Class rating 9.1
- Boarding 8.4
- Seat for sitting 9.4
- Seat for sleeping 9.7
- Service 9.7
- Entertainment 7.0
- Food & drink 9.3
- Punctuality 9.6
- Baggage 9.7
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
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swiss is the perfect airline !!!
I arrived at Zurich Airport shortly before 1100 to catch my 1300 departure to Tokyo-Narita on flight LX160.
Since most SWISS International Air Lines long haulers depart in the early afternoon I ran into a pretty crammed check-in hall at terminal 1.
Fortunately, SWISS offers its very premium passengers (First Class/HON Circle) a separate private check-in island where I was welcomed by the friendly ground staff. She asked me to have a seat on an elegant brown fauteuil and offered me coffee, champagne and orange juice.
With its relaxed ambience the first class check-in is like an oasis within the hustle and bustle of this hectic international airport. Since I’ve already checked-in the night before using LX’ iphone app I just had to drop my bag and the whole unfussy procedure lasted only short time.
The first class lounge is situated airside after the boarding pass control right above the transfer counters. It didn’t take more than 5 minutes to get there.
I was greeted by the receptionist and we immediately arranged a pick up time for the personal shuttle service to the gate. I chose to be met 35 minutes from departure time which later allowed me enough time to deal with immigration and security check.
My general impression of the lounge itself was quite positive. Even though it got a bit busy around noon the lounge kept its tranquil and exclusive charm. The venue offers a self-service bar with lounge seating and caters to your tastes with the usual drinks, snacks and nibbles. Additionally a separate à la carte restaurant offers a good range of meals and pre-flight dinner (from 1800). A selection of international magazines, newspapers and a library are available.
The lounge meets your business needs with three work stations which are equipped with notebooks, printers, free wifi and ethernet cables. Power sockets are compatible with gb-, us- and eu-plugs.
Passengers who feel like freshening up or resting choose from three showers or two dayrooms with ensuite showers. A nice feature at Zurich airport is the Smoker’s bar, which is said to be world’s longest airport bar with almost 30 meters in length. It offers fascinating views of the busy tarmac. This bar is outside the first class lounge and is shared with business class passengers.
Right on time at 1225 I was met by a ground staff who accompanied me through immigration and security. He then chauffeured me and two other passengers in a Mercedes limousine to the satellite gate E from where all intercontinental flights depart.
Since boarding had been in progress for some minutes already, there was no queue in front of the dedicated first/business line at the gate. Sadly, only one jet bridge to the aircraft was in operation which caused a chokepoint ahead of the plane’s door. It left me waiting for a little while with fellow passengers before finally boarding the Airbus A340-300.
Once on board I was personally welcomed by the chief purser (called “maître de cabine” on LX flights) and escorted to my seat. She immediately took my coat and stored it in a separate locker and asked me if I’d like to have something to drink. I opted for a campari orange and still water which were served shortly after along with an amuse-bouche from the onboard kitchen (Japanese inspired scallop, coated in deep fried rice noodles) and a warm refreshing towel.
I was then offered the menu, newspapers and magazines (somewhat small selection), a pyjama and the amenity kit (Bally) which consists of socks, slippers, a sleeping mask, a toothbrush, quality earplugs and a whole range of top-notch cosmetics (La Prairie). More toiletries (mouthwash, lip balm, shaving kit, etc.) are available upon request from the cabin crew.
The first class cabin comes with a total of 8 seats in two rows with a common 1-2-1 configuration (A-DG-K). All of those have direct access to the aisle (see seatplan). The seat is 22 inches (56cm) wide, 83 inches (211cm) long and reclines a full 180 degrees.
Together with the provided mattress, down-filled duvet and pillow this makes for a comfortable and fully horizontal (flat) bed in the sky. Even though the cabin feels spacious and even though the seats are pretty far from each other the design is lacking in terms of privacy.
