Swiss European Air Lines, Business Class – Avro RJ100: Basel to London City


Let me see. So far this year I’ve only done two flights with Swiss, both of which I took involuntarily. The first was an A 330-300 flight to Montreal in January, which I was rebooked onto after my original BA flight via Heathrow the day before was cancelled because of the snow and the KLM flight via Amsterdam I was subsequently rebooked on for the same day was also cancelled when the MD-11 went tech.

The second flight was with an Avro RJ100 to Warsaw in June. I was put on that flight because the original flight from Zürich to Amsterdam with KLM was delayed and I would have missed my connection to Warsaw.

So in that respect, today’s trip is different. This is a trip with Swiss that I actually booked as is, that I decided to take.



Airline: Swiss European Airlines
Aircraft: Avro RJ100
From: Basel – departure 07h20
To: London City – arrival 07h55
Cabin: Business Class
Seat: 1F, window on the starboard
Date: 02. August 2013

Getting to the Airport

The square is still quiet as I make my way towards the bus stop for the bus line 50. Yesterday was Switzerland’s national day, so I’m assuming many people decided to take the day off and have a long weekend.


It looks like it’s going to be another lovely day. There isn’t a single cloud in sight, perfect flying conditions!



I checked in online the evening before the flight. I subsequently received an SMS from Swiss with a link to my electronic boarding pass. Once you open the link, there is a button at the bottom of the page for you to add the boarding pass to the Pass Book App. The process works smoothly and is far more intuitive than it is with KLM for example, where using the Pass Book App can be a tad unreliable at times. On the downside, with the Swiss boarding passes, the ‘show even when iPhone is locked’ functionality does not seem to work.

The Lounge

This is my first time back in the lounge since it was renovated. I’m rather curious to see what they’ve done with it and what they’ve kept. As it turns out, it’s just a gentle renovation they’ve done. Newer and healthier looking plants have obviously replaced the scrawny looking palm trees, and the wooden floor has also been newly done. Other than that the place looks pretty much the same.


I have myself a cappuccino and an orange juice. It’s still a bit too early for the scrambled eggs for me.



Is this where things start to go wrong again, in the way they so often seem to do when I’m travelling? First of all I notice the somewhat alarming status of my flight. It’s not delayed – yet – but it has a new advise time for 07h20, which should have been the departure time. Not good. The second thing I notice at around 07h00, is that in fact there is no aircraft at the gate.

Eventually though, things start looking up and the status changes to ‘delayed’ with an expected departure time of 07h40.

At about 07h30 I exit the lounge, go through passport control and then from there head downstairs to gate 29. When I arrive, boarding has already started, but the flight obviously isn’t going to be full.


The Cabin

There is just the one row of Business Class today and I’m the only passenger. I’m seated on 1F, which is on the row of three seats. There is a cushion on the middle seat for me.


The Crew

The purser is a friendly gentleman. He immediately brings me a bottle of still water and a refreshing towel and asks me if I’d like a paper. He also explains that our initial delay was due to the fact that the aircraft had spent the night in the hangar. When the time came to tow the aircraft to the apron, the hangar doors would no longer open and had to be opened by mere manpower.


At around 08:00 the captain comes on the blower to announce a further delay, this time a technical problem on the aircraft. According to him it should not be a big issue but he still needs clearance from maintenance in Zürich.

Eventually we depart at 08:25, a bit over an hour behind schedule. With the light load we don’t even need to taxi to the end of the runway. Take-off is to the south. As we climb out we do a gentle right hand turn to point the aircraft in the direction of Paris. What lovely weather!


The Meal

Once the seatbelt sign is turned off, the purser comes to ask me if I’d like a tea or coffee with my breakfast and then disappears in the galley to prepare the meal.

Swiss have evidently changed their meal concept on European flights. Either that or the crew have decided to do things at a leisurely pace, the grand old way: there is no tray and instead all the items are brought to me individually. First the table is set with a linen tablecloth.


Next the purser brings me:

A plate of cheese with a prune, butter and apricot jam.


A fruit salad.


A yoghurt, warm bread.


The coffee and an orange juice.


It’s a quite a small meal really but for a flight of just over one hour it’s perfectly adequate. And it looks rather nice I have to say.

During the meal the other, female flight attendant comes to see how I’m doing. She gives my coffee a refill and brings me some more rolls and encourages me to enjoy my breakfast and the lovely view outside. Thanks, I shall.


Of course the weather is shitty on London! As we cross the English Channel thick clouds start to appear and by the time we reach London the sky is completely overcast and it’s raining.



The flight with Swiss was fine. The service was nothing special really but it wasn’t bad either. The same can be said about the food. The irregularities were of course unfortunate, but that cannot be helped. The Avros are on their way out at Swiss. They will be phased out once deliveries of the new C Series begin. Let’s just hope they last that long.


Swiss International Air Lines, Business Class – Avro RJ100: Basel to Copenhagen


In the week between Christmas and New Year I normally visit Japan. In 2011 however, I decided to do something different for a change. It had also been quite a stressful year so I didn’t really want to stray too far from home anyway.

So where to go? Obviously, given that I probably do have a bit of an obsession – I like to call it a keen interest – with airplanes, apart from a new destination the routing would have to include a new type and preferably also a new airline.

