Swiss has followed British Airways (BA) and adopted tiered business class pricing for flights between the UK and Switzerland. It means tickets can cost 50% less if you book well ahead or opt to fly at quieter times.
Swiss business class fares to Zurich typically cost between £307 and £505 return if you fly from London Heathrow or £307 to £596 out of City. By comparison, BA charges £287 to £619 from Heathrow and £225 to £613 from Gatwick.
In the case of London-Geneva, Swiss charges £301 to £589 from City while BA is priced at £236 to £611 from Heathrow and £178 to £606 from Gatwick.
On the surface it might appear that BA’s business class prices would be cheaper. But the difference is that BA restricts its lower priced business class seats when travellers book near the date of travel.
By contrast, Swiss is less fussy. Its better prices may still be available on less busy flights even if booking one or two days ahead. When booked, say, one or two weeks ahead some of Swiss’ lower fares are made available for peak time flights. Says Sarah Built, UK general manager for Swiss, “We try to be as flexible as we can. If the flight is ‘open’ [for seat availability] we’ll keep these [lower] fares available in the system. Certainly if you fly off-peak there’s a very good chance of getting the lower rates. When passengers book flights to Switzerland it’s always worth checking with Swiss for a good value fare.”
When Business Traveller checked business class fares between Heathrow and Zurich last week (based on peak time flights) for trips booked either five or 10 days ahead we found that Swiss had the best rates In both cases BA’s lowest price was £542 return while the Swiss rate was £404.
Swiss recently became a member of the Star Alliance. It also serves Basle from London City while services to Birmingham and Manchester also run to Zurich.
Report by Alex McWhirter