Old Feb 11, 19, 9:18 am
William Agius
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 281
Off we go again: back to Luxembourg in SWISS Business Class



Itís Monday morning and Iím on my way back to the airport in ZŁrich. Today Iím travelling to Luxembourg again to give another course. With me is my boss, an aerodynamicist by trade, and he looks just a wee bit upset. You see, the reason we get on with each other is that weíre both fascinated Ė so as not to call it obsessed Ė with airplanes. So thereís always something to talk about. Heíd been hoping for a chance to sample the A 220-300. But thereís been an aircraft change apparentlyÖ

But first things first. I arrive at the airport at around 07h20. My first stop is the SWISS Business Class check-in counters to dump my suitcase. From there I head across to the other side of Check-in area 3 to the counters of the Swiss federal railways. Iím inquiring about purchasing a ticket from Luxembourg to Brussels, where Iíll be heading to later on this week for yet another course. Only, the very friendly lady at the counter informs me that she can only sell me a ticket from Luxembourg to the border and then another ticket from the border to Brussels. But the system wonít tell her what the border town is at which Iíll need to swap tickets. So no sale.

Allow me to rant: in Europe distances between the major cities are often not that great. As such, in some cases the train would be a viable alternative to the airplane. But if even buying a ticket is so complicated and cumbersome, itís hardly surprising that trains have still not succeeded in competing against the airlines Ė even on short routes.

By the time Iím through security, itís gone eight in the morning. My flight will start boarding in less than thirty minutes. So I get myself a cinnamon roll and a cappuccino from the Marchť cafť at the beginning of the A concourse and then head for gate A 86, from where the flight to Luxembourg will be leaving and where Iíll be meeting my boss.

Meanwhile, outside itís a dark and dreary morning with low visibility. And itís started snowing as well. Which looks really pretty to be honest, but doesnít bode well for an on time departure.

Since I booked this trip, there have been three aircraft changes. Originally, the flight should have been operated by an Airbus A 220-300. Then it was changed to an Airbus A 220-100. Then when I checked in on the app on Sunday evening it had changed to an Airbus A 320 and then by the time boarding eventually started, it had reverted back to an Airbus A 220-300 Ė much to the delight of my boss. One of the things Iíve noticed about the morning Luxembourg flight is that it is quite prone to aircraft changes. I suspect the main reason being that the flight is so short that the schedule to Luxembourg is not really integrated into SWISSí hub schedule but rather the flight times are dictated by the availability of an aircraft.

Boarding finishes at around 09h05. The doors close and the captain welcomes us aboard. He also informs us that due to the weather situation, weíre going to have to de-ice first and thereís a queue of at least ten minutes for de-icing. So weíre not scheduled to depart before 09h45, forty minutes behind schedule.

This time Iím sitting on 3A, the window seat on the row of two, which is perfect because it means I can store my luggage under the seat in front and have more than enough space to spread out. I donít think Iíve ever noticed just how spacious and airy the cabin of the A 220 is, despite the fact that the aircraft isnít all that big.

The Swiss solution to any problem is chocolate. And so, no sooner has the captain announced our departure delay, the crew pass through the cabin offering those small bars of chocolate that are a cornerstone of the SWISS on board experience. And it really works. The chocolate wonít make the weather any better and it wonít reduce the delay either, but it releases endorphins in the brains so that at least you give a bit less of a ratís bum about the delay because youíre busy happily clogging up your arteries with sumptuous goodness.

The menu is still the same as it was three weeks ago, only this time I think they overdid it slightly with the smoked salmon in the brioche. The two ramekins are Bircher MŁsli and a fruit salad. The coffee is still served in cardboard cups but is not so vile.

Eventually we land in Luxembourg after a flight time of forty minutes, twenty minutes behind schedule. The weather here is slightly better, but also colder than in ZŁrich.We collect our suitcase and then head upstairs to catch the bus line 16 to the office.
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