It’s Monday morning. The holiday is over and I’m back to work. Today marks the first in a number of business trips that will see me travelling more or less nonstop until March. Still, never mind. If I close my eyes and listen carefully, I can still hear the waves breaking on Manly Beach…
GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
I take the 06h07 train from Basel, which is an ICE – my favourite. At Zürich main station I change to the 07h05, which ejects me at Zürich airport just fifteen minutes later.
I’ve checked in using the SWISS app as usual. The boarding pass still won’t show up on my locked screen and I suspect that’s not about to change any time soon. The check-in area and security are surprisingly quiet. The flight to Luxembourg leaves at 09h05, so maybe I just managed to miss the morning rush.
I’m in dire need of a coffee, which is why I head straight for the SWISS lounge to re-caffeinate. I try using the e-gate to enter the lounge, but the display is showing an error message. So I approach the desk and explain my predicament to the lounge dragon. She smiles and explains in a mocking tone that it’s not working because everything at SWISS is of such superior quality… I get that she was probably going for some comic relief with her apology, but I still find it somewhat alienating that she would take the piss at the company she represents to do so.
Other than that, I don’t know what it is about this lounge, but for some reason I really don’t feel comfortable here. The place just feels a bit sterile. Other than that, there’s hardly any space left to sit, unless you feel like making a new acquaintance and sitting at a table with strangers.
So I quickly down my coffee and head for the gate, which at least has the much better views.
Boarding starts with an initial call for the premium passengers to board through the manned exit on the left. Once that’s done, the remaining passengers are invited to board using one of the electronic gates.
I’d really like to know just how much time and money SWISS invests in all the aircraft changes it does. Since I booked this flight, the aircraft type operating the flight has changed at least five times, but it now looks as though an Airbus A 220-300 will be deployed.
The cabin is in pristine condition. The two benefits for the passenger when flying with the A 220 are the large windows on the one hand, and the fact that the seating configuration is 2 + 3.
I’m seated on 1A, a window seat. The aisle seat on 1C is kept empty in Business Class.
I’m assuming there are three cabin crew on the flight today. The Business Class cabin is served by the maître de, a young man who is probably German, at least that’s my guess based on his accent. The crew seem friendly enough, although clearly the young man is probably more interested in flirting with one of the female flight attendants than in attending to the passengers.
When I arrive at my seat, a small bottle of still water as well as a pre-packed wet towel have already been placed at my seat.
We push back on time. The flight time to Luxembourg is announced as 45 minutes.
The meal consists of the usual three items: a brioche with salmon, which is always good, a small ramekin of Bircher Müsli and another ramekin with fresh fruit.
I like the presentation of the meal, which is simple and yet elegant. The quality of the food is also good.
To drink I request a coffee, which is served in a cardboard cup and tastes just vile. The highlight of the meal, of course, is the small chocolate bar.
By the time we reach Luxembourg, the weather has improved significantly. It’s a lovely day up here. We land at 09h55. One of the nice things about flying SWISS to Luxembourg is that SWISS always insists on having a contact stand, which mean you can avoid the tedious bus shuttle from the aircraft to the terminal building. Generally speaking, I don’t mind taking a bus, because at least that allows you to take photos of your aircraft as you disembark. But here in Luxembourg, they don’t actually have proper airport busses and instead use what appear to be decommissioned public transport busses, which are usually too small for all the passengers disembarking from a plane.
Once I’m landside again, I catch the bus 16 which takes me directly to my office in Kirchberg.