Eventually, the solution came to me and I decided to head for Oulu in Finland. To get there, I would first fly with Swiss from Basel to Copenhagen and then from there on to Helsinki with Blue1 and then on to Oulu.

This trip review is about the first leg of my trip from Basel to Copenhagen. A route which has since been discontinued.

If you’re just interested in the pictures I took in Copenhagen, please scroll down to the bottom.

Date: 26 December 2011
From: Basel
To: Copenhagen
Airline: Swiss International Air Lines
Aircraft: Avro RJ100
Class: Business Class
Seat: 1D

Getting to the Airport

After celebrating Christmas with the family at my parents place, I leave Basel for Copenhagen in the afternoon of 26 December – Boxing Day. My first stop is the main railway station to get some Danish Krona and then catch the bus to the airport from just outside the main entrance of the station. It being the day after Christmas, I was not really expecting there to be any people. Much to my surprise though, the bus is full and the airport is also rather busy when I arrive.

The main entrance to the Swiss Railway Station in Basel
The airport bus from the inside. A few minutes later it was packed!
The departures level of terminal building, taken from the Swiss side of the airport. The boarder with France runs right through the middle of the building.

The Lounge

I’ve already done online check-in, so once I arrive at the airport, I head straight through security to the Swiss Business Class lounge, which is nearly deserted. This however, has nothing to do with the Christmas holiday and seems to be the usual state of affairs for this lovely lounge. As you can see, it looks wonderful with the warm light of the low winter sun seeping in through the windows in the roof.

My aircraft being prepared for the flight to Copenhagen. The Avros are getting a bit long in the tooth. Swiss International Air Lines intends to decommission the last one in 2016 as the Bombardier CSeries comes online. Quite frankly, I don’t see the Avro lasting that long.


I looks as though the flight is going to be packed. and indeed, it turns out there is only one row of Business Class. There is another passenger in Business Class. He has the window seat 1F. The seat between us is empty and I am on 1D. I’m hoping to shift to 1A once boarding is completed, but no such luck.

The Cabin

In the row behind me there is a family with two young children sharing the row of three. The flight attendant informs them that they need to be reseated as there are no additional oxygen masks on the row of three, therefore one parent will have to sit on the other side of the aisle with one of the children. So the guy in the aisle seat on the row of two gets up to change seats with the dad, but instead of swapping seats, he just parks himself in the empty two-seater of the Business Class cabin. What’s more, the flight attendant lets him stay there for the entire flight.

It’s a lovely day for flying. The little Avro is obviously struggling with the heavy load, subsequently our climb is not exactly steep. We take off in a southerly direction, then do a 270 degree right hand turn and crossed the river Rhine into German airspace. We then fly a easterly track to lake Constance, on the German-Swiss boarder, and from there set course for Denmark.

Crossing the Rhine.

The Crew

The service on board this flight is nothing much to write home about either. The mini Business Class cabin is served by a German flight attendant who would obviously much rather be at home with her family or by the beach, or climbing a mountain – anywhere but just not on a flight to Copenhagen. Looks like the Avros are not the only ones that Swiss urgently need to decommission. She plonks down the tray with the meal before me, get the drinks and then disappears. No idea where to. She reappears to remove the tray about 15 minutes before we arrive in Copenhagen.

The Meal

The lunch that is served is rather strange and consists of shredded Zucchini with a slice of poached salmon and some Bündnerfleisch – dried meet. It also seems that since my previous trip in Business Class, Swiss has reverted back to using plastic dishes and cutlery. It’s so stylish…


The rest of the flight is uneventful, which is rather obvious. The good thing about having a vanishing flight attendant is that it seriously reduces the risk of having red wine or something accidentally spilled over you.


What can I say? This flight was certainly not one of Swiss International Air Lines’ finest moments. First of all, the airline should make up its mind on whether or not to provide a Business Class product on flights from Basel or not. If the decision is to have such a service, then it should be executed properly, and not be treated as some kind of unnecessary burden for the staff.

And indeed, in the meantime this route has been discontinued, together with a number of other destinations from Basel. For an airline like Swiss there is no money to be made in Basel, given the strong presence of Easyjet, which now has something like eight Airbus A 319s stationed at the airport. First of all, the old little Avro – with its four engines and only 97 seats – can hardly compete, from an economic perspective at least, with Easyjet’s A 319s, which can seat up to 156 passengers.Furthermore, Easyjet’s dominance at Basel airport should be a clear enough indication that the market it serves has no use or interest in a premium product.

Obviously, Swiss’ plan for Basel was not to make money but simply to try and regain some of the market it had lost to Easyjet. But this is the kind of strategy you can only pursue if you have sufficient funds to keep it up over a longer period of time, which is evidently not the case for Swiss or any airline in Europe right now.

The Nimb, Copenhagen

In Copenhagen I stayed at the Hotel Nimb, the entrance of which is opposite the main railway station. The Nimb is actually on the premises of the Tivoli amusement park and access is for free for guests. The Tivoli itself is a really magical place to visit in winter.

Fireplace in my room.
The hotel bar.
The hotel from the outside, taken from my room overlooking the Tivoli.
The classic Copenhagen shot.
Water taxi.
The opera house.
She needs no introduction.
A shop that sells cupcakes only.
He was also staying at the Tivoli.