Review: SWISS A220 Business Class (GVA-FRA)

Review: SWISS A220 Business Class (GVA-FRA)

FROM: GVA
TO: FRA
CABIN: Business
DATE: April 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Airbus A220 is a joy to fly. SWISS offers reasonably nice cabins, and the flight was punctual. The only downside is that there are no power outlets and Wi-Fi on these planes.
19
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To kick off our return journey to the United States, we flew SWISS business class from Geneva to Frankfurt on the Airbus A220 (one of my favorite planes). Let’s take a look at what that experience was like.

How I booked our SWISS business class tickets

I booked our flight from Geneva to Frankfurt as a separate ticket from our Singapore Airlines flight from Frankfurt to New York the following day. Specifically, I booked the following in business class for 15,000 Aeroplan points plus $64.30 per person in taxes & fees:

04/06 LX1086 Geneva to Frankfurt departing 6:45PM arriving 7:55PM

Admittedly this is a short flight, so some might not find it worthwhile to redeem for business class (I booked business class largely because I wanted to review it). In this case, Aeroplan would have charged 7,500 points for economy class, so the price was double.

Aeroplan points are easy to come by, as the program partners with American Express Membership RewardsCapital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. On top of that, in the United States, there’s the new Aeroplan® Credit Card (review), which is pretty lucrative.

SWISS business class boarding

In the last installment I reviewed the SWISS Senator Lounge Geneva. Our flight was departing from gate D25, which is about as far from the security checkpoint as you can get.

Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)
Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)

This is a unique setup, as it’s essentially a circular terminal without jet bridges. Rather planes are parked outside with stairs, and you can walk right up to them. It’s kind of a cool view with the floor-to-ceiling windows, if you ask me.

Terminal at Geneva Airport (GVA)

Boarding for our 6:45PM flight started at 6:20PM, with business class passengers being invited to board first. It was just a short walk from the terminal to the aircraft’s stairs.

SWISS A220-100 Geneva Airport (GVA)

The A220 is such a gorgeous plane, and I loved the opportunity to walk right up to it.

SWISS A220-100 Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS A220-100 Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS A220-100 Geneva Airport (GVA)
SWISS A220-100 Geneva Airport (GVA)

SWISS A220 business class cabin & seats

We were flying on a SWISS Airbus A220-100, which is the smaller of the two A220 variants. The SWISS A220 features 125 seats, spread across 25 rows in a 2-3 configuration. Not only does the A220 cabin feel incredibly modern and spacious, but you’ve gotta love the 2-3 layout from a passenger comfort standpoint, since there’s only one middle seat per row.

As is standard on intra-Europe flights, economy and business class seats are identical, so the difference just comes down to seat blocking. On this particular flight, the first eight rows of the plane were business class.

SWISS Airbus A220 business class cabin
SWISS Airbus A220 economy class cabin

I assigned us seats behind one another on the left side. Since intra-Europe business class ordinarily has a blocked middle seat, this works out particularly well on the A220, as you get the set of two seats to yourself. So I had seats 7A & 7C, while Ford had seats 6A & 6C.

SWISS A220 business class seats

On the right side of the plane there are three seats, so in business class the center seat is blocked.

SWISS A220 business class seats

The A220 just feels so sleek across the board, including the seat backs.

SWISS A220 business class seats

While the A220 is somewhere between your typical regional jet and your typical mainline jet, the overhead bins are a good size, big enough for a standard carry-on.

SWISS A220 overhead bins

The seatback had a literature pocket and two pouches, which could be used for a water bottle, a pair of glasses, a smartphone, etc. (though on my seat, one of the pouches was missing). Then there’s the tray table, which folds out from the seatback.

SWISS A220 business class seats
SWISS A220 business class tray table

Another nice feature of the Airbus A220 is the windows, which are quite large, bigger than you’d find on a standard jet.

SWISS Airbus A220 windows

I also love the overhead consoles on the A220, which have reading lights, individual air nozzles, and even small screens that show the safety video and a flight map.

SWISS Airbus A220 overhead console

Now, while SWISS’ Airbus A220 cabins are modern, there are two major downsides:

  • SWISS doesn’t have power ports on Airbus A220s
  • SWISS doesn’t have Wi-Fi on Airbus A220s

Both of these are standard amenities on newly delivered jets nowadays. In fairness, this isn’t an issue on a 55 minute flight from Geneva to Frankfurt. I’d consider this more of an issue on a longer flight, though.

