My new favourite way to find a good business class fare on a long-distance flight is to add in another stop counterintuitively. I fly in and out of London, so I go into Skyscanner and put in London say Bangkok (as was the case for this flight) and tick the two stops box.
The benefit of doing this is that many European airlines charge a majorly reduced price for long-haul flights if you travel via their central hub city, particularly in business class. The big watch out is to make sure you choose a flight where taking this extra stop only adds a couple of hours to the total flight time.
Swiss Air came up as having the best deal on business-class flights when I was exploring flying from London to Bangkok return using this method. I had flown short haul with Swiss Air before but never long haul.
So here is my Swiss Airlines business class review.
Swiss Air Business Class Review
Table of Contents
Heathrow Airport Check In
Swiss Air operates out of Terminal Two at Heathrow. I only discovered on this trip that Swiss Air is now owned by Lufthansa (as is Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines). Check-in for all of these airlines is together at Heathrow Terminal Two.
Check-in for Swiss Air Business Class at Heathrow Terminal Two isn’t immediately obvious. Terminal Two has two “rows” of check-in desks. It appears that the back row is mostly for buying tickets, oversized luggage etc. However, business class check-in is actually in the “back row” for Swiss Air.
Having found the check-in desk, there was no line and the process was fast and easy. I was able to then take the fast track route through security which was actually extremely slow that day, but that was, of course, a Heathrow thing, not a Swiss Air thing.
Swiss Air Business Class Baggage Allowance
Passengers in Swiss Business Class can check two pieces of luggage weighing up to 32 kg per bag. They are also allowed to bring two pieces of hand baggage on board, each weighing up to 8 kg and with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 23 cm.
Heathrow Airport Lounge
Once through security, there were several lounge options in Terminal Two. Flying with Swiss Air means passengers can use any of the lounges at Heathrow Terminal Two that are part of the Star Alliance network. This included Singapore Airlines, Air Canada and Lufthansa.
I decided to try the Lufthansa lounge which was large and bustling. It is a sleek, modern lounge with light oak floorboards and a lot of silver and white. Due to the delays in security, I had a disappointing glass of prosecco and then it was time to get on board.
Heathrow to Zurich
On the short flight to Zurich from London, business class is a “normal” three across seats with one empty seat in the middle. The highlight of flying business class with Swiss Air on such a short leg is the meal. I enjoyed some delicious rare tuna with salad and some fantastic swiss cheese. The meal often comes with an apple dessert and swiss chocolate is given out.
The flight time from London to Zurich was well-timed to connect with the Bangkok flight. I had about one hour and 40 minutes from when I touched down to when the Bangkok flight left. As I had to go through security and walk a bit of a distance at Zurich airport, I didn’t have time to visit the Swiss Air business class lounge at Zurich Airport.
NB: Swiss Air has a whopping nine lounges at Zurich Airport and three lounges at Geneva Airport.
Zurich to Bangkok
On long-haul flights, Swiss Air flies the Airbus A330-300 and A340-300 and the Boeing B777-300ER.
Here is a summary of the business class services offered by plane type:
|Plane Type||Features and Benefits|
|Airbus A330||Seats recline to a fully flat position, personal entertainment screens, noise-cancelling headphones, and a selection of Swiss cuisine and wines.|
|Airbus A340||Seats recline to a fully flat position, personal entertainment screens, noise-cancelling headphones, and a selection of Swiss cuisine and wines. Some planes also offer a separate lounge area for Business Class passengers.|
|Boeing 777||Seats recline to a fully flat position, personal entertainment screens, noise-cancelling headphones, and a selection of Swiss cuisine and wines. Some planes also offer a separate lounge area for Business Class passengers.|
Seating Plan and Seats
The Airbus A330-300 features a 1-2-1 configuration, while the Airbus A340-300 has a 2-2-1 configuration. I flew on the 777-££) ER with its unique five different seat configurations, as the cabin alternates between a 1-2-2 and a 2-2-1 configuration.
This means every second row has one so-called “throne” seat alone by the windows, two seats in the middle, and a pair of seats on the other side of the plane. Thrones have a large table, more storage space and an ottoman that can be used as a seat. The throne has more privacy and space than other seats in the business class cabin.
Thrones can only be booked online after you have booked your flight. When choosing your seat on the flight, the option to book the “throne” seat comes up with an additional price tag. For my flight, the throne seat was an additional £180.
