LX finally abolishes OPC in Switzerland

Old Feb 19, 19, 1:42 pm
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LX finally abolishes OPC in Switzerland

As of March 28 LX is finally abolishing the “optional” payment charge on credit card ticket payments in Switzerland. The charge was absurd given the legal position, a wonder they got away with it for so long. They are reengineering it as a CHF 5 „rebate“ for not using a credit card (which means, market conditions permitting, they will simply add it to the ticket price)...

Anyway, look forward to no longer having to file a claim with the credit card company every time to get it back
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Old Feb 19, 19, 5:13 pm
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hoorah, finally LX stopping this arrogant business practice...
Googling 'Swiss OPC' it came up with many articles condemning LX for its arrogant ways, but surprising no articles about them abolishing this fee from 28/03...
https://www.beobachter.ch/konsum/kon...einem-ego-trip
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Old Feb 20, 19, 4:17 am
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I couldn't believe this was still going on. For cheap tickets it worked out as negligible, but for more expensive ones it must have been quite a chunk of cash. Not sure about the arrogance, but I have to say that SWISS has dropped to a level at which I do not wish to fly them any more. So I don't. I'm not just talking about the BoB service from GVA, but just the utter inconsistency of the whole operation. It's normal to get a bad crew once in a while, they are human after all. But I have had far too many, and every business class trip (longhaul) in the last couple of years was unacceptably bad from the crew standpoint. Economy class around Europe has tended to be fine, though.

One of my better friends, with no great stakes in this whole FFP thing, was loyal to SWISS for years, flying with them twice a year to Brazil in Economy and always being happy with their trips. But from now on she will be booking with another carrier. I am sure she is not along, so it is a loss for SWISS in the long term. The main complaints were the inconsistency of the crew thing (BA is not only one that is awful in this respect), considerably increased ticket prices and the insult of CHF600 taxes on Economy class miles tickets (I told her to organize her trips and start her award tickets in Brazil, of course).
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Old Feb 20, 19, 4:50 am
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
I couldn't believe this was still going on. For cheap tickets it worked out as negligible, but for more expensive ones it must have been quite a chunk of cash. Not sure about the arrogance, but I have to say that SWISS has dropped to a level at which I do not wish to fly them any more. So I don't. I'm not just talking about the BoB service from GVA, but just the utter inconsistency of the whole operation. It's normal to get a bad crew once in a while, they are human after all. But I have had far too many, and every business class trip (longhaul) in the last couple of years was unacceptably bad from the crew standpoint. Economy class around Europe has tended to be fine, though.

One of my better friends, with no great stakes in this whole FFP thing, was loyal to SWISS for years, flying with them twice a year to Brazil in Economy and always being happy with their trips. But from now on she will be booking with another carrier. I am sure she is not along, so it is a loss for SWISS in the long term. The main complaints were the inconsistency of the crew thing (BA is not only one that is awful in this respect), considerably increased ticket prices and the insult of CHF600 taxes on Economy class miles tickets (I told her to organize her trips and start her award tickets in Brazil, of course).
totally understand the sentiment of your friend with regards to her Brazil trips, especially if an 'award' in Y entails a CHF 600 bogus fee.
In general, I think Swiss people still remember the days of SR and its arrogant attitude so I guess its business as usual...the general sentiment outside CH is that its a pity that SR collapsed, but here in CH, people I talk to usually say they deserved their fate...

Personally I think LX service onboard is usually quite good/acceptable. In F longhaul service is excellent. in C and Y, usually good but never spectacular, never had a terrible crew. on the ground there are funny gaps, like mediocre lounges at GVA, no F lounge access for codeshare at ZRH, no limousine from E -> A only the other way, the OPC charge, I am sure we could compile a long list.
Bottom line, LX certainly lives on its reputation of Swiss quality without always delivering and there are other options which are more premium (like direct aisle access for all in C) and don't cost more.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 5:59 am
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It's a shame, but I really think they have gone downhill in the last 12-18 months. I think it is noticeable, especially when the "man in the street" talks about it, That means the general traveller has picked up on it and that it has entered general perception. Of course, no surprise whatsoever, SWISS is now highly profitable. So they can afford to provide lacklustre service and charge for food and drink on their flights. Just like BA, when these companies become profitable, they usually become dreadful too.

