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Needs a New Management
Jul 11, 2001 01:01 PM 11422 Views

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To the SwissAir Customer Service Staff and my Fellow members.

This is about my recent trip from Atlanta to Bombay via Zurich, Switzerland. I had taken Swiss Air out of Atlanta. Lets start with the SwissAir counter in Atlanta - It was a mess. The SwissAir staff struggled to smile. There were few people with over-weight luggage and they stood right there trying to move things from one bag to another while the staff watched them do it. The staff did not care to check on the people waiting in line. Atlanta is one of the busiest airports in USA. There is not much place to stand and if the line grows too big, with the help of the Indian crowd, it looks like a Fish Market. After waiting for an hour and half, my family (there were five of us) reached the counter with our bags. I checked in my first bag at which I was rudely asked `is it less than 70 pounds`, and I gave a polite reply.. that all of the bags were less than 65. This made that person really happy. All of sudden, he was all smiles!

I could understand the frustration. I guess us Indians should understand that 70 pounds is 70 pounds and not 71 or 72. Our boarding passes were then issued in the next two minutes and we were on our way to the gate.

Once we were at the gate, the boarding had already started. There was no order whatsoever to board (normally they board by seating assignments so that people do not have trouble seating and finding place to keep their bags). People, i.e. desis just rushed to the gate (maybe they thought the plane would leave without them). I do not blame them as SwissAir barely made any formal announcement for boarding by seat assignments. Anyways I somehow got in the line and found our seat. We did not have much trouble finding space for our carry-ons. Once on our seat, we got comfortable.

Our first round of refreshments came after a loooong time. They had a bottle of water for all their passengers in one of those seat pockets. One would prefer a chilled glass of water in this heat rather than a bottle of not warm but HOT water. I called the airhostess for a glass of water. I had to wave, dance and trip one of them to get their attention. Finally I was gifted with a cold glass of water in a vodka glass (those small ones?). Ahh how happy I was. I asked for a bottle of COLD water in frustration, which I received after 35 minutes. We had all ordered special Indian-Veg meals. While I was taking a nap on the extremely uncomfortable seats, I heard a loud noise of things falling on the ground. Well an airhostess had just dropped a cart loaded with food on the floor and on some of the passengers. It made me think that some of the passengers were going to go without food this afternoon and I smiled. The passengers did receive an apology, as their trousers now smelt like pasta. They did not receive any compensation whatsoever.

I wished she had spilled the food on me; I was just looking for an opportunity to spit my anger on one of those flight attendants. Everyone was being served food. We were served some non-veg meals and I alarmed her that we had requested special meals. I got a fierce reply 'Did you not see that we dropped a lot of food!’ That totally pissed me off. I replied, 'I feel sorry for you but that sure does not mean that I will go hungry for the next 5 hours and if I happened to fall sick in that time, boy you are calling for trouble at my next stop'. By this time she knew who she was dealing with. Ahh we were all served with some nice veggie meals. The person next to me even asked if he could get the same meal rather than the crap (toast and butter) that he was having for lunch. She also offered me some Vodka to take home with me which I declined. There was some in-flight entertainment that did not match my taste at all. They were screening 'Chocolat' and '101 Dalmations' none of which matched my taste. I had taken other airlines such as Air France and their in-flight entertainment gave me much more options than that of Swiss-Air's.

We then landed in Zurich after our 7 hour long flight. For a second, I could not believe that I had landed in an airport because that place, frankly, looked worse than a railway station/ subway. No signs o where to go, whatsoever. Barely any attendants to guide you. I got hold of one SwissAir rep. And asked her got the gate no. for my connecting flight to Bombay and she said that she would not know it and I would have to stand in a line at the information desk. Apparently that’s how things worked at the Zurich Airport – A person would not know his gate no. until the flight had landed. This was totally NUTS. There was no place to sit at all. People were sitting on the floor like they do on Indian Railway stations. After sitting for 3 hours on the Swiss Floor, I came to know the gate at which my flight was arriving. Once I got to the gate, the people had started boarding and there was no order in which one could board. No sign of queues, people just rushing to get in the airplane as if it would leave them.

Once in the flight, I got comfortable on my seat. This was one of the dirtiest and ill maintained flight I had ever traveled on. I sure did not expect this from a ‘SWISS MADE’ airplane. The seats were extremely uncomfortable, there were no personal entertainment systems or radios. I felt like I was in a third class train compartment. The crowd was also not the best. I came to know that this flight was also a partner flight for an Air India jet.

I thought that we paid extra dollars just to get the right crowd and the right hospitality. An Air-India ticket would cost me $1000 while that of SwissAir would cost me $1600. I paid those extra bucks for which was worse than that I would have received in AirIndia or Aeroflot. The attitude of the Airhostess changed as she was dealing with Indians.

Overall my flight was not what I expected from SwissAir. If they need to stay in the market, their staff would need training from Americans on how to SMILE and be POLITE. They need to learn how NOT to say NO to anything. They need to have better aircrafts in the Zurich to Bombay leg.

Only after these modifications, I would want to travel on SwissAir again.

I am going to Fax this review to SwissAir and would update MouthShut members when the customer service staff responds. In the meantime, please cross your fingers

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