Trip Report: Swiss A330-300 Business Class JFK-ZRH

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I paid for this fare after seeing it pop up on The Flight Deal as a fare attack by Star Alliance on Skyteam hubs. It cost me $1,487 R/T for Business Class on Swiss and the routing was JFK-ZRH-VCE-ZHR-EWR.

Now, when I see fare deals like this, I’m always torn between being totally impulsive and trying to think it through. This deal was on a multitude of Star Alliance partners, so I wanted to pick one that A). I’d never flown before and 2.) that would credit well to United.

Why United? They have a non-stop flight from EWR-MEM (only one of two – the other is Delta from LGA-MEM) and those flights can be either dirt cheap or prohibitively expensive. I knew I wanted to go see my Mom in the near future, and thought I could use the miles I’d earn from this booking to book the most expensive leg of a round-trip ticket, which is exactly what ended up happening.

Screenshot 2015-01-25 10.46.05

I earned 12,493 miles from these flights – 7 miles short of a free domestic one-way

The flight to go see my Mom for Christmas was pricing out at around $450 each way on United – yes, over $900 round-trip.

I redeemed all the miles earned on these Swiss flights for a Christmas trip to visit my Mom on United and got a value of ~4 cents per mile, which is awesome. I also picked up a REDbird card while I was down there. And I got to go to Venice for my birthday – thanks to this fare.

Free flight to Memphis

Free flight to Memphis

Anyway, that’s the story behind the booking, back to Swiss business class.

The flight

This was an overnight flight that left at 9pm and arrived in Zurich at 10:50am. For flights like this, all I really care about is the seat itself. Overnight flights are difficult for me. I waver between fully freaking awake and passing out like a zombie, with very little in-between, and this one was no different.

This product features a fully lie-flat seat, and after spending some time in both the Swiss Lounge and the Wingtips Lounge @ T4 in JFK, we headed to the gate to board.

Profile of the seat

Profile of the seat on Swiss Business Class

Water

Water

Seat controls

Seat controls

We found our seats and settled in. Shortly after, a flight attendant came by to hand us an amenity kit and another came around and offered us drinks.

Swiss amenity kit

Swiss amenity kit

Printed list of Swiss amenity kit contents

Printed list of additional Swiss “comfort items”

Amenity kit contents

Amenity kit contents

The amenity kit contained the usual ear plugs, eyeshade, and socks, as well as a dental kit, Ricola cough drops, and lip balm. I really don’t like the tin box presentation of this kit. I put it in my backpack and the second I pulled it back out, it was already dented in a few places. I definitely prefer fabric/nylon cases that are a bit more flexible. Lufthansa sometimes gives out kits housed in a plastic box, which scratches easily and easily cracks – but um, #FirstWorldProblems.

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Pre-departure champagne

Meal service

After takeoff, the flight attendants passed out both dinner menus and a breakfast order form.

Breakfast order form

Breakfast order form

I requested a couple of items, and a smoothie and coffee for breakfast.

Dinner menu

Dinner menu – front

Dinner menu

Dinner menu (click to enlarge)

Wine menu

Wine menu (click to enlarge)

I ordered the Bordeaux and the beef tenderloin.

Bordeaux wine

Bordeaux wine and water

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Swiss dinner presentation

The food was tasty. I always expect the beef dishes to be dried out, but they did a good job of keeping this one tender. The veggies and potatoes were a little bland, which is fine – I added some salt and they were perfectly fine.

I love cheese and pretzel rolls. The cheese plate was the perfect amount.

It was pretty late (in East Coast time) when dinner was served, so this was more of an “express” dinner as opposed to a longer meal service where they bring out each course separately, which was fine. Other passengers were already starting to extend their seats into the bed position, and right after dinner, the cabin was dimmed to approximate nighttime, which made photographing the chocolate mousse I got for dessert kind of difficult. I did take a picture of it… but you don’t want to see it. It just looks like a dark blob in an ever darker surrounding environment.

It was pretty tasty – I ate all of it – but by the end, I was ready to pass out, too.

Overall impressions

I usually have a bit more to say about seats, bedding, food, etc. This flight was very focused on getting you to Zurich.

The flight attendants came around to make up the beds and pass out duvets and pillows. None of my pictures would turn out without using flash, and I didn’t want to be “that guy.”

I will say this about the seats: each one is its own little “pod” which makes the experience feel very private. It is set pretty close to the floor, though, so if you like the feeling of being a little elevated, you won’t get that here.

Overnight trans-Atlantic flights should be primarily comfortable with other service aspects secondary, in my opinion.

That’s exactly what you get with this flight.

The product is designed to provide a place to sleep comfortably. And I did. I passed out, yep, like a zombie, except for a few very bleary-eyed moments were I had to get up to use the lav.

The service matches that idea. The flight attendants are around, but they mostly sat in their area and let everyone sleep until I felt a hand gently touch my shoulder and bolted straight up in the seat. I usually wake up when I hear the tinkling of cups and silverware, but I genuinely got some rest on this flight.

They kept the cabin dark throughout the entire breakfast service and well into the descent, and shortly after, we landed safely at Zurich.

New passport stamp

New passport stamp

Bottom line

Not as many images as I would’ve liked to’ve captured, but they kept it really dark in there the entire time.

This flight is all about the seat/bed. It was my first time on Swiss business class, and based on this, I’d love to try them for a daytime flight.

The service was warm, but understandably restrained here.

For an overnight flight to Europe, it was very comfy. After landing in Zurich, we headed to the gate for the flight to Venice, and soon after were in Italy.

The views of the countryside from the Zurich airport made me want to visit Switzerland – and based on this flight, I’d love to try Swiss again.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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