This flight was mostly full in both business class and economy class. Of the 24 business class seats, only three were empty.

SWISS A220 business class cabin

Waiting at each seat upon boarding was a bottle of water plus a refreshing towel.

SWISS A220 business class water bottle & refreshing towel

There was also a lavatory at the front of the cabin, which was spacious and nicely appointed (and so much nicer than the new lavatories you’ll find on many 737s).

SWISS Airbus A220 lavatory

SWISS departure from Geneva

At 6:35PM boarding was complete, and at that point, the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 55 minutes. A couple observations:

  • All announcements were made in French, then English, and then German
  • Why do PAs on the A220 consistently sound like someone is talking in your ear? They’re so clear and crisp yet loud

At 6:40PM the main cabin door was closed, and at that point the cabin manager made her welcome aboard announcement. At 6:45PM we started our engines and began our taxi (A220 engines are so loud and whiny when starting up). Due to how the stands at this part of the terminal are positioned, there’s no need to push back, but rather you can just taxi straight ahead.

Departing gate at Geneva Airport (GVA)

We taxied fast, but nonetheless it took quite some time to get to the runway.

Taxiing Geneva Airport (GVA)
Taxiing Geneva Airport (GVA)

About 10 minutes later (at 6:55PM), we were short of runway 22, where we were cleared for takeoff.

Taxiing Geneva Airport (GVA)
Taking off from Geneva Airport (GVA)
View after takeoff from Geneva Airport (GVA)

We had beautiful views of Geneva on our climb out…

View after takeoff from Geneva Airport (GVA)

We hit some pretty serious chop after departure, given the thick clouds combined with the mountains. In particular, we hit one pretty big air pocket that made some passengers gasp.

View after takeoff from Geneva Airport (GVA)
View after takeoff from Geneva Airport (GVA)

Fortunately it was a totally different story above the clouds, and about 10 minutes after takeoff the ride smoothed out, at which point the seatbelt sign was turned off.

View after takeoff from Geneva Airport (GVA)

Once the sign was off, the crew first closed the curtains between cabins, and a few moments later, service began.

SWISS Airbus A220 business class cabin

SWISS business class snack service

About 20 minutes after takeoff a light snack was served. There were no choices, but rather each passenger was offered a tray with two finger sandwiches (one had pork and cheese, while the other had beets… I think?), plus a dessert with a berry compote and crumble. It wasn’t much of a snack, especially since I don’t eat pork.

SWISS business class snack service

A separate cart was then brought out with drinks. I had a coffee and a sparkling water.

SWISS business class drink service

After that, chocolates were distributed, as is standard on SWISS.

SWISS business class chocolate

The crew was friendly and efficient, and was quick to clear service items as people finished up.

SWISS arrival in Frankfurt

20 minutes before landing, the first officer informed us that we were starting our descent to Frankfurt and should be landing at 7:50PM. It was a beautiful evening above the clouds, and it was nice to still see some sunshine.

View approaching Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

Just as on departure, it was a different story under a layer of clouds, though. Not only was the sun setting, but it wasn’t particularly clear evening either.

View approaching Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
View approaching Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
View approaching Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

We ended up touching down in Frankfurt at 7:50PM.

Landing at Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

From there we had a literally one minute taxi to our remote stand, which might be a new record for me.

Taxiing at Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

While I usually am not a fan of remote stands, I was impressed that there was a separate bus for business class passengers, so there was no long wait for the bus to fill up, and for that matter people weren’t crammed in the bus either.

Arrival stand at Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
SWISS Airbus A220 at Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

A few minutes later we found ourselves in the terminal. We just had to wait for our checked bag, which showed up within about 20 minutes.

Bottom line

The Airbus A220 is a joy to fly, as it’s such a comfortable and spacious jet. In particular, you’ve gotta love the 2-3 layout, since in intra-Europe business class it means you can have both an aisle and window seat to yourself.

This flight was punctual, and the crew was friendly. My only real criticism is that SWISS hasn’t really invested in the passenger experience of these planes beyond the features of the A220 as such. There are no power ports and no Wi-Fi. That’s not at all an issue for such a short flight, but on a longer flight it would be a different story.

If you’ve flown SWISS’ A220, what was your experience like?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Tom Guest

    To me, Ben's frequent complaints about pork come down to one question: Is it possible to indicate a non-pork requirement when booking theses tickets?

    If yes, Ben shouldn't complain, full stop.

