Everyone loves to take a peek before flying, and rumor had it that Swiss business class was amongst the best. After giving it a whirl on a series of recent flights, I can say that there is no particular area where Swiss A330 Business Class is “the best”, but the cumulative, solid effort and refined service make it a top way to fly. From the excellent Zurich lounges to the delightful coffee experience on board – here’s everything you need to know about flying Swiss business class.
Zurich Airport is a masterpiece. Fast, cheap and efficient city connections feed directly into the airport, where travelers will quickly find Swiss check in desks. After completing standard check in formalities, we were on our way to the Zurich A gate lounges, where most long haul travelers will experience the Swiss Business Class Lounge.
Like many things about the Swiss business class experience, the “wow” factor may be lacking – but the substance is not. The Swiss Business Class lounge offers a buffet, a cooking station, ample beverage selection, showers, conference areas and lovely runway views.
The state of the art coffee machines made much needed coffees, and even iced lattes. But the rotating cooking station, offering various presentations throughout the day was a treat. Orders are taken and cooked to each guests personal specifications. Wifi was fast and power ports were abundant. It’s a great place to pass time, work or relax.
Swiss A330 aircraft are not amongst the newest in the sky, but they are very nice and well planned. If you have the choice – the Swiss Boeing 777 fleet offers an updated cabin, larger entertainment screens and slightly improved in flight experience. The in flight entertainment screens on the A330 are on the smaller side, but there’s a nice selection of films and television. Certainly enough to pass 16 hours of flying. I highly recommend checking out the new Business Traveller TV series. Fascinating stuff. Seat controls, power ports and headphone jacks are well placed as well. No wow factor, but plenty of “beef”.
Solo travelers should instantly be drawn to the “throne” seats. These coveted, private seats can be selected for free within 48 hours of departure. Outside of 48 hours they are available for purchase, for roughly €79 each way. If, of course, they haven’t been snapped up already. For one flight – we choose row 6, the first row bulkhead. These seats have extra large footwells, which are helpful to tall travelers, or those who rustle in the night! Next, we tested 8A, a throne seat. The privacy was very nice, but it was tough to beat the extra foot room in row 6.
The Swiss Business Class bed is very comfortable. Lovely padding and a decent pillow make for a nice nights sleep. We’d love to see more substantial pillows and duvets added – but these were solid. Thankfully, the Swiss seatbelt’s are extra large, making it easy to move around in the night, with them safely wrapped over your duvet, to avoid waking from the crew.
We flew back and forth to India and found service on our outbound from Zurich to Mumbai to be excellent. At least part of the crew was Mumbai based and offered consistently attentive and informed hospitality. The staff had excellent knowledge regarding wine pairings and were always eager to assist with any concerns. Perhaps it was due to the late departure – but crew on the return flight seemed bored and disinterested, in all cabins.
The Duval Leroy Champagne is a lovely aperitif. The Chocolate Block Red Blend from South Africa is an excellent meal accompaniment and the local Swiss white wines are a unique pleasure. The food however- was just airplane food. The dining highlight was without a doubt the coffee and chocolate service. Swiss has actual Nespresso machines on board, pouring a nice espresso in the air. The crew simultaneously doled out Lindt chocolate for a sweet final touch.
This is a great way to fly, there’s no doubt about it. Swiss is overdue for an update to their aging A330 fleet, but the excellent Zurich lounges, professionalism of cabin crew, solid in flight entertainment and comfy beds make for an experience we’ll gladly undertake again. If we had to be picky, we’d love to see larger entertainment screens, more padded pillows and duvets and a second opinion on catering – but those are first world problems. And in Swiss Business Class, we found very few issues.