Swiss re-introduces BOB – kind of.

Back to Forum

This topic contains 11 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  LuganoPirate 15 Mar 2018
at 20:31

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

  • rferguson

    Just been reading on other forums that Swiss are to re-introduce BOB on shorthaul. If i’m right they went from ‘free’ to BOB a few years ago then back to ‘free’?

    It seems it will only apply to flights to/from GVA, not ZRH.

    Also, some items will remain free dependant on fare.

    ‘Eco Light’ passengers will get free water and a chocolate.

    Other economy passengers will get a ‘snack’ in addition to the water and chocolate.

    All other drinks and snacks available for purchase.

    It will be interesting to see whether the ‘eco light’ fares will be in set rows or a quasi-cabine right at the back of the aircraft as it would be quite difficult for the crew to distinguish otherwise who’s travelling on what fare.


    The dreaded race to the bottom, I fear.

    My understanding is that this is essentially happening because of EasyJet at GVA and the desire to ‘compete’ wih them.

    Usually this ends up transferring over to SWISS at Zurich (as with HBO and 1-way fares).

    The interesting thing will be if the contagion spreads up to the Parent LH?

    It would be against the psyche to have Swiss and LH operate so many codeshares between the CH and GER and have different service levels on board (Free Bverage and catering versis BoB)

    Currently the non BoB service on Swiss is a significant differentiator over BA on the UK routes and I for one choose SWISS as a result.


    I guess as a BOB concept it still has advantages over BA.

    Unless you are on the lowest of fares you will still get water, a snack and a bit of chocolate. It’s something. Chocolate has an association with Switzerland and so I guess it’s nice they still offer it. For the same reasoning I think BA should still offer free tea!

    I don’t disagree with BOB, I think what is more important is how it is executed. Having the right range, the right amount of food loaded for those that want to buy it and some recognition for frequent flyers or those paying higher fares.

    It will be interesting to see if other airline start following suit. AF has vowed ‘never’ to charge for economy product but the LH group may see things differently. Though given LH’s new ‘five star’ status by Skytrax they will likely not want to rock the boat and leave it to other airlines in the group to lead the BOB way.

    Tom Otley

    Alex wrote a piece about the subject last year

    Swiss to adopt buy on board at Geneva?


    rferguson, I agree that there are different ways of implementing BoB, some of which are significantly better than others.

    I think the basic courtesy of a simple drink is appreciated, maintains some distinction from low-cost airlines and need not erode the BOB proposition. Finnair and SAS both do this well, with tea, coffee, water and their ‘signature juice’. BA’s approach is sub-optimal and possibly inconsistent – I had no problem getting a glass of water the one time I really needed one, while I’ve read that others have been refused.

    While the SWISS BoB offering might be below Lufthansa, it sounds like it will be similar to the Eurowings offering, albeit with something even for the lowest fare category. But I do find it can be awkward when different people in the same cabin are given a markedly different service, based on fare. I recall a Eurowings flight where my neighbour, on a higher fare bracket received the water bottle+snack bag; I was on the lowest fare and had my request for a glass of water refused, only for my neighbour to kindly offer me their water bottle which they didn’t need.

    Of the carriers I fly regularly, Finnair is the one where my status entitles me to a better food/drink offer – though it’s not very consistent in terms of them remembering or what is offered. I think sometimes they don’t like me having for free an item they can flog further down the cabin! I now only seek to take advantage of the perk if the crew offer it without prompting.


    travelsforfun – totally agree. the only other ‘full service’ airline with BOB that i’ve flown in economy was SAS from LHR-OSL. The proposition was much better as you say they had a juice, tea, coffee and water for free throughout the aircraft. They gave snacks and free drinks to higher fares and these seats were in dedicated rows towards the front of the aircraft. The worst thing about the flight was the state of the aircraft – the 737 had possibly the most worn, drab, depressing looking cabin i’ve experienced in a long time (an American Airline MD80 cabin that I flew recently was brighter and more modern looking!).

    BA have said that they ‘want’ to do something to recognise top tier frequent flyers in economy on BOB flights but as with everything in BA the talk has been going for almost a year now with no sign of action. The biggest thing they need to get to grips with is the amount of food carried. I flew ATH-LHR last month. When we boarded on time we were advised on the PA by the captain that LHR had imposed a slot delay of 90 minutes. Thankfully I was seated in Club Europe so was fed but I was chatting to the crew later and they said they ran out of food for sale in economy after a few rows. Obviously people arrive an hour or two before their flight, 3hr45min flight, throw in a 90 minute delay. This is very very poor. I think the fundamentals for BOB is 1) have food that people want to buy. 2) carry enough stock for those that wish to purchase it.

    It will be interesting to see if Swiss’ BOB model does carry through to all routes. And also whether Austrian and Brussels Airlines will follow suit.


    I wold have thought that given BA accepts AVIOS for BOB, then it would be a very simple to be able to ‘reward’ BAEC members via a sliding scale Tarrif reduction.

    Maybe something like

    Bronze = 30% off the Avios price per item
    Silver = 60% off
    Gold = 90% off

    Any maybe limit the purchase to say 2 items per BAEC card presented so that there there would be enough food for all.

    If the above were implemented, then I would consider that BA actually had some desire to look after their FF members and it would be an incentive to choose them over another carrier on Short haul routes (in Y)

    As it stands, I avoid BA on these routes and have a policy of NEVER buying on Board.

    Also noting that BA flghts into LCY still have free catering !!!!



    I may be missing something here but the economics of BOB defeat me. Airlines have to carry a more varied stock, it is presumably better quality (or no-one at all would buy it), the ordering and stocking process is far more complicated and the budgeting for wastage must be horrendous. Plus their staff have to take money, which is time-consuming when all goes well and really irritating when someone tries to pay part in coins from some far off country, part with a card, oh sorry not that card but this one, can i have the change in euros, do you take FFP points, and so on. I have seen transactions take over 3 minutes which may not sound much but multiply up and it consumes cabin staff time big-time.

    And how much do they actually sell? £100-worth a flight? Is it worth it? Put another way, how much do they value customer goodwill? Obviously very very little.


    Cedric makes a very good point, and on a short flight how will they differentiate between the two types of passengers?
    I would never BoB as I can easily go a 1 or 2 hour flight without an excuse for a meal or snack, and I usually decline the sandwich they offer in any case.
    I do take the water and chocolate though and at least that’s not going.


    Judging by the twitter feed @FlySWISS the reaction from travellers (most of whom appear to be Swiss nationals) is overwhelmingly negative.

    Some travellers asked Swiss if the new BoB concept would be extended to other routes.

    Swiss replied “There are no plans to extend the new program to other routes.”

    But Swiss’ history shows that is not true. HBO fares and discounted one-way tariffs being good examples.

    Another traveller asked Swiss how it would be able to differentiate between the different types of economy class passengers.

    The Swiss answer was “They [Swiss cabin staff] will have the information on their ‘FlyPad.’


    The Swiss answer was “They [Swiss cabin staff] will have the information on their ‘FlyPad.’

    And when people move seats? Think of the time taken with a 150 seater airbus as they go down the aisle and check who is entitled and who not.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Business Traveller July / August 2019 edition
Business Traveller July / August 2019 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below