The in-flight entertainment system (IFE) is quite archaic by current standards. With a small screen size of 10.4 inches (26.4cm) and a poor selection of movies (22), TV programmes (40), music channels (16) and games (15) the airline’s IFE falls rather short of the state-of-the-art IFEs offered on the likes of Singapore Airlines or Emirates. LX can only keep up with the competition with its selection of more than 300 music CDs and the excellent noise-cancelling headphones.
Every seat in first is equipped with an electronically movable ottoman that allows you to either stretch your legs or to welcome a fellow first class passenger to be seated opposite you. The table, which automatically folds out of the side shelf when pushing the button, is huge and therefore perfect for an exceptional tête-à-tête above the clouds.
Business class consists of 47 flat-bed seats in a staggered cabin layout (1-2-1/2-2-1), while economy comes with a classic 2-4-2 configuration.
-Which Seat to choose-
It seems that for some people the choice of their preferred seat is more important than the reason for the trip itself. There are passengers who want to “control” the cabin (row 2), passengers who want to “lead” the cabin (row 1) and passengers who aim for higher social status (1A).
Let’s face it: the seats in first class are basically all the same. You are not going to be stuck in a sandwich seat flanked by oversized passengers with bad body odours as it might happen in economy class.
The only difference is that there are single seats on the window (A and K) and double seats in the middle of the cabin (D and G). In the end it all comes down to one question (if you’re not suffering from a complex neurosis): Am I travelling alone (single seat) or do I have company (double seat)? Given that I was travelling all by myself I chose seat 2K at the window.
The plane was off block on time and we were airborne shortly past 1300 direction Far East. Being seated on the right hand side I enjoyed stunning views of the snow-covered Swiss Alps to the south of us.
After the safety belt sign had turned off I reclined my seat to a lounge chair which was quite relaxing. The flight attendant then informed me that the IFE could not be used for the next 30 minutes or so as they would show current Japanese news first. A common habit on LX flights to Tokyo to comfort Japanese passengers (which were the majority on board), as I was told.
The catering soon started with an appetizer cart that consisted of lobster cocktail, a selection of air-dried meat specialities, a choice of sushi, an appealing creation of baby squash, fennel purée with apple, and LX’ signature bite – fillet of Balik salmon. Traditional smoked salmon as presented at the court of the Russian tsars more than a century ago. A true culinary delight. Furthermore a cold cucumber soup with ginger and a seasonal salad with grilled courgettes and yellow cherry tomatoes were offered.
In the meantime the transmission of Japanese news ended and the IFE was ready to be used individually. Regarding the rather poor entertainment options I decided to listen to some music (The Doors – The Best of) while continuing the culinary indulgence.
LX’ in-flight food conception for first and business passengers is unique. Every three months the airline features a carefully selected chef representing one of Switzerland’s 26 cantons (“SWISS – Taste of Switzerland”). The menu creations generally put the accent on healthy products from the region that are in season. The main courses on my flight were composed by culinary director Franz W. Faeh of the Juma Restaurant in canton Fribourg (14 GaultMillau points).
It included lamb loin poached in red wine, chicken breast filled with Moleson sheep’s cheese, lemon tagliatelle (designed by Hiltl, Zurich’s oldest vegetarian restaurant) and poached red snapper with soya sauce and sesame oil. I opted for the latter which was ok, not comparable to the excellent appetizers beforehand though.
There were three red wines (Cuvée du Petrimoine, 2008; Château Bahans Haut-Brion, 1998; Shiraz Selkirk, 2007) and three white wines (Fichillien, 2010; Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons, 2009; Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, 2010) on the menu. I chose the sauvignon blanc which blended well with the Asian-inspired red snapper.
Dessert included a selection of Swiss artisan cheese (which I passed on – considering the amount of food I had so far), a chocolate hurricane with raspberry compote and a warm apricot tarte tatin with strawberry sauce accompanied with Gruyère double cream ice-cream. Even though being full up already I couldn’t resist the temptation of the chocolate hurricane. And I didn’t regret it.
To finish this brilliant dining experience above the clouds the flight attendant pampered me with a French dessert wine (Sauternes, 2003), a ristretto (Nespresso Grand Crus), and a couple of Swiss pralines (Sprüngli).
