Edelweiss Adds Seasonal Service To San Diego

San Diego will see increased transatlantic traffic this summer, as Edelweiss (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Swiss), is adding direct flights between Zurich and San Diego. This isn’t earth-shattering news, but for those of us in San Diego where we currently have a whopping three long-haul flights, this is pretty awesome.

The seasonal service will operate twice-weekly on an A340-300, with the following schedule:

  • Monday | Zurich – San Diego 1:30pm – 5:05pm LX8018
  • Monday | San Diego – Zurich 6:45pm – 3:20pm (+1) LX8019
  • Friday | Zurich – San Diego 2:05pm – 5:40pm LX8018
  • Friday | San Diego – Zurich 7:10pm – 3:45pm (+1) LX8019

Zurich is a fantastically easy airport to connect in, and the flight timings seem reasonable for catching onward flights to other cities in Europe. And for twice-weekly service, a Friday/Monday schedule is pretty much as good as it gets. Edelweiss has historically been successful at operating less-frequent service to leisure destinations, and hopefully that pattern continues.

Edelweiss has lie-flat seats!

Somewhat surprisingly, Edelweiss has an honest-to-goodness business class product, replete with Thompson Vantage seats. Those are the same seats Swiss uses in some of their business class configurations, and while it’s not my favorite business class seat, it’s certainly comfortable.

Swiss-Business-Class-A330-03
Swiss A330 business class with Thompson Vantage seats

Actually, Edelweiss should have the best business class into or out of San Diego, at least in terms of hard product. Condor and JAL both have angled-flat seats, and the only other long-haul business class comes courtesy of British Airways and their love/hate Club World. So that’s exciting.

Using miles on Edelweiss

Edelweiss is a subsidiary of Swiss, but not a full Star Alliance member. That means it’s a little complicated to use miles, as not all Star Alliance airlines allow redemptions on Edelweiss.

In theory, however, you can redeem United MileagePlus awards on Edelweiss, which is theoretically great as there are so many ways to accrue United miles. A one-way business class ticket to Europe would be 70,000 miles, with economy being just 30,000.

I say in theory, because it doesn’t look like a single award seat has been loaded in any cabin as of yet. A few helpful readers have pointed out that Edelweiss essentially never releases award space to partners on longhaul routes. I was under the impression that it was rare, but not impossible, as United doesn’t specify flight number ranges that wouldn’t be eligible for MileagePlus redemptions, but it sounds like it’s not an option at all in practice.

That leaves the Lufthansa Miles&More program. The miles aren’t as easy to accrue as with United, though they are a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest. A one-way business class ticket from the U.S. is just 52,500 miles, and 25,000 in economy (provided you reside in the USA as well), though Lufthansa does levy fuel surcharges on award tickets. So there will be a cash component as well. You will have to call to ask about availability.

Bottom line

It’s always nice to see long-haul flights added to California airports that aren’t Los Angeles and San Francisco, and I’m of course particularly excited about increasing the international routes out of San Diego by a third.

San-Diego-Approach

Hopefully this ends up being more than seasonal service eventually!

Has anyone flown Edelweiss? How was the soft product?

Comments

  1. Any growth at SAN is exciting, but really, I’ll be more excited when more full-fledged carriers start operating long-hauls.

  2. I have never seen award space on any Edelweiss operated flight at all on the UA website. Can I find it anywhere else and then call to redeem?

  3. @Tiffany: Could you please elaborate how you check WK availability with UA miles? Can you give one example where you find any WK seat on any WK route on any date in any classs using UA miles?

    I am asking because even for Miles & More members there is no way of checking availability online anywhere (neither the M&M website nor Experflyer, KVS or the like) since LX has switched to Amadeus in early 2016 – the only way is to call the M&M hotline and have them check availabilty for you. If there was an easier way using ua.com, I would love to hear more about it.

  4. …and to answer the last question of Tiffany’s post:

    Being ZRH based, my family and I have flown WK many times, with the old and the new C product. While the C seat is the same now as on Swiss, just with a different color scheme, service tends to be more attentive and the atmosphere more relaxed. I guess that’s due to the fact that WK serves “leisure” destinations and I imagine the FAs are enjoying their flights almost as much as their passengers. Which FA wouldn’t love to spend a couple of days in MLE or the like between this and their next flight on duty… 🙂

    @Santastico: so what?

  5. @ Von Trapp @ David — Partner space is theoretically available on the UA website, which would then mean it would show on ExpertFlyer, but I rarely see space either. For Miles&More the best option is to call, as I believe they get extra availability.

  6. So it’s all a moot point and the whole sections about “Using miles on Edelweiss” and “Getting United Miles” are really just ads for credit cards?

    If you come back with one example where you find any WK seat on any route on any date in any classs using UA miles / showing on Expertflyer, we can pick up that discussion again.

  7. I haven’t flown long haul Edelweiss however I flew them from Mykonos-Zurich in Business last summer and was very pleasantly surprised.
    I usually fly LX intra-Europe and the soft product was actually better than on LX. There was a menu for lunch (unlike LX which now just has one tray for everyone) and real champagne (from France :P) rather than sparkling/prosecco. Service was very good and they addressed all Business Class pax by name.
    This one is probably worth a review.

