zurich exit, as it is called, and went into town for a few hours, as our connecting flight to Rome was rebooked from 10:00am to 5:20pm.
LX 1732 ZRH-FCO
Boarding for this flight, out of Terminal E again, was chaotic. People just wanted to get to Italy quickly after a long delay thanks to the country's notoriously strike prone trade unions. Pushback was on time and within minutes we were airborne. Swiss Economy charges for food on intra-European flights, which, from a service point of view, contradicts the good service on the Long Haul flights, but on the other hand, the quality of the food to be purchased is much better than the free stuff you get on the flight across the Atlantic. I bought a Betty Bossi-branded sandwhich and an apple juice.
Flight was smooth, and 51 minutes. Descent into Fiumicino was relatively quick and we landed at 6:35pm, taxiing past a Delta 767-300 probably delayed at FCO due to the strike, an Alitalia MD80 and we docked on one of the Euro piers.
I will post my return flight, FCO-ZRH-JFK (A319/A340) shortly. Overall, I found Swiss to be competent, good, and efficient, reliable and friendly. I would fly them again, but I miss Swissair!!!