Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The bus gates of Zürich

I mentioned in a previous post a mild distaste for connecting at ZRH (Flughafen Zürich-Kloten). I've gone off Zürich over the years. Swiss are generally pretty lovely as airlines go, with a very high standard of service and a high level of consistency in that service. Unfortunately, their Birmingham flights are mainly a wet lease to Helvetic Airways. There are two problems with this, firstly Helvetic crew aren't as good as Swiss, both in the consistency and service senses, although on my last flight they were excellent recognising my deep need for a large G+T pronto after a mad dash to make an 18 minute connection after a delay coming in from Berlin due to snow. Secondly, they fly the Fokker 100 and usually a pretty manky specimen of them. The seating can best be described as "cramped" and they can be a bit tatty (although better than the last KLM Fokker 70 I was on where the tray table seemed to mainly consist of duct tape).

That isn't in, itself a deal-breaker and there are a number of attractive sides to a transfer at ZRH, quick efficient transfer security, a very nice business lounge, copious and plentiful smoking rooms, the availability of Sprüngli chocolates and Luxemburgerli and doable short transfers.

However, since they entered Schengen, UK flights have been banished to the B-gates, which are all bus gates, deeply unpleasant, unattractive bus gates with some of Zürich's biggest jobsworths at them (and the Swiss are the world's best jobsworths). This particular bunch love to take your cabin baggage from you at the slightest excuse and can be quite aggressive about it. My usual carry on is either a LH/LX approved cabin bag or a laptop bag. Both have been branded "too big". They will also just take your bag, no comment, just whisk it off you and tag it - no questions if there are any fragile or breakable items in there.

It all adds up to making ZRH a less attractive proposition unless I need miles and the Business Savers are on offer.

[0] *cough* washing machine *cough* "after hours" *cough* verboten

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