I live in Algarve and like most of the time to get to Switzerland or Berlin I drive to Lisbon and take a plane from there as connections from the Algarve are limited.
On my way to Berlin this longer week-end, I took my miles earned with Tap /Victoria to get a "free" business flight (well, 215Euros in taxes to pay) from Lisbon to Berlin via Zurich with Swiss, and then return with Lufthansa/TAP via Munich.
(still don't understand that neither TAP nor Lufthansa offer a direct connection LIS-Berlin, leaving it to Easyjet... But yes, TAP has twice daily Lis-Hamburg connection...?! )
PS: Sorry for the average quality of my pictures - took them with my mobile phone, but we still get a feeling .
Check-in at Swiss counter was smooth and friendly as always (managed by Portway Co. for Swiss) - I had done online check in the night before so I just needed to give my checked luggage. I got the green sticker to pass through the faster "green way" for security check and made my way to the very close TAP/Star alliance business lounge: very modern, appealing, in all white background with light effects (am I in a private club waiting for my martini?) and stools in red/green TAP colors - very refreshing, new, and calming atmosphere with helpful staff at the counter - internet with my laptop was free, I just needed to get a code/passwd at the counter. Very good variety of fingerfood and drinks choice & magazines - sorry, I do not have pictures of it. One negative: the restrooms were not in the best clean state!
flight was called and I processed to the near gate: long queue of passengers boarding! I went straight to the front and asked the attendant if I could board the plane - no problem, business passengers may board at any time and don't have to wait so she let me in - thank you
LIS-ZRH Swiss HB-IJE (A320) Arosa_ Sept, 3rd, 2009
dep. Lis 12:31 arr. Zrh 15:47h (on time)
the a320 was full, but boarding was quick and efficient. We were handed out a bottle of water and wet tissue right at the beginning, which was nice (not the case with Lufthansa and Tap on my return flight).
2 choices of main menu (no menu card handed out like on TAP): Hirschragout (deer) or vegetarian (pancake sort of). I had the Hirsch - very tasteful!
Attentive staff, but not over-doing it.
|Swiss A320 taking-off over Lisbon|
|swiss business a320|
|mesclun salad, deer ragout with spaetzle, cheese & Gamay red wine|
|coffee, chocolate and mousse with pear, fruit bread|
|on approach over Zurich lake|
|highway short before landing in Zrh|
|a few seconds before touch down in Zrh|
|on the way to parking position in Zrh|
strong winds were announced by the pilot on our descent to Zrh, but landing turned out to be really smooth.
Arriving at Zrh airport: you get an immediate civilized, warm and cosy feeling: dimmed lights, good air circulation, big windows with view on the runway, sophisticated in-architecture. I love Zurich. and everything is so calm... Where is the massage salon ?
I made my way to the swiss business lounge - friendly staff at the desk this time (last year I had a rather snobbish greeting).
Zrh-Berlin Tegel sept 3rd, 2009 HB-IPX A319
on time door closing (off. depart. time 17:40h), but wait because of high traffic. Take off 18:15h - on time arrival 19:14h in Tegel.
Speedy boarding onto swiss connecting flight to Berlin and warm welcome on board.
Again, water & tissue - and light meal was nicely served with silverware on this 1 hour short flight ! Of course I took another Gamay swiss red wine, he, he
|swiss business lounge in Zrh|
|swiss business lounge in Zrh|
|the longest bar in the world - smoking permitted|
|free choice of Moevenpick ice creams|
|modern architecture, relaxing atmosphere, dimmed lightening|
|helvetic fokker 100 and swiss 321 ahead of us|
|nice take off from zrh rwy 28 head west|
|dry meat from Grisons & creme brulee, silverware on this short flight Zrh-Berlin!|
|we flew 1'050 km/h , here some 190km before landing in Berlin|
|finals Berlin Tegel - passing TV tower and Tempelhof airport in the back|
|east to west landing at Tegel view on TV tower|
Overall very pleased with Swiss service, friendly personnel, quality food, nice presentation.
Pilots have been informative as well, which I think is important (announcement of imminent take off & info on approach).
Sept 7, 2009: Lufthansa business Berlin-Munich D-AISP
brand new A321 manuf. Jan 2009
dep. Berlin Tegel 11:28 (official 11:10h),
arr. Munich 12:30
Like always with Lufthansa: efficient check-in at counter. Nice interior of new A321 (no screens though...), quick boarding.
Unfortunately, we were only asked about magazines/papers at the beginning and no drink was served. The one person staff in business was busier with himself (having coffee and breakfast behind shut curtain) than customer orientated. IS IT SO COMPLICATED TO pop in the business class and ask passengers if all is ok?
