February 01 2010
My waning love affair with luggage has been reignited. Ever more intrusive airport security and inconsistent check-in rules had dampened my ardour, and I was in danger of emulating my brother's Zen approach of travelling with just passport and paperback. But where is the fun in arriving – and remaining – in the clothes you stand up in?
So it was a joy to discover an airline with a more civilised approach. Swiss International Air Lines allows passengers on its surprisingly extensive network to check in a pair of skis and poles (or a snowboard) plus boots in addition to a suitcase weighing up to 20kg (or a massive 30kg in business class). Without charge.
Better yet, luggage can be checked all the way through to your resort’s railway station using Swiss’s Fly/Rail scheme. SFr20 (about £12) per item seems a small price to avoid humping gear on and off trains. For the return journey, helpful station staff (and when did you last encounter them outside Switzerland?) at more than 50 railway stations will handle airport check-in, including seat allocation, in addition to checking bags through to your home airport.
Sure enough, our cases were on the carousel after we landed at London City, invariably a more pleasurable airport to use than Gatwick or Heathrow.