When you are browsing through Kayak.com and you stumble across a one way fare to the Maldives for £192, you book it! Right? Well we did, and so found ourselves with a two leg journey to Male via Zurich. This is the review of SWISS Bombardier Economy LHR – ZRH, the first flight of the day.
Review of SWISS Bombardier Economy
Ahead of time, we downloaded the SWISS app. Here we submitted our advanced passenger information about a week before the flight and set it to issue our boarding cards automatically. This meant no early rising to complete online check in during our trip to Amsterdam. That is one big win for SWISS, it was very easy to go back into the app and change our seats (got to have that view out of the window).
London’s Heathrow Terminal 2 plays host to the airlines in the Star Alliance group, of which SWISS is a part. We were directed to a bag drop area in Zone B. Here there are bag drop machines where you can print your own bag tags. This was our first time doing this; but it was very easy. We scanned our mobile boarding passes and it gave us loads of options for seat changes, bag tags etc, etc.
Bags tagged, we proceeded to the queue. Despite there being just one person in front of us, we were whisked over to the first class check in desk. This was great and had us on our way in two minutes flat.
Boarding was very smooth, but the airline was making constant announcements encouraging passengers to check in their small hand luggage suitcases due to the full flight. This may just be the curse of the hand luggage travel revolution, overhead bins just aren’t designed to fit all our larger pieces of hand luggage.
The decor was white & black with silver highlights. It seemed very modern and clean. I especially liked the silver seat trims which gave it a touch of 1950s/Americana vibe.
The lighting was plain white which I always find a little unimaginative.
The windows were quite large, with smooth moving window blinds that tucked all the way up, giving a fabulous view.
The Bombardier C Series is quite a small aircraft, smaller than the Boeing 737s we are used to for European hops. Seating comes in a 2 – 3 configuration, which always leaves me feeling a little lopsided. It is nice that you can have your own space though if you are travelling on a busy flight, as a couple.
The leatherette seats seemed quite thinly covered. I guess you could say that they weren’t very plush. They only had a small recline function. Add to this the very thin arm rests and I think I would be pretty uncomfortable for any more than about three hours.
The head rest was just a small pad with a leather Swiss cover. There was no support there.
Leg room was about 30 inches, pretty standard for an economy cabin.
The seat back pockets were split into three sections. The top is a plastic slot for your reading material. If you put anything small in this section, it would drop out the bottom when the tray was opened. Below the tray were two small pockets, perfect for your phone and other things that I would inevitably forget.
Honestly, this was not up to scratch for a full service airline. There were no seatback screens, just tiny overhead ones. This isn’t just annoying for entertainment purposes. I (as a visually impaired girl) couldn’t see the safety video whatsoever.
The inflight magazine was pretty standard fare. Lots of adverts, long articles about destinations they serve and snappy little listicles. However, being very tired and in need of completely passive entertainment, I was bored by this extremely quickly.
There was no amenity kits provided on this flight. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting one at all for such a short haul trip. There was no pillow or blanket, and it was quite a chilly flight. If, like me, you get chilly at altitude, bring your own cover.
Neither Mr Fluskey or I made it to the bathroom on this flight so we can’t show you the facilities unfortunately. Although the two different cabins were marked by no more than a curtain, we were reminded that Economy guests should use the toilets in the back of aircraft, just in case we got any ideas above our station.
Now, we got about four hours sleep before this flight. A taxi pulled up at 05:40 and we piled in, eyes still full of sleep. Our breakfast of eggs royale and Buck’s Fizz from Heston’s Heathrow offering, The Perfectionist’s Cafe was joyfully delicious. It is with all this in mind, that I describe just how hard it was to stay awake. With head drooping I willed the cart to reach me back at row 24. I tried so gamely to stay awake so I could review the food for you and JUST managed it.
First we were given a croissant. This wasn’t crispy on the outside, but if I were the cleaner, I would love that the floor wasn’t covered in shards of pastry after every flight. The inside was quite nice and soft. The whole thing tasted quite salty, a bit like a soft pretzel. After that, we were offered a choice of water or Coca-Cola, and a little Swiss chocolate.
Honestly, I think we were expecting something a little better. The plane was clean and neat, the staff attentive enough, and there was nothing unclear, or tricky about the flight. However, it seemed a little dull….or clinical, and the lack of entertainment was a bit disappointing. I would fly with SWISS again, but they really wouldn’t be my first choice. We paid very little for our ticket, but you can pay in excess of £400 return just between London and Switzerland. For that, you could book a seat on EasyJet, pack heavier hand luggage and have plenty of change in your pocket for a hotel, a bus to Luton and an overpriced drink onboard.