Some people say that Switzerland is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, but the truth is that the Swiss are not so expensive and they certainly understand quality service.
Your correspondent has just spent 27 hours travelling from Hainan, China, via Hong Kong, to Zurich, before a 3 hour flight to Helsinki.
Any traveller will feel tired and sticky after 27 hours imprisoned in airports and in an uncomfortable airline seats. An upgrade to Premium Economy in Cathy Pacific was worth every penny, but still the idea of a 6 hour wait in Zurich without a refreshing shower and breakfast seemed unacceptable.
What did Zurich have to offer?
Unlike Helsinki, there are dozens of good restaurants and coffee shops, all competing with reasonable prices and quality for custom. The restaurants are not big company franchises that have been granted to a single monopoly, as in Helsinki Airport, but there is a nice selection of very different local and foreign foods.
It was a difficult choice to find the perfect one, but before that, the offer of a shower and shave at the Transit Hotel was wonderful. The shower was clean and the water hot and refreshing – and only for €15, a quarter of the price offered in Hong Kong.
… and the best was the water fountain – as you can see, people were actively enjoying this free service of cool, fresh water, instead of having to buy a plastic (polluting) bottle at the awful price of €2.5! If half of all the passengers just used the fountains there, they would save €20 million each year…
How many times have passengers complained about Helsinki Airport’s policy of selling the most expensive bottled water just because the airport, owned by Finnish taxpayers, can can earn an extra profit from renting all the space to some faceless international conglomerate, instead of selling Finland’s great brand of clean and fresh water in Finland’s most important point of entry.
Over the last decade, the government, Finnair and Business Finland have spent millions on consultant reports to polish Finland’s brand… and yet what happens 10 minutes later is that they sell out to some “Duty Free” Chinese organisation who is given a monopoly to sell expensive and polluting bottled water to unsuspecting passengers.
So just think that Helsinki and Zurich have almost the same number of passengers – that means passengers in Helsinki would also save €20 million…