Jeritilley A picture is worth a thousand words..

Posts tagged “Swiss

The worm has turned (at least for today)

Thought for the day….”When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

“A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind.”

I recently flew with Lufthansa from Oslo via Frankfurt to Zurich.    Apart from the usual rush to get onboard and the usual problem to get space in the overhead luggage bins, the seats on the A320 seemed even closer than before.   But the real insult was the ‘meal’ that was served onboard.  This is what Lufthansa, one of the legacy airlines, served as the ‘meal’….

And not only that insult, but the coffee was served in micro size cups too (the watch is in the photos to give an idea of the small size) –

and the ‘dinner’ on the leg to Zurich was 20g, yes 20g of dry crackers.   Again, no refills of coffee offered, despite the small size.   I had paid an ADULT fare, yet was given these micro sized portions.   Can you believe 20g ??  Lufthansa have also been devaluing the air miles on flights too, so I wonder what is the point in paying extra to fly with the legacy carriers when the service has fallen this much???

BUT fast forward to my next trip to Zurich 3 weeks later.   I am lucky to be able to choose a lot of the time, so due to Lufthansa becoming less good, I chose the German Railways train instead.   What a breath of fresh air. No check in 1 hour before departure.   I could get onto the train carrying tubes of toothpaste, a Swiss army knife and liquids without anybody worrying.   The seats had lots of space.  I could take my own baggage (and be sure that it was going to travel with me on the same train).    The staff on the train were excellent, the coffee in the restaurant car good and in normal sized cups.    I had space to walk around, I had comfortable seats and there were films and TV programmes to watch on the DB entertainment channels.    Despite a much longer journey time, it seemed much faster than flying.  I arrived feeling good, relaxed and that I had enjoyed the journey.    We tend to forget that the train can be a great way to travel.    Just because air travel is fast does not mean that it is good, or that it is the only option.   The train down through Germany was so good that I am not considering using the train for many more future trips.    To quote a great British railwayman (Peter Parker) ..”this is the age of the train”.    Perhaps if airlines continue to pack people in and treat passengers as an inconvenience, then more and more people may discover the train.

No prizes for guessing where the photo below was taken…..yes, a souvenir shop !!   Typically Swiss.  Taken with the Fuji X-T20 camera together with the excellent 35mm F2 prime lens.

and another photo from the archives…..bright colours in Cape Verde Islands….




Now it is SWISS airlines turn.

Thought for the day…”It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

“The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.”

More evidence of how bad things are getting for Economy Class passengers.   SWISS airlines have now announced that on routes to/from Geneva GVA, that passengers on the cheapest economy tickets will now only get free water.  Gone are the  (included) meals and tea/coffee for those travelling on the cheapest fares.   So given that SWISS airlines are using aircraft such as the Airbus A320, the same as some budget/Low cost carriers (LCC) are using then what is the point of paying extra money to fly with SWISS airlines??   Seats and interiors are very similar, and both are going for a buy-on-board system, flight times are very similar, and increasingly, departure and arrival airports are the same.    So the legacy carriers believe that people will continue to pay higher prices for the same service as on a budget airline?  Not me for one.  Airline managers may have looked to the USA and have been inspired by what airlines there have been able to get away with, but I am drawing the line now.    With SWISS airlines announcing these cuts to basic economy tickets (not to mention the devaluing of the frequent flyer points system), I may end up flying a budget airline such as Wizzair in future.   No point to pay more money for the same service.  At least the budget airlines do not try and pretend that they are full service airlines.  Swiss airlines have gone too far with the latest cuts.

A black & white for for the picture today, one from Iceland taken in 2005.

and another photo from the archives…early morning on the lakefront in Pembroke, South Island, New Zealand.



Worse service on the airlines, and more to come

Thought for the day…”The envious man grows lean at the success of his neighbour.”

“Hope is such a bait, it covers any hook.”

It is amazing that so many people are still choosing to fly with airlines, as a new round of cuts in services are leaked in the press.  The Hong Kong based  Cathay Pacific Airlines has announced that it too will follow the trend and squeeze in 10 across seating on its Boeing 777 services (the aircraft was designed for 9 across, so the change to 10 across will mean even less shoulder room).  There is also talk about going to 11 across onboard the A380, with the same result, less shoulder room for passengers.  And following on from that announcement, it seems that the Lufthansa group will move towards a ‘buy on board’ system for food.   It is being trialed at the moment, and apparently SWISS airlines (part of the Lufthansa group) are also going to trial a buy on board system.    Here is an example of one of the ‘meals’ that was served on a Lufthansa flight not long ago…about 100g of cheese and bread.   No plate, no meat and no other food.

