SWISS route Zurich to Cairo: A flight made of hell!

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This topic contains 27 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  SenatorGold 7 Nov 2018
at 09:11

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  • HHS0001

    After nearly 35 years of travelling Swissair ( since DC8) and then SWISS (since A330/340) on the Cairo route, mainly in premium cabins, I wrote on my Facebook that for the first time ever, I am NOT looking forward to my SWISS flight to Cairo after it was stripped from all the elements of a transContinental flight including a bumpy regional aircraft (CS300), no menu cards, no ice with drinks in economy, no entertainment system, and an overhead screen so diminutive that it could not be read if seated where I was seated in an aisle seat. And above all being thrown in a “Humiliating” snack not even fit for prisonars of war (Photo attached. I thought the tiny object on the right was a bite of pizza but it turned out to be the dessert).

    As if this was not enough, cabin crew does NOT serve ice with drinks in Economy!!! I was told in a blunt and empowered tone: “WE DO NOT SERVE ICE TO ECONOMY CLASS PASSENGERS”!!!!!

    As for cabin conduct, the attitude of C class crew member is simply unacceptable by me. She choose to ignore and not attend to my bell ring despite being seated first row in economy (6D) and given the fact that there is NO curtain separator in this miniature plane, and that she came several times to row 5, and that the bell light is very big compared to any other aircraft so it can not be overlooked.

    I urge SWISS to change the type of meal from “Meal” to “snack” in its website and other online booking sites as currently this is a gross deception which might even be challenged legally in a court of justice.

    Since SWISS is not able to provide a “proper” meal in a trans-continental flight, I suggest that its crew recognize Elite status passengers by a personal greeting before takeoff to compensate the quality of food in a 3 hour 30 minute trans-continental flight being a snack fit for prisoners of war (Photo attached)!

    Finally it is not SWISS to blame, but rather the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority that allows it (for one reason or another) to unilaterally continue this odd practice of using a bumpy regional short hop aircraft in this route and providing low-cost airlines snacks that you are allowed to officially deceive us by renaming them “meals” while charging the highest fares ever from flights originating in Cairo.. What a shame for both!



    I have flown several routes, several airlines on the Bombardier CS300 (officially now known as Airbus A220-300) and there is nothing wrong with the aircraft.

    I am not sure how you can describe it as ‘bumpy’, since that would be a result of meteorological conditions on the flight path, rather than of the a/c design, and it is not a short haul aircraft, it has a range of up to 3000 miles, adequate for a ZRH-CAI which is 1715 miles/4 hours.

    I am also not sure how you can blame the Egyptian CAA. Personally I detest Egypt and everything to do with it, but I don’t see how you can blame them in this case.

    Your other comments are based on subjective views but to quibble over the definition between a ‘meal’ and a ‘snack’ seems a little unreasonable. I don’t expect much of a meal on board, specially when travelling economy, with any airline, so I either eat before boarding, or buy something at the airport to consume on board. That way, I am in control.

    I find Swiss by far one of the better airlines, even on short routes, but I didn’t have your experience so I can’t comment further on your remarks about service on board.

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    How can a snack on a 4 hour flight be humiliating? Both of the ‘cans’ look acceptable… Also IMO there’s nothing wrong with the A220 for such a flight.


    I’ve only flown the CS300 three times, once in C and twice in Y and find it a beautiful aircraft. The seats are comfortable and there is ample space for my large 6’1″ frame. I could easily do a 4 hour flight on this plane in either cabin.

    I’m also surprised about the no ice policy. My drink is usually sparkling water with ice and lemon and I’ve never been refused ice when I flew in Economy on this or any of the Swiss fleet.

    What I will agree with though is not only Swiss, but also Lufthansa and Austrian, all use standard European config aircraft to Cairo as well as Amman, so all seating is the same except in C you get the seat next to you free. This compares with Egyptair and Royal Jordanian who have a proper Business Class with larger seats and legroom in a 2×2 config rather than the 3×3 in Y.

    I flew RJ last year to Amman in Business, when due to my Lufthansa flight ex MXP having a flat tyre (really!) I missed the connecting flight in FRA and was rebooked by LH on RJ. My return was with Austrian. However, being brutally honest, while the RJ seat was more sofa like I had someone next to me so could not spread my things out. My return with Austrian though it was the standard European type seating, I found more comfortable as I could spread my things out, had an extra table for my drinks and food while keeping the space in front of me free. So on balance despite RJ or MS having a more comfortable, even more cosy, cabin, I’d still choose a Lufthansa group flight.


    I LOVE that aircraft. What a game changer. It’s doing for short-medium range flights what the B787 has done for long-thin route networks.

    As for what POWs ate, I really think you need to take a cold hard look at yourself in the mirror! What a disgraceful comparison to make. Shame on you.

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    I love the cs300, flew air Latvia from LGW. That said reg LX: I’ve only flown them in J class on a330 from zrh to tlv and it was the worst J class experience ever. Imagine, I was missing BA!


    With all due respect I tend to agree with all the answers to this topic even the always snide remarks of capetonianm . The cs300 is one of the most comfortable aircraft I’ve been on and compared to us airlines who serve nothing but water on 8 hour flights from NYC to Hawaii,Swiss meals are more than satisfactory on a 3hour flight. Also flights are bumpy not aircraft! BTW I love everything about Egypt.

