Airline Review: SWISS, NEW YORK-ZURICH, Business Class
With my passport and printed boarding pass in hand I went directly to the First/Business security line at JFK’s Terminal 4, no need to stop at the SWISS ticket counter. I arrived at the SWISS Business Class lounge at 6:30 pm for the 9:00 pm SWISS LX15, the airline’s evening JFK-Zurich flight.
After settling into a comfortable leather seat and working a bit on my laptop, using the complimentary Wi-Fi connection, I helped myself to a light dinner of pasta with chicken, salad and fresh strawberries from the buffet. A selection of soft drinks, wine and beer was also available. No boarding announcements were made, but the large departure screen in the lounge showed that LX15 was boarding at gate B27, a short walk down the departure hall.
The dedicated First/Business boarding lane was open and empty, a welcome alternative to the line waiting to board Economy. The new A330-300 aircraft that SWISS is now using for LX15 has two sections for Business passengers, with rows 4-5 separated from rows 6-14 by bathrooms and a galley. Almost all of the 45 brown-accented Business seats have access to an aisle in a staggered 1-2-1 or 2-2-1 configuration, and my stand-alone seat, 5G, had the added benefit of being in the smaller, 2-row Business section. A selection of newspapers, magazines and beverages were offered immediately after boarding. Lighting and seating controls in the armrest included a “mood lighting” setting and a “firmer” or “softer” seat cushion button. We pulled back from the gate at 9:05, with lift-off at 9:55 due to departing traffic at JFK.
My dinner choice, served shortly after take-off, included an appetizer of lemongrass marinated king prawns, with poached halibut filet, vegetable couscous, and sautéed artichoke as a main. Dessert was raspberry mousse, melon, and Manjari chocolate granache. A selection of seven wines and Champaign was offered.
After dinner I put on the huge, padded headphones, watched a movie on the large, flip-up screen, ordered a cup of delicious chocolate ice cream, and fell asleep before the movie ended. I awoke a few hours later to have breakfast (croissant, yogurt, orange juice and fresh fruit) before descending over the snowy peaks of the Alps and landing in Zurich at 11:19 am, just 29 minutes late after the 55 minute delay departing JFK.
SWISS Business cabin service on the A330 aircraft was superb, on-board cuisine was excellent, and the 60″pitch seat/lie-flat bed was extremely comfortable. Within minutes of landing I was through passport control and on a fast Swiss train leaving Zurich Airport Station for the Bernese Alps. The headline on a previous SWISS print ad best sums up my flight experience, “The quality of a Swiss watch, neatly packaged in an airline.” It’s nice when an airline truly delivers on its promise.
Review by Ron Bernthal