In 1st Class, crews have been excellent, food dreadful. I haven't actually tried eating my shoes yet, but one of my flights gave me an idea of what it could be like. I went for the cannelloni to replace it (and who's going to want to eat that in 1st class???) and it was mediocre at best. A school kantine meal. The only thing they manage to not screw up is the wonderful starter trolley, with Balik smoked salmon.

In Business Class, the crews have been truly dreadful on two occasions (ZRH-GRU and ZRH-DXB-MCT). I have just sunk into a film with whatever wine I could get and ignored it, thinking I will just fly with another carrier next time. Which I did. Crews in European Business have generally been excellent.

In Economy Class I have not had too many bad experiences, but I don't expect anything. Crews have been mostly good. I dislike this BoB rubbish from GVA and will avoid LX as much as I can ex GVA. And ex ZRH has descended to a very mediocre level.

I just don't find the likes of Air France KLM so utterly inconsistent as this. So I have taken my business to Air France KLM mostly.

As for this OPC nonsense, how the heck did they get away with this for so long?? These laws (governing credit cards) apply to Switzerland too, don't they? Certainly appears for mobile telephony, the rules don't apply to Switzerland, but that is a totally different level of thieving and a separate discussion.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 6:56 am
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Let's focus this on OPC, not service.
Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
As for this OPC nonsense, how the heck did they get away with this for so long?? These laws (governing credit cards) apply to Switzerland too, don't they?
Unlike in the EU, there are no laws in Switzerland banning credit card payment surcharges, which is why LX did nothing illegal.

There are provisions in the payment network acceptance agreements that ban the practice, and it looks like the payment networks (Visa, Mastercard etc.) have finally taken Swiss and its payments processor to task for it.

The networks walk a fine line because on the one hand, they don't want their cardholders to have to pay an OPC (and thus not use the cards), but on the other hand they don't want to alienate the airlines, which are some of their largest transaction revenue generators.

Swiss (and LH, and other airlines) did what is the commercially rational thing to do: Maximize margins from a captive (Swiss) audience for as long as it was viable, i.e. the profit generated outweighs any negative impact from lost bookings etc.

Is this "arrogant"? Sure. Just as much as saying that you need to pay for checked bags and seat selection and and and. But they are a for-profit business and not a charity. You can assume that these decisions are made with many spreadsheets and not on a hunch.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 7:11 am
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It really feels like a lot of things (BoB) are decided on a hunch. If easyJet's doing it why don't we?
Thanks for the explanation about OPC because I didn't know any of that. Oddly, in my case it didn't really affect me because I thought my Economy tickets in Europe were much too cheap. You can't go all the way to Lisbon and back for CHF89, nobody can. The extra money has to come from somewhere. Checked baggage, BoB and OPC, I hear you say? So if they didn't have any OPC and upped the cost of my ticket to CHF99, then it would still be too cheap, wouldn't it?

What's needed is some sensible, intelligent consistency, something SWISS is not capable of. If they wanted to keep the OPC, then make it CHF2 for shorthaul RTs, CHF5 for medium haul and CHF10 for longhaul. That would yield enough money from all the passengers. Just throwing out a random idea. Anyway, it's gone now, and as the OP said it will just come back in another form. The point, for me, is, I would rather keep one evil (the OPC) and not lose the service to the extent that it has been.

You should be elected to the post of moderator, airoli!
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Old Feb 20, 19, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
You should be elected to the post of moderator, airoli!
Thank you, very kind. Not interested in doing unpaid moderator work for a private equity-held for-profit company though. The content we all produce already generates all the ad revenues they make.
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Old Feb 20, 19, 2:28 pm
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@ Concerto, I disagree with your comment on LX F food being dreadful. I have never experienced that.

btw LX now serves red wine in its FCL in ZRH retailing ~140 CHF. Who else does that...
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Old Feb 20, 19, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by f4freeJunior View Post
@ Concerto, I disagree with your comment on LX F food being dreadful. I have never experienced that.

btw LX now serves red wine in its FCL in ZRH retailing ~140 CHF. Who else does that...
I would like to second that.