  8. Is it really possible to use UA miles on Edelweiss? I doubt it. Could you please research the details and elaborate. Also, other than M&M, which miles is it possible to use on Edelweiss?

  9. @ David — You can book the 7:15AM Zurich to Munich flight on May 1st in either economy or business class on the United website. The same space is available on ExpertFlyer. It’s the first day and route I checked, but we book short-haul flights all the time.

    I’d be happy to put together tutorials on how to use those sites to search space if it would help!

  10. @ echino — It really is, but as I said in the post there isn’t any partner availability on the San Diego route at present, and that’s obnoxiously common on longhaul routes. We book shorter-haul flights all the time.

  11. Tiffany, your example ZRH-MUC is an LX-coded flight, even though it says operated by Edelweiss. It is a Swiss flight for all intents and purposes from award travel point of view. It can be booked by all Star Alliance miles, for example, Aeroplan lets me book this flight. This flight cannot even be booked on Edelweiss website.

    Long haul Edelweiss flights are different. They are WK coded, LX codeshared, and cannot be booked by using miles from Star Alliance partners (Aeroplan, United, etc).

    As far as I know, long haul Edelweiss flights cannot be booked with United miles.

  12. Just called UA and used my in-laws P.I. connection 😉 The representative was super nice and tried several different ways to book the San Diego / Zurich with the awards miles but after 30 Minutes he exhausted all options and told me there is no way at this time to book a flight on this route with award miles.
    Bummer 🙁
    Is there any other way?

  13. @ echino — Hmm. Since it sounds like you’ve spent some time on this before, how would one tell the difference in practice? Both long-haul and short-haul flights have the exact same coding structure in the GDS “LX (WK) ####”. They are never coded separately as WK alone, on any route that I can see. Does it have to do with the flight number range, perhaps?

    I don’t want to mislead anyone, so any information you might have would be super helpful.

  14. @Tiffany: ZRH-MUC is not a WK flight. As echino said, this is a wetlease and can not be booked with a WK flight number, only with a LX flight number. Examples of WK flights: ZRH-TPA-ZRH which can be booked as WK4/5 or LX8004/5 (LX8004/5 with Miles & More miles, but not with any other *A to my knowledge), ZRH-YYC-ZRH WK14/15 or LX8014/15, ZRH-LAS-ZRH WK2/3 or LX8002/3, ZRH-MLE-ZRH WK66/67 or LX8066/67 and so on. See the list of WK destinations here: https://www.flyedelweiss.com/en/pages/home.aspx?departure=ZRH

  15. Tiffany, if it’s WK flight number and can be booked on Edelweiss website, and codeshared as LX8xxx, then it’s not a Star Alliance flight and cannot be booked with United or Aeroplan miles.

    If on the other hand, it’s LX-coded flight (not a codeshare) and has no WK number, and cannot be booked on Edelweiss website, then it’s a regular Star Alliance LX flight operated as a wetlease and can be booked using Star Alliance miles.

    At least it’s my understanding how it works.

  16. @ echino — So flights that start with an “8” are the tell? Like I said, it’s not clearly broken out otherwise. Typically a codeshare flight would have two entries, one for the operating carrier, and one for the marketing carrier, each with separate flight numbers, though of course with the same schedule/details. That’s how the Swiss/Helvetic flights are broken out, as an example.

    In the case of Edelweiss, there is never more than a single entry, so it’s not immediately apparent.

    And thanks, this is helpful.

  17. @ Roman — Ouch, I warned you there wasn’t award space yet (and as others have mentioned it might not happen at all with United).

    Your alternative will be to use Lufthansa Miles&More miles, which can be transferred over from Starwood Preferred Guest. I’ll update the post to make it clear that this is the practical option.

  18. Rumors have it EDW is looking at taking up direct flights from Zurich to Honolulu. (There is only one problem they may or may not be struggling with atm, that being that their configuration on their A340s (27C, 76Y+, 211Y), when fully loaded, won’t be able to make it to Honolulu all the way, while the Swiss Configuration (soon to be: 8F, 47C, 163Y) on the same aircraft as well as their new B77Ws would.) *hint hint*

  19. That was a rumor back in September 2016. However, WK CEO Bernd Bauer said in an interview in December 2016 that there’s nothing to these rumors:

    “Herr Bauer, vor kurzem wurde spekuliert: Edelweiss fliege nach Hawaii. Fakt oder Fiktion?

    Bernd Bauer: Das war ein Gerücht! Wir bekommen mit der A340 zwar neue Langstreckenjets, die haben eine grössere Reichweite als unsere A330er. Aber bis Hawaii reicht es definitiv nicht.”

    Source: http://www.blick.ch/news/wirtschaft/edelweiss-chef-bernd-bauer-erklaert-was-seine-airline-besser-kann-als-die-swiss-bis-hawaii-schaffen-wir-es-nicht-aber-bis-suedostasien-reichts-id5816498.html

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