Tried & Tested

Swiss A320 business class

14 Apr 2014 by GrahamSmith

CHECK-IN

I arrived at London Heathrow Terminal 1 at 0950 for my 1150 flight LX319 to Zurich.

The Swiss check-in desk is in Zone G, where there are four self-service check-in terminals, although you can also use the terminals in the adjacent Zone F should it prove busy.

As I had already checked in online the night before, when I chose seat 1C in business class, and was only carrying hand luggage, I met my travelling companions and then headed straight for security.

The fast-track security lane took four minutes to clear.

THE LOUNGE

After exiting security I turned right and walked a minute or two to the Star Alliance lounge, which was about two-thirds full.

The facility contained newspapers, plenty of flatscreen TVs and showers.

A buffet area had hot and cold food — I opted for a fried breakfast of sausages, bacon, mushrooms and scrambled egg, which was decent. Sandwiches, fruit, cake, and soft and alcoholic drinks were also available.

I left the lounge at 1115 and began the 15-minute walk to gate B32. Flights were not called.

BOARDING

En route to the gate, I went through passport control.

Swiss A320

Once at the gate, I had only been sat down for a few minutes when business class passengers were called to board at 1134. Economy passengers were called a couple of minutes later.

Cabin crew gave me a friendly welcome as I boarded the aircraft and I was in my seat by 1140, when I was prompty handed a small bottle of water and a choice of newspapers (the English-language ones included International New York Times, Financial Times and Daily Mail).

THE SEAT

The A320 is configured 3-3, with the middle seat kept clear in business class (AC-DF). To view a seatplan, click here.

The business cabin contains eight rows and I was sat in the front row, in seat 1C. As only seven out of 32 seats were occupied (economy was about half full), I moved to window seat 1A when the doors closed.

Seats in the front row have tables that fold out of the armrest, and magazine racks on the bulkhead in front.

The seats are upholstered in grey leather and recline four inches via a button in the armrest. Pitch is 30-32 inches.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

There is more room in front of you in row one, although note that seats A and C in this row have no storage bin directly above.

Otherwise, the seats are pretty much the same throughout the cabin and selection should be made based on whether you prefer a window or aisle seat, or if you need to make a (very) quick exit at your destination.

THE FLIGHT

We pushed back at 1152, taxied for about 15 minutes, and then took-off shortly before 1210.

Lunch was served from the front of the cabin about 15 minutes later. Despite having eaten just 90 minutes earlier, I tucked into a very enjoyable chicken salad with cheese/bread on the side and a peach moose dessert.

Drinks included wine, Champagne, fruit juices and various other soft drinks. I opted for a beer and was given the option of a Heineken or a Swiss brew. Feeling unadventurous, I went for the Heineken.

This was followed by a cup of tea (coffee was also available) and a Swiss-branded chocolate.

ARRIVAL

We landed at 1420 local time before arriving at our gate just five minutes later, 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled 1440 arrival time. I was through immigration and out of the terminal building within five minutes.

VERDICT

A decent short-haul trip, starting with a pleasant wait in the Star Alliance lounge. The friendly, professional service from cabin staff and the early arrival time were also most welcome.


FACT FILE

  • PLANE TYPE A320
  • CONFIGURATION 3-3 (AC-DF in business class)
  • PRICE Internet rates for a flexible business class flight from Heathrow to Zurich in May (not including a Saturday-night stay) started from £475.
  • CONTACT swiss.com


Graham Smith


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