So even before they start charging for food onboard, then they had almost cut out the included ‘meals’.  Earlier there was the news that British Airways were going to reduce the seating pitch onboard, meaning that their passengers would have LESS leg room than those on Ryanair.    And Lufthansa have also followed the trend by squeezing in more passengers on their new Airbus A320 NEO aircraft.   They have also removed one of the toilets (to fit in more seats) and made the remaining toilet even smaller.   Less leg room, less shoulder room and now even less food onboard.     The airlines mileage/frequent flyer programmes have been devalued so much that they are now virtually worthless, so the question is, is there any point now to choose one of the original airlines over the budget alternatives? Seems not.   You often have to pay for checked-in baggage, advance seat selection and a higher basic ticket price on thee traditional airlines anyway.    So why choose them?????

In most other businesses, giving a poorer service would usually drive people away, but it seems that the airlines are an exception.   Poorer service now, but still increasing numbers of people wanting to fly.  One thing is sure, the airlines that have increased the seating to 10 across on their 777s will not be seeing me onboard.   The limit has been passed.  Economy class has become a test of endurance, and is far from a pleasure now.

Staying with the theme of aviation, a photo that is now history, an AirNewZealand 747, seen here at Brisbane airport in Australia in 2004

and another photo from the archives….a local man in Southern Oman….



Squeezed all ways

Thought for the day…”A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer”.

” Those who do not learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them”.

I was sad to see that one of my favourite airlines, SWISS Airlines, is falling into the trap that some other airlines have already slipped into.    Swiss Airlines, who are normally very good, have announced details of their new cabin layout for the 777 W aircraft.    As one of those people who travel economy, I was sad to see that they are going to squeeze in 10 abreast economy seating (3+4+4).    Airlines such as Emirates had already done this, but now Swiss are going to as well.  Not only are economy class passengers squeezed for leg room, but now they are also going to be squeezed for shoulder space too.    Add to this the fact that Swiss (part of the Lufthansa group) also charge for selecting a seat in advance (25 euros approximately for each long haul flight), then the benefits of paying more for this airline disappear.    I have so far avoided airlines which squeeze 10 abreast seating on the 777, and it will certainly influence my choice of Swiss in future.   10 abreast is just not pleasant for a long haul flight, and a charge of about 25 euros to reserve a seat is just another nail in the coffin.

Two photos in black and white showing the city centre in Bergen, Norway.    As it was a dull day, then switching to BW was the answer..



The trend is spreading……more extras from the airlines…

Thought for the day…” Common sense ain’t common”

” If you do not fight for what you want, then do not cry for what you lost”

I have had many good flights with Lufthansa.   Sometimes they have problems, but they are usually very good at trying to sort alternatives out.   Same thing with Swiss Airlines (now also part of the Lufthansa group).    So I had been loyal to them for a long time, and generally very happy with the service and fares.  But it appears that they have now gone the same way as airlines in the USA and also the European budget airlines.   Sad to see that they are now charging for seat reservations (up to 25 euros each flight for long haul for a basic seat).   Not only that, but Swiss airlines are now offering a bag-only fare (to Geneva), ie. if you want to travel with a check-in bag then you must pay more.    And Austrian Airlines are offering Economy passengers the chance to enjoy a better meal on payment of an extra 15 euros.  And KLM (part of Air France), who I refuse to fly with on the grounds of previous bad flights and bad customer service, add in extra charges for paying by credit cards, and also an extra fee of 25 euros if you book by telephone, as well as an extra 15 euros if you check in a bag.   And if you want an economy ‘Comfort’ seat, (are the other seats called discomfort seats on KLM?) with UP TO 10 cm more space, then KLM give you the chance to pay between 5 and 160 euros EXTRA for the UP TO 10cm extra.   And the final straw…..Wizzair airline is also charging for carry-on baggage.

So the quality airlines are copying the budget airlines, and the lines between them become less clear.     But the trend does not stop with airlines.   Swebuss, the Swedish long-distance bus company is offering passengers who pay extra the chance to board the bus first.  Viking Line, the Finnish ferry company that operates around the Baltic is giving passengers even more chances to pay extra…..extra charge to reserve a window seat in the restaurant, extra charge for late check in with a car, extra charge for priority disembarkation with a car etc.

People used to mock Ryanair because although the basic fare was cheap, everything else was extra.    That was the standing joke.  Now it seems, that bus companies, ferry companies and even quality airlines are all going the same way.  You pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say….

Today’s photo comes from Interlaken, near the centre of Switzerland.  A paraglider frames the 4158m Jungfrau mountain in the Bernese Oberland in  Switzerland.  If you are feeling energetic, then you can enter for the annual Jungfrau Marathon, which is run uphill.  One nice touch is that they have Swiss chocolate at the refreshment points during the race.    No doubt that the runners will need a lot of chocolate to run the 42 km uphill.


and another photo from the archives…capturing the moment in Korea…



Blue skies and green meadows – Switzerland at it’s best.