    If no, I would agree that the prevalence of "unavoidable" would be highly questionable. Too many people travel in our through Europe who simply don't eat pork. (And the same principle applies to meatless requirements.)

  2. Chris Guest

    Hi, nice TR!
    swiss (and other airlines as well) are offering special meals, especially in BusinessClass!

    If you don't eat pork, why not ordering MOML - MoslemMeal. These meals may not contain any products derived from pigs, such as pork, ham and bacon.

    Problem solved!

  3. MarcusGB Guest

    I took the Swiss A200-100, from London City to Zurich, having booked a Business Class return to the Far East, this the first and last of my 6 sector flight ticket.
    My choice to use LCY was wise, Due to recent LHR congestion, delays etc, also avoids the LH APD.
    Swiss also had a terrific price of £1,550 return? But I added The Thone seat, So it was almost £2,000 return. Other Airllines

    I took the Swiss A200-100, from London City to Zurich, having booked a Business Class return to the Far East, this the first and last of my 6 sector flight ticket.
    My choice to use LCY was wise, Due to recent LHR congestion, delays etc, also avoids the LH APD.
    Swiss also had a terrific price of £1,550 return? But I added The Thone seat, So it was almost £2,000 return. Other Airllines
    wanted over £3000+

    Through Check in ex LCY was smooth, no lounge at LCY or on return with a closed D Terminal in Zurich
    Swiss need to provide these as promised!
    Entering by stairway, the plane looked beautiful and new.
    Genuinely greeted, Inside was a smart light grey cabin, Crome tops to seats which looked smart, v clean and a fresh bright feel

    Just 4 rows of Business Class, private curtain behind, comfortable, Chique, spacious, restful, modern.
    Take off was quieter, smooth if not rapid and steep asczllCY
    Crew of 3 were v. organised, a Vegetarian I ordered (mostly not avaliable on European Biz with most Airlines these days).
    Nicely presented, fresh healthy items, plus fresh orange juice, great coffee.
    Crew were genuinely happy, Cabin Manager served Biz cabin. Repeated drinks and breakfast pastries, breads etc made.
    Cabin felt private, quiet, air fresh, Spacious seats, comfortable, Crew worked quickly but thorough, warm and all for a v Pleasant flight.
    V smooth landing, and as we departed, Captain came out to goodbye to all passengers,Just as still KLM do.
    It is a nice personal touch .
    priority luggage made it both ways, as Boarding and exiting.
    The Aircraft noticably quieter, powerful.dtill', Spacious, clean as new Aircraft are, food excellent, great service.
    The A200'2/3's really equal the Embraer Aircraft, Top notch for short haul City to City within Europe.
    Excellent Swiss.
    But you need ur lounges open, inform passengers and provide vouchers for open public F n B!
    If not, You are mis- Selling a Biz Service.

    I also highly recommend using LCY ex London with issues of staffing, inefficiency, that will not change for sometime.

    Swiss provided excellent Value Business fares, on the long and short haul flights. You cannot advertise in Contract, what you know is not being provided!

    Will use again Swiss, and LCY!

  4. Bols59 New Member

    Oh, The Cult of the Air Nozzles! I have to agree, no air nozzles and an overheated cabin=serious misery. OTOH, when I flew SEA - AMS on a NWA A330 in seat 1A Feb. 2006, I left the air nozzle on above my seat when I reclined the seat. I awoke with a frozen throat (I seem to arrive in Europe with one every time).

    The 'snack' they served you is pitiable. Intra-Europe Business...

    Oh, The Cult of the Air Nozzles! I have to agree, no air nozzles and an overheated cabin=serious misery. OTOH, when I flew SEA - AMS on a NWA A330 in seat 1A Feb. 2006, I left the air nozzle on above my seat when I reclined the seat. I awoke with a frozen throat (I seem to arrive in Europe with one every time).

    The 'snack' they served you is pitiable. Intra-Europe Business Class should be cutlery and china, not Ryanair level.

    Finally, props for providing Business Class passengers with their own bus to the terminal. I flew BA SEA - LHR Feb. 2008 in First and was smashed into the back of the transit bus to T4. It was during their heat wave and it was 74f. Just nasty.

    I echo the others who question the wisdom of no wi-fi or power ports on a brand new aircraft in 2022.

  5. Jerry Diamond

    Why on Earth would they not install Wi-Fi and power points on this brand new aircraft. Surely a retrofit is inevitable. Was this purely an attempt at savings on Swiss' behalf, or is there more to it?

