Swiss A340-300 BusinessBack to Forum
Anonymous7 May 2014
Zurich – Bangkok return, Business Class
On outbound, connecting flight from LCY landed early, affording an easy transfer to the E pier in Zurich. Panorama lounge was disappointing; very little food or drink options, noisy and full due to many late evening departures. This was a surprise, as I’ve used the lounge before, albeit earlier in the day when the balcony was open and afforded great views of the runway and extensive food choices. Fortunately did not have to linger long. Boarding was quick and priority channel was properly managed. Return from Bangkok, connecting from Yangon again to a very noisy and crowded Thai lounge. Star Alliance Gold status does not grant access to Thai first class lounge. Again fortunate not to linger. Boarding extremely quick, as by the time we got to the gate, it was last call. And then had to wait for 20 minutes in order not to arrive in Zurich before the night time ban ends. Greeted personally by the purser as a senator, for whatever that is worth.
My first time in Swiss business, and a definite improvement from my multiple experiences with the dreaded angled LH seat. Generally 4 or 5 abreast, giving the much less condensed feel to the cabin than the usual 6. Chose 5A and 5B, which are the only window/aisle combo in the first mini-cabin, which consists of just two rows. If you are a single traveller, 4A is first row of business and gives you two large armrests, creating “throne” like seating. Seat itself is relatively comfortable in seating position; improves the more you recline, until fully flat, which I felt was very comfortable and I slept for a significant part of both night flights. The only down side is a bit of galley noise, as it is right behind row 5 (although the toilets are fortunately not nearby).
Relatively uninspiring. Curiously the menu card extols the food and drink of the Appenzell region of Switzerland, including the ice wine, however, they do not offer any ice wine, nor anything else from the region that I could find. You are given a tray with a starter, salad and cheese already plated. Salad both ways is simply lettuce, the cheese rubbery and devoid of taste. Flight attendants did work hard on the return to get the meal service completed quickly as the departure was very late, to minimise disruption. Otherwise, very little topping up of drinks or checking on how passengers were doing. Asking to sample the wines on offer (two red and two white) seemed unimaginable and took repeating to actually get a taste of each (quality was nothing exceptional of any of the whites tried). Breakfasts, however, were delicious, as Swiss manage to make eggs in the air something more than a rubbery yellow mess.
Average size screen and quality and selection of films and tv. Although AVOD, system is difficult to use to forward or rewind. Good quality headphones with noise cancelling. Annoyingly, Swiss have 10 minutes of ads you must sit through when the system is powered up.
This is where I felt Swiss let the side down. Service was efficient, granted, but hardly memorable or even enjoyable. I felt that English was a real struggle for some of the attendants; often after having spoken once or twice, they never remembered to speak English. This is not in itself problematic, but it did get a bit frustrating trying to make oneself understood, even to the point of pointing out dining selections on the menu card, as otherwise there was no recognition of whether I was being understood. I’m not sure how many attendants were working the business section (full both flights), but they seemed hurried, although I can’t tell whether that’s their demeanour or they actually were overworked. In any case, no joking or pleasantries, although I did notice that they were a bit more animated with their German speaking passengers. I just couldn’t help but feel that they couldn’t wait until we were out of their hair and off the plane, as asking for anything seemed like a chore. Swiss efficiency, yes, but just don’t expect charm or active engagement.
Both flights on time or even slightly early. Deplaning smoothly and through the first class door. A nice touch on arrival in Zurich is the arrival gate on a map onscreen, followed by all connecting flights. Smooth connection from the D to E pier to the connecting LHR flight.
Meets expectations in terms of efficiency and seat comfort, but falls below in terms of food and service. Nevertheless, I’d recommend for the ability to sleep and arrive fresh and straight into work. Travelling for leisure, it does not offer any wow factor, and seeing the treatment afforded to first class through the curtain in front, it did seem that there was a definite differentiation in the level of service, which means that the food and service in business does not quite live up to the high quality as the hard product, which is a shame.7 May 2014