➔ Lufthansa Business Class, Airbus A320, LHR-FRA
➔ Lufthansa Business Class, Airbus A320neo, FRA-FCO
➔ Starhotels Metropole, Rome
➔ Rome City Guide
➔ Swiss Business Class, Airbus A320, FCO-ZRH
➔ Radisson Blu, Zurich Airport
➔ Swiss Business Class, Airbus A330, ZRH-LHR
The third flight of this trip to have changed!
Initially when I booked, this flight was due to be operated by the classic Airbus A340-300. However a week or two prior to departure, I noticed that I had been swapped out to the more common Airbus A330. Whilst a little disappointing, I figured it could have been worse. I was essentially still getting the same long haul product.
I made the brief walk from the hotel to security. As I had a boarding pass that I had been issued in Rome, there was no need to pay a visit to check in.
Security was very efficient – as would be expected at 05:30am. There was a separate lane for business/first/status holders etc, however it didn’t appear to be policed all that well.
Once I was through, it was up to the lounge for a brief visit.
Things were a lot more self serve here, compared to other lounges.
With around 20 minutes before boarding I made my way to the gate. Maybe a little early, but I still had to clear passport control.
Zurich – London Heathrow
Airbus A330 HB-JHL
Boarding began a little earlier than advertised. Which made a change. If the respective queues were anything to go by, then this flight would be very lightly loaded in business, but reasonably full in economy.
I made my way onboard, taking my assigned seat of 4A in the smaller front business cabin.
A few moments later, a crew member approached me and handed me the standard Swiss bottle of water and a wet wipe.
The seat itself featured everything you’d expect from a long haul business class product. Power points, and a fairly small IFE screen.
Shortly before pushback, the captain appeared, said good morning and welcomed me aboard. I doubt it was anything special though – more a case of he needed to go to the galley and I was the one and only passenger between there and the flight deck.
The boarding complete call was given, and it turned out I had the entire forward business cabin to myself.
It was mentioned that there were 119 passengers on board, so a reasonably healthy load. For an A319. But shifting a mass of passengers isn’t the purpose for the A330 on this sector. Cargo is the name of the game here.
A flying time of 1h15 was given.
Despite a couple of late passengers, pushback came on schedule, during which the safety video was shown.
A quick journey over to the runway was made, before the captain really put his foot down! We were airborne in a matter of seconds.
A few turns followed before we were into the clouds.
Not too long after departure, the crew started the breakfast service. This is where I was a little surprised. Fully expecting a few cold cuts and not too much else, a warm dish of frittata, potatoes and peppers was placed in front of me.
Along with this came the same cheese as on my previous Swiss flight and some Bircher muesli.
And of course, a round of drinks.
Not an awful lot can be said of the IFE. Being a long haul aircraft, it was fitted with screens at every seat. However, only the sky map was shown.
In addition, WiFi was offered. However I couldn’t connect to it. I suspect it was more of an issue with my devices however, as I’d had similar problems when connecting to unknown networks previously.
As we passed over the coast of France, descent started. It looked to be a nice day over the south of England.
It was a fairly straight forward approach. No holding required. In fact, other than a few minor adjustments, it was pretty much just a sharp-ish left turn on to final.
Upon departure, the captain seemed to be very keen to get things going. He was equally enthusiastic about getting things slowed down upon landing. Full reverse thrust and some heavy braking made for a swift exit from the runway.
His enthusiasm was short lived though. Due to the fact we had landed a good 25 minutes ahead of schedule, we then had to wait a good 20 minutes for a gate to become free. Maybe it’s about time Heathrow thought about opening terminal 3 or 4.
We pulled into T2B just about on schedule. It was then for the lengthy walk to passport control. Usually, terminal 2 isn’t too bad regarding crowds. Not today though. A further 20 minute wait ensued before making it through to arrivals.
Another good flight with Swiss. As I mentioned in the previous part to this series, the last time I flew Swiss business class, I was a little underwhelmed. This time around however, I was somewhat impressed. Although maybe that was due to me having reasonably low expectations?
The A330 itself was fine for this 75 minute hop. I’m not sure how comfortable it would be on a longer sector however. It’s not an A330 thing either. Having taken their 777 between London and Zurich in 2016, I came away from that flight with similar thoughts too. The seat is a little on the narrow side. Although there is plenty of elbow room in the throne seats.