It’s summer and that means that it is time for my annual trip to Turkey to spend two weeks in the sun in Atakent on it’s beautiful beaches. Atakent is a non-tourist town in southern Turkey in between the cities of Silifke and Mersin. The first hotel has been build just a few years before. The locals are mostly (80%) Turkish people living in nearby cities (Adana, Mersin, Silifke) which come over in the holiday season for a long stay until the end of the holiday season or just for the weekends. The only ‘tourists’ you will encounter in Atakent are Turkish people that live abroad and have a house in Atakent.
As some of you may know this is my second trip report. I have tried to take the comments that some of you made after my first trip report into account while making this trip report.
The photo’s are taken with an iPhone so they are not of the best possible quality. I also forgot to take some pictures of the check-in desks (and maybe some other things too). If you guys would like me to include some other photo’s of certain objects as well, just tell me so I can make sure I will include them in my upcoming trip reports as I have 2 flights coming up (LH AMS-FRA-ARN-MUC-AMS and KL AMS-HEL-AMS).
Let’s go on to the actual report now.
Scheduled duration: 1h 30m
Actual duration: 1h 16m
Flight number: LX737
Scheduled departure time: 7:05 AM
Actual departure time: 7:17 AM
Schedules time of arrival: 8:30 AM
Actual time of arrival: 8:33 AM
Booking class: C
Seats: 3A and 3C
Load factor C: 85%
Load factor Y: 100%
Boarding card coupon
Travelling to Amsterdam Schiphol
I live in a town located approximately 60 km from Amsterdam Schiphol. If you take an intercity train from my hometown to Schiphol it will take you 30 minutes to get there. Normally we travel to the airport by car, but this time I was the only one left behind so we had to make our way to Schiphol on our own. We woke up at 04:00 AM and took a cab to the train station which is a 10 minute ride. At the train station we took the train to Schiphol at 04:25 AM if I recall correctly. We arrived at Schiphol around 05:00 AM.
Picture of intercity train seats
@ Amsterdam Schiphol
We quickly went to Starbucks to have some coffee. After we finished our coffee we went upstairs to the departures level and headed for departures hall 1, also known as Lounge 1.
We went to row 8 to check-in for our flight. Swiss uses 3 check-in desks. One of them for business class and the other two for economy class. They share row 8 with Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa. The ground-handling agent for Swiss is Menzies.
We waited for 25 minutes (!!!) before our check-in formalities could start due to the fact that the passenger in front of us (who was travelling economy) apparently had some issues with his ticket. Waiting that long before being able to check-in was very frustrating.
This is why I always say: “keep those business class check-in counters free for business class passengers”. I would really prefer that they do not invite economy passengers over to the business class check-in counter from other check-in rows just because there are no business class passengers at the business class check-in desks at any given time. On the other hand, they probably have just a few business class passengers and loads of economy class passengers and try to ‘help’ checking-in economy passengers that way.
I know some of my comments like the previous one can make some people think: ‘come on, it’s not that bad’, but I do pay for my tickets (uh well, actually my dad pays for my tickets) and expect the easy and quick formalities which I am entitled to according to the class I pay for. Little things do matter for me, contrary to some business travellers whose tickets are paid for by their employer.
After waiting for 25 minutes it was our turn to check-in. The agent apologized for the fact that she had to make us wait very long and explained that there were some problems with the previous passenger. She completed the formalities and our baggage was labelled to Istanbul. We received our boarding cards and then headed to the security check.
Passing the security check in lounge 1 at Schiphol is very easy for business class passengers. They have a separate business class lane which is closed with bars and security staff first check your boarding cards to see if you are travelling business class before allowing you to use the business class security lane. We quickly went through security and then proceeded to the lounge.
Swiss uses the Menzies lounge (airline lounge 20 if I recall correctly). The lounge is nothing special. We arrived there at 05:50 AM and found that the lounge was due to open at 06:00 AM, so we decided to go back to the main area of lounge 1 to sit and wait until the lounge opened.
After passing some time in the main area, we headed for the lounge. We were kindly greeted at the reception by the reception staff and after checking our boarding cards, we were allowed in. The lounge was fitted with old furniture. The buffet consisted slices of cheese, ham, salami, crackers and toast. Of course, soft-drinks, alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee and juices were available too.
After the boarding announcement of our flight was made we exited the lounge and walked to the gate. Our gate was B27. It took us 10 minutes to arrive at the gate were boarding had already started. We sat down and waited until everybody else was boarding so that we did not have to stand in the jetty for another ten minutes.
