Tried & Tested

Swiss A321 business class

14 Apr 2014 by GrahamSmith

CHECK-IN

I arrived by taxi at Zurich Airport at 1020 for my 1205 flight LX332 to London Heathrow.

As on the outbound flight (click here for a review), I had checked-in online the night before, when I selected seat 4A in business class. As I was only carrying hand luggage, I headed straight for security.

The fast-track security lane took under two minutes to clear.

THE LOUNGE

The Swiss Air business lounge is upstairs, and a couple of minutes' walk from security. It was reasonably busy when I arrived — half an hour later it was very busy with nearly every seat taken.

Food on offer included hot and cold snacks, fruit, soup, small sandwiches and cake, as well as soft and alcoholic drinks. I just had a banana and a peppermint tea as I'd already eaten breakfast at the hotel.

There were plenty of televisions in the 1,100 sqm space and some newspapers were also on offer, although both the British papers —the Independent and Daily Mail — were from the previous day, which was a little disappointing given it was shortly after 1100, albeit on a Sunday.

No boarding announcements were made.

BOARDING

I left the lounge at 1120. The ten-minute walk to Gate D43 included passing through passport control.

Boarding started at 1140 with business class passengers called first. We had to wait at the plane door for a couple of minutes while cabin crew finished their preparations.

There was a small bottle of water waiting for me in my seat, and I was sat down by 1145 or so.

The flight was almost completely full, so it then took a further quarter of an hour for boarding to complete.

THE SEAT

Business class occupied six rows on this flight. Swiss' A321 aircraft is configured 3-3 with seats B and D being out of commission in business. To view a seatplan, click here.

The seats were upholstered in smart pale grey leather and, in business, there are 32 inches of legroom, 20 inches of width and a six-inch recline.

Small overhead screens displayed the flight information, and estimated time of arrival, as well as playing (silently without headphones, which aren't provided) comedy shows including Mr Bean.

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 1204 and, after a quick taxi to the runway, took off a couple of minutes later.

Shortly before take-off, cabin crew came round with a selection of newspapers — the British ones available were the Independent On Sunday, the Observer and the Mail On Sunday.

Lunch was served shortly before 1230 and consisted of a tasty roast beef and pasta salad, with cheese and bread on the side, and a sort-of cheesecake without the base for 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 Swiss brew Quollfrisch. This time, unlike the outbound journey, I went for the Quollfrisch.

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

ARRIVAL

We touched down at Heathrow at 1236 and arrived at our gate at 1242, ahead of our scheduled arrival time of 1300.

It was a considerable walk through to immigration, which then took 15 minutes to clear — not too long, perhaps, but frustrating when the queue for non-EU residents was practically non-existent. This ate up all the time saved by our early arrival.

VERDICT

A pretty good lounge in Zurich, friendly staff and an ahead-of-schedule arrival made for a pleasant flight.

FACT FILE

  • PLANE TYPE A321
  • 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


Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

Business Traveller September / October 2020 edition
Business Traveller September / October 2020 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls