Hello from Zurich, as I just flew SWISS’ Boeing 777-300ER first class on the 8hr20min overnight flight from Miami to Zurich, and am now enjoying the SWISS First Class Lounge. This was my first time flying SWISS first class in over seven years. As I explained in a previous post, I redeemed points for a business class ticket, and then upgraded with cash.
While I’ll have a full trip report soon, in this post I wanted to share my initial impressions. I recently reviewed SWISS’ A330 business class, and didn’t have very nice things to say, as it almost seems like SWISS isn’t trying in that cabin.
I’m happy to report that first class is a very different experience. SWISS offers spacious first class suites, extensive amenities, and tasty food and drinks. It’s time for me to adjust my first class airline rankings a bit, as I do think SWISS first class is a cut above Lufthansa first class (though from an aircraft perspective, I do love flying the A380 and 747-8 on Lufthansa).
In this post:
SWISS’ 777 first class seats are comfortable
SWISS Boeing 777s have eight first class suites, in a 1-2-1 configuration.
Even though this product isn’t cutting-edge at this point, SWISS offers a functional, comfortable, and elegant seat, which is significantly more private and spacious than what you’ll find on Lufthansa.
The seat has a large tray table, plus an ottoman, so that you can dine face-to-face with a travel companion, if you’d like.
The SWISS first class seat also has a door… sort of. The setup is almost humorously practical, as there’s a shield that extends from the side of the seat, and then there’s a wardrobe that you can just pull out to create a door. Hah.
Most importantly, the seat is comfortable as a bed. It’s wide, it’s private, and the bedding is excellent. I just wish SWISS had individual air nozzles, but then again, that’s an issue on most non-US airlines.
SWISS’ first class entertainment & Wi-Fi is solid
SWISS by no means has the world’s best inflight entertainment, but the system on the 777 is way better than what you’ll find on the A330. Not only is the system more modern and easier to use, but the selection is also more extensive. For example, I counted 235 movies, plus a variety of TV shows, audio, and more.
Of course I also loved the map feature, which could be customized, either to cycle views, or to keep one specific view of the flight’s progress.
Lastly, while SWISS’ inflight Wi-Fi is ordinarily pretty pricey, first class passengers get free Wi-Fi passes with no data caps, so that’s nice.
So between the entertainment selection and the Wi-Fi, I had no issues staying entertained on the flight.
SWISS’ first class food & drinks are tasty
SWISS’ first class meal service is very different than Lufthansa’s, and I’d argue that on balance, it’s superior.
Lufthansa’s advantage is that it serves caviar in first class on every flight, which is something that many people appreciate. However, other than that, I found the quality and presentation of SWISS’ first class food to be better.
For example, SWISS serves an amuse bouche on the ground, with the pre-departure drink. In this case, that was a carrot panna cotta. For those curious, the champagne on offer was Pommery Cuvee Louise Millesime 2006, which I enjoyed.
After takeoff, the airline has a variety of starters to choose from, and I selected the balik salmon (a staple of SWISS first class), plus yuzu marinated shrimp and scallop with cucumber and pear. That was accompanied by a bread basket, plus olive oil, butter, and some pretty huge salt and pepper shakers.
This was followed by the option of a salad or soup, and I selected the tomato tortilla soup, which had a nice kick to it.
For my main course, I had the salmon with vegetable salsa, couscous, sautéed spinach, and leek. The menu didn’t make reference to it, but there was also a huge slab of butter on top of the salmon… heh. While I moved the butter to the side, this was probably the best salmon dish I’ve ever had on a plane (and it can be hard to make airplane salmon stand out, in my opinion).
As you’d expect for an airline from Switzerland, SWISS has a great cheese selection, which I had to indulge in. I loved the presentation as well.
There was also quite a chocolate selection, another staple of the SWISS experience (that I had to say no to, as I can’t eat everything).
Last but not least, for dessert I selected the tiramisu.
It’s also worth noting that SWISS often has special dishes onboard, for a limited time. For example, in the coming weeks there will be an onboard caviar tasting. For that matter, there was the option to have fondue on my flight, though the flight attendant warned me that it was “a Florida take” on fondue, so I gave that a pass (I was picturing melted Kraft cheese singles with some Goya products in there).
SWISS’ first class amenities are solid
When I flew SWISS business class, I was disappointed by just how cheap and lacking the amenities were. By comparison, SWISS has competitive amenities in first class.
The first class amenity kit was well stocked, with all the essentials, plus some cute additions, like Ricola, as well as some skincare products from Soeder.
There were also comfortable pajamas, which I took with me, and will definitely be wearing at home.
Then there were also sturdy slippers.
SWISS’ first class service is good… in a Swiss way
Let me just say that based on my experience over the years, service on SWISS can be a mixed bag. I don’t find service on SWISS to be as consistent in premium cabins as on Lufthansa, though perhaps that’s my bias showing, given my German roots, and that I have an appreciation for German service (despite sort of having a language in common, Switzerland and Germany are very different in that way).
There were two flight attendants working first class on this flight, and they were seasoned professionals, though perhaps not overly warm or engaging, which I’m totally fine with.
Most importantly, I was impressed by their efficiency and attentiveness, especially on an overnight flight. For example, I was served my first course just 25 minutes after takeoff, so that’s some impressive speed. It was definitely one of the better SWISS crews I’ve had.
I just had the chance to fly SWISS’ 777 first class across the Atlantic. After my recent SWISS business class flight, I was really managing my expectations, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. While SWISS doesn’t seem to invest much in its business class soft product, the carrier has a great first class, with comfortable seats, free Wi-Fi, good food and drinks, and a very comfortable bed.
I think I prefer SWISS first class to Lufthansa first class. However, I don’t prefer the inability to redeem miles for the product, so I think in the future I’ll still stick to Lufthansa first class. 😉
What’s your take on SWISS’ Boeing 777 first class?