Every traveller has personal preference when it comes to business class. For some, it’s all about the food, others – the seat, some the booze. Perhaps that’s what makes Swiss Boeing 777 so admirably solid. It would be hard to call this experience the very best in any one regard, yet there are no gaps left unfilled. It’s just a great way to fly.
After reviewing the Swiss Airbus A330, I wanted to check out the airlines flagship Boeing 777-300ER, which flies many of the airlines most sought after routes including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. What I found was a comfort and joy in the precision of this business class offering.
Departing Zurich, Swiss international business class passengers have plenty to keep them busy in the Swiss “E-Gates” business lounge. For plane geeks, there’s one of the best viewing decks to be found anywhere. For foodies, there’s a rotating chefs station, with options including customised pasta, or eggs in the morning. Perhaps most importantly, the wifi is genuinely fast, and there are plenty of areas to find some quiet.
To use the Swiss cliche of clockwork, this flight to Los Angeles boarded right on time, with an orderly queue for first and business class passengers. From the moment I set foot on the plane, I could see that Swiss really “went for it” with this relatively brand new Boeing 777-300ER.
After turning right, I found my seat in the first row of the main Swiss business class cabin. For those seeking extra seclusion, aim for a seat in the first two rows of the 777 business class cabin, which are by far the most private and tend to enjoy the best service as well.
Traveling with a partner, I had chosen seats in the middle of the plane, but as I expected, I was instantly filled with envy as I spied the Swiss “throne” window seat in row 6. As far as business class seats go, it’s fit for a a leading king, or queen. The space is absolutely massive, as evidenced by the fact the row 7 has two seats in the same amount of space!
A common gripe amongst business class passengers is storage, and on the theme of “solidity”, Swiss nailed it on the Boeing 777. The row 6 bulkhead where I was seated offers a shoe cubby, a closable compartment large enough for a purse or bag and a small fold which would be ideal for a laptop. Of course, there’s also the standard overhead bin and plenty of floor space for larger bags too.
Settled in, it was time to test out the comfort, and indeed it is. Even in the upright takeoff and landing position I found the seat to be very well padded, and by lifting a panel in the armrest, I could fully customise a variety of padding and support features. There’s even a massage button. Lots to like.
If I had to be picky, it was actually the “chill out” mode that I found to be least comfortable. The seat performed phenomenally in bed mode, was perfectly nice upright, but I just couldn’t quite get things right in lazy boy lounger mode while watching films. That, or I was getting tired about 8 hours in, and we still had three hours to go. It happens?
As to the pillows and bedding, Swiss gets a solid “B-“. The duvet was more than acceptable and the pillow was far from the worse, but as airlines increase their bedding partnerships with major sleep brands, this is an area where Swiss could gain an easy win by taking things a step further.
Best ever? No. Yet another area where Swiss is incredibly solid with no blind spots? Yes. I love the Swiss entertainment system for its collection of TV boxsets, which are arguably the greatest way to pass time on a flight, and also the steady mix of new release films and old classics. On the Swiss Boeing 777, I also love the larger 16” touch screens, which are a big step up over the A330.
Perhaps the best feature of the entertainment system is that you can browse current offerings online before your actual flight, allowing you to curate your in flight selection long before you get on board. When the day comes where you can save and program all this in before you actually board, life will be very cool.
The incredible fortune and luck of being able to fly business class should never be lost on anyone, but when you do it often enough, many experiences tend to become bland. In part, that’s often because much of the food is exactly that. Faceless, nameless, tasteless and the same, anywhere you go. Swiss is not any of those things.
I loved my meals on this flight as much as any I’ve experienced in business class. Swiss partners with famous chefs to curate menus featuring dishes from celebrated restaurants throughout Switzerland and the results are phenomenal.
What my photo skills (and the dishes) may lack in presentation were absolutely made up for by the unique and delicious tastes. The pork starter was a treat, and the beef short rib, slow cooked in a beautiful and decadent jus was heavenly. The little Swiss touches made them unique, and I just love that.
When it came time for a glass of wine to pair with each course, there were uniquely Swiss options as well. The high altitude riesling was lovely, as was the medium bodied pinot noir, which offered just enough punch to pair with the slow cooked brisket. I could’ve gone for a more obvious choice like a bold South African wine, but there’s something fun about discovery in travel, and Swiss wines are always worth discovering. For any champagne nerds, the airline continues to serve Duval Leroy.
This is such a solid experience, with many treats along the way. I love the ergonomic features of the seat and the increased privacy this Boeing 777 offers versus other Swiss aircraft. As with all my other Swiss flights, I found the crew to be extremely professional and diligent throughout. Don’t expect them to become your best friend forever, but they do their job with intent, which is exactly what you want.
For the long haul destinations this aircraft serves, it’s hard to think of many other business class seats which would offer greater sleep comfort. By any and all means, it’s totally worth aiming for a seat in rows 4 or 5, or paying extra for a window throne seat near the front of the cabin. Even when you’re lucky enough to be in business class, a throne seat like the one found on this Swiss Boeing 777 can send you into envy.