Swiss has announced that it will be closing the Senator and Business Class Lounges located in Zurich’s Terminal A.
The closing is scheduled for August 27, and will last through April 2018.
According to SWISS, once the renovations are complete the Lounges will reflect the styling and concept of the Lounges that are located in Terminal E. In addition, more seating will be installed and workstations will be updated with modern amenities. So it will be worth the wait!
For now, passengers can use the Lounges located in Terminal B and E. Star Alliance Gold members, along with Miles & More Senators and those traveling in Lufthansa Group Business Class can also use the Aspire Lounge and ‘Coffee To Fly’.
Miles & More Frequent Travelers and Star Alliance Business Class passengers can use the SWISS Lounges, but cannot access the Aspire or Coffee To Fly lounge options.
Due to the ratcheting up of security measures instituted by the TSA at airports worldwide, passengers bound for the USA are being asked to arrive at the airport earlier than normal to account for the extra scrutiny.
Specific to Lufthansa, it is asking passengers flying to the USA from Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Munich to be at the airport at least an hour prior to their flight if flying in Economy or Premium Economy, and 40 minutes prior if flying in Business or First Class. LH is referring to this as the minimum time needed for ‘Check-In Acceptance’.
It may be a good idea to make sure you check in to your flight before coming to the airport. Easy to do via Lufthansa.com or the LH App. This way you can bypass the check-in process at the airport and head straight to your gate.
According to LH, this additional time requirement is not being instituted at any other airport where Lufthansa Group flights depart for the USA. Their press release also suggests that your small electronic devices may be subject to additional scrutiny before you are allowed to board your flight. That however, is a small price to pay for the ability to at least take your electronics on board.
Minimum connection times at the affected airports will not change.
The release did mention SWISS flights from Zurich, and is asking passengers bound for the USA to show up in ZRH at least 3 hours ahead of departure.
Over the last few days, German media has been reporting a new concept being considered by Lufthansa to further enhance cost savings when it comes to flight operations out of the hubs in Europe.
Lufthansa’s Harry Hohmeister has unveiled plans that will create a potentially new ‘Flexible Routing’ fare that will allow Lufthansa to change already issued tickets for passengers willing to be more flexible in their trip routing.
The reasoning behind this concept will allow Lufthansa to self-direct passenger flow through hubs based on demand and pricing. For example, Frankfurt Airport charges Lufthansa up to 20% more for handling long haul LH flights and passengers than Munich, Zurich, or Vienna charge. Having passengers reroute through lower cost hubs obviously would net a positive impact on LH’s bottom line. In their planning, LH would be able to determine in advance if other hubs and flights have capacity to handle last minute changes. If not, the flex fare passenger would fly their original ticket.
An example could look like:
A passenger books a flight from Chicago to Berlin. The original booking would have the passenger transit through Frankfurt enroute to Berlin. Under a flex routing fare, Lufthansa could re-ticket the passenger a few days before the flight to have them fly Chicago – Munich – Berlin, Chicago – Vienna – Berlin, or Chicago – Zurich – Berlin and thus avoid the extra costs associated with routing a passenger through the more pricey Frankfurt.
Passengers flying under a flex routing fare would be informed days or weeks ahead of their trip, letting them know if their original routing has changed.
Please understand that only a ‘flex routing’ fare class would subject a passenger to a last minute rerouting. Passengers flying on traditional fare classes would not be subject to these kind of changes.
Lufthansa has already sent a ‘shot across the bow’ to Frankfurt by announcing a transfer of 5 A380 aircraft to Munich, thus already reducing capacity at Frankfurt and potentially preparing for the roll out of the new flex-routing fares and increasing capacity in Munich.
In his comments, Hohmeister indicated that passengers agreeing to a flex routing fare would be well rewarded for their willingness to be flexible.
Plans are in place to unveil the new program for Lufthansa and Austrian operated flights at the beginning of 2018.
With SWISS receiving their CS300 aircraft from Bombardier, they’ve updated their timetable to reflect its deployment.
The inaugural flight will take place on June 1 when the CS300 flies from Geneva to London. From there, the CS300 will see nearly 30 cities by October 23.
Here is the tentative schedule as of May 30, 2017:
Geneva – London (LHR)
Geneva – Palma Mallorca
Geneva – Porto
Geneva – Madrid
Geneva – Nice
Geneva – Barcelona
Geneva – Moscow (DME)
Geneva – Malaga
Geneva – Lisbon
Geneva – Pristina
Geneva – Prague
Geneva – Athens
Geneva – Irakleion
Geneva – Zakinthos
Geneva – Zurich
Geneva – Valencia
Geneva – Thessaloniki
Geneva – Olbia
Geneva – Marrakech
Geneva – Catania
Geneva – Corfu
Geneva – Biarritz
Geneva – Brindisi
Zurich – Paris (CDG)
Zurich – Venice
Zurich – Brussels
Zurich – Bari
Zurich – Manchester
Zurich – Prague
Zurich – Budapest
Zurich – Hanover
Zurich – Sofia
Zurich – Palermo
A few weeks ago while enroute back to the States from our Safari trip to Africa, we flew with SWISS and because of our seats, we were able to visit the First Class Lounge in Zurich between flights. You can see what that fabulous Lounge is like in this trip report. To see what a First Class flight aboard SWISS is like when you have the cabin to yourself, read this trip report.
Aside from all the fantastic amenities that you’ll find in the Lounge, my favorite was outside the Lounge. When SWISS designed and built the new Business, SENator, and First Class Lounges inside ZRH’s Terminal E, they took advantage of the real-estate they had to work with and included outdoor terraces for all 3 lounges. In fact, for the hardcore plane spotter, the Senator and Business Class Lounges are actually better for plane spotting since it puts you closer to the runway used for ‘Heavy’ arrivals in the morning. The First Class Lounge however does have an advantage for ‘Heavy’ departures in the late morning and afternoon.
The photos should give you a pretty good idea as far as just how great the vantage point is from these Lounges. Unfortunately the timing of my visit wasn’t ideal for photography. We were in the Lounge from about 6:30a to 9a which meant that most of my shots were taken with the sun still not above the horizon. The fact that it was extremely overcast didn’t help matters much. Fortunately my camera did a stellar job with high ‘ISO’ settings so I was at least able to see what I was shooting!
If for some reason you don’t travel with a suitcase full of camera equipment, you’ll appreciate the high quality Leica binoculars and telescope that is available to guests so they can get up close looks at the birds. There are a few pair of binoculars installed in kiosks found on the terrace (First Class terrace only for the binoculars).
Next year’s trip is going to include outbound SWISS flights so that I can spend 8-10 hours at this new Plane Spotting Mecca……
A 20-year old Single Malt Scotch just adds to the wonderful experience! 🙂