For this flight review, Director ushered the end of a weekend with a Sunday night British Airways hop from Geneva to Heathrow. Did BA733 meet our expectations? Read on…
Switzerland is ranked as the world’s most competitive economy by the World Economic Forum and is a growing hotspot for British businesses.
With a population of just 8 million packed into a country half the size of Scotland, links with the UK are surprisingly strong. It is our eighth largest export market, with British businesses expected to sell around £30 billion worth of goods and services a year to Switzerland by the end of the decade.
A multilingual, highly-skilled and international workforce may make doing business in Switzerland easy, but it’s certainly not cheap. In January, the central bank shocked markets by abandoning their currency peg with the euro, the price of the franc (CHF) surged, and all of a sudden the pound was worth 20 per cent less. It’s recovered a little since then, but a few days doing business in Geneva, will leave even well-heeled travellers coming back noticeably lighter.
Director flew with British Airways Euro Traveller to see what the cheap seats on the business-friendly route had to offer.
British Airways check-in and security
On a sticky Sunday afternoon, it was a relief to see no queue at the British Airways check-in desk. A busy weekend had left no time to print off boarding cards before getting to the airport, but if you’re travelling with checked baggage, the old fashioned method of checking in was just as quick as the bag drop only desk. British Airways allows Euro Traveller (economy) passengers one bag of up to 23kg, and you can take a cabin bag of 23kg along with a large personal bag onto the flight – more than enough for those of us who haven’t mastered the art of travelling light. Security was less of a breeze, with a 10 minute wait to pass through one of only two scanners which were open, despite the queues. (7/10)
In what must have been a bid to avoid confusion, Geneva airport scheduled the three flights which were heading to London within 20 minutes of each other to depart from the same mini-terminal. Unfortunately, this meant the holding room we were shepherded into was far too crowded, not just with passengers but flustered airport staff and competing boarding announcements. Once on the plane, British Airways cabin crew tried their best to make up for the lost time and inconvenience, putting cabin bags away for passengers and directing us to seats. (4/10)
Failing to check-in before arriving at the airport left Director last in line to pick a seat. On a sold-out flight this meant no windows or aisles were up for grabs. Nevertheless seat 10B was spacious enough, and some clever headrests with their own wings ensure those who like to drift off don’t disturb their neighbours. The cabin’s smart lighting system and overhead monitors displaying the flight’s progress seemed a little unnecessary, but were a reassuring feature to show the BA Euro Traveller package is aimed squarely at time-sensitive business passengers. (8/10)
Food and drink was served promptly on the hour and a half flight. A light chicken wrap and a good choice of complementary beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks left passengers refreshed and well-hydrated as we approached London Heathrow. (7/10)
The landing was smooth, on-time and hassle-free. Within a few minutes the gangway was in place and with a friendly welcome back home from the BA crew, it was into Heathrow’s Terminal 5. After a 20-minute wait at passport control, it was more than a little frustrating not to be shown a carousel number for checked baggage for another 20 minutes, meaning getting from the tarmac to the car park took nearly as long as the flight. (5/10)
In the hands of British Airways, the short hop from Geneva to London is easy and comfortable in economy class, with great luggage allowance and service you’d expect from a proud flag-carrier. Poor planning from the airports at both ends, however, meant the whole experience was a little more stressful than ideal for a Sunday evening flight home. (31/50)