BA v Swiss Business Europe

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  LuganoPirate 20 Nov 2017
at 08:42
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)

  • LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I recently had occasion to sample both BA’s and Swiss’s business class on a recent trip to London. Admittedly the BA flight was as a result of Swiss cancelling my flight and they re-booked me on the direct BA flight to London from Milan, ensuring I got to London on time (50 minutes before the Swiss flight actually) so hats off to them for doing that and not just putting me on the next Swiss flight.

    So, this is MXP-LHR with BA and return LHR-ZRH-MXP with Swiss.

    Check-in. Not comparable as I’d checked in online with Swiss. But the BA check-in was smooth, fast and courteous and I was handed my return boarding passes for the flight back on Swiss. In both instances I had fast Track security at MXP.

    Lounge at Malpensa: The BA lounge is much nicer than the Lufthansa Senator lounge. More spacious, nicer furnishings and with a great view to the Apron and runway. The LH lounge is always very crowded but as the BA lounge has more space it feels much less crowded. There are also shower and bathroom facilities which LH do not have and worse, the bathroom is outside the lounge and open to the public.

    Boarding at Gate: On this point Swiss win. If you reach the gate within 5 minutes of the boarding time, you will go to a small area along with other priority boarders and will be first to board with no waiting in the connecting dock. BA have a priority line but you then get stuck behind the queue of passengers in the dock waiting to board.

    Boarding on Plane. Equal here. Friendly greeting on boarding.
    Doors closed. Swiss come with a face towel and a bottle of water. From BA nothing though a hot towel did come a little later. For me the water was more imortant and on asking for a glass was told “after take off as they are rushing for an on time departure”.

    Both planes pushed back to the minute of the departure time.

    Seating: Much the same. 3 x 3 with the middle seat empty. BA had a table between the seats which LX/LH sometimes have and sometimes don’t. Personally I prefer no table but it’s no big deal either way. Leg room and seat width again is pretty much the same. If one or the other have a bit more space I certainly did not notice it.

    Service on board: Neither crew offered to take my blazer when i removed it, so it ended up on the middle seat. Swiss however the said it had to be stowed and put it in the overhead locker, which annoyed me as there was no-one sitting in the aisle seat. On BA I put it under the table in the middle so I guess a plus point to BA there.

    I was then asked if I was transferring from another airline. I said I was and the FA then apologized that as they did not know I was coming on board no meal had been loaded for me at Heathrow. I thought this strange because imagine a last moment booking with the pax paying top dollar and the being told you can’t have a meal. On the return I asked Swiss and they told me they always carry a few extra meals as sometimes a passenger is hungry and wants an extra meal!
    +1 to Swiss here.

    I then explained I do not eat on planes so it was not a problem but would just like a tea and some sparkling water. FA added she would also give me some shortbread. Nice i thought. Take off and meal service starts. Everyone given a meal but no tea or biscuit is coming my way. I remind her to no avail. Finally my tea and glass of water arrived (two beverages, just one paper place mat – I asked for the second one and she just smiled and went away!) but no biscuit. Tried to get her attention and probably should have pushed the call button. Finally, well over half way into the flight my 1 biscuit arrives. Surely as I’d had no meal I could have got two packets?

    Swiss on the other hand gave me my tea immediately they started the meal service and as I was not eating offered me a croissant from the bread basket, something BA did not do. Not even sure there was a bread basket? Swiss don’t give biscuits, they give chocolate, and I was given a few extra as I’d had no meal. Not that I needed them but it was a nice gesture.

    For the rest both flights were smooth and on time. I won’t compare the arrival as both airports are so different.
    the only other thing I’ll add is the Senator lounge at LHR is fabulous. Full English breakfast with sausages and bacon, wine, beer, fizz (but not sure which brand) cold cuts, fruit salad – really fresh, sweets, chocolates, nuts and other delights. A breakfast worthy of a 4/5 star hotel. I can’t compare the BA departure lounge at LHR as I’ve never used it.

    Nothing wrong with the BA flight but on balance I’d remain with Swiss but if flying to London again from MXP would seriously consider the BA direct flight instead of going via Zurich. The overall convenience makes up for the minor deficiencies.


    GivingupBA
    Participant

    That’s a great review, very detailed and helpful, thanks a lot LuganoPirate.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I will write a detailed review of how brilliantly Swiss have looked after me today, how perfect everything is about their service, the airport, the ground handling, and what a wonderful contrast it is to most other carriers.

    The Swiss just seem to take an enormous pride in doing things properly.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    Thanks, LP.

