Swiss Air LX052 Background/Tickets
After a great car trip vacation through Northern Spain, Andorra, and the fabulous Basque country, I also had the pleasure of flying back to the States on Swiss Air, for the first time ever (Swiss Air LX1955 and Swiss Air LX052)!
I bought my tickets about 3 weeks in advance (and my dates were set, not flexible), on April 23 for a round-trip BOS-BCN-BOS on Orbitz.com. The total fare came to $997.78. Had I bought it 1 week earlier, the fare wound have been around $850 on the Lufthansa website – I can’t really explain it but there was a glitch that caused the fare to be unusually low, but only on the Lufthansa site (different pricing on Swiss Air and Orbitz.com). Supposedly, the lowest fare will always be at 54 days prior to takeoff, but not in this case (in this case it was 28 days). Of course I booked the flight using my United Mileage Plus number so I could continue to accumulate miles under the United loyalty program (trying to get to Silver status this year).
I made a point to buy the return flight on Swiss Air in order to try it out – the leg going to BCN was all Lufthansa. I wasn’t sure what to expect on Swiss Air, but I’d only heard good things. On the short flight from BCN to ZCH, there was even and advertisement on the in-flight monitor that said that even in economy, Swiss Air serves a selection of fine Swiss cheese. This got me very excited.
Departure Airport/Check In/Boarding Process
At Zurich I had a really tight connection coming in from Barcelona, with only an hour to spare. I arrived in Terminal B and had to transit to Terminal E. Here’s a view from my BCN-ZRH Swiss Air plane docked at Terminal B.
The signage was really quite good so I made it through the underground passageway to Passport Control and then onward to the train to Terminal E (note: factor in extra time for passport control if changing planes and heading to the international (non-EU) terminal).
On the subway/train ride to Terminal E, all the passengers were surprised by what seemed to be the sounds of cows mooing and people yodeling. They were piping in Swiss sounds of the countryside! How fabulous! This really was a great concept that I’ve never seen used before in an airport train/tram/shuttle/bus to represent the local culture and heritage.
Once I made it to my gate, a few gates in to Terminal E (E52), I finally calmed downed and looked around.
It felt very modern with clean European design, modern art, efficiency…and a kiosk for newspapers and magazines to take on your flight.
Not to mention the Swiss chocolate store across from my gate.
At the gate for Swiss Air LX052, I had to go through another passport check, which was fast since it had no line. The agent was also friendly, telling me that he recently traveled to Boston in early May, and even showed me pictures. He was excited to tell me about it.
I still had a little time to kill prior to boarding Swiss Air LX052, plus there’s no point hurrying to rush on the plane since I don’t have a carry-on other than my backpack. No need to fight for overhead space. So I leisurely boarded last and that was that.
I tried to use the Swiss Air app for mobile ticketing but had problems in Barcelona getting it to work. It was a combination of only having 15 minutes of free wi-fi and some malfunctions within the Swiss Air app itself, so ultimately I got paper tickets. This was also the first time I got to use my new tripchi passport holder!
Swiss Air LX052 Flight Details
- Route: Zurich to Barcelona
- Airline: Swiss Air LX052
- Gate: E52
- Flight time: 1445 CEST
- Boarding time: 1415 CEST
- Aircraft type: Airbus 330-300
- Flight length: 7h 36m
- Distance traveled: 3,732 mi (mileage credit) 4,014 miles (actual)
- Class: Economy
- Seat: 27G
- Load factor: 80% full
Swiss Air LX052 Interior/Takeoff
The Swiss Air LX052 plane configuration was a 2-4-2 and I was in the front section of economy that was actually separated from the rest of economy. Business class looked nice as well. At my seat was a blanket, folded and wrapped in plastic, headphones (also in plastic), and a pillow. Luckily the two middle seats next to me remained empty so the woman on the other aisle and I could be more comfortable.
There seemed to be plenty of room in the overhead bins on the Airbus A330-300 Swiss Air LX052, even though I boarded last.
Swiss Air LX052 pushed back on time and the pilot gave useful information about our flight route, turbulence (slightly turbulent at a few points over the Atlantic), and arrival time.
