Swiss - Warning !!!

Old Oct 2, 02, 10:20 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 39
Swiss - Warning !!!

I would like to warn anyone travelling or considering travelling with SWISS (ex-Swissair) about this airline, based on a recent experience. On Sept 29, I was due to fly out of Cairo (Egypt) back to Geneva. Together with 200 or so other passengers, we boarded the plane, only to be told that we could not take off because one of the engines was not working and that they would try to fix the problem, while we were served breakfast and watched a couple of movies on the entertainment centre - this with passengers inside the aircraft parked at the gate. 3 hours later, we were told that the problem was irresolvable and that technicians and parts had to be flown out of Zurich and that all passengers should disembark, collect their checked luggage and assemble in the airport hall.

What followed was the standard airline version of mayhem, incompetence and through disinterest on their stranded passengers: airline representatives did not provide any information or showed up, relying instead on airport porters to channel information to passengers; shabby transport/luggage arrangements to transfer passengers to a nearby hotel; passengers asked (rather told) that they had to share a room between 4 passengers, etc.

To cut a long story I am keeping other details out, such as hotel representatives coming to the departure gate with the police to collect money of passengers for 'extras' that the airline refused to pay: telephone and beverages...

Next day, we were flown out of Cairo and arrived safely in Switzerland. Having contacted Swiss's customer service to complain about the arrangements and the handling, I was dismayed to be that, accordingly to Swiss, the airline does not have a contractual obligation to fly passengers between any two given points on the dates reserved - and therefore, if the airline choose not to send another plane to replace the faulty aircraft, the airline was not due to compensate passengers.

At this stage, I am still evaluating the next course of action to tackle this issue - but in the meantime, I thought I would alert other fellow travellers... you may well be advise to choose an alternative airline such as a the respectable Lufthansa - a much smaller problem with this airline was resolved on the spot, with no argument and (to my amazement), in the most generous manner.

Rogerio Domingos/Lausanne
rpnd is offline  
Old Oct 3, 02, 1:42 am
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: CH, D, USA
Posts: 1,566
I fly Swiss two to three times a month, and have had two similar technical problem situations. First of all, those things happen with every airline. I agree with you that the essential thing is how you are treated when something happens. In my case it was quite bad on one occasion and very professional and courteous service on another. One flight JFK-GVA left 4 hours late because of engine hydraulic problems. At the airport information and food / drinks (provided very late) were miserable. I got 100 CHF in vouchers when I went to the customer relations desk at ZRH airport next to the ticketing counter and a big sorry, which kept me flying Swiss. They are trying hard, and I give them two more years until a problem like yours is treated the way it should.

By the way - lucky you were not flying Egypt Air. You would've slept in the airport. (Happened to a friend of mine - 16 hours delay and sleeping in the airport with only one drink voucher free).

Unfortunately I don't know any airline that consistently handles such situations in a good way.
f4free is offline  
Old Oct 3, 02, 2:16 am
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: ZRH / YUL
Programs: UA, TK , Starwood > Marriott
Posts: 6,413
I have to completely agree with ch_usa on this one. While the way SWISS treated you was very poor, reading this board you will find similar stories with most airlines. It depends a lot on the particular situation and where that situation occurs. Generally speaking, an airline's major hubs seem to do better than ordinary destinations.

airOli, the Swiss Air Line.
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Old Oct 5, 02, 12:19 pm
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 3,129
Rpnd your story about Cairo Airport was very sentimental to me. My first Swissair flight was from Cairo to Geneva on a DC-6.In those days we left Cairo after midnight and breakfast was served at the Athens airport restaurant, early morning. I believe you now leave early in the morning. I am not surprised that there was mayhem. I personally am "allergic" to Swiss Airlines and I am not trying to defend them. I am sure that in New York or Geneva etc it would have been better organised than in Cairo.Organisation is not exactly something to be expected in the Middle East.

The problem is that flying Lufthansa requires a change in Frankfurt and so much wasted time.Besides I hear their seating is tight and not so great. I therefore feel "trapped" with Swiss as they are the main carrier from Geneva.
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