This means that, in my opinion, the worst seats in Swiss Air business class are the window seats (unless you are in a throne seat). This is because the person in the window seat has to climb over the person in the aisle seat to get to the bathroom, which is quite annoying on a long flight.
The two middle seats are a much better option. They are identical to the side seats in 2s and each has its own access to the aisle. Of course, as they are all aisle seats, there is the issue of people walking up and down the aisle and potentially being disturbing. I think I have become used to the privacy screens that are now in many business class sections and I don’t like not having them.
On a more positive note, the Swiss Air business class cabin has a wonderful feel. They have definitely borrowed design cues from ski lodges and done a great job. This is the most appealing/stylish business-class cabin I have ever traveled in. The lighting is even quite flattering!
The small unit and drawer between the seats are in light oak which adds an air of quality. There is a diffused light and a smaller reading light on this unit as well as a spot for a bottle of water. There is a drawer available for storing toiletries and chargers.
The seat pattern is one of the most attractive I have seen on an airline. The seats also have air cushions that adjust the seat hardness individually in any position from firm to soft. The seats also come with an integrated massage function which is lovely and best used on the lower back.
The bedding on the flight wasn’t very impressive for business class. I received one pillow and a decent blanket. British Airways is doing a much better job with its White Company linen in business class.
Top Tip: Swiss Air’s 777 has quite a big business-class cabin. This means if you are seated in the last row of the cabin (row 17) which I was, you will wait some time for your drinks, food etc. I would recommend booking a seat farther forward in the cabin if possible.
All Swiss Air business class cabins have personal screens with on-demand entertainment systems. The screen is just over 30 cm wide, which is generous. However, I found the selection of films and tv shows quite limited compared to other airlines. There are 90 films and 170 tv programs on offer which is definitely on the low side.
There is wifi on Swiss Air flights but wow it is expensive compared to other airlines. On my flight, it was USD$35 for 80 MB.
The Swiss Air in-flight amenities were a mixed bag pardon the pun. I received different options in each direction. First up was a small Victorinox pouch. This contained socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush and toothpaste. But it did not include any toiletries eg small moisturizer or lip balm which is quite standard. There was a face spray and a lotion in the bathrooms, but that really isn’t the same thing.
On the plus side, I liked that it was a Swiss brand and the pouch converts into a very useful nylon bag.
On the return flight, the amenity was a Swiss Army Knife branded tin which was very cute. Alas, it was the same disappointing offer of amenities inside. I have come to expect some type of moisturizer and lip balm when flying in business class so I no longer bring them on board with me. I was let down by Swiss Air!
Food and Beverages
The food on Swiss Air in business class is a real highlight. When I traveled with the airline, they were running a Taste of Switzerland menu, which showcases the cuisine of different regions of the country. They also serve Swiss wines. I have done some wine tasting in Switzerland and their wines are lovely but they don’t produce enough for export so it is a bit of a treat to have them on the flight.
The menu consists of four courses: first, main, cheese and dessert. The offer is quite flexible as it allows passengers to choose different combinations or to enjoy the meal later in the flight. This was the menu on my flight over:
Fennel and orange salad with vanilla dressing and toasted pine nuts
Marinated tuna with pickled white radish and wasabi mayonnaise
Vegetarian tikka masala with planted chicken, basmati rice, roasted broccolini and Greek yogurt
Veal tenderloin with cheese crust and jus, schupfnudeln and marinated fava beans
Chicken cordon bleu, potato gratin and glazed carrots
Cod with tomato beurre blanc and basil oil, red quinoa with dried tomatoes, salcornia
Cheeses were all from the canton of Valais in Switzerland
White chocolate mousse with poppy seeds and passion fruit gel
French champagne is served before boarding and throughout the flight. There was a choice of two white wines: a Swiss Pinot Gris Chardonnay blend from Valais, or a German Pfalz Riesling. There were three choices of red wine: A Swiss red blend with Gamay, Diolinoir, Garnaret-Garanoir from Valais, a French Cote du Rhome and a French Bordeaux Grand Cru from Saint-Emilion.
I was on an overnight flight so was offered a breakfast menu to fill out. Breakfast is served up to 40 minutes before landing. A selection of juices included a smoothie were on offer, impressively espresso and cappuccinos as well as a large range of teas, a choice of classic breakfast options from croissants to yogurt, and then the choice of either a Swiss breakfast (cold cuts and cheese) or an English breakfast (a hot egg-based dish).
NB: Swiss Air allows passengers to pre-book their meals.
