Swiss launches 'hand luggage fares'

2 Jul 2013 by Alex McWhirter

Swiss is following in the footsteps of KLM and British Airways at Gatwick - from September 1, passengers flying Swiss to or from Geneva will pay less if they do not have checked baggage.

A new tariff structure will be offered on all international routes to and from Geneva with the exception of routes to Barcelona, St Petersburg and Moscow.

But why Geneva? It's simple. Geneva is the home of Easyjet (Suisse) and that is where Swiss itself faces the greatest low fare competition.

Even though Geneva is one of the world's wealthiest cities, its citizens appreciate a bargain like everyone else otherwise Easyjet would not have been so successful.

Swiss will offer a new two-tier tariff structure for its Geneva services:

  • Geneva Economy Flex will allow one piece of checked baggage along with rebooking and cancellation
  • Geneva Economy Light is only for passengers with hand luggage. No rebooking or cancellation allowed

Swiss said: "Both tariffs will be available on a one-way or return option to offer greater choice and flexibility for customers."

But one can't help thinking that these two fare types are similar to the pricing structures operated by certain low-cost carriers. For example, Swiss' Geneva Economy Flex is not too dissimilar to Easyjet's Flexi fare.

How much do you pay?

Lead-in fares from London Heathrow to Geneva are £61 one-way and £84 return for Economy Light. For Economy Flex the rates are £86 and £124. Fares from London City differ slightly.

It means that passengers are paying a premium starting at £40 return for one piece of checked baggage and for the ability to change and cancel your flight.

Swiss is renowned as a quality airline and prides itself on offering passenger the best facilities. So this revolutionary (for Swiss) move may not go down well with some customers.

To read the "Strings attached" feature on European ancillary fees from our current issue, click here.

Alex McWhirter

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