Airline: Swiss International Air Lines
Flight #: LX326
Date: Monday 10th January 2022
Having arrived from Prague into the airline’s largest hub at Zurich (read about that here), my onward flight, and the last of my trip, was of course with Swiss International Air Lines. When planning my itinerary, I’d tried to balance giving myself enough time for any connections, whilst also attempting to get onboard different aircraft for each leg.
After a Lufthansa A320neo and CRJ900 along with a Swiss A220-100, the final leg of my trip was unfortunately a repeat type with HB-JDB, a Swiss A320neo, being my ride home. Whilst this was the second A320neo of my trip, it was my first time flying onboard a Swiss example and so I was looking forward to seeing how it differed to the A220 that I had arrived into Zurich on.
Zurich airport is split into 3 terminals across two buildings, with Terminals A and B being piers of the main ‘Airside Centre’ whilst Terminal E is a satellite the other side of one of the runways. Terminal A is solely used for Domestic flights and flights to Schengen countries, whilst Terminal E is solely used for flights to non-Schengen countries.
Terminal B is split level and used by both Schengen and non-Schengen flights, with each gate having both a ‘B’ and ‘D’ prefix. The ‘B’ gates have direct access from the ‘Airside Centre’ and are used for Schengen flights, whilst the ‘D’ gates are accessed via passport control and the lower level and are used for non-Schengen flights.
Having arrived at Terminal A, I had made my way through the ‘Airside Centre’ and into Terminal B. Passport control was relatively easy, with the border guard taking a couple of minutes to find the correct page of my passport to stamp and I was soon heading down to the ground floor where the non-Schengen ‘D’ gates are found.
With the UK at the time requiring a Passenger Locator Form along with either proof of vaccination or negative Covid test, Swiss had set up a pre-boarding desk next to the gate where they could check documents. Only when you’d had your documents checked and boarding pass marked with a giant blue stamp, could you head to the actual boarding desk to head upstairs to the jet bridge.
At the time of my journey, HB-JDB was just under two years old, having first flown in March 2020 and delivered to Swiss in July of the same year. As with pretty much all A320neos, those operated by Swiss are laid out in a 3-3 configuration throughout with a moveable divider allowing some seats to be allocated to their European Business class product.
Swiss’ A320neo’s are fitted with what are now the familiar streamlined sets, which despite their flimsy look are relatively comfortable. Whilst the official leg room remains at 31-32 inches of pitch, the streamlined seats minimise the amount of room taken up around your knees and giving the impression of more space.
Managing to once again to choose a row that ended up with an empty middle seat (aim for the back of the aircraft!), I settled in for the journey to Heathrow. With a flight time of just under two hours, our route would take us west out of Swiss airspace into France, before turning north-west and heading across France to the channel. The route then crossed the English coast near Hastings before we joined the approach path to Heathrow taking us over central London.
As with my flights with Lufthansa and the flight from Prague to Zurich, the only complementary offering was a small bottle of water. Having eaten on my previous flight I decided not to purchase anything on this flight and instead settled down with some Parks and Recreation to pass the time. I did have a quick look at the menu and the same menu was offered on this flight as the previous, with a decent range of both food and drink choices.
After about 90 minutes in the air, we were back over the UK and starting to join the approach to Heathrow. Thankfully we didn’t have to join any holding patterns and it was a fairly quick S-curve to join the final approach over London. Unfortunately, once again, I’d forgotten to sit on the right-hand side of the plane and so didn’t manage to get the best views of the city, however at night this remains one of my favourite airport approaches!
The Swiss economy product onboard the Airbus A320neo is very similar to that provided onboard Lufthansa, which isn’t really that surprising given they are part of the same group. Its disappointing more airlines have used Covid as an excuse to remove complementary refreshments, however the buy on board menu does provide more choice and is reasonably priced. All in all, I’d definitely fly with Swiss again if the timings were right, although I’d probably look to fly onboard an A220 rather than their A320s.
Overall Rating 16/25 (read about my rating system here!)