Date: 08. February 2017.
Aircraft: Airbus A 320.
Flight time: 40 minutes.
Seat: 20 E on the starboard
After the snow the rain came. And then after the rain the cold returned. Only the grey remained – a mournful, dark and dreary, gloomy veil hanging over the landscape like a curse. And so I decide the time has come to move on to greener pastures and head south where the weather is not so cold, not so wet and hopefully a lot easier for me to deal with.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Journey time: 13 minutes.
Departs from: Winterthur main station.
Arrives: Zürich Flughafen.
Cost: CHF8.80 for a single one way ticket, 2nd class.
Ticket purchase: Online, via the SBB app or at the ticket machines at the station. There is also a ticket office, but the queues there tend to be rather long.
Terminal: 1 or 3.
Counters: Check-in 3 is the area right above the platforms of the railway station, Check-in 1 in the dedicated terminal of the Lufthansa group. As you enter the building, Economy Class is on your left, while Business and First Class and the SWISS ticketing office are on the right side of the hall.
Web check-in: If you are flying with Lufthansa from Switzerland, you will automatically be redirected to the SWISS page for check-in.
You can also check in via the Lufthansa app, which is not very intuitive. If you want to add the boarding pass to your Passbook, you have to select ‘save pass to app’ first. The icon to upload it to Passbook will then appear, but you have to scroll to the bottom.
Self-service check-in: Available in Check-in 1 and 3.
There are separate entrances for the security screening area for First and Business Class passengers and Economy Class passengers.
Location: Upper level of the Airside Centre.
Name of Lounge: SWISS Lounge.
Type of Lounge: SWISS Business Class and Frequent Traveller lounge.
Toilets: Available in the lounge.
Showers: Available in the lounge.
Food & Beverages: There is a selection of sandwiches (tuna or cheese), snacks like popcorn or gummibears and one hot dish, which is macaroni with a meat sauce that is served with a healthy dollop of apple sauce. It is a typically Swiss dish and goes by the name of ‘Älplermagrone’.
Connectivity: A wifi code is issued at reception.
Newspapers & Magazines: There is a selection of English and German language newspapers.
Comment: For a change the lounge is not so busy. But judging by the amount of trash lying around, I think I might have just missed the mad rush. Bananas seem to have been very popular today… Other than that, the lounge is starting to show some serious signs of wear and tear.
Priority Boarding: Business Class, Senators and Hon Circles are invited to board first using the personalised gate. The riffraff can use the automated gates to board.
CABIN & SEAT
Configuration: 3 + 3.
Seat Layout: There are a total of 168 seats on the aircraft, although the maximum number of passengers varies on the size of the Business Class cabin, where the middle seat is kept empty.
Pitch: 30 inches.
Width: 18 inches.
AC Power: Not available.
Audio and Video: Not available.
Connectivity: Not available.
Comment: I think what strikes me the most about the aircraft as I enter is just how bland and boring the cabin looks. Everything is kept in murky shades of grey. Pretty much like the weather outside. The carpet is blue, but it is a very dark colour too that does not do anything to lighten the atmosphere in the cabin.
SERVICE & CREW
The crew are rather nondescript on this flight, pretty much like the cabin of the aircraft actually – dull and grey. The ‘service’ consists of a packet of greasy potato chips that you are handed at the entrance to the aircraft and that you are then expected to hold in your hand during take-off or demolish as soon as you take your seat. There is also a drinks service once we get airborne. All in all, the whole experience really is nothing to write home about. Admittedly, the flight time is announced as being only 45 minutes, so you can hardly expect Lufthansa’s catering to go all out in Economy Class.
Eventually we land in Frankfurt after a flying time of only 40 minutes and for a change even the taxi to the apron is not too long.
In summary, this was a rather unspectacular short intra-European hop. In a way, an airline like Lufthansa does not really stand a chance against the low cost carriers on such a short route because there simply are not enough possibilities for them to set themselves apart from the competition with their product. With that in mind, they might as well adapt their business model to that of the low cost carriers and at least save some money in the process.