I then decided to relax a bit, but before doing so headed to the smallish lavatory to first get rid of my clothes and change into the noble, black-coloured cotton-polyester pyjama (van Laack) that LX offers its first class passengers. Meanwhile the attentive flight attendant converted my seat into a cosy bed with mattress, pillow and blanket. I spent about an hour watching TV (Two and a Half Men) in the now quiet cabin while most of my fellow passengers were already snoozing. I finally dozed off to a deep sleep somewhere over the Russian middle of nowhere.
About two hours from landing in Tokyo-Narita (or after about 7 hours of sleep) I woke up feeling completely rested. With 23.6-inch (60cm) width and 80-inch (203cm) length the bed is big enough to have a recreative sleep.
The cabin was quickly filled with a smooth aroma of coffee. A Swiss breakfast was then presented including an assortment of breads, preserves and honey, fresh fruits, a selection of yoghurts, muesli and cereals, a choice of egg dishes, cold cuts and cheese.
I opted for scrambled eggs with roast beef, air-dried ham and truffle hash browns, accompanied by fresh chunks of pineapple and cantaloupe, which was a good pick.
Shortly before landing in cloudy Tokyo the maître de cabine handed out my clothes. I went to the lavatory to get rid of the pjs and freshen up. The arrival at the gate was on-time. Even though the ground staff at Narita airport operate with two jet bridges, the cabin crew, by holding back economy class passengers, made sure premium passengers would be able to disembark first.
Nice to be at the immigration prior to some 200 other passengers. Clearing immigration was a matter of a few seconds. Also my checked bags were among the first ones on the baggage belt and customs clearance was done pretty quickly.
Famous Swiss hospitality at its best! The outstanding elements in SWISS first class are the superb food concept and the excellent service of both cabin crew and ground staff – a real treat.
Likeable is also the airline’s typical understatement regarding the interior. No gold and no artificial mahogany is needed to provide a dapper cabin.
Still, some further improvements could be done in order to offer an even better first class experience. The antiquated IFE definitely can’t keep up with the competition. Also the seat and the cabin itself need an upgrading in terms of privacy, convenience and design.
I have flown New York - Geneva/Zurich several times in the past months with Swiss. They were among the most comfortable long haul flight I have experienced in 30 years of long haul travel. The new seat arrangement with a fully flat bed is superb, although the "old" F seat was already very good. The new seat offers excellent privacy, unrestricted aisle access, a good work space, convenient power source, a large video screen, and a permanent footrest. The possibility of having a guest while dining is really a plus compared to the other airlines. The meal service is... first class. The in-flight entertainment is okay. In my opinion the new Swiss F class is a at par with EK suites, i.e. the best in F.
Travelled Sao Paulo-Santiago de Chile, exquisite service, exquisite dining, on ground brilliant, probably the best airline in the world in my opinion, try it you'll like it
Very comfortable seat and superb service with very friendly cabin crew who greet you by name and chat with you, relieving some boredom on a nine hour flight.
The food was very good but unimaginative despite the high profile of the chef who created the menu.
Boarding is very efficient with no waiting for first class passengers, even at the final passport check for US bound travelers.
Just two criticisms, but this is maybe not Swiss's fault - on taking the car to the plane you have to complete two security checks. On arrival at JFK you have to join the long queue for immigration, and despite being first off the plane, for some reason I was last through.
The Swiss First product is excellent. High quality food and drink, great Bally amenity kits, comfortable private seat and special ground services.
The champagne and wines are generally of a Swiss bias for obvious reasons - I have to say I have never had a bad one! The Swiss dessert wines in particular. Yum! The crew are efficient and somewhat cold until a little into the flight when they seem to judge that you are a sociable passenger and from then on you can't keep them away. Such judgement is a pleasure for a single traveller who enjoys a chat and a drink.
The menu is changed frequently with a different region of Switzerland featured. The food has always been high quality, with a good choice, fabulous cheese board, and most satisfying!
The seat is wide, comfortable and private and very good for both wake and sleep. A high class product, as one would expect.