Award availability is pretty limited on Swiss Air (for United, US Airways redemption) but if you ever find yourself lucky enough to travel on Swiss’ premium cabins, I highly recommend it! Swiss has one of the best premium cabin products out there and I was lucky enough to find a return flight from Israel via Zurich to Lax onboard their Airbus A340. It’s pretty rare to find award space for premium cabins on travel from the US but you have a much better chance with flights returning to the US from Zurich.
The arrivals lounge at Zurich is amazing but offers limited hours. Like the United Arrivals lounge in SFO, it’s only open from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The lounge is located in Arrivals hall #1, next to Customs, and offers a quiet spa like space, to unwind, eat, shower and prep for your connecting flight. The Arrivals lounge is huge, complete with bedrooms, showers, a full breakfast buffet, wifi, and plenty of work space. Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to walk back to your connecting flight because you do have to clear security again before getting to your gate. No TSA Pre check here guys. Sorry.
On today’s flight, I was onboard the A340-300, equipped with the new First and Business class configuration. All the A330’s have the new First and Business Class but not all the A340’s have the new First yet, so make sure to check your flight on seatguru before booking. The old First is great but the new First just blows it out of the water. The old Business was horrible and I’m so glad for the upgrade.
First Class is tiny with only 8 open suites. Business Class has better availability with 47 lie flat seats configured 1x2x1 or 2x2x1, depending on which row you are in. I was in seat 7D, which was the middle aisle seat in the 2x2x1 row. This was the safer bet for me considering I was traveling solo and didn’t want to get stuck with another random passenger crawling over me to use the bathroom or vice versa. The single “throne” seats are amazing if you can snag one. Because the rows are staggered, you really don’t have anyone next to you and the single seats offers plenty of table space to spread out, ala as close as you’re gonna get to a First Class seat.
The Business Class seats are pod style with your own dedicated space and there’s plenty of storage everywhere, above you, below you, to the side of you and in front of you. The seats are nicely appointed, beautiful and offer plenty of privacy due to the staggered configuration. There’s plenty of table space in between you and the next guy but the actual seats are a little narrow for my taste. When you recline into the bed position, the seat actually lowers itself towards the ground and gives you added privacy due to the fixed armrests. However, because the armrests are fixed, you can’t really “spread out” anymore either unlike the armrests on other products that can be lowered such as United’s Business First seat.
In full disclosure though, I am shaped like a Mountain Dwarf, so I need more width than I do length. Bonus points for this product because the seat is air controlled to adjust for how firm or soft you want it to be. However, I found that it just went from firm to firmer.
The IFE AVOD monitor is a mere 12 inches. That’s about the same size as the monitors on Lufthansa’s OLD business class product and half the size of Swiss’ new 23” First Class monitors. That’s pretty small considering how new this product is and even United’s Business First has 15” monitors. The AVOD was equipped with movies, tv shows, music, airshow and games for your entertainment, although I found the selection to also be a little lacking. Basically, if you can find it at home on RedBox, then you can probably find it here.
USB connectivity, 110v power outlets and individual reading lamps are provided at every seat.
Now the soft product is where Swiss Air really shines. The Flight Attendants were helpful and courteous and the food was amazing. On this flight, we were served a 5 course dinner and a single service lunch. If you’re up in between meals, the Flight Attendants actually walk through the cabin and offer you additional food or drinks. No need to press the call button or climb over your sleeping partner for snacks and refreshments.