Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Swiss Air Business Class Review

I usually don't do travel reviews, but this one, methinks, deserves to be done, because I did not find enough online when looking.

We travelled Delhi-Zurich and Zurich Delhi on a round trip in June 2017.

I am a big fan of Lufthansa's A 380 business class flying from Delhi to Germany. But this time, the destination was Zurich, and having a port of entry in Germany would have changed the visa process, the layover time everything. So we decided to risk it and fly Swiss Air direct to Zurich - an 8 hour flight.

For starters, there is no comparison. Swiss Air uses A 330 - a relatively old craft on the Delhi - Zurich line, and I don't think they have any A 380s. So that experience should be automatically discounted.

Even for an A 330, we expected a comfortable trip. In particular, since it was a night flight,  we expected comfortable beds so we could start the day refreshed.

Here is what works and doesn't work:
1. The crew from Zurich - Delhi was way better than the Delhi- Zurich crew. For starters, they actually responded to call buttons - within half an hour, sometimes less. The Delhi - Zurich crew is equipped with special call button ignoring devices that ensures that you get up from  your seat, go to the gallery and ask them for whatever it is that you want.

2. The business class does not provide bathroom slippers, just the stockings, so please carry your own. The washrooms definitely need the slippers bcs I don't think they were serviced as often.

3. There is just no stowage/ storage next to your seat! That is insane!

4. The crew does have at least one Hindi speaking member and announcements are also made in Hindi.

5.  The food was decidedly better on the Zurich-Delhi sector. The Delhi-Zurich sector, we asked for chocolates and were told that they are in the "rear section" and someone will have to get them. I stared at her incredulously. We were travelling to the chocolate capital of the world, on the national carrier, and they did not have chocolates for children on board! The result of this glare was that miraculously, a box of pralines was produced. I asked her to leave it there and we will return it when the child is done with them. This was done rather reluctantly.

6. The entertainment on board is very limited for kids, and the display is nothing to write home about. Its not convenient when you are lying down. For me, there were a couple of options, but can't say I enjoyed the selection. I just chose because.. well, there were 8 hours to be killed.

7. The recline, I think, is the biggest disappointment. If you want to recline at 45 degrees, curl your feet up and watch a good movie, this is how you do it: Activate the "bed", stop at the right incline, then put up the feet. I figured that out after some experimentation, so will help you.

8. The flat bed basically is the chair sinking down to the floor. So no window view if you are lying down.

9. The seating configuration. Really, you just have to see it to know what I mean. Go there. Checking out the config through online pictures does not do justice to the hilarity of that seat configuration.

10. Last but not the least, the crafts are old. So please expect the same experience that you would on board old Air India crafts. The date is roughly the same, as is the level of staining on the seat covers.

Will I recommend this airline and this class of travel? NOT for this price. The price is the same as the A380 Lufthansa business class, with a lot less thrown in.

The experience was hugely underwhelming.

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