The only other nuisance that occurred in the air was due to a rude passenger – a woman a few rows ahead of me thought it would be a good idea to play a very noisy casino game on her iPad at full volume. Apparently she didn’t even realize it was disturbing everyone else around her. For 5 minutes, people were turning around in their seats to give her dirty looks, hoping she’d get the hint – she didn’t. I was observing to see who would be the first person to actually say something to her. The stern words “Noise” came from a German woman in front of her. We were all relieved when she said “Oh, I’m sorry” and turned off the volume. Hashtag oblivious.
Swiss Air LX052 Seats
Here’s a picture of the Swiss Air LX052 seat. It has a personal entertainment unit that annoyingly forced us to watch a 10 minute Swiss Air advertisement at takeoff. Surprisingly the seat was pretty comfortable, even for a short person like me – the headrest was actually in the right place and was adjustable. When the person but their seat back mid-flight, however, what seemed like a spacious seat as usual felt cramped, and I similarly had to recline so that I wasn’t 2 inches from the entertainment screen.
I also used the USB charger to charge my iPhone. However, when I plugged it in to seat 28F next to me, it didn’t work (it worked fine in my seat). There did not appear to be a regular charging block. But, there was a battery unity under the seat in front of me that ate in to my leg room (only in my seat on the row) – it must have been the power for the entertainment units and USB chargers.
Also note that in-flight wifi on this Swiss Air LX052 airbus A330-300 was not an option.
Swiss Air LX052 Meal Service
The part I was looking forward to the most was the Swiss Air LX052 in-flight meal and drink service. It was OK, but ultimately was a disappointment and certainly didn’t live up to my expectations.
The first course consisted of snack crackers in a plastic pouch with the drinks – I got to glasses of red wine (complimentary) and water. The next course we had a choice of chicken and vegetarian. I chose the vegetarian. It was pretty good – a vegetable curry with rice. It was accompanied by a side salad with French dressing, a packaged slice of Swiss cheese, a roll, and a cherry streusel.
The second service came about 1.5 hours before landing, just as I was getting hungry again and we had passed over Newfoundland. It consisted of an Italian sandwich, a piece of chocolate, and ice cream (and drinks service again).
Swiss Air LX052 Crew/Service
The Swiss Air LX052 crew was courteous and professional. Kind of friendly in the Germanic/Swiss manner. They came by with drink service twice and water several times up and down the hour. They also came by to pick up trash 2 times. No hot towels to wash up prior to meal service, which would have been nice (however they did follow-up the second meal service with hot towels prior to landing). I also saw them cart the duty free cart down the aisle one time but it was subtle.
Swiss Air LX052 Arrival Airport (BOS)
Upon arrival of Swiss Air LX052, I easily made it through passport control using my Global Entry in Terminal E and onward to baggage claim. I then waited an hour just for my luggage to arrive. It came late in the special delivery area of the baggage claim, and it was a cluster communicating with the Luggage Services desk to figure out what was happening. They told me to contact the flight representative located at my baggage carousel, but was nowhere to be found. Suggestion for the airport: have the representatives all located at the Luggage Services desk to be located more easily (centralize the process rather than distribute it).
Also it was absurd that there was no restroom located in the baggage claim area in Terminal E (after passport control but prior to customs). Once I had by bag, I quickly went through the customs line as well (no need to fill out the declaration form they hand out to you on the plane). And I had to wait for about 15 minutes for a taxi (the tripchi ride share feature would have come in handy).
The overall Swiss Air LX052 flight was extremely pleasant. The in-flight entertainment system made the 7 hours go by quickly (I watched 3 movies, and did some laptop work). The flight attendants were attentive and courteous. The meal service was tasty, the drinks were plentiful, and the airplane (and the bathrooms for that matter) was clean.
I would give this flight a B+. Areas that could have improved on were:
- Meal service. I had very high expectations that Swiss Air actually created on my flight from BCN to ZRH in their own in-flight marketing.
- Warm towels prior to eating
- Magazine/newspaper service in-flight for additional reading material (I’m used to seeing this on trans-Atlantic flights)
- Wi-fi (none was available)
- Charging station in seatback (additional to USB)
- Code Share Loyalty program – this flight did not end up being credited to the United Mileage Plus program with the following note from United: “I located this flight and found it was rejected by Swiss Air. The fare class is one that Swiss Air does not give credit for. The actual class shows L.”
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