My relationship with SWISS International Air Lines goes back to 2009. It was my first international flight, from Delhi to Geneva via Zurich.
Over a period of eight years, this relationship has grown. I have flown SWISS many times and my experience with the airlines has also differed.
2017: DEL-ZRH (return SWISS Business)
Same sector return flights.
Every time I have flown SWISS, I have had seamless check-in. Indian airports (Delhi and Mumbai) smoothly expedite the process. I have had to wait a maximum of five minutes through it all.
Internationally, the process is even quicker. And most of the time, I do not web check-in (it is a mind block for international sectors) and yet I’m amazed with their efficiency and politeness.
Departure and Arrival
While the boarding process has always been smooth, minor irritants are the usual suspects (passengers blocking the aisle, someone else sitting on my assigned seat). The crew is organised and over the years, they have become friendly. I remember the first time I flew from Delhi, one stewardess was particularly rude to an old lady sitting next to me. I told her off. Since then I have never experienced or observed anything of the like.
My arrival at either Zurich or Geneva was as good as departure. We promptly disembarked from the aircraft and in no time, the baggage belts displayed our bags.
However, recently in Delhi, our bags took forever to come. Besides, we went hopping conveyor belts because authorities kept changing the designated belt. I waited for 35 minutes for my bag at midnight. And I had an onward domestic flight in less than two hours. This could be solely the inefficiency and mismanagement by the airport authorities too.
Airbus A330-300 is perfect for long-haul flights. The flights were smooth and minor turbulence was easily overlooked.
The seats in Economy are comfortable and not overtly cramped. Even though I wish we had more leg space, I know I have flown other international airlines where I’ve had to struggle to untie my shoes.
The seats in SWISS Economy are arranged in the 2-4-2 layout. On the other hand, SWISS Business had 1(alternating with 2)-2-1(alternating with 2) seat layout.
Needless to say that the seats in the Business Class are spacious, cosy and comfortable. I had a window seat and the dark brown leathered armrest stretched on both sides. The colour scheme was in earthy browns with light wood panels. The seat reclined completely to a two-metre flat bed and had an integrated massage option. And I had enough space to stow away my bag and ankle-high hiking boots.
In-flight entertainment was expansive. The movies list had quite a few new releases. I invested my time in watching two movies later on-board. Though I spent much time reading their in-flight SWISS magazine and a favourite newspaper, The New York Times.
My amenity kit was splendid! Firstly I loved the up-cycled modular bag it came in. It had primary requirements like toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, ear plugs, a pair of socks, moisturiser and eye mask.
The washrooms were clean throughout the duration of the flight. I loved the hand and face moisturisers that were kept for use in the toilets.
The food in SWISS Economy was at par with Business. However, the variety I enjoyed in the latter was missing. Of course there was no difference in the taste and hospitality, but my Business Class menu was an elaborate four-course one with an extensive wine list.
SWISS Business menu was specially designed by Chef Andreas Appenzeller of Hotel frutt Lodge & Spa, Switzerland and by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts. And is changed every three months. In the first and main course, I chose among three options- in each, I picked the Chef’s creation.
First course was smoked salmon tartare with sour cream, cucumber and radish salad. Though not a fan of cold food, the salmon surprised me with its fresh texture. The greens and bread on the side were perfect accompaniments.
For main course, I chose beef tenderloin with thyme sauce, Obwalden semolina slice and summer vegetables. The meat was well done and doused in the sauce, though I still preferred my first course.
The traditional cheese platter followed next and finally for dessert, I gobbled the yogurt and honey mousse with strawberry sponge and bircher muesli popcorn. I saved some Swiss chocolate for later. The ‘movie snack’ pleasantly surprised me, which was a delicious flavour of Movenpick.
The highlight of my in-flight meal experience was the beverages. I was served a bubbly once I boarded the aircraft. But I focussed on the locally brewed beer. Birra da Ris, a seasonal beer from Appenzell, was a glass of pure golden with minimum lacing and very mild in taste. My next was Quöllfrisch Lager, again from Appenzell, which was a typical lager with fruity taste. Needless to say, I went back to Birra da Ris in no time.
I wanted to try the famed Etter Williams as a digestif. With significant aromas of pear, this hard liquor was extremely strong and burnt my throat! I had to reinstate it with a safe Baileys Irish Cream.
Our arrival meal was simple and sufficient. The rice salad with curry, grilled pineapple and sautéed chicken breast was accompanied by a fresh fruit salad.
Good to know
-SWISS flights have always impressed me with their punctuality
-Check-in baggage allowance on SWISS Economy is 1 piece upto 23kgs and SWISS Business is 2 pieces upto 32kgs (updated till November 6, 2017).
-SWISS Business has a quick meal option for travellers who want to cut down on meal time.
-SWISS flights have a wide array of beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Don’t hesitate to ask your stewardess for local recommendations.
-Is SWISS Business worth it? Definitely yes for long-haul flights.
Which international airline do you most prefer?
Note: My 2017 travel on SWISS was made possible by Switzerland Tourism and Swiss Travel System.