Swiss A340 Cabin Refresh Project Complete

Filed Under: Swiss

Swiss’ long haul fleet consists of A330s, A340s, and 777s. The carrier’s 777s have featured their most updated first and business class products since they were delivered. I’ve reviewed Swiss’ 777-300ER first class from Zurich to Los Angeles, and Swiss’ 777-300ER business class from San Francisco to Zurich.

On the other end of the spectrum, up until early 2019, Swiss’ A340-300s have featured their most outdated cabins. The airline has five of these planes in their fleet, and they didn’t feature the same product in any cabin as the 777.

That has finally changed. In early 2019, Swiss began the process of refreshing their A340-300 fleet, and that process is now complete. That means all Swiss A340s now feature new cabins.

With the refurbishment, Swiss has new seats in all three cabins, new in-flight entertainment systems, internet connectivity, new galleys, and comprehensive modernization of the entire interior, including a new lighting concept.

Swiss operates their A340s on flights to Boston, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo.

Here are some pictures of the new interiors, including in first class, business class, and economy:

The new interiors look excellent. In economy the A330 and A340 are a joy to fly, given the 2-4-2 configuration (which is better than the 3-4-3 configuration on many other planes).

While most airlines are retiring the A340-300 (it’s not fuel efficient and has been around for a long time), it’s interesting to see Swiss continue to invest in the plane. For what it’s worth, Swiss’ average age for the A340-300 is just over 15 years, which isn’t especially old.

In 2021, Swiss will even be installing premium economy seats on the A340s. It’s kind of weird to see them do this project in two phases, but I guess that’s just how the timing worked out, since Swiss hasn’t yet started the process of rolling out premium economy on any planes.

Has anyone flown one of these refreshed A340s yet?

  1. FINALLY! I flew JNB-ZRH in J back in July and it was really showing its wear. The seat was also dirty so even the old a/c hadn’t been properly cleaned.

  2. Do you know if they have any intentions of retiring the a340 soon? Are Swiss and British the only ones still investing/refurbishing their inefficient planes (a340s and 747s)?

  3. Just took the old A340 J from Zurich to Shanghai. Outdated IFE and everything a bit worn, but still reasonably comfortable. Catering, champagne and wine quite good. Swiss has some style, like it overall.

  4. Too bad – the 777-300’s biz class product seats are hard as a rock – even with the air cushions !
    I fly SFO – ZRH often and these days choose UA or Turkish instead.

  5. The old 340 First class had the most comfortable seat in the air for sleeping. Surprised my self everytime on how much sleeping I did.

  6. Didn’t Spohr order all carriers under the LH umbrella to standardize their hard products?

  7. Looks good and consistent. I find Swiss to have the most stylish cabin (in all classes) of any European carrier.

  8. Hi anyone have an update on this refurb? Looking at ZRH > PVG in Jan 2020 on A340-300. Will it have the new product in J?

  9. Flew ZRH to JNB a few days ago in J in the refreshed cabin. Very stylish interiors and great soft product, great IFE and food! Don’t miss the amenities in the bathroom! I’m fairly small and the seat pitch was an issue for me though – not sure how a tall guy would fit!

  10. @Bernie – wasn’t that Matt at liveandletsfly? He has implied a few times that he indeed settled.

  11. @ah The 747 and A340 are far from the most efficient planes in the world but I am not sure they are horrifically inefficient either. The planes have been paid for, and Swiss and BA decided that they can make more money out of using the airplanes for a few more years than they will retiring them early and having to spend money on new planes. BA are retiring their 744s in four years, but most will be gone before that. Swiss A340s are very young aircraft at 15, so it makes sense they would want to keep them around for a few more years, and that while they were around they would want to have a decent hard product

  12. I recently flew EWR-ZRH-TLV on an A330 between EWR-ZRH and then an A340 between ZRH-TLV in economy. I found the A330 to be fairly uncomfortable with thin padding and an outdated IFE while the A340’s interior felt very new (which they were evidently) with comfortable seats and a new IFE system. Good job Swiss on the A340s. I just hope the A330s get retrofitted at some point as well.

  13. Am I the only one that consideres LX business class the worst TATL biz class from Star Alliance? I honestly prefer UA 2-4-2. I hate those cramped Vantage seats and the service and amenities on offer just seem so cheap, even compared to LH. I will however give LX some credit for making a lot of award seats available.

  14. Having been a longtime Swiss fan, going back to Swissair in the 90s; and being resident in Zurich for a number of years, I am sad to say that despite the inconvenience, I have permanently abandoned this airline because of their hideously uncomfortable seats and daft layout.

    I gave up last year after yet another cramped flight on their 777. Their business cabin is the dumbest seat layout you can imagine. There are still window pairs that are so tight you simply can’t get out over your companion when the seats are down.
    The “interleaved’ seats means there are 5 seats across the 777, and the row behind has 5 seats installed very tightly, and interleaved with the ones in front (basically a box where your feet go) It is, quasi, a 10 across…meaning they are the narrowest business class seats. So narrow I can’t sleep on my back.

    It also results in lots of wasted space, and very different seat experiences. The single seat has huge “sideboards” and storage space; the window pair has virtually no surface to put anything, and miniscule storage space; the centre pairs have an uneven amount of flat surface area – one seat has a lot and the other nearly none. On top of which, the “air mattress’ is total crap. There is a small section of the seat with this – it’s either hard as a board, or as hard as a board with a deflated thin balloon on top – when you lay on your side the air just moves and you are on the board again. The rest of the seat is as comfortable as a Croatian seaside rock to sleep on.

    Add to this the incredibly noisey 777 aircon, and engines that grind louder than a Massey Ferguson tractor…so despite the attractive design, it’s a big fat “never again” from me.

  15. Swiss fit-outs all have a particular look. The squared off everything with faux wood panelling has the look of 1980’s semi-open offices, or a call centre. Might appeal to the neat freaks who have all their pencils on their desk precisely parallel and nothing out of place.
    I think it’s Boring.

  16. @Ryan
    The inflation system that LX and other use is crap. On more than 60% of the flights I’ve taken with SK, LX, LH, OS and AC (all of which use the air inflation system), the system has been broken and air has deflated from parts of the seat or the seat altogheter, basically ruining the experience of flying biz. I’ve reported all incidents and usually get a couple of hundred euros in compensation.

  17. I love the A340, wonderful aircraft that in almost 30 years has never killed one single person aboard. And to all of You who inhaled that carbon efficient idology: there is no gain for nature at all, because once an airline has them they increase their fleet size and open up new routes – the effect is more emissions than ever before in total. What makes it even worse is people flying around a lot more, often even for no reason, no problem, it’s ‘green’ now. It’s the same with cars: the more efficient they get the bigger and heavier they get and the more people are on the streets with their white (or green?) washed oh-so-good conscience. No gain at all for nature, just for manufacturers and airlines… Reality bites, doesn’t it?

  18. @Steve There should be a government carbon tax per tons of co2 emissions on airlines. If that happens, I can guarantee we would see the market move to fewer flights with larger more efficient aircraft: Instead of 3 A321s a day on a route, we would see 1 787. Instead of 2 787s, we would see one 779. Etc etc

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