I had to use 2 times the bell to call him, just to get a bottle of water or some bread...He was never unpolite, but he had that kind of "could care less" attitude. Not good.
Meal: tasty (Gurkensalad, salami sandwich, Vanille-Mango mousse), but very cheap presentation: the charm of economy in business, welcome to the world of plastic ! Spoon with sharp edge to easy cut your tongue...
The economy feel was to be found in the toilet of business again: no hand/body lotion like in Swiss.
We were then served a nice truffle confiserie, but: no coffee served together with it?
|a good old Lufthansa 733 at Tegel|
|brand new Lufthansa 321 - manuf. jan 2009 - nice, but no info screen?|
|never seen that bird before... Tegel preparation of take off|
|take off from Tegel - the wing behing that far back: yes, it is A321|
|Nice view over the Berliner lakes|
|the plastic eco charm-Lufthansa business and Samsung advert flyer|
|did it come out of the vending machine? Plastic stick replaces plastic spoon|
|nicely packed 2 truffles confiserie|
|Munich airport from the sky - sexy|
|approach in Munich|
|Our neighbouring plane on taxi in Munich: USair 767|
It was my 1st time in Munich and I was I guess expecting too much - or maybe just on a unimpressive connecting terminal...? The atmosphere did not have the charm of Zurich - was more like an industry hangar. Did some shopping (textile) at exclusive brand name-store, but personnel was very unhelpful and did not seem to know what he was doing.
But worse: the Lufthansa business lounge was... terrible: in the 45 minutes that I stayed there, all Computer terminals and the majority of tables still were full of trash & plates left by former users. Nothing had been cleaned! i finally complained about it to a friendly Lufthansa desk assistant (I had to go down the stairs again to get her, as there is no assistance on the same level) who said she would tell the food/cleaning crew...
The atmosphere there again was cold and no view on the tarmac etc. see the pictures. I was really expecting something much better. more modern and updated. Anyway, maybe I was just in an older terminal ?
|a hangar feel|
|Lufthansa business lounge in Munich - big, but rather dirty and cold|
|left overs from former users everywhere !|
Flight MUC-LIS TAP, CS-TNL A320 (manuf. jan 2000)
off. dep. time: 14:25, door closed at 14:45h, take off 15:02h
arrival Lisbon on time 16:42h (flight time 2:45h.)
Heading to the gate, I had time to stroll around and watch the planes, get a very tasty Bockwurst with Pretzel - saw a beautiful 346 Lufthansa with next to her her baby Swiss Jumbolino Avro100 ! Incredible size difference, but the Avro had 4 engines too he he he
|mother LH346 and her baby LXavro100|
Warm welcome in TAP business. Menu card (wow) handed out with 2 choices of main menu (veal or pasta) and we were asked if we wished an aperitif first (very nice)
Oh: and a hot towel came (veeeeeery nice).
But as much as the 1st impression was good, unfortunately there was no follow-up on passengers afterwards: same "close curtain" policy like on Ber-Muc Lufthansa flight, with a young Maitre de Cabine talking and talking with his colleague behind it and even checking messages on his mobile phone (that could be seen when I went to the toilet). There again, I had to use the bell button to call him.
Also the video screen was only black & white (was something broken?)
Smooth flight, like always nice approach on Lisbon and landing. But please, no.... : we had to park outside and got a bus back to the terminal: no air co, over full , have to wait for other passengers to board the bus- who likes it ??? You pay a 1'200Euros ticket with TAP in business and get that? No thank you !!! I had 2 business px telling me: "es ist wie Viehtransport" (it's like animal transport)...
|TAP business A320|
|menu card in TAP business MUC-LIS|
|beautiful pasta main course creation of Vitor Sobral-Cabriz Reserva red wine|
|the alternative: veal, also very good|
|over Lausanne & Lac Leman in TAP320 Muc-Lis|
|nice view over Geneva with airport & fountain - I studied there 4 years|
|the big lake region about 40 min before landing in Lisbon|
|the charm of the past at Lisbon airport - Bus instead of tunnel|
The arrival terminal in Lisbon is really old and baggage claim service too slow. Oh well, the new airport at Alcochete is coming some time in 9-10 years... Then I save 15 more minutes drive from The Algarve (now it takes only 2 hours from Algarve to Lisbon airport by car: 18 ,60E one way highway toll, so it's ok.
Parking: I paid 72 Euros in P3 from Thursday 11 am until Monday 17:40h, so it's rather cheap.)
Hope you had fun reading it- to recap: all 3 airlines are serious ones you want to fly on: safe, efficient and in principle with good on board service. Now it all depends on the crew: one time it is good, one time it is bad, like with any other airline but I must say from my experience that Swiss is not to be topped currently as it is very stable in service quality.
I think let the discussion start!