I got a little too comfy at the Swiss Business Class Lounge in Zurich and nearly forgot about my flight out. If not for the lounge attendant who checked me in for the shower, I may have missed my flight altogether. Thanking the attendant, I rushed over to the gate to board. One of the awesome things about the Swiss Business Class Lounge at the E Gates area is that most of the time your flight out is usually not more than a couple of hundred feet away.
Sure enough boarding had almost been completed by the time I got to the gate, and I was the last to board the Airbus A330 to Boston. Swiss has a staggered configuration of seating with alternating seats being closer to the window and closer to the aisle. If you are not familiar with what I’m talking about you can check the seating arrangement here.
Oddly enough I was assigned a middle seat, despite having chosen a throne seat at online check in. I ended up right across from the seat I had originally chosen and noticed that the man seated there was a HON Circle member so maybe SWISS prioritizes these customers? Anyway I wasn’t going to complain about getting a middle seat in business class. Luckily you have direct aisle access at almost every seat in Swiss Business anyway. That is except for the odd numbered, A seats. I would try my best to avoid those….
The business class cabin was absolutely full on this flight with every seat being taken. I’m not a big fan of these seats in general because they are rather narrow, hard to sleep on, and have not so large cubby holes for your feet. I suppose it still beats having to jump over your neighbors to access the aisle. I still consider BA’s business class window seat and KLM’s business seats (review coming up soon) to be a little more comfortable though, despite the lack of aisle access.
The seat did nicely feature a swivel lamp light and a conveniently located power outlet. By the time I got to my seat a water bottle, menu, pillow, and blanket were already there. The dining menu read as follows:
Meal orders were taken before departure. And I ended up ordering the only vegetarian entree on the menu labelled as “Lime Tofu.” The dish was supposedly catered from the renowned vegetarian restaurant: Haus Hitl (the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world). After meal orders were taken, the safety video began to play and we began our push back from the gate.The captain came on to inform of us of our longer than usual 9 hour flying time due to some thunderstorms in the vicinity, which would be requiring us to go around it. He warned us to expect quite a few bumps on the way out.
While we taxied I took a look at the amenity kit bag stowed in the space in front of me. SWISS pretty much defines the word “basic” when it comes to this amenity kit. The bag is somewhat reusable, but the rest of it was pretty much useless and undesirable.
And sure enough the first two hours of the flight were full of severe turbulence. However just after crossing on to the Atlantic Ocean, the ride became quite smooth at which point I whipped out my laptop to get some work done. Swiss Air offers WiFi for a fee (20MB for 9 CHF, 50 MB for 19 CHF, 120 MB for 39 CHF) and it is just fast enough to take care of emails and do some minor surfing. The WiFi itself was spotty throughout the flight and pretty much unusable as soon as we crossed the halfway mark.
After the turbulence subsided, the flight attendants sprang into action for the meal service. Service was courteous and efficient. First there were some cold cashews and macadamias served with your choice of beverage.
Second there was some rather dry salad and some warm yet stale bread rolls. It seemed liked they were being a bit stingy with the bread because no seconds were offered. Not that I wanted more anyway.
Next came the main dish I had ordered, which happened to be the “Lime Tofu.” The dish was served warm and looked nice, but was something I would consider to be bland.
The dessert was perhaps the best part of the meal and even that was average at best. It was the “Yoghurt and honey mousse with strawberry sponge and Bircher muesli popcorn. Personally I would’ve just called it cheesecake with muesli popcorn and a half a strawberry 🙂
Anyway luckily they didn’t keep anyone waiting during the meal service because if there were a wait, it definitely wasn’t worthwhile. After eating I got some more work done before taking a 2 hour nap. Again there was nothing about the seat or the service to really rave about, but it is a flat bed seat nevertheless.
The rest of the flight was pretty much uneventful with there being no other meal service before landing. They did go around offering some chocolate and Movenpick ice cream, but I declined considering the amount of ice cream I had already eaten in the lounge.
We arrived into Boston on time having made up some time on the way over. I breezed through immigration and headed for the shuttle to the Hyatt Regency where I would be spending the night.
Swiss Business Class is perhaps the most disappointing part about the Swiss experience. The hard product is nice enough, but the seats are harder, narrower, and less spacious than the competition. Service on this flight was friendly and efficient, but again nothing to write home about. I do believe that Swiss Air’s sister airline Lufthansa offers a better in-flight experience, but YMMV. The inflight entertainment system was loaded with some movies and few old TV show episodes, but it really wasn’t anything to rave talk about. All the U.S based carriers have better IFEs than their European counterparts.
I would most certainly never hesitate to fly SWISS again given their outstanding ground experience and well because I can’t resist visiting Switzerland again and again. Also don’t forget that when redeeming Aeroplan miles, there are no fuel surcharges when flying SWISS.
Trip Report Index:
Train vs Car: The Transportation Dilemma
Review: The Swiss Transit System – First vs Second Class
The Advantages of AirBNB in Switzerland
Proposed Itinerary for a First Time in Switzerland
Swiss Business Class: Zurich – Boston
More to come soon………