TRIP REPORT: Swiss, Ljubljana - Brussels via Zurich


Written by Tominc Lenc

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another trip report. This time, I'll be sharing my experience with SWISS from Ljubljana to Brussels.

I decided to go to Slovenia to enjoy my two-month holiday after finishing my challenging school year in Brussels. I spent some time in Izola, on the Slovenian coast, and in the mountains, on Rogla. Thereafter, I went by car to Dugi Otok, a fascinating island on the Croatian coast, with its natural park Telaščica, and the beautiful towns around there. Finally, I returned to Slovenia and spent some days in Ljubljana and Trebnje, before spending two weeks near Maribor.

I had booked my flight on the 28th of February, for €177, 6 months before my scheduled flight. As usual there weren't many options on the 24th of August to travel from Ljubljana to Brussels. There were connecting flights to Munich (LH), Warsaw (LO) and Zürich (LX), and even a nonstop flight with SN, but I opted for Zurich because I really enjoyed the airport when I travelled there five years ago.

Personally, Zürich was also a good choice too, due to the equipment used on both legs (LJU-ZRH and ZRH-BRU) that I absolutely wanted to try: 2 brand-new shiny A220-300s. One of them was due to be operated by Air Baltic.

I was scheduled to depart at 10:55 AM and to arrive at 12:10 AM at Zürich, before departing at 6:15 PM and arriving at 7:30 PM at Brussels.

Ultimately, my flight from Ljubljana was downgraded to an A220-100, and from upgraded to an A321 from Zürich. Wondering why I spent 6 hours at Zürich, instead of just catching the 1 PM flight Brussels? Well, I wanted to explore the airport a little bit and to spot some planes.

With that out of the way, let's jump to my actual journey.

As I said before, my journey began on the 24th of August, at around 7 AM in Ljubljana. I woke up, ate, and had an energising morning walk in the area of Šiška.

At 8 AM, it was already time to leave home, and I walked to the bus stop named »Slovenija Avto/ Remiza«. On my way there, I bought some »Toploteka« and a few »žemlja's« at a Mercator store nearby, to ensure I would not be too hungry for my layover at ZRH. I then proceeded to my bus stop, and called the bus company to ask if I was on the right side of the Klagenfurt street(Celovška Ulica). A lady told me that if the bus stops (if it's not full due to the tourists going to Bled), it will be in the direction of Kranj. I was a little bit worried whether it would stop, but at 8.38 AM, I managed to go to Brnik with an ARRIVA bus, and paid €3,30. At 9 AM, I arrived at Ljubljana Airport.

I directly proceeded to the security check, because I only had a carry-on bag, and the queue was long. After passing the security check and the duty free without any issues, I took some photos on the last floor of an easyJet plane arriving from Gatwick.

Afterwards, I decided to read a Cherub Book on the ground floor, where I found a seat, some peace, and a place to recharge my phone.

At 10:30, boarding started, but I opted to wait until the last call, which eventually came at 10:46AM.

When I boarded the aircraft, I noticed quite quickly that there was not enough place to store my luggage, so I kindly asked a crew member to put it in the hold. That way, I saved up time and money.

Boarding was completed at 10:58 AM, followed by the safety briefing via screens in French, German and English.

At 11 AM we pushed back, and 4 minutes later, our engines started and we proceeded to the runway.

I was quite surprised when I saw we were entering the runway at intersection G, which gave us roughly 1.850 meters to takeoff, not a lot for an almost fully booked A220-100.

As it turned out, we were instead taking off on RW12, backtracking to RW30. That really surprised me, because there was an unoccupied parallel taxiway A that could have been used instead of the runway, but I forgot to ask the pilots for the reason at the end of the flight.

At 11:11 AM (isn't that great?!), we took off successfully from Ljubljana.

We passed above the towns of Medvode and Škofja Loka, and at 11:27, we reached our cruising altitude of FL300.

The inflight service consisted of a bottle of water and a small SWISS chocolate.

I remember that 5 years ago, when I travelled from Graz to Brussels via Zürich also with LX, I even got a sandwich and an extensive free drink selection on both flights!

Similarly, on my previous LH flights (short-haul) back in 2017, I got an extensive selection of free drinks, including Sprite, Fanta, coffee... Sadly, those services are not available for free anymore.

Twenty minutes later, we had already begun our descent into Zurich, and after a completely uneventful flight, we landed on RW14 at Zurich Airport.

We crossed RW10/28 to go to Terminal A, where we came to a stop.

The captain told us that we would have to wait a few minutes because none of the ground handlers were available at the time. It sounded pretty familiar to me, due to the staff shortages happening at big airports.

At 12:22 PM, I was out of the aircraft, and had 5 and a half hours ahead of me to explore the airport and eat my lunch.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to go to the Business Lounge to ask the price, and it was 49.00 CHF, which was a little bit expensive for me.

I made some shots on the A Gates, walked a little past the shops, and then proceeded to the E gates, at around 1 PM.

