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#AskTheExpert with Annette Mann, Head of Onboard & Passenger Services

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Annette is responsible for the product experience at SWISS and for the lounge and inflight services. She currently coordinates all customer-relevant products and processes during the “restart phase”. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Annette and her team have to adapt numerous products and processes along the entire travel chain, not only because of new hygiene requirements, but also because our passengers’ needs are changing.

How does the onboard experience change on long-haul flights?

The hygiene requirements on board are already very high in normal times, so that after a service check with Swiss medical experts we only had to make relatively few changes. For example, we can no longer present open meals directly at the passengers’ seat or pass the bread basket around, but otherwise we want to continue to offer as much service as possible.

How will the onboard experience change on short-haul flights?

We have reviewed our service processes together with hygiene experts and since this week, we can again offer our full beverage service for all guests. There are still some restrictions on snacks in SWISS Economy on shorter routes, but of course, we’ll have our SWISS chocolates with us as always.

How will the SWISS First onboard experience change due to Covid-19?

At the moment we have to deliver the meal service without the presentation of the starters in the cabin, instead all dishes are prepared in the galley. Apart from that, hardly anything will change – but it could be that there will be some restrictions in the catering supply abroad, so maybe we will have to improvise a little at short notice.

How does SWISS ensure the safety of the passengers on board?

SWISS has further improved its high standards of cleaning and, in collaboration with Swiss medical experts, has adapted all its service processes. Our air filter systems replace the air on board every 3-4 minutes, ensuring air quality similar to that in an operating room. Additionally, we distribute disinfectant wipes and ask all guests and crew to wear mouth and nose protection.

A detailed video explaining the air circulation system in our aircraft can be found here.

When will SWISS reopen the lounges in Zurich and Geneva and how will the service offer be like?

Unfortunately, I cannot yet name a final date. At the moment we are looking at the daily demand from potential lounge guests for Zurich and Geneva. Unfortunately, there are currently only a few of them so that e.g. we have decided to stay in the Aspire Lounge in Zurich for the time being. Nevertheless, we are working hard on a reopening of the lounges – specifically on a food & beverage concept that meets all hygiene regulations in Corona times. Therefore, we are well prepared when it really gets going again. We expect this to be the case by the end of June, or by July at the latest.  

Why is there no obligation for all passengers to wear a mask on board?

Yes, the mask – a very emotional topic for many. We didn’t make the discussion about this topic easy for ourselves at SWISS either. We have now arrived at a very Swiss-specific solution. Throughout the entire Corona crisis, Switzerland is successfully relying on consideration and personal responsibility – and we do so as well. We have therefore made an urgent recommendation to our guests and crew to wear a mouth and nose protector during the journey, especially on board, of course. We now have about one month of experience with this and so far it works well. Therefore we want to keep it that way for the time being.

What are you most excited about in terms of future product developments in the airline industry?

I think that in the next few years we will have to replace some francs that we had in the project budget at that time with a lot of creativity and passion. I see this as a great opportunity, because we can concentrate on what is important and makes the difference for our guests. Why do our guests fly with SWISS and how can we differentiate ourselves from others? We no longer have the means to get bogged down. I see this as a great opportunity both for our guests and for us – be it as a culture or the way we work together.

What were the biggest challenges for you during the past few weeks?

I think the biggest challenge is that much of what was previously a matter of course in daily business life and simply worked without being taken care of every day is now in question. Recently, we have to look at every single step of the process and check it for accuracy. We look at new regulations and hygiene measures, which vary from country to country worldwide. Keeping an overview there is a very big challenge. To provide a high quality and consistent travel experience for our guests will remain our biggest challenge in the coming months.