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    To Switzerlanding
    It is humiliating, if it is officially declared that a “meal” is served. It is humiliating if you deceive passengers expecting a meal, which by the way is served by ALL airlines on Cairo route even the one-hour Aegean Airlines flight, with the contents of box shown in photo.
    The epitone of humiliation though is being told: “We do not serve ice for economy class passengers”!

    The commentator about prisoners of war:
    I do not like your tone of discussion. And am attaching a photo of the reputable British auction house Christies showing Egyptian POWs captured by Israelies.. They have said the final word in indecency!

    I see that you all overlooked bell ring response, ice in economy.


    I guess each of us judge our experiences differently but I would say in such a case I would feel more ‘disappointed’ than ‘humiliated’. I doubt very much that the reasons for not serving ice to economy passengers is to humiliate them. I’d imagine there are limitations to the space onboard a smaller aircraft such as the A220 and that it may even be round trip catered. The crew should have conveyed the reasons to you why they don’t offer ice in Y on that route.

    Agreed, the meal doesn’t look particularly appetising. But a ‘snack’ description these days would generally refer to a bag of pretzels or a chocolate. I’ve been on airlines before that have offered a sandwich as a ‘meal’. However, we are talking about a short 3.5hr here. It would definitely be deemed suitable in my opinion for such a length of flight.

    If other airlines offer you much more in terms of what is important to you, the best thing you can do is vote with your feet.


    Similar to rfergusons point of view, I’m going to say its all about perception, and 2 sides of the same coin. IMO the most telling words were at the very beginning of this topic

    After nearly 35 years of travelling Swissair ( since DC8) and then SWISS (since A330/340) on the Cairo route, mainly in premium cabins

    Would you expect an airline called SWISS to operate what in many people’s eyes is at the very least , a mid haul flight with what looks like a short haul aircraft. After all Cairo is on a different continent from Zurich.
    Then view it with the equivalency of nostalgic eyes and is a DC-9 really the aircraft you’d expect, when you’re used to a DC-8 ?

    And HHSS00001 is right, the meal effort can be described at the very best as laziness personified. Even Ryanair would be ashamed to serve up an insipid dish of blandness that wouldn’t look out of place in a cardiac unit!
    Not something I’d expect from a carrier that carries the name SWISS, a country associated (possibly wrongly) with the word excellence!!

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    No ice in Economy ? Blimey. What next ? Will people be happy with no smiles in Economy ? For an almost 4 hour flight, one would expect at least a drink ( with ice) and some form of catering. I don’t buy it ( for want of a better phrase) when people say they aren’t bothered not having food or drink on flights of 4 hours + ? Really ?

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    For me it’s more about expectations SkyHigh. If I’m flying with a carrier that makes it clear at booking that food and drink is for purchase and if the fare reflects good value then I’d spend some of the £ saved on a nice Itsu or Gordon Ramsey Plane Food takeaway.

    On the flip side, if I was on a four hour flight and my described ‘meal’ was a bag of crisps or a biscuit (and a soda with no ice available) I’d be peeved.

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    Peeved is OK, but humiliated? I cant see any reason for that. Airlines are not a luxury form a transportation – they get you from point A to B with speed and $/mile – cheaply. Want more? Buy business or First and even then, temper expectations. IN this day and age, one would have thought that’s obvious, no?

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    IN this day and age, one would have thought that’s obvious, no?

    And sadly that’s the other side of the coin ………

    The slow creeping acceptance of substandard service levels by airlines that we pay good money too

    I don’t like making assumptions ExecPlatAA, but by your “handle” I’d guess you’ve got an allegiance to American. The irony being that for long enough our cousins across the pond just wouldn’t tolerate bad service. The mantra “Yanks demand great customer service “ was something that both irked Brits , but in equal measure was respected also !!

    IMO, since US airline deregulation, this brilliant attitude within American society has been diluted. And I’d hazard a guess that if you were to draw a graph, you’d see a direct correlation in the diminishing acceptance of service levels with US airlines taking the P**H out of fare paying passengers.

    And I accept the point that flights ,relatively speaking are much cheaper than they once were. However that does not give a company carte blanche to deliver mediocrity as standard.

    Unless of course we’re all happy to expect mediocrity, as we slide ever further to the bottom.

    Not sure if English is the OP’s first language, if it is then yes, I agree “humiliated” isn’t how I’d describe it !!

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    Is Swiss going down the drain? this is unquestionable. And the fact a CS300 (I know, it’s Airbus now) is a small plane, probably not fit for a 4 hours flight is also obvious to me, Swiss, based in the centre of Europe. We are not used here to medium haul flights operated on single aisle aircraft contrarily to Brits for instance, although this is changing.

    I’ve flown only twice on this airplane, for a 3 hours flight in business and it was all right, given the fact I had two seats for me. Not sure a single seat would have been viable though. And the service was all right. As for Swiss economy food, it is indeed inedible. But, come on, we know that in eco, it is chicken or pasta, no matter which airline…

    Now I started flying the ZHR-CAI route on MD11s and much more often the LHR-CAI one on a B747. Clearly the business or first class service was far better. But those days are over for now 7 years…

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