Bangkok to Zurich
Having learned my lesson on the way over, I made sure I booked one of the middle seats on my return flight. I was much happier with this option as I was able to easily get in and out of my seat. The food continued to be excellent.
We started with dinner:
Gin-cured salmon with horseradish cream cheese, avocado and mango salsa, cucumber salad with dill
Beetroot and apple tartare with goat’s cheese
Grilled beef tenderloin with black pepper and bell pepper sauce, jasmine rice, asparagus, carrot and bary corn
Chicken piccata with tomato and basil sauce, orecchiette, broccoli and cauliflower.
Pan-fried salmon with dill cream sauce, saffron potatoes, sugar snap peas and spinach
Vegetable stroganoff with sauteed spatzle
Cheese was a selection of swiss and international cheeses.
Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse
This was a day flight. Swiss Air offers a Bistro Menu. Items from this menu can be ordered after the main meal has been served and up to 90 minutes prior to landing. The options on the bistro menu were:
Seasonal salad with pesto croutons, parmesan and grilled chicken brochette
Vegetable lasagne with tomato concasse
Meat or vegetarian sandwich
My connection through Zurich airport was quite tight so I wasn’t surprised to receive a text message from Swiss Air saying that my bag had not arrived. I was very impressed as the text arrived before I had even reached immigration. The text message contained a link to report the missing bag.
I was exhausted, so I thought great I am going to hop straight in a cab and then I go online and report the bag missing in the morning. Silly naive me! When I logged in I was told that I was not able to use the online system for my flight. However, there was no specific information on what I should do instead.
I called Swiss Air’s support line and waited for some time to speak with an unhelpful person who told me that any flights in and out of Heathrow cannot use Swiss Air’s online system for lost luggage. They then told me that I needed to contact Heathrow. I have never heard of lost luggage being the responsibility of the airport rather than the airline so this seemed odd.
I hopped on Heathrow’s website, and sure enough, it said that any delayed luggage was the responsibility of the airline. Heathrow does have a lost and found section on its website, but this is for items left in the airport not luggage in transit.
I called Swiss Air again. This time I was told that I would physically have to return to Heathrow and fill in a missing bag report at the airport. I found it quite unbelievable in this day and age that this was a requirement, particularly as surely Swiss Air knew I was flying into Heathrow but sent me a link to an online system I couldn’t use.
As crazy as it seemed I headed back to Heathrow Terminal Two the next day. I had no clear information on where to actually go at Heathrow so I headed to check-in. I finally experienced some very nice Swiss Air staff who said that yes, alas, I did have to be there physically to make a lost bag report.
A Swiss staff member then escorted me through security and we returned to the baggage hall. I then filled out a lost luggage report at the desk. The man on the desk told me that Swiss Air was a nightmare for lost bags and was the only airline operating in Terminal Two that didn’t have an information sheet for passengers with delayed bags.
Once the report was filed I finally received my all-important tracking number and was then able to use the online system. However, it offered very little information. I was told that my bag had been located but there was no information at all concerning when I might expect to receive the bag.
The bag finally arrived six days after my flight. I received a message about three hours before it arrived to tell me it was on its way – this was the first time I received any information about when I might receive my bag.
I was pretty shocked that I had to go through this dreadful system at all, let alone when I had flown business class. I posted on Swiss Air’s Twitter and Facebook platforms and kept being sent the link to the online system that I could not use. The whole thing was a debacle and has put me off from flying Swiss Air again.
My key learning from this experience is if you have a lost or delayed bag DO NOT leave the baggage claim area until you have filled in the lost bag report!
Swiss Air Business Class Verdict
If I put aside my lost luggage problem, Swiss Air has a very solid business class offer. It is aesthetically the most pleasing business-class cabin I have ever traveled in and the food is outstanding. However, the inflight entertainment, bedding and amenity kits are lacking compared to other airlines and the wifi is very expensive.
Personally, at the same price, I would choose to fly with Qatar or Emirates rather than Swiss Air. I would put it on par with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. Considering the weak in-flight entertainment system and the dreadful baggage experience I would probably fly with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic over Swiss Air on a long-haul flight.
Have you flown business class with Swiss Air? If so let me know what you thought in the comments.
Virgin Airlines Upper Class Review
I paid for all of my business class flight with Swiss Air. They didn’t even know I was on the plane! However, my articles often contain affiliate links. This means if you click through on one of the links and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission. Just wanted to let you know.