Tried & Tested

Swiss Avro RJ85/100 business class (short haul)

26 Jan 2009 by Mark Caswell

Check-in Having already checked in and obtained my boarding pass prior to my outbound flight (click here for the review), I turned up at around 1315 for my 1430 flight to London City airport. Once through passport check I headed for the Swiss business class lounge.

The lounge This modern facility is located over two floors, the upper floor housing what Swiss says is the longest attended airport lounge bar (this area is also open to smokers). The main floor has several self-service snack areas, which when I was there were offering a macaroni cheese hot buffet and a cheesecake dessert. The lounge is open from 6am – 11pm daily, and has seating for 216 passengers. Facilities include showers, massage chairs, and a business section with free internet terminals (although you have to stand to use the computers, so you might not want to work for too long at them). Flights are not called from the lounge, but there are several departure boards.

Boarding The flight was boarding from gate A01, close to the lounge, and from the gate it was a short bus ride to the plane. We took off pretty much on time at 1435.

The flight Configuration on the Avro RJ85/100 is 2-3 throughout, and on this flight the business class cabin accounted for the first six rows. The middle seat on the right hand side is kept free in business class, although it was irrelevant on this occasion, as there were just 8 passengers in the premium cabin – economy looked pretty full. Assuming a full cabin, the best seats would probably be D or E in either the second or third rows as you will have a spare seat either to the left or right of you – seat D in the first row has more leg room but there is also more coming and going from the cabin crew.

A selection of newspapers (including The Times, Telegraph, FT and Daily Mail) were offered in business class, with a meal service consisting of salmon and asparagus, cured ham, paté, olives and sundried tomatoes, a roll, and a chocolate dessert. Tea and coffee (in crockery rather than paper cups), soft drinks, beer and wine are also served.

Arrival We arrived slightly ahead of time, and were disembarked within minutes. Unusually for London City there was a wait at immigration due to a passengers ahead who could not speak English and didn’t appear to have the correct visa, but I was still out of the airport within 15 minutes of landing.

Verdict Excellent lounge facilities at Zurich, a good selection of English newspapers onboard, and a enhanced meal service in business class.


Mark Caswell

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