I travelled from Geneva to London Heathrow Terminal 2 in mid November. I arrived at Geneva Airport at about 10:20 for my 12:45 flight to London. I'd neither flown Swiss Business Class from Geneva before and I'm not a huge fan of Geneva Airport, so was interested to see if this trip changed any preconceptions! The business class check-in area was chaotic but after a minute or so I was called straight to the desk (most of the people that appeared to be in the queue presumably were waiting for someone). Check-in was quick and efficient, although the agent did seem slightly puzzled when I presented a boarding pass that had been printed for me at Heathrow the day before – she never said anything, but presented me with a new boarding pass and tore up the original one.
It was a relatively long walk to the Swiss Business Class lounge, which is located in the long corridor between the BA lounge and the Air France/KLM lounge. Entry was swift. The lounge attendant scanned my boarding pass and printed out a receipt with a wifi code on it. There was a very limited selection of English reading materials – no magazines of any interest (Swiss duty free and inflight magazine etc.) and the only English newspapers were out of date copies of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. There was a reasonable selection of drinks, including wines and juices. During my time in the the lounge I had a mimosa (made with prosecco as there was no champagne), tomato juice and a couple of cappuccinos. There was a limited range of breakfast food available when I first arrived in the lounge but this had transitioned to lunch food (bread rolls, plenty of fruit, soup and a couple of more substantial hot dishes: basque style chicken and some pasta) by the time I left. As the flight was delayed from 12:45 to 1.25pm, I ended up spending well over an hour in the lounge. Overall the lounge was a great place to wait:it was very quiet, the morning sunshine was streaming through the windows, the wifi was fast and I had a whole seating area to myself.
Boarding was from Gate B43 which was busy, but I managed to find a seat at the gate. Boarding began at just after 13:10 and boarding/status passengers were called first. I was one of the first passengers onboard and there was a very warm welcome onboard the aircraft. The aircraft was an A320. I was sitting in seat 2A. Business class was configured to have 5 rows – row 2 only had 2 passengers; rows 3 and 4, 1 passenger; and row 5 was completely empty. I loved the Frank Sinatra boarding music – it was a first – and various Sinatra songs too! The crew came round with bottles of water, wipes and a basket of newspapers. The peace was interrupted when a passenger came to the front of the cabin to start a high stress conversation about not being permitted to bring both of his bags onboard despite the low load in economy class. The cabin crew dealt with it very professionally but stuck to their policy…..the conversation very publicly ensued for a few minutes but the passenger eventually returned to their seat (minus their extra bag….).
There was an announcement to say that despite the good weather in Geneva (and it really was incredibly bright and sunny for November), there were delays in London and we would need to wait at the gate for another 15 minutes – this was made easier by the cabin crew offering pre-departure champagne and a small bag of grissotti. This was followed by a basket of small Swiss branded chocolates and a further round of champagne and drinks! This was without any doubt the best pre-departure experience I've ever had on a short haul flight! Taxi began at 13:50 and take off was at about 13:55. A light lunch was served, although no menus were provided. The lunch was served on a tray which compromised a plate of quiche, veal slices and salad; a small slate plate of a hard and a soft cheese and a small dessert in a ramekin. As with the outbound journey, It was a relatively small meal so if hungry then eat in the lounge beforehand. I accompanied the meal with water and a glass of Swiss red wine.
After collecting the trays, I was served a decent really hot coffee – I loved the accompanying miniature container of milk with cartoon cow pictures! on it Plates were collected at about 14:40 as we started to cross the English Channel. The rest of the short flight was uneventful. There was some fairly prolonged holding over London and landing was at 15:27. There was a taxi of about 10 minutes before our arrival at gate 216 of T2A. My heart sank when I saw the passport control queue from afar, but thankfully it was for non EEA passports. There was no queue at all for e-gates and I was through in seconds.
There was a fairly long wait for my suitcase at carousel 3. It arrived with the priority tag intact (however, as ever, it arrived after a large number of bags without priority tags!)
I thought this flight was great but if I could offer any constructive criticism it would only be good to add inseat power and onboard wifi – both are really helpful when travelling on business (I had checked out of my hotel several hours before and the battery of my iPhone/Blackberry drain quickly). Whilst far from a problem unique to Swiss, it would also be good if focus could be placed on ensuring that supposedly priority bags come out first (or thereabouts!).
In summary, this was another very good short flight with Swiss. This was particularly the case given this leg cost less than £80 (the outward was more expensive). As mentioned in my previous review of the outward journey to Geneva, if I'm not chasing One World tier points) I will definitely consider travelling with Swiss again in the near future.