After coming off from my last flight, I had just five hours or so until my next flight, which would take me from Montreal to Zurich. Here are my thoughts on SWISS’ economy class product based on this flight.
Montreal airport and boarding
I’ve previously reviewed Montreal airport so I wont do it again. However, I must say, that YUL is, as far as airports go, a generally enjoyable place to be. On this late-September flight, SWISS operated out gate 59 in the international departures area.
I spent most of my time at the airport sipping coffee, catching up on the news, and even I took advantage of the great views to grab a few avgeek shots.
At just before four, I headed towards gate 59. No less than fifteen minutes later, boarding was announced. And my goodness, it was a chaotic and enjoyable ordeal.
In a very untypical SWISS manner, no indications for priority and general boarding were provided. Instead, an agent yelled at the top of his lungs, ordering economy class passengers to the left, and first and business class passengers to the right of the gate. Though some confusion ensued, it settled down after a few minutes.
Mere seconds after the crowd had calmed down, the very same man started to yell again. Facing the economy class queue, he ordered people seated rows 36 and over onto the plane.
As passengers seated towards the back of the aircraft moved to the front of the queue, much to the annoyance of passengers who had been standing at the front of the line, the man started to yell again. This time, ordering all passengers to board.
While I’m not someone who loves to complain (in-person), I did pass my thoughts to the lady who scanned my boarding pass.
All in all, boarding was an unexpectedly and unnecessarily confusing and stressful ordeal, but by 16:20, I had made it to my seat, numbered 24A.
Like many on the Airbus A330, the seat featured about 18 inches of width, 32-34 inches of pitch, and was in a 2-4-2 configuration.
As for the finishing, while beige might not by everyone’s cup of tea, I found the cabin rather smart looking. And perhaps more importantly, pleasantly different to the ever-so omnipresent blue and grey tones found on aircraft these days.
Off we go
At 16:40, the captain came on to the loudspeakers to welcome everyone on board. His first announcement was in French and spoken in a rather literary and unequivocally eloquent manner.
A few minutes after the crew announcements, made in French, English and German we pushed back from our gate for our seven-hour flight to Zurich.
After a long taxi, we eventually made it to our runway, 24L, and by 17:05, our wheels touched off Canadian soil. With that, my second transatlantic flight of the day had begun!
While my Perrier was standard, and I think that’s a good thing, I have to say, that as far as breadsticks go, the epitome of blandness, these were rather tasty. They weren’t too salty, nor disgustingly processed, instead, they served as basic but delicious amuse-bouche
In front of me sat a tray consisting of mixed veg salad, bread, Babybel cheese, some cake, and of course, my chicken dish. To accompany the meal, I had some red wine to drink, although I know that the notion of red wine with chicken is a contentious one.
Moving to the salad, although I do not particularly fancy ranch dressing, the leaves and vegetables were of the freshest quality. I also had a nibble of the bread and cheese, which were both good. Though I must say, I wish SWISS offered a Swiss cheese instead of the commercial French one.
The second half of the flight
In truth, this was a good, if not very good, flight.
The seat was comfortable, I slept for a few hours, the food was tasty and plentiful, while the staff was friendly and professional.
What more can one ask for a short transatlantic hop?
My one complaint is, of course, the ground experience in Montreal. Particularly, the boarding procedure. The issues faced were not only avoidable but also easily mendable with the introduction of a simple sign. I think a small investment and a reiteration of the boarding rules would go a very long way.
All things considered, I certainly would not hesitate to fly SWISS again.