GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
It’s only just gone 13h on Friday afternoon, and the flying Dutchman P. has kindly offered to drive me to the airport. I suspect he probably just took pity on me, after I’d been nagging the whole week about how cold it was in Luxembourg…
The journey by car from Kirchberg to the airport takes about fifteen minutes in moderately busy traffic.
At Luxembourg airport, Lufthansa and SWISS check-in on rows 15 to 17. There are also self-service machines available. I’ve checked in on the app.
Before the security checkpoint in Luxembourg, Luxair ground staff check to make sure that passengers’ hand luggage is within the permissible dimensions and weight. And they’re quite strict about it.
The lounge is still quiet. It tends to get a lot busier after 17h. So I grab myself a seat with a good view of the runway. And then I while away my time reading and watching the landing and departing aircraft.
The lounge in Luxembourg is nice. However, in order to accommodate all the passengers that use the facility, seating in the lounge is rather tight.
There are no showers in the lounge and as far as catering is concerned, only cold snacks are available. Although they do have some tasty cakes on offer too…
The flight is delayed arriving from Zürich. No reason is given for the delay by the gate attendants nor later on by the crew. In any case, as a result, boarding starts about fifteen minutes behind schedule.
Once boarding is completed, the captain comes on to inform us that there will be a further delay of ten minutes because we’re going to have to de-ice on stand first. Eventually, we depart with a delay of thirty minutes.
This aircraft has a cabin divider to separate the Business Class cabin from Economy. But this is not always the case with Helvetic Airways. I’m not sure what the logic here is. I suspect that perhaps those aircraft assigned to SWISS are equipped with a cabin divider, whereas those operating for Helvetic Airways are not.
Pitch is good good enough on the first row, and definitely much better than the rows behind.
There are two rows of Business Class and three of the four available seats are occupied.
There are three cabin crew on this flight and the maître de serving the Business Class cabin is an absolute delight. She’s still quite young and seems a bit reserved or formal. But her manners are flawless. Every time she addresses one of the passengers, she uses their family name. And later during the short flight, when she comes to clear the tray tables, she makes a point of asking each passenger individually if they enjoyed the meal.
As usual, a small bottle of still water and a packaged refreshing towel are handed out once boarding is completed.
Once de-icing is done, we push back from the gate. The flight time to Zürich is expected to be 45 minutes. But somewhere along the line we receive a shortcut or something, because eventually we land in Zürich after a flight time of only 39 minutes.
The meal is more of a snack really, and consists of the usual three ramekins. Today we have salmon tartar, a cheese mousse with beetroot and apple crumble.
The salmon tartar and the crumble are good, but the cheese mousse thing is horrible and has a rather unappealing texture.
As we approach Switzerland, the weather starts to improve. At some point during our steep descent, the aircraft banks left to fly in an easterly track. As we come out of the bank, the Alps come in to view. They’re all covered in snow and look so majestic, towering above the clouds.
We land at 16h09 and make our way to one of the open stands alongside runway 28. Fortunately, SWISS has remembered to send out the dedicated Business Class bus to pick us up (which isn’t always the case…). And with only three passengers we’re quickly off towards the terminal.
Saturday I’ll have the day off. But then on Sunday I’m on the move again.