Etihad Regional, Economy Class – Saab 2000: Lugano to Sion

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Date: 31. August 2016.
Departure: 12:35.
Arrival: 13:32.
Flight time: 45 minutes.
Seat: 16A.

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INTRODUCTION
The terminal at Lugano airport is so small that it will only take you about two minutes to walk from the exit of the aircraft, through the terminal to the taxi rink on the other side.

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CHECK-IN
Location:
Ground floor, exactly opposite the exit from customs.
Facilities: No web check-in or app check-in available.
Counters: There is one Business Class counter and three Economy Class counters, which are used by all airlines operating into Lugano (SWISS and Etihad).

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I still have a bit more than an hour before my flight starts boarding, so I decide to head outside and take a walk along the airport’s perimeter fence. Eventually I find myself a nice bench surrounded by lush greenery and start writing the trip report for my previous flight.

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BOARDING
Lugano airport has all of two departure gates. The flight is going to be delayed. At 12h00, the actual departure time, we are still sitting in the terminal. The gate agent makes an announcement to inform us that the weather in Sion is really bad. So the flight is running late. He also informs us that there is a chance the flight will be diverted to Geneva instead, in which case we will be taken to Sion by coach. Eventually, the flight starts boarding at 12h20.

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CABIN
Configuration:
1 + 2.
Seat: I suspect these are still the same seats that were originally delivered to the aircraft. However, beige leather seat covers have replaced the traditional dark blue leather seat covers. The cabin looks rather nice actually. Only twenty of fifty seats are occupied on this short hop to Sion.
Pitch: No information available.
Width: No information available.

SERVICE
The cabin crew if made up of the one regulation flight attendant. It is a young lady in her late twenties I would say. She seems somewhat irritable. What surprises me about Etihad Regional is that they only seem to make the on board announcements in Italian.

THE MEAL
Type of meal:
Snack.
Meal:

  • Sweet or savoury biscuits.
  • Still water (San Benedetto)

By the time the service begins I am really starving. And so I decide to go with the savoury snack, which consists of a packet of stale crackers and pretzels.

ARRIVAL
Just after the meal, the captain comes on to inform us that we will indeed be diverting to Geneva due to the bad weather in Sion. I suppose one might argue that this is a somewhat unusual situation. Even so, I cannot help thinking that Etihad Regional’s handling of this irregularity is rather poor. The crew obviously has not got the faintest idea about what is going on either. According to the captain, a bus will be organised to bring passengers to Sion. However, as we enter the terminal building there is nobody there expecting us. I am not even sure who the handling agent for this flight is. So I check my watch: it is now 13h34. According to the app of the Swiss Federal Railways there is a train to Sion at 13h51, which should get me there just before 16h00.

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