The only dreadful thing is that the eggs benefict are NOT available in the FCL A (only E). (by report of a friend yesterday)
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Old Feb 20, 19, 3:24 pm
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No, it was really bad on 3 of the 4 sectors that I did. The whole starter thing, like in Italy, was excellent, but it's less easy to screw cold food up. But the hot mains were a total miss, embarrassingly so. It's just plane food of course, they do their best I know, but still. Couldn't care less that I can't redeem miles in LX First any more, I wouldn't do so even if I could.

EDIT- sorry, I've just realized we're way overboard from the OPC thing. Well, I guess it's gone now and something else will take its place, as indicated above.
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Old Feb 22, 19, 7:44 am
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Finally the OPC burden is gone ! Does this mean that also LH will stop from March 28 ?
What a hassle to send the claim form to the UBS card center every time you booked a flight - although, as Concerto suspects, I guess this will just be added to the ticket price...
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Old Feb 22, 19, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by airoli View Post
Let's focus this on OPC, not service. Unlike in the EU, there are no laws in Switzerland banning credit card payment surcharges, which is why LX did nothing illegal.

There are provisions in the payment network acceptance agreements that ban the practice, and it looks like the payment networks (Visa, Mastercard etc.) have finally taken Swiss and its payments processor to task for it.

The networks walk a fine line because on the one hand, they don't want their cardholders to have to pay an OPC (and thus not use the cards), but on the other hand they don't want to alienate the airlines, which are some of their largest transaction revenue generators.

Swiss (and LH, and other airlines) did what is the commercially rational thing to do: Maximize margins from a captive (Swiss) audience for as long as it was viable, i.e. the profit generated outweighs any negative impact from lost bookings etc.

Is this "arrogant"? Sure. Just as much as saying that you need to pay for checked bags and seat selection and and and. But they are a for-profit business and not a charity. You can assume that these decisions are made with many spreadsheets and not on a hunch.
Obviously they tried to get away with it for as long as possible, which is understandable. The question is whether it makes sense in the long run to alienate customers with business practices that may not be breaking laws, but most likely contracts. Given the transactional nature of air transportation these days it probably does make sense. Perhaps then in the same spirit they should also accept hidden city ticketing, etc. as cost-saving (as opposed to revenue generating by the airlines) initiatives by their customers, instead of trying to sue them for it

As you rightly point out, LX was in breach of the agreements with the credit card companies, hence my reference to to the legality (as breach of third party contracts, not law). The credit card companies simply looked away for too long (for the reasons you have pointed out; practically all other industries stopped charging surcharges anyway, and the cost argument has become pretty non-existant); and the Swiss public was too complacent about filing reimbursement claims with the card issuers (I am convinced only a small minority did that). That for me are the simple reasons they got away with it for so long. But it seems the card issuers finally piled on enough pressure; probably didn‘t want to get sued by their customers for doing nothing about the contract violations More likely, though, I suspect ultimately enough people ended up filing reimbursement claims to make the card issuers fed up with the cost and effort of processing them! Anyway, I am sure they will think of other ways of getting that revenue back...







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Last edited by Wtravel; Feb 22, 19 at 1:52 pm
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Old Feb 22, 19, 3:06 pm
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I had no idea that filing a claim for the OPC was something that one could do. Like the majority, I thought the OPC was something that could not be escaped and had to be accepted. For cheap tickets, it wasn't a lot. Air Berlin typically charged 5 Euros (or was it 10) pretty well right up to the end.
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Old Feb 22, 19, 5:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
I had no idea that filing a claim for the OPC was something that one could do. Like the majority, I thought the OPC was something that could not be escaped and had to be accepted. For cheap tickets, it wasn't a lot. Air Berlin typically charged 5 Euros (or was it 10) pretty well right up to the end.
For me too it's the first time I've heard of that and I'm biting myself for not knowing it because I would certainly have done so!
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