Our A320 waiting for us at gate B27
Our gate area
While entering the aircraft we were greeted by a very cheerful female attendant which also was the maitre de cabine on this flight. We took our seats, which were 3A and 3C.
A male flight attendant passed out bottles of water and refreshing towels. After that, the maitre de cabine passed with a selection of newspapers and magazines. Once they were finished, the maitre de cabine introduced herself to us in German, French and English. Then the safety videos were displayed on the screens that folded down.
We taxied to our departure runway, which was close to our gate. Take-off was ok and once the fasten seat belt sign was off the curtain between economy and business class was closed and the curtain of the galley was closed too.
After ten minutes, they started breakfast service. First, the maitre de cabine handed out a tray to every passenger and after that she came by with the basket with hot rolls and croissants. The breakfast tray consisted of a bowl of cornflakes, butter, jam, cheese and a yoghurt drink.
With the hot roll and croissant
Her male colleague was just behind her with the drinks. The maitre de cabine proceeded to economy class and the male attendant stayed in business class throughout the whole flight. Now this is how it should be!!!
After a while the maitre de cabine also passed by with some muesli yoghurt. We both took one and they tasted good. After that we asked for some more cheese with our breakfast. The male flight attendant said he would have a look if they had some extra cheese, and came back with a plate of President brie. Delicious!
Our muesli yoghurts
Our extra cheese
The male attendant was constantly busy with serving things to passengers, asking if we wanted refills, taking away plastics and trash and serving more hot rolls and croissants.
After we were finished our breakfast the trays were cleared almost immediately. While taking away the tray the male attendant asked if we would care for some tea or coffee. We asked for some tea and coffee and after putting our trays away in the galley he came back with our tea and coffee and only after that he continued to collect other trays. This is also how it should be!!!
For the rest of the flight we read newspapers and magazines. We were also asked for refills each time they walked by and saw that our cups were empty.
Then we were approached by the friendly maitre de cabine. She told us that she saw that we were travelling onward to Istanbul. I confirmed. She said that she loved the city and that she visited it very shortly a few times while she was staying there for work in between flights.
She told me that we had made an excellent choice to spent time in Istanbul. She also told me that she loved the people, the culture and the city. I confirmed and told her about my experiences there. She was very surprised to hear that I knew so much already about Istanbul and she asked if I had already been there before. I told her my parents are of Turkish origin and that I was born in the Netherlands and was living there but already visited Istanbul a couple of times. She told me that we would not need any tips then, because we already have more experiences in Istanbul than she had and said the roles were turned around now. She said that it would be better that we gave her some tips on Istanbul. We laughed and she told us she had to help her colleague and left us. It was very pleasant to have a conversation with her. You could see that this crew loved their job and really enjoyed serving us. They were very caring and professional at the same time. They did nothing wrong and truly showed us their Swiss hospitality! A+.
Shortly after our conversation ended, they cleared everything as we did not want any refills. We started our decent and some announcements were made about the swine flu. We approached Zurich and finally landed safely.
-> the Swiss seats
Swiss uses Recaro-seats. They look very neat but they are totally not comfortable. The seats are thin and you can feel that as there are no thick cushions on the seat. Also, Swiss does block the middle seat but there is no cocktail table mounted in the middle seat on their A320 and A319 aircraft. On their A321 aircraft they do have some sort of semi-cocktail table installed on rows 1-4.
Another bad point of the Swiss seat configuration is the fact that there is absolutely no extra room compared to economy class in width. Armrests are not moveable. To create more room in width you must put the armrest up between the seats.
A picture of the seats
Impression of the legroom
Arrival @ Zurich Kloten
Once landed we taxied to gate A06. The crew wished us a pleasant stay in Turkey upon leaving the aircraft and we said goodbye.
Our aircraft sitting at gate A06
This flight was the most perfect Swiss flight I have ever been on. Both attendants serving business class were outstanding in professionalism, accuracy and friendliness. They did not leave us sitting with an empty tray, made sure we had refills just in time and even took the time to have a chat with passengers. The male flight attendant for example, told the lady sitting next to us not to hurry with her breakfast (she had to feed herself and her two kids) and that there was plenty of time for her to have a relaxed breakfast. They were also both very cheerful and polite. The only bad thing about this flight was the seats and their configuration.
If I would have to mark this flight it would be a 9 out of 10.
Hope you enjoyed my report and feel free to comment.