Planned schedule in UTC: AMS 05.30z - ZRH 07.00z
Actual shcedule in UTC: AMS 06.05z - ZRH 07.38z
Woken-up by a heavy thunderstorm at 4am, and not able to sleep anymore, it was an unusual early start for me (at least for a saturday ), so left home already at 5.30am in order to be at the check-in counter well before departure. Reaching the car-park already at 6.00am, I was able to catch the bus and arrived at the "Plaza" at 06.10am. Knowing SWISS had just moved to the Hall 3, I went up one floor and proceeded to row 24, where quite a long queue was already waiting in front of the two check-in positions. As Menzies is handling the LX flights at Schiphol, it's a shame, they didn't open-up more counters for the many passengers . The queues were moving very slowly, as most passengers had connections out of ZRH, and even though I entered the queue at 06.15am, I was only served at 07.22am, with even more waiting behind me Amazingly, the ladies behind the counters still took their time, and no stress was shown whatsoever ! Due to the slow-motion, some Economy passengers "sneaked" out of the queue and proceeded to the Business-class counter, annoying, especially, one American passenger, who started to yell at them like he owned the place !!!
After receiving my boarding-pass for both the AMS-ZRH and ZRH-AMS flights, I immediately went to the Passport-control counter and after passing that, rushed to gate G2, where HB-IPT was waiting for me, and still being re-fueled at this point (07.40am - well behind scheduled departure time). I was able to board immediately and was welcomed by a friendly "maitre de cabine". The cabin had nice looking dark-blue leather seats and the seat-pitch was quite generous. After being seated, here comes the American guy again with 3 huge cabin-baggage pieces and started to move and press away other pieces in the overhead-compartment, annoying, again, fellow passengers I suggested him to move further down the aisle where one compartment was still empty and put his luggage there as "you bring too many pieces along anyways"...he moves on and puts them away and before returning to his assigned seat (in front of me), stops and yells into my ear for others to hear: "who are you to judge I've too many pieces - are you a lawyer or something ?" Couldn't believe my ears They only thing I could reply was "shut up and sit down"...
At 07.50am fueling was finished and afterwards the captain announced, we would have to wait till 08.20 for ATC slot reasons, and immediately the cabin-crew started to distribute glasses of water and during a second run the famous "thank you for flying SWISS" chocolate: quite a nice treat when you've to wait. Meanwhile, I was able to read the nicely illustrated onboard magazine (good article about PRG). At 08.05am the nose was lifted and we pushed back from G2 and started to taxi towards runway 36L, situated almost in the city of Haarlem. Airborne-time, finally, was at 08.22am, a heafty 52 minutes after scheduled departure Nice to see on the screens, the rotation-speed was 251 kph, and the climb-out was fixed at 280 kph !
Photo © Tom Mousel - Luxembourg Aviation Photography
At 11SPY a right turn was initiated and the Lopik 1V departure routing was flown...soon we were above the clouds (remnants of the thunderstorms we had earlier in the morning) and climbed via Lopik and Olno towards Luxembourg to our cruising altitude of 39000 feet. As the initial climb was rather bumpy, the service was started well into the flight, and consisted of a warm chocolate-croissant plus a drink of your choice (quite tasty !). From abeam Luxembourg, we proceeded towards Basle and in the meantime was able to "visit" the lavatory, which smelled extremely clean and had also nice bottles of lotion and handcream available. After Basel, the captain came on the system, again, and told us that due to heavy inbound traffic, we had to hold "north-west" of ZRH at the Gipol (?) point, before continuing to KLO beacon. Weather was reported to become showery and the connections for all those passengers would be safeguarded
After holding for about 8-9 minutes, we were allowed to proceed and descended with the spoilers applied to reduce speed and, finally made our approach for runway 14, where we made a smooth touch-down at 09.33am.
Photo © Balazs Pinter
After turning-off, we had to wait before crossing the active take-off runway 28, and were at Gate 51 at 09.38am (38 minutes late): as the A.net meeting was supposed to start at 10.00am, I really had to rush now for the T2 information-booth, where Patrick and the rest would be waiting; Luckily, I made it in time and joined the group...(see other thread how the day was spent eventually)
After the wonderful day at ZRH, please find below the return portion:
Planned schedule in UTC: ZRH 18.00 - AMS 19.40
Actual schedule in UTC: ZRH 18.09 - AMS 19.37
As soon as the A.net meeting was finished, I went to Dock E, to admire it's architecture and underground train-connection, and I've to admit: it's fantastic - despite the concrete structure, it's very airy with the lighting and big windows. Also, the train is moved by huge cables, and you should see the speed of these cables while waiting for next one to come
Anyhow, was early for the flight and settled down next to gate A66, where the boarding-screen was showing already "boarding starting at 1947/ departure at 2009 - waiting for connecting passengers"....and guess what, boarding DID start at 1947, and see above for the push-back time: now, I say this is Swiss precision (no wonder, they make excellent watches ) Upon entering the cabin, we were greeted by 2 older "big smiles" stewardesses and the cabin looked very roomy: dark blue leather seats again with an excellent profile (felt like sitting in sports seats of a race-car) !
This time, we had to wait, again, before crossing the active landing runway 28, before continuing to the take-off runway 32. A rolling take-off was made from position H3 and we were airborne at 20.19.
Photo © Brändle Lukas
Left-turn at 4/KLO and proceeding to Brego, we turned right towards Vebit and continued towards Basel and climbed-up to 30000 feet. This routing was the reverse of this morning's one and after BSL we continued to LUX and passed some pretty active Hammerheads, so the air was still "active" to say the least !
Photo © Dion Fuchs
Once at altitude, we were served sandwiches "meat or cheese" and drinks were readily available. Even a 2nd run of sandwiches were distributed, and during the descent the "thank you for flying SWISS" chocolates were handed out again !
We headed towards the Dutch coast at Zeeland, finally broke clouds close to Haamstede (HSD), and flew along the coastline via The Hague and Leiden (and just East of the now closed Valkenburg Naval Station) towards a steep approach to runway 06. It is noticeable, that when the flaps are extended it becomes quite noisy in the cabin. Finally set at 33 degrees, we settled onto the ILS, and made an excellent "soft" touchdown at 21.30.
Photo © Sören Klinger
Taxying all the way down 06, we turned off at the end and proceeded along the D-, E-, and F-gates, to our parking position at G2, where we docked at 21.37, 3 minutes early
Overall, despite the delays, I found SWISS to be an excellent airline: passengers were kept well-informed on the ground as well as in the air, above average catering and very friendly crew on both runs
Rating (1-10): 9-
(check-in at AMS by Menzies: 4)