There aren't many domestic routes in my home country of Switzerland, but there's one I've always wanted to fly on. So when a friend invited me to come along on a Zurich-Lugano-Zurich rotation on a standby ticket, I didn't have to think twice. Let's go!

Ah, here she is, the beauty that's gonna take me across the Alps: The swedish Saab 2000!

So here we go then!

To my surprise, the plane (which competes with a train journey of three hours) was almost fully booked - most of the occupants were transfer passengers though.

Yaaay! The first time flying one of my beloved regional airliners in my home country!

Allora, let's go!

Alright, the external in flight entertainment is starting up! Lake Vierwaldstättersee and the mountains of central Switzerland, Buochserhorn, Stanserhorn and Pilatus (from left to right).

Now it starts to get interesting!

While we catch a glimpse of a dam lake called Göscheneralpsee in the foreground, we can see all the way to the Valais region beneath the wing

Here's a little chunck of Italy, the Valle Formazza, with the Valais region in the back once again

We've definitely reached the sunny side of life - buongiorno, bella Italia! Looking at the Lago Maggiore, which it shares with Switzerland

A similar setting while we're about to enter the downwind leg for Lugano airport - notice the yellow/brown square in the upper left corner: Milano Malpensa, the main airport of Milan - so close!

Looking back towards the Alps and the village of Luino

Meanwhile we're heading north again and are established on the approach track for Rwy 01 at Lugano. You can see the lake of Lugano (Lago di Lugano), characteristic mount San Salvatore, and the dam of Melide

Looking at Lugano Heights (or whatever that upscale area is callled) on the slopes of Monte Brè

As you can see, we're not performing a standard landing on Rwy 01. Instead, we continue with a scenic visual circling onto Rwy 19 - perfect!

Here we're already turning onto finals again, with the famous A2 motorway (crossing the Alps north to south) below

On finals. Looking great - and pretty close, too!

Benvenuto a Lugano! After a flight time of half an hour, we've reached the turning point of our adventure...

The pic to proof we were here, albeit short

Barely walked off the plane, we're already joining the queue for the return flight again...

Obviously we've discovered Darwin's homebase

A mere 200 kilometers from home, yet the scenery looks distinctly different. Cool!

With a trace of bewilderment in her eyes, the Flight Attendant welcomed us back on board and we made ourselves comfortable on our window seats again, taking a last shot of the terminal

Here's the map for the way back. Comparing the flying time with the first leg, you will notice that the huge detour caused by the Zurich arrival routes easily doubles the duration of the short flight

No time left to lose then, and 40 minutes after our touchdown we're airborne again. Yay! After climbing out to the south, the anticipated left turn to Zurich allows the anticipated gorgeous views of the Lugano region and its lake. Amazing!

Looking down at the famous cities of Locarno and Ascona

Million Dollar View while we're approaching the Alps again

Back were we started, on the northern slopes of the Alps - including the so-called Rütli in the lower right corner, an important place in Swiss history, where according to legends the Swiss confederation was formed

The time has come to leave the mountains behind, and we're back overhead Zurich...

...where I'm sitting at the moment (at the red dot), writing these lines ;)

Another cabin view - once again a very respectable load factor, mostly caused by passengers transferring onto the longhaul outbound wave at Zurich

Back in the lower areas of our country again - and it tries hard to please, too, with all those colours of spring!

 

And that's where this little adventure comes to an end. Of course, these shots will never be able to do the real deal any justice - the mountains are simply too beautiful! If you get the chance to do this flight, i.e. as a part of a connecting journey, give it a go!

A special thank-you to the person making this possible for me. Merci!

 

GPS-Tracks

Zürich-Lugano

Lugano-Zürich

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