American frequent flyers often pooh-pooh European business class. This appears mainly down to the fact it lacks the enormous seat required to cradle them adequately. In virtually every other aspect the Europeans come out ahead, which Swiss A220 business class demonstrates so well.
When planning the trip, my excitement was around flying on a
Bombardier CSeries Airbus A220 for the first time. Who knew everything else would far exceed my expectations?
LX406 – Zurich to Dublin (ZRH-DUB)
30 August 2020
Bombardier CS300 Airbus A220-300 – HB-JCF
Seat: Business Class 3A
Departure: 17:10 Arrival: 18:35
I arrived in Zurich from Nice on Swiss and proceeded through Passport control to get to my new gate. Two people at portable desks were checking everyone to ensure they had completed the Irish Government’s Coronavirus paperwork. I’d completed mine online a couple of days before so I was good to go. Soon enough it was time to board.
Swiss A220 Business Class Cabin
Seats are arranged two by three on this aircraft in economy class, and Swiss A220 business class is the same. The seat beside you is kept free, so if you snag a seat on the left side, you have no-one beside you at all.
I’m torn as to my favourite part of the aesthetic. It is either the gorgeous silver trim with coat hook around the seats, or the very large windows with their solid blinds. From a tactile perspective, the blinds feel like quality, and I like that a lot.
Food Ordering And Safety
While on the ground, a lovely soft spoken crew member started taking meal orders. Once he got to me, he addressed me by name and enquired if I spoke Deutsch or English, then went through the meal choices. These were either chicken soltimbocca or gnocchi arrabiata, and I chose the chicken.
The door announcement on Swiss is “Cabin crew, arm the slides” as opposed to the more familiar “Cabin crew, please arm the doors and cross-check”. Soon after the animated safety demonstration played on the LCD screens, we headed to the runway and took off into the rainy Zurich sky, setting course for Dublin.
Superb Business Class Service
Once in the air, the curtain was closed and the lead crew member began his dance. Ask passenger what they would like to drink. Head to galley. Get drink. Deliver drink. Repeat. Each time he went to the galley, he closed the curtain behind him. Those wanting Champagne (Me! Me! Me!) had the bottle brought out and the glass poured at your seat.
The attention paid to the passengers was second to none. Anytime I was almost finished my glass, I was asked if I would like some more and my glass was duly topped up. Exceptional service all round. Later on I thanked him for being so good and he said, “Why? This is the job.”
How Good Is This Dinner? Gobsmacked!
I am a big fan of eating when I fly and I find British Airways serve good meals in their Club Europe cabin and even Aer Lingus do a good hot breakfast. In this instance, Swiss hit it out of the park with one of the most delicious meals I’ve had on a plane.
Before being handed the tray, the crew shake the vinaigrette to ensure it’s mixed. Once delivered, a basket of bread is offered, to which I took a nice plump roll. I sat back and leisurely ate my meal high above the clouds, in Swiss A220 business class and everything was right in the world. To say this was an amazing meal is an understatement. It was an experience!
What About The Rest Of The Flight?
Asked if I wished to switch to something else, “Perhaps a digestif?”, I elected to stick with the excellent Champagne. A second bottle was opened and brought to me still frothing as he poured me another glass. Meanwhile, I took my time eating, with the chocolate arriving before I had finished. Eventually I handed back the tray and visited the forward toilet. Naturally I captured that for posterity and returned to my seat.
After that, I continued with Champagne. During flight the LCD screens show the flight progress map, interspersed with advertisements for Brietling watches. The seat belt sign comes on, I swap my glass for a plastic cup and we descend and land into Dublin. They had noticed all my photo taking, so on disembarking, I was asked, “Did you have a good flight?” to which I replied, “Absolutely, thank you so much, it was excellent!”
Best. Flight. Ever. The planets aligned and every single thing I love about flying all coalesced into one perfect flight. Good service? Tick. A brilliant meal? Tick. Plenty of Champagne? Tick. Flying in the late afternoon for interesting views? Tick. Okay, okay, it probably isn’t the best flight I have ever been on, but it came pretty close to perfection.
When the lead crew member found out I mainly have to fly British Airways, he joked, “Oh, I’m SO sorry!” which made me laugh out loud. Even with his face mask on, his eyes danced with mirth as he said it. He truly delivered some of the best service I’ve had on a flight. The man never stopped moving! Seriously impressive.
Usually I am a pretty quick eater, but I deliberately lingered over this meal as it was so tasty. The chicken is hands down some of the best I have eaten anywhere ever. Not a bit of fat or gristle, pure breast meat, moist and cooked to perfection. I have no fault whatsoever with anything here.
All in all, an extremely impressive flight, which I am glad to have experienced. Oh, and the Airbus A220? Let’s just say the Montréal manufactured jet is stylish and quiet. Canada’s Bombardier have done a fantastic job with a real stand out aircraft. Well done!
Have you flown Swiss A220 business class before? Is this kind of service normal for Swiss? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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As an American – I mostly look down on Eurobusiness because of the value proposition. Seems like you at least get extra legroom on Swiss, but Lufthansa does not give extra legroom. It really is the exact same seat, so I can’t understand why people would generally pay the premium for it. (Even the best food etc. does not justify the extra cost.) But yes, European business class (at least the two times I’ve flown it on LH) has good food and service (better than what I’ve had on domestic first on UA here). It is a nice experience, just… Read more »
Well, included in the value proposition is lounge access as well, which is generally not offered by First Class in the United States, unless you’re a paid member of a programme. To me, when you add it all up, the European business class comes out ahead. Of course, some airlines are better than others, and I’d place Swiss and British Airways at the top of the heap. Interestingly, price wise it can be very good value, even more so nowadays of course. Thanks for your comment, I always like to see other opinions 🙂
True, that’s fair. And the lounges in Europe are significantly better than the ones we have here. ;-P
The Flagship lounges on AA are the best ones I’ve been to over there. Not had the pleasure of the other big airlines though! Perhaps one day.
Excellent, so interesting………..
Thank you Jorge, glad you enjoyed the read! 🙂
If Swiss can do this, why are we still eating soggy rolls from a brown bag on BA Business class. I know now who to fly next time. Thanks.
I know, right? I am booking flights with BA soon, but I’m going to fly EuroTraveller rather than Club Europe as it’s just not worth it with the crappy catering they’re offering right now.
Just don’t get used to it…… and btw, you forgot to lick your plate……
Hahaha! I did indeed… I was pretty close to doing that, I have to say 🙂