Swiss A340-300 operating a short-haul flight to Malaga

The E gates, located in the satellite terminal, are meant for intercontinental flights at Zürich Airport. To get there, you need to show your boarding pass and your passport at passport control. I was a little bit doubtful if I could go there, because my boarding pass wasn't issued for such a flight, but I tried my luck and went to passport control. From the booth, a lady asked me for my passport and where I was going. I said Brussels, and we both knew how strange the situation was because it was in the EU and in the Schengen area. Then, she asked me why I was at the passport control, and I said I wanted to go to the E gates. To my surprise, she let me go, and I proceeded to the train. It took me 3 minutes to get to the E gates, while being treated to a short story about Zürich while inside the train.

When I entered the E gates, I felt like it was another airport.

In fact, the seats were significantly better, the gates were more spacious and were equipped with nice Omega clocks.

Almost immediately, I headed to the Observation Deck E, where I would spend my entire layover at Zurich Airport. The weather was wonderful, with a temperature of 37⁰C. I took some wonderful shots of big long-haul aircraft like EK A388, KE B773, QR A35K, and a lot of LX and WK A343s.

Two shiny Edelweiss Air planes taxiing next to each other

Cyprus Airways which may establish a base in Ljubljana

At around 3 PM, I ate my lunch and was just waiting for one more plane to arrive, a SunExpress B737 with Eintracht Frankfurt as livery. It got delayed for around 15 minutes, and it finally arrived at 5:51 PM, just 24 minutes before my scheduled departure.

Immediately after it came out of sight, I sprinted to the metro, missing it by half a second, so I had to wait 2 minutes and 24 seconds before the next one arrived.

It was already 5:55 PM, and I wasn't even in the right Terminal, nor in the right building.

At 6:00 PM, I rushed out of the metro, and I continued to sprint to passport control, and passed it without major issue. I arrived at my gate, A73, at 6:04 PM, with Flightradar showing a 20-minute delay.

Our flight got delayed at the gate, due to incoming passengers from other flights, and then we had to wait an another 10 minutes at the holding point of our departure runway 16.

At 6:50 PM, we took off from Zurich International Airport, and the weather had changed drastically. We were hit by severe turbulence for a few moments, and some passengers were even screaming.

We reached our cruising altitude of FL320, and were served the same »menu« as on the previous flight.

One minute after we were scheduled to arrive, we began our descent into Brussels. The weather was typical for Belgium, very cloudy and not a lot of sun.

At 7:53 PM, we landed at Brussels Airport Zaventem, with a 23-minute delay, which is in my opinion not that bad for a LH group airline. People were applauding after the landing (my guess is because the pilots managed quite well the severe turbulence).

As soon as disembarking started, I went to the cockpit, and I asked the pilots some questions about their career at Swiss.

The captain told me it was his fourteenth year with the airline, and he had accumulated around 8,000 hours, while the first officer had been flying with Swiss for 5 years. They were both exclusively flying the A220s, and we talked a little bit about planespotting at Zurich Airport.

Then, I got out of the aircraft at last and I headed to baggage reclaim. A family member was waiting for me at the parking, which is where my awesome journey ended.

Overall, I really enjoyed this day, not only because of the flights I took, but because of the wonderful planespotting day I had. Out of the 16 airports I've been to, including major airports like Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Brussels and Madrid , I do not remember having such a good experience as I had at Zürich Airport for spotting planes (for free). On Observation Desk E, I had everything I needed, including a food and drink machine, drinkable water, deckchairs, tables, Wi-Fi, and even a recharging place for electric devices. On the terrace, I could even listen to the ATC communications on the tower frequency, so I knew which plane would take off first, due to crossing runways, and some other stuff like the wind direction and speed.

The only minus point I have to give to the observation deck is that you can't see the arrivals on RW14 due to surrounding trees, but I understand it's difficult to make one planespotting point for all the airport's operations.

I'm really glad to see that LX is more and more sending the A320 family to LJU, as well as increasing frequencies.

I hope you enjoyed my second trip report on this website, and as always, I look forward to making more of them in the future.

If you want to see more of my spotting pictures, feel free to follow me on Instagram (bruairspotter).

Happy New Year, and have a fantastic day!

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  1. Anonymous09:33

    it is possible that the taxiway was closed because of renovation works. LJU renovated some of its taxi ways this year so it might be that.

    1. Anonymous10:46

      Could be this?

  2. Anonymous10:56

    Very nice report!

  3. Anonymous11:09

    Great report. Thank You

  4. Anonymous12:14

    What's with the weird political slogans on the Dreamliner?

    1. Anonymous14:06

      I think the plane is owned by a humanitarian NGO

    2. Anonymous14:32

      I guess it is SAUDIA or Iran Air

    3. Anonymous14:52

      Comlux Aruba P4-787

  5. Prepelica13:09

    Thank you Tominc, great report and great photos. Looking forward to your next trip report.

  6. Anonymous14:21

    Great report, thank you.

  7. Anonymous15:52

    Thanks a lot for your report! Just one small comment: The annoying tree line in front of RWY 14 is actually there for a reason. This part of Zurich Airport is a protected nature reserve with one of Switzerland's most significant moorlands. It hosts various rare plants and animals. Crossing this area of the airport is part of the standard airport tour, in addition, the airport even offers specific tours in the area with their “rangers”.

  8. Anonymous17:43

    Does Messi have so little money that he also participates in commercials.....

    1. Anonymous14:12

      well, I guess next time he will have to ask you first..

  9. Anonymous20:20




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