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Friday 3 June 2022

Connecting Flight From Zurich to London Heathrow on Swiss Airlines A220-300

 Welcome to this trip report of my 2nd flight with Swiss Airlines!


I could have gone for the earlier connecting flight which was operated by the Airbus A321NEO but the decision to take the 6 hours transit at ZRH airport was because of 2 reasons. First, this flight was scheduled to be operated by the A220-300 and also arriving at London Heathrow later means lesser time for me to wait to check in at the hotel which allows me to do so 2 hours after my arrival. 

About the Airbus A220-300

Bombadier constructed the Airbus A220 series which was formally known as the C series. The Airbus A220-100 was known as CS100 while the -300 series was known as CS300. Swiss Airlines is the launch customer of the C Series, it ordered a total of 30 with majority of them being the -300 series. The airline chose this aircraft type to replace the BAE RJ100 and Airbus A319 fleet. This proves popular among the crew and the passengers who had given positive feedback about the aircraft. As Airbus and Bombardier signed a deal in 2018, this C sersies aircraft was renamed as Airbus A220 series. The attractive prospects about this plane is that it is able to fly long range in additional to the shorter routes, making it a versatile plane which offers good economic value for the bean counters at the airline. 

My lay-over at Zurich Airport 

This is terminal 2 

To get to terminal 1, just follow the sign leading you to the train platform which takes you to the other terminal. 

My flight is at the bottom of the list, gate D is at the terminal 1, so I had to take the train over. 

In order to use the WiFi, you have 4 options (This is simply ridiculous) 

I choose to use the boarding pass to obtain the password to access the wifi. I wonder whether you can use the same boarding pass to re-connect the wifi after the 4 hours, feel free to drop a comment below! 

I guess this is for security measures. 

Some rows of seats have charging ports and plugs for you to charge your devices. 

It's quite a pleasant airport. 

This is where you take the train to connect to the other terminal. 

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER (9V-SWU) just arrived from my homeland. 

Swiss Airbus A220-300 

Soon, I make my way to the gate. It takes around 15 minutes to get from E gate to D gate, so plan well when you have short layover. 

My flight's assigned gate 

I did some plane spotting at the terminal 1. I find this the best spot for photography. 

Aer Lingus A320 CEO 

Air Serbia A319  

Edelweiss Airbus A340-300

Swiss Airlines A320NEO

United Boeing 767-300ER

Thanks to Flightradar24, I knew which aircraft would take me to London. The first aircraft in its A220-300 fleet, HB-JCA

My route: ZRH-LHR 

Miles: 491

Photos of Swiss's first A220-300 

The airline used to carry this special livery

Photo: Helmut Schnichels

Now it is in the standard livery 

Photo: Erezms 

About this aircraft 

Owned Aircraft
Delivered in May 2017
Configuration: C + Y 145 (Depends on airline)
Engines: 2 X PW1500G
MSN: 55010
Built in Montreal 

The seat map of the airline's A220-300

Date of departure: 26 May 2022
Aircraft: Airbus A220-300
Registration: HB-JCA
Departure terminal: 1
Arrival terminal: 2
Class: Economy 
Seat: 27A 
Departure gate: D57 (remote parking lot) 
Load: 100%
Assigned FL: 380
Duration: 1 hr 20 mins
Boarding: 1130
Engine start up: 1207
Take off: 1218
Scheduled arrival: 1300
Actual arrival: 1237
Departure runway: 28
Arrival runway: 27R
Arrival terminal: 2 

Boarding the aircraft

It's been a long time since I last boarded a plane parked at a remote lot. It was also my first time boarding the A220 this way. 

Cabin photos of the aircraft 

Swiss Airlines configured 145 seats on this Airbus A220-300, with 45 seats reserved for J class passengers and the remaining seats for Economy Class. I am sure there are blocked seats for the J class passengers otherwise they will sure complained since the difference in the airfare between the Economy and Business class ticket is quite a gap. 

Welcome on board the Airbus A220! 

This was my first time on the A220-300. The difference between this aircraft type and the -100 is the length of this model is longer. 

The design of the seat looks weird. What do you think? Disappointedly there isn’t a cup holder. 

This was my seat, 27A

Legroom space was adequate for me. (I am 6 foot 4)

I like the mini-screens on top of each row. A seat map was available throughout the flight, no other form of entertainment and yes, the wifi system is not installed on the A220.

Do note that the row in front of the emergency seat is not aligned to the window.

