Aircraft: A330-300, A319
Scheduled Departure Time: 6:20pm & 8:50am
Push Back from Gate: 6:05pm & 8:50am
Actual Departure Time: 6:40pm & 8:55am
Announced Flight time: 7:40 & 1 hour
Actual Arrival Time: 8:05am & 10am
Miles: 3,920 & 410
Seat: 4K & 2A
Cost: Sponsored by SWISS
I needed to go to Berlin to attend ITB (the world’s largest travel conference), and my good friend’s at SWISS set me up with a complimentary business class ticket from JFK to Zurich to TXL. Here’s what my flights were like …
I always have to stop myself from calling the airline Swiss Air. The official company name is Swiss International Air Lines Ltd., but Switzerland’s national airline is just called SWISS. They serve 69 destinations in 39 countries around the world and have a fleet of 91 aircraft. From North America they fly out of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, Newark, New York, and San Francisco to Switzerland.
My business-class ticket gave me access to the club lounge. Inside were complimentary newspapers, drinks (soft and alcohol), an impressive spread of fresh fruit, comfortable seats, and free Wi-Fi.
SWISS boards economy passengers first, then first class, and then business. It’s a much more civilized way to do it, so first and business classes don’t have to wait on the jetway and can avoid jealous stares from passing coach passengers (I’m usually one of them). Just like their reputation for watches, through my experience at check-in and at the gate, the Swiss had proven their efficiency.
My 7-hour-and-20-minute flight to Zurich was on an Airbus A330-300. I was in 4K, a bulkhead window seat in the first section of the business cabin. The seats have a plaid design and offer fully recline seats. On the seat was a plastic-wrapped, comfortable blanket, soft pillow, and an amenity kit that doubled as a collectable tin and was filled with earplugs, eye mask, lotion, socks, and lip balm. There were also headphones.
I love when a seat has an individual monitor to watch movies/TV shows in case I get bored, a snake light so I can read without disturbing everyone with the bright overhead lamp, and of course an electrical outlet.
I got to board early so I could take some photos of the plane and crew (pics in the photo gallery below). After I took my seat pre-takeoff drinks were served, and we pushed back at 6:05 p.m. which was 15 minutes early because we had strong headwinds. We were airborne thirty minutes later and shortly after takeoff the well-dressed flight crew passed out menus (in English, German, and French, in that order). The menu was created by chef Martin Göschel of the five-star Relais & Châteaux Hotel Paradies in Ftan. He has created inflight concoctions for passengers in SWISS First and SWISS Business Class.
Dinner service began with a choice of drink in sleek tall designer glasses and Dijon mustard chips. I started with a seasonal salad and had the Valais Rosti – a traditional Swiss vegetarian meal. It was hash browns topped with tomatoes and cheese (other options were grilled beef tenderloin, seared chicken breast, and salmon filet). For dessert I couldn’t let myself do the cheese plate, and the fresh fruit didn’t entice me, but the vanilla mousse did.
The flight was super smooth and the seat-belt sign only went on during takeoff and landing. Now that’s impressive! I passed time by sleeping and watching movies and TV shows (they have a wide selection).
The breakfast service started 90 minutes out and they woke those people who ticked “Yes – wake me up for breakfast.” I wasn’t one of them but when they turned the cabin lights on I woke up. Breakfast was a selection of cold items like yogurt, fruit, cheese, bread and Danishes.
Overall, the seven plus hour flight was like a dream and the flight attendants were very professional and we arrived right on time so I could make my 45-minute connection to Berlin.
For more info about SWISS, click on Swiss.com, call 1-877-FLY-SWISS, or contact your local travel agent.