What it's really like flying business class with Swiss
20 December 2013
UPGRADES. We all dream about them, some of us can even tell real-life stories about them. If you're one of the lucky ones to snag a business class seat an economy seat never feels the same ...
WE ALL dream about flight upgrades, some of us can even tell real-life stories about them. If you're one of the lucky ones to get upgraded to business, an economy seat never feels the same.
It's even better when the upgrade happens for a long-haul flight, as it did for me from Zurich to Singapore - almost 12 hours of bliss.
I knew I'd get spoiled, after all, isn't that what business class is all about? What I didn't know was how much because I had never flown Swiss business before.
The route Swiss introduced the Zurich to Singapore daily non-stop service in May 2013.
Pricing Return economy from AUD 1900 all inclusive, return business from AUD 6900 all inclusive
Flight time Just under 12 hours
The plane An Airbus A340-300 with capacity for 219 passengers.
The cabin With an Airbus A340-300 plane there are two business class compartments making up a total of 46 seats. I'm lucky to snag seat 4D in the first compartment. This compartment is better because there are only two rows and nine seats, making it quieter when compared to compartment two with the rest of the business class seats. All of the seats feel super private, but not all of them are the same.
The seat My seat, 4D, is in the first compartment so it's a win there. All the seats are 52.1 centimetres wide, reclining to a two-metre flat-bed. The interesting thing about seats on the Airbus A340-300 is that some are single while others are double, and these are staggered so rows are made up of the two combinations, which makes for extra space in the cabin. Some of the single seats offer more space on the sides, and all of the single seats offer ultimate privacy. That said, all the seats are comfy upright, in lounge position and as a flat-lie bed. A business class seat that can become a comfortable bed is one of the most important aspects for me.
Good food and wine is great, but good sleep - that's gold. And you can choose the pressure on your lie-flat bed - either firm, soft or there's even a massage setting. A sheet-lined blanket and pillow is provided, and when I ask for another blanket my request is quickly fulfilled. Each pod has a decent-sized storage spot for shoes and bags, but because the bed slots down into that level it is a little tricky to get out of the bed without changing it back into a lounge seat.
The food and wine I'm not vegetarian, but often choose vegetarian meals simply because they sound good. I was pleased to see that the vegetarian meal on offer (there were three meals to choose from, including veal with a creamy sauce and barley soup with cured meat) was designed by Hiltl in Zurich - which is the world's oldest vegetarian restaurant dating back to 1898 (I dined there while in Zurich and the food was tops).
The fried eggplant chunks teamed with penne pasta, carrots and tangy Parmesan cheese was tasty. Not quite as tasty as some of the offerings at the real-life Hiltl, but pretty good as airline food goes. There was quite an extensive wine selection for those who choose to drink with their meal. Dessert was a definite highlight. The rye bread and mousse crumble came with an orange compote and the flavours were bang on - it was better than some desserts I've eaten at top-grade restaurants. At the end of all the courses a Swiss box of chocolates was offered around, which I thought was a nice touch. Breakfast was an extensive selection, including bircher (so very Swiss), fresh fruit salad, cold cuts and a variety of egg-based dishes.
The service The Swiss do service proficiently, and it's no different on a Swiss flight. Meals were served promptly, and cleaned up just as quickly. Staff were happy to accommodate other customers with their dining requests (for example, those wanting to eat at a different time) and were quick to bring another blanket when I mentioned I was a little cold (I always freeze on flights and need at least two blankets). In the morning a staff member approached each passenger requiring transfer information to advise of gate numbers. Given I was half asleep and my transfer gate had not been confirmed prior to the flight I appreciated this bit of information that I would have otherwise had to look for on arrival in Singapore.
The conclusion A comfortable long-haul flight made all the better with good service.
The writer travelled as a guest of Switzerland Tourism