If I place a bottle on one side (below), my left leg needs to move to make space for it. 

This is what I mean. 

What's offered on this flight? 

Just a bottle of water and a small bar of chocolate (given by the crew during preparation for landing.) It is disappointing that a light snack was not served on this flight. 

Magazine and safety card holder

The seat has certainly seen better days. 

The safety card - I wonder whether the public would ask the crew which aircraft series were they flying on.

The menu consists of food and beverages which may only be available on longer regional flights and they are not free. 

At least a bottle of water was provided. 

I had about 5 hours to spare, I spent the time doing plane spotting and checking out the terminals. Once the time was approaching, I made my way to the assigned gate. Our plane was parked at a remote parking lot so we need to take the bus over. The gate agent had made a couple of announcements mentioning how full the flight was and it was overbooked by 5, so volunteers were needed. The volunteers were to receive 250 Euros and take the 3.30 pm which later on I found out was also operated by A220-300. I didn't go for it because I wanted to meet my family earlier and they were waiting for me. 

Once the announcement was made to board the bus, I didn't realize I have to get my boarding pass chopped for whatever reason it is, so the gate agent sent me back there and queued up again. No harm was done as I managed to board the first bus. I wanted to board early to take some decent shots of the cabin. 

Once onboard, I was greeted by 3 crew, 2 female and 1 male. They were friendly so it was a pleasant in-flight experience with them. Engines were started up 2 minutes late and soon we taxied to runway 28 for departure. Take-off was a bit bumpy, but soon we flew into smooth air until our descent into London Heathrow. For the in-flight service on board, there was only a cart that came around the cabin with the crew selling the items listed in the magazine, business was good today as there were many interested passengers. The crew took quite a long to finish the in-flight sales as the aircraft started descending at that point. The cabin crew not long after came and clear the mess. It was a rush job for them but they handled it well. Descending into London Heathrow was bumpy, thanks to the windy condition. When the aircraft touched down, I can certainly feel the rudder kicking in as the pilot flying the aircraft forced the plane to slow down and remain on the centerline to keep it stable. Both of them did a great job.

Window shot photos 

I hope to fly on this subsidiary soon. 

The taxi took around 10 minutes.

The take-off was powerful, comparing to the -100, the noise level was about the same. 

Flying through some clouds before the clear blue sky greet us. 

The cruising part was relatively smooth. 

It became bumpy when we were at a lower flight level, I would say between light and moderate turbulence. 

Flying past a fleet of British Airways aircraft including the A380. Nice to see them back in the air. 

The taxi to our gate took quite a while. 

This was my first sight of Westjet's Boeing 787 Dreamliner. 

Long taxi before reaching the gate but that means more interesting planes to spot. 

We reached the gate just a few minutes early and with that, that was the end of my A220-300 adventure.

My flight report by Flightradar24

After landing, it was time to meet my family at the home, I decided to take the Elizebeth line and more on that in my next blog post, stay tuned. 

The immigration and luggage collection processes were fast and I was out of the airport about 15 minutes after exiting the plane. 

My rating: 

Airline's website/Mobile app: 2/5
Airport staff: 2.5/5
In-Flight service: 4/5
In-Flight experience: 4/5
Cabin interior: 2.5/5 
In-Flight Wifi: 0/5 
Cleanliness: 4/5
In-flight snack: 0/5 (No complimentary snack)
Punctuality: 5/5
Aircraft rating: 5/5 
Overall rating: 29/50
Percentage: 58%
Verdict: Average 

There are some aspects of the airline they need to work on. The lack of entertainment system on this aircraft and snacks were not offered which makes it quite disappointing in my opinion especially if you are paying more for flying on a full cost service. Flying on J class in Europe isn't worth it especially if the airline's product on the narrow-body is no different than the Economy Class. Maybe there are a few differences such as block seats, better legroom space and a proper J class meal but still that won't persuade me to fork out more money on flying this class. 

Looking at the Economy Class product, the seat itself is comfortable except for the weird looking design of the rear side of the seat. I do agree with others that they should change the design when they have plans to upgrade their Y class product in the near future. So far, I have been left underwhelmed with the airline, there are still 2 more flights of this airline to be reviewed, let's see how it goes. 

Thanks for reading. Don't just have a good day, have a great day! (Does this sound familar? Hint: This sentence came from a recent movie.) 

For my Swiss Airlines A340-300 trip report, click here
For the next trip report (Virgin Atlantic A350-1000), click here
Take Care! 

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