  6. Marc Guest

    Hi, I’m flying GVA FRA quite often and love the A220. One point I find worth mentioning is the seat storage: in the two small net pockets you can’t fit much and that’s quite different from many other regional flights/ aircrafts. You have mentioned it in the review, just wanted to highlight it once more.

    As for the long taxi: wind came from the wrong direction, if it was the opposite direction (which is more...

    Hi, I’m flying GVA FRA quite often and love the A220. One point I find worth mentioning is the seat storage: in the two small net pockets you can’t fit much and that’s quite different from many other regional flights/ aircrafts. You have mentioned it in the review, just wanted to highlight it once more.

    As for the long taxi: wind came from the wrong direction, if it was the opposite direction (which is more often the case actually, in my perception anyway) your way to the runway would have been much quicker (less views on the city though).

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I think Ben meant “lack of air” pockets.

      You know, the random areas of vacuum that aircraft occasionally encounter.

  7. K4 Guest

    Bewildering why pork is so common on some (especially European) airlines, when so so many people don't eat it.
    It's not just religious reasons, a lot of people don't like the fat content, a lot of people are just not culturally used to eating it, such as Indians, where chicken and lamb/mutton are the only 'acceptable' meats, beef and pork, regardless of religion are still considered strange meats to everyone. Most of Africa is...

    Bewildering why pork is so common on some (especially European) airlines, when so so many people don't eat it.
    It's not just religious reasons, a lot of people don't like the fat content, a lot of people are just not culturally used to eating it, such as Indians, where chicken and lamb/mutton are the only 'acceptable' meats, beef and pork, regardless of religion are still considered strange meats to everyone. Most of Africa is similar to India in this regard. Likewise in the Middle East, even if you're not Muslim or Jewish.
    In fact it really is only Europeans, and Oriental people, which regularly eat pork. Even in the Americas it's not that popular, and even less so in North America than South and Central.
    Even in these regions, many people are averse to it due to the sentient being aspect of pigs, and their hygiene too.

    It's not that I don't eat it occasionally, but it certainly isn't my favourite meat, and find it strange that its almost always a feature on British Airways menus, as well as some European carriers.

    American carriers feature it occasionally and when needed (e.g. bacon), but European carriers seem to just not get how many people don't eat it or don't like it.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I love when comment section randos think they know better, and cite anecdotal data they’ve dreamed up.

      Also, “Oriental”? Were we transported back into the 1920s?

    2. K4 Guest

      Not sure if you either don’t know what your talking about or you didn’t understand my post.
      Pork is not as popular as Chicken, full stop.
      Yet BA insist on offering options like, Pork Chop or BBQ Chicken. I don’t like Pork and I don’t want sweet BBQ sauce. This is in business class. Another example is a either a bacon panini or cheese and tomato. I don’t like tomatoes and I want...

      Not sure if you either don’t know what your talking about or you didn’t understand my post.
      Pork is not as popular as Chicken, full stop.
      Yet BA insist on offering options like, Pork Chop or BBQ Chicken. I don’t like Pork and I don’t want sweet BBQ sauce. This is in business class. Another example is a either a bacon panini or cheese and tomato. I don’t like tomatoes and I want to avoid pork. Again business class not economy. Another example, Pulled Pork or Chicken Tikka Masala. Don’t want spicy Indian food and don’t want pork.
      It’s not like Singapore Airlines where there are 6-8 choices and one is pork.
      BA insist on giving two options, one of which is often pork and the other is not exactly what you would call mainstream.
      Oh and BA’s best one has to be either a Ploughman’s plate (including a cold egg wrapped in cold pork sausage meat, and boiled pink from nitrate ham) or sausage and mash again pork sausages .
      No I should not have to order a Kosher or Halal meal just because I don’t want to eat meat made pink with nitrates along with a cold egg or a sausage made from all sorts of meat and ridiculous amounts of fat from an animal with questionable hygiene standards.
      I know the next comment will be don’t fly BA then. Well LHR is my closest and most major airport. So very often I’m left with no options BA is the only airline with that kind of network out of LHR, especially short haul.

    3. The nice Paul Guest

      I find the mindset of the person who made this comment to be utterly bewildering. Surely the whole point of foreign travel for leisure is to experience different cultures?

      You know, including different foods.

      Yet that comment seemed to be one long plea for a homogenisation of all food across the planet so that, well, Muricans can eat Murican food everywhere they go.

