Aircraft: Airbus A 220-300
From: Zürich Airport
To: Prague Ruzyne Airport
Flight time: 57 minutes
Seat: 1A, window seat on the bulkhead row of the port side
Yesterday, on Sunday afternoon, I flew back from London Heathrow to Basel just as the chaos of another epic IT failure started to unfold in Heathrow. The upshot of that being that I had to spend three hours sitting in agony in BA’s painfully cramped Economy Class to make a journey that normally should only last a bit more than an hour. So as you may well imagine, I didn’t really fancy getting on a plane again on Monday. But this is for work, and I guess there are worse things to have to endure than SWISS’ Business Class.
Getting to the Airport
My flight is scheduled to depart at 17h35. I catch the 16h24 train from Winterthur, which arrives in Zürich Airport at 16h40. The airport is very quiet, which may have something to do with the fact that I think it’s the public school skiing holiday, when a lot of people head for the slopes with their families. All the better for me, because it means there are only very short queues for security.
I haven’t really got that much time left before boarding begins, so I figure I might as well head to the gate directly. I take a few pictures of my aircraft on the way.
Boarding starts on time. And I’m pleased to say that they appear to have implemented some changes to the check-in system which trigger an alarm if passengers try to board before their boarding group is called. It makes the whole process a lot more efficient.
There are four rows of Business Class on today’s flight, for a total of twelve seats. However, only six of the seats are occupied and the load in Economy Class doesn’t appear to be all that heavy either.
Generally speaking, I rather like the cabin layout SWISS has on the A 220-300. It’s a very comfortable experience for the passenger. The only thing I don’t like is the colour scheme, which looks rather bland and drab.
Another thing I really like on the A 220, is the Business Class loo, which is very roomy and large enough for me to be able to stand up straight in front of the sink. Usually, on the A 320 the curvature of the hull makes it impossible to stand upright.
The crew in the cabin consists of three young females. The maître de is 26 years old. She was married to a guy from Antigua and she really just couldn’t imagine living in the US, which is why he moved to Switzerland after they got married. But that only lasted for two years, because you know, honestly, after two years she’d really just had enough and couldn’t stand being married anymore. Like. I can also tell you what she studied and then broke off, what she’s currently studying, what she wants to do in future, and where she gets her nails done.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s actually very good at her job. She’s just a bit of a little Miss Chatterbox and clearly unaware of the fact that yes, the A 220 really has got very quiet engines indeed.
The service on the ground is the usual packaged towel and still water.
We make our way to runway 28 for departure. The weather really is quite dreary here today…
Much to my surprise, there’s a full meal service, depsite the short flight time. There is no choice for the meal. But I like that every passenger is served individually from the galley.
The Main Course
The main course is roast beef (bleeach…!) with potato salad, pickled radishes and carrots.
The meal is served with the usual small plate of Swiss cheese.
The crew pass through the cabin twice offering warm breads.
And for dessert there is a Läckerli cream thingy (better if you google that one…). And as if I haven’t had enough sweetness for one day, I have a coffee to finish the meal, which is served with a little SWISS chocolate.
The roast beef is really so not my thing. But the potato salad is quite okay and the dessert is just lovely.
Before I manage to finish the coffee, we’ve already started our descent into Prague, where eventually we land on time. The one thing I never fully understood about Prague is that although the airport is quite large, it’s also usually fairly empty. At least when I visit. And today is no exception, there are only a few aircraft standing around.
Getting into Town
Public transport to and from the airport is a bit tricky in Prague. There is a bus that will take you to the closest metro station. But there is no rail link from the airport to the city. The hotel has organised a car to pick me up though, which makes the journey into town in about twenty minutes.