Thought for the day….” When you fish for love, bait with your heart”.     ” You cannot cross the sea by merely standing and gazing at the water”.

A classic photo from Switzerland for the photo today.  The photo was taken in the village of Kandersteg, near the centre of Switzerland.   Located at about 1200m altitude, it is surrounded by the Bernese Alps which rise to over 3600m.    Tourism is highly important here, and it is both a winter (skiing) and summer (hiking & climbing) destination.  It is also the home of the international Scout centre, with over 11 000 Scouts visiting each year.    Despite having 4 official languages, Swiss-German is the most prevalent, with around 65% of the 7.3 million residents speaking it.  One piece of trivia….there are now more Starbucks coffee houses in Switzerland than banks.   And Switzzerland has the highest consumption of chocolate per capita in the world…..11.6 kg/capita a year.    As the saying goes…9 out of 10 people like chocolate, the 10th person was lying.


And a photo out of the archives….soldiers on parade in Copenhagen, Denmark.



Finals to land, colourful – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Those who forget where they came from, tend to get lost where they are going to”.

” Beauty might bring happiness, but happiness always brings beauty”.

Now it is part of everyday life, but only 111 years ago, flying was new.  The Wright Brothers’ first flight could have been performed within the length of the cabin of a 747 jumbo jet.    And before 1926, a person could fly an aircraft without a license.  Soon after the first flying licenses started, Ellen Church became the first stewardess in 1930.   Although an Airbus A320 is pictured below (from the Swiss company Edelweiss Air), the largest Airbus, the A380 is over 72 metres long and weighs around 590 tons.   When flying, the 4 engines on an A380 have a working temperature of 3100 degrees, whilst the actual aircraft is made up of about 4 million parts.    It also takes around 3600 litres of paint to paint one!

If you are wondering about the flower painted on the aircraft, the Edelweiss, it is normally found between 1700 and 3000 m altitude in the Alps, although some forms of Edelweiss are found much lower down in the Artic regions.  It can be used to make an oxidant-rich tea, and also can be used as sunblock or moisturizer.    And the flower was used in the Rogers & Hammerstein musical, Sound of Music.


And a photo from the archives…. a girl from Swaziland, Africa. Great neutral light for this photo, and a subject who was a natural.



Face with a story – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…”Life is not measure by the number of breaths we take, but by the moment that take our breath away”

“Don’ t tell me sky is the limit when there are foot-prints on the Moon”

Did you see the story from Switzerland that Starbucks are going to open an outlet on a Swiss train?     Starbucks is growing very fast (over 3000 new outlets planned in the US alone), and already has over 18000 shops.   There are even 255 in New York alone.   The coffee served onboard Swiss trains from the mobile trolleys is good already, so I wonder how well Starbucks will go down.

Another China photo today, but this time from Yunnan province and a shot from the weekly market in Shaping.   Very easy to get photos like these at these markets, as there are so many people in different tribal costumes, and it does not take long to get a shot like this.   The background was deliberately made out of focus to concentrate interest on the face.   A cloudy day produced bright, even light, and a bit of cropping has removed distractions from the edge of the photo.   How long will it be before it becomes impossible to get photos like this?



Photo of the Day Thursday 20th June 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day….”Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.” Amelia Earhart.

“Beware of little expenses.  A small leak will sink a great ship.”

A nice photo of the lake at Iseltwald, Switzerland today on an early autumn day.  Switzerland has a wonderful system where citizens can (if they can raise 50 000 signatures) ask for a national vote on any law that they do not like.   There are 26 cantons in Switzerland, which function like small states.   One record that Switzerland holds is for the world’s longest staircase, which has 11 674 steps, alongside the Niesenbahn funicular.   Zurich often comes tops in the list of most liveable cities in the world, although Geneva also scores highly.   It also has the second highest life expectancy in the world (Japan is top).   The highest mountain is the Monte Rosa (Dufourspitze) at 4634m, although the Matterhorn is more famous.   It is said that Patek Philippe invented the world’s first wristwatch in 1868.   And Switzerland is also the home of the world’s best chocolate !!



Photo of the Day Saturday 27th April 2013 – Not the Quality Spa Resort Hotel, Norefjell.

Thought for the day…” Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice”

”  Happiness is not how much you have, but how you enjoy it”

“The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open”.

Helvetia is the latin name for Switzerland, and the Conferderation Helvetia is where the initials CH come from.  Switzerland borders 5 other countries, France, Austria, Italy, Germany and Liechtenstein.   Home to chocolate, the first chocolate bar was produced here by Francois Callier in 1819.   And the photo today is of a lake steamer on the Brienzersee, seen here at Iseltwald.