      Those damn Europeans and their pork-eating habits: they should dang...

      I find the mindset of the person who made this comment to be utterly bewildering. Surely the whole point of foreign travel for leisure is to experience different cultures?

      You know, including different foods.

      Yet that comment seemed to be one long plea for a homogenisation of all food across the planet so that, well, Muricans can eat Murican food everywhere they go.

      Those damn Europeans and their pork-eating habits: they should dang well realise that many Muricans don’t eat pork (unless it’s bacon. Ummm… bacon…), and they should immediately change all their menus so they only ever serve burgers, ribs and cheesy mac. Only then will the world be safe for Murican travellers to experience, well, furriners’ attempts to mimic Gods Own Food.

      And then we can laugh at them when they don’t get it right.

    4. K4 Guest

      I love trying new foods, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to be forced to eat a meat which I just don’t like.
      Also, I live in the U.K. and am more than familiar with most of Europe. I wouldn’t consider any European cuisine as exotic to me. Sure Florentine cuisine will be different in Florence and Parisian Bistro food can only really be replicated properly in Parisian bistros, but this isn’t happening...

      I love trying new foods, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to be forced to eat a meat which I just don’t like.
      Also, I live in the U.K. and am more than familiar with most of Europe. I wouldn’t consider any European cuisine as exotic to me. Sure Florentine cuisine will be different in Florence and Parisian Bistro food can only really be replicated properly in Parisian bistros, but this isn’t happening on European short haul flights, that’s for sure.
      Lobster is expensive, but I’m sure you will find far many people who eat it and enjoy it than pork.
      Chateaubriand is expensive, but again a lot more people like it than pork.
      Heck, Dover Sole and Turbot are expensive, but I can pretty much guarantee most business class passengers eat more quality fish than ham sandwiches.
      So I get pork is cheap, but is it really that appealing? And moreover does it even have anything to do with which cuisine the meal is prepared? Murcian or Tuscan or Milanese or Basque? Not at all

    5. Evan Guest

      We get it you don't like pork. Well lots of Brits do as do the Germans and the French. Oh yes and you don't like tomatoes.... So BA don't serve them either. Take a packed lunch in future.

    6. Andy Diamond

      It looks like the sandwich in question was a salami sandwich. Salami is a traditional Italian sausage made of ... pork. So yes, it is a European speciality.

      My issue with the meal is rather that they only serve an sandwich in J class. Yes, it's a short flight, but there are certainly more delicious types of quick food. Basically it's what they served in Economy until recently.

  8. [email protected] Guest

    Also: whatever happened to that review of the hotels in Sarasota, FL? You mentioned you'd stayed there over New Years, perhaps just before the pandemic hit (or maybe even the year before that). Did that review ever get punished, or did it get sidetracked. I've vacationed in SRQ many times before, so I know the area well.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ [email protected] -- Indeed, a few years back I went to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota with family for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I never got around to reviewing it. It was my first getaway with my mom after a major surgery for her cancer, and I wasn't able to get enough pictures of all the outlets to write a good review. Sorry, hopefully I can review it next time, as we had a nice time.

  9. Alex James Guest

    Was this flight mask-optional? You mentioned a while back that Swiss had ditched its mask mandate?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alex James -- Sorry I forgot to mention that. Masks were still required on this flight per German regulations, even though Switzerland doesn't require it. So passengers had to wear masks from boarding until deplaning.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Never In Doubt Guest

I love when comment section randos think they know better, and cite anecdotal data they’ve dreamed up. Also, “Oriental”? Were we transported back into the 1920s?

4
The nice Paul Guest

I find the mindset of the person who made this comment to be utterly bewildering. Surely the whole point of foreign travel for leisure is to experience different cultures? You know, including different foods. Yet that comment seemed to be one long plea for a homogenisation of all food across the planet so that, well, Muricans can eat Murican food everywhere they go. Those damn Europeans and their pork-eating habits: they should dang well realise that many Muricans don’t eat pork (unless it’s bacon. Ummm… bacon…), and they should immediately change all their menus so they only ever serve burgers, ribs and cheesy mac. Only then will the world be safe for Murican travellers to experience, well, furriners’ attempts to mimic Gods Own Food. And then we can laugh at them when they don’t get it right.

3
Evan Guest

We get it you don't like pork. Well lots of Brits do as do the Germans and the French. Oh yes and you don't like tomatoes.... So BA don't serve them either. Take a packed lunch in future.

1
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