    For me, most of these Intra-European flights are at the same low level… Now some details might make an experience less bad. I also appreciate the Swiss bottle of water, for instance. But their non-Senator lounges are very poor. And after all, we spending almost as much time there than on the plane. With BA, the First wing at Heathrow is a real treat. And I like my jacket to be hanged (possible on A319 and A320). I was meanwhile positively surprised by Austrian that leaves the second seat empty on Embraers (2+2 configuration).


    MarkivJ
    Participant

    So when flying out of LHR to Europe, I’m ok with any airline but when flying TO LHR, I’d pick BA as I get to use priority queue. Several short haul EU carriers don’t pay for fast track immigration


    Alex_F.
    Participant

    So when flying out of LHR to Europe, I’m ok with any airline but when flying TO LHR, I’d pick BA as I get to use priority queue. Several short haul EU carriers don’t pay for fast track immigration

    As Star Gold members we get Gold Track when arriving at T2.

    And it’s a shame BA didn’t use the opportinity to impress.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Thanks, LP.
    I was meanwhile positively surprised by Austrian that leaves the second seat empty on Embraers (2+2 configuration).

    I didn’t bother to review the ZRH-MXP flight as it was a different aircraft and operated by Helvetic for Swiss. the other flights were also both on the same type of Airbus so a comparison was more balanced.

    But I’m pleased to say though the seating was 2 x 2, in Business the seat next to me was kept free like on Austrian.


    MarkCymru
    Participant

    My big problem with Swiss is their obsession over hand luggage. They allow two pieces in business class but if one is a centimetre too big or slightly exceeds their very-low 8kg limit, they’ll often force you to check it in. That’s very annoying as I never have hand luggage that weighs less than 8kg. So, I avoid Swiss. I won’t even risk the long hauls as the LHR – ZRH flight is likely to have this bizarre restriction (although no-one has ever tried to enforce it out of ZRH)


    rferguson
    Participant

    So when flying out of LHR to Europe, I’m ok with any airline but when flying TO LHR, I’d pick BA as I get to use priority queue. Several short haul EU carriers don’t pay for fast track immigration

    As Star Gold members we get Gold Track when arriving at T2.
    And it’s a shame BA didn’t use the opportinity to impress.

    I was thinking exactly the same. You’d think this would be the kind of opportunity BA would be looking for – a customer from another airline rebooked onto BA. As you say, an opportunity to impress. Instead, they advise a potential new J class customer that there is no meal loaded for them and struggle to give a tea and biscuits in a timely manner.

    I understand that costs have to be controlled and catering wastage adds up. But surely loading an extra meal or two won’t put two much of a dent into the c£3b profits.

    ** Personal opinions only **


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Actually, to make matters somewhat worse, BA will accept a late cash booking for CE and not provide a meal, as policy.

    LP’s review is fair – no ‘C’ class on a European airline will be brilliant, but BA’s feels meaner to me.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    Actually, to make matters somewhat worse, BA will accept a late cash booking for CE and not provide a meal, as policy.
    LP’s review is fair – no ‘C’ class on a European airline will be brilliant, but BA’s feels meaner to me.

    Never faced the situation not to see a meal served in BA CW… Now if this is happening and the sale be at a discount and the lack of meal explained to the buyer, I would not see a problem here.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Actually, to make matters somewhat worse, BA will accept a late cash booking for CE and not provide a meal, as policy. LP’s review is fair – no ‘C’ class on a European airline will be brilliant, but BA’s feels meaner to me.

    Never faced the situation not to see a meal served in BA CW… Now if this is happening and the sale be at a discount and the lack of meal explained to the buyer, I would not see a problem here.

    Swiss, it shouldn’t happen in CW, note I specifically referred to CE.


    Swissdiver
    Participant

    Actually, to make matters somewhat worse, BA will accept a late cash booking for CE and not provide a meal, as policy. LP’s review is fair – no ‘C’ class on a European airline will be brilliant, but BA’s feels meaner to me.

    Never faced the situation not to see a meal served in BA CW… Now if this is happening and the sale be at a discount and the lack of meal explained to the buyer, I would not see a problem here.

    Swiss, it shouldn’t happen in CW, note I specifically referred to CE.

    Typo. Sorry. I meant CE.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    Ah, OK. AFAIK, the lack of meal will be notified, but no discount offered.


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    I recently arrived in ZRH with Swiss in C.

    Aircraft parked remotely (pain) but then the Swiss “business only” bus pulled up and the 3-4 Pax in business were whisked off.

    with no hand luggage, I think I was in the train station about 6 mins after the plane doors opened!

    Felt like a top notch service.

    I believe this sometimes happenin in LHR with BA?

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