Trip report: To Zurich on a runabout

April 27th 2019, 18:44 | Written by Konstantin Koll

I had the pleasure to ride the new Airbus A220 (or Bombardier C-Series for that matter) on a weekend trip to ZRH a few weeks ago.

The Airbus A220

The Airbus A220 was developed by Bombardier for nonstop flights between secondary airports in North America or fully loaded flights from LCY to sun destinations. Swiss has already received 27 of their 30 aircraft on order: 8 CS100 and 19 CS-300 (now named Airbus A220-100 and -300). I was a bit surprised at first when news broke that Airbus had aquired the entire C-Series program from Bombardier. It makes perfect sense in retrospect, though: the A220 is great at rounding Airbus' aircraft portfolio. It's also a very modern clean-sheet design, and I bet that Airbus will bring some the improvements like haptic sidestick feedback or battery powered autopilot over to their other models.

DUS-ZRH

I had to go on a short business trip to ZRH a few weeks ago, and settled on Swiss for both flights. Most flights on the DUS-ZRH route are operated by the new Airbus A220 these days.

I arrived at DUS on time, but was greeted by a very long queue at the checkin desks. There was a lot of renovation going on, which will probably be finished in time for the summer holidays, so everything was very cramped and crowded. After queuing for almost 45 minutes, checkin itself was a breeze and I got rid of my small bag for the weekend. I grabbed some breakfast and went straight to the gate at the lower level. Today's flight would departure from a remote stand, so all passengers were bussed to the aircraft.

The Airbus A220 is really tiny compared to even the Airbus A320 series. From the outside, it looks much more like a regional jet. It is, however, surprisingly roomy on the inside with Swiss' 2-3 seat layout. I was impressed by the clean new interior, and really like the small overhead displays with the airshow! It leaves enough room in the slim seat backs for the safety card and inflight magazine while saving a lot of weight compared to the seatback displays on longhaul aircraft.

Our flight departed with a few minutes delay. Taxiing next to a Eurowings Airbus A340 definately puts the A220's size in perspective! I was also genuinely impressed by the takeoff rotation and climb rate: the engines are a true powerhouse and make the Airbus A220 a very nice runabout for short routes.

The inflight service that morning was great, as I would expect from Swiss. A small sandwich, a drink and a piece of chocolate was all that I wanted. After about an hour, we descended into ZRH with a spectecular view of Switzerland and the Swiss Alps as Zurich's backdrop.

ZRH-DUS

Zurich is a really nice city, and I enjoyed an afternoon of warm and sunny weather—hopefully a glimpse of the summer to come. After conducting business on Sunday, I had to fly back home on Monday in time for some jaw surgery the next day. I booked my return flight for a pleasant departure time around noon, giving myself enough time to explore ZRH after checking in. The airport has a really nice selection of shops and restaurants, so I enjoyed a hearty breakfast, bought some magazines and went to my gate. I really like that Swiss offers loads of free newspapers and magazines, including aviation and computer magazines!

The return flight was rather uneventful: all passengers were bussed to the aircraft on a remote stand. Boarding was a breeze, and after some really long taxiing to the runway, we rocketed out of ZRH. The A220's performance reminds me of the Boeing 757—a seriously overpowered aircraft.

I was in a rather sleepy mood that day, so there is little to say about the inflight service. Before I knew it, we descended into DUS where we arrived on a remote stand once again. It was a great trip overall, I really enjoyed the small runabout named Airbus A220, and am looking forward to visiting Zurich again for a longer stay—maybe as a stopover when returning from a longhaul flight on Swiss one day.

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