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Transport : Airlines

In this trip report we review our flight on Swiss Airlines A340 in Business Class from Zurich to Sao Paulo. We had originally booked to fly Singapore Air from Barcelona to Sao Paulo in first class, thus were disappointed when the airline stopped flying this route. However, Singapore Air agreed to reroute us from Zurich with Swiss in business class (we also received miles as compensation). Whilst not an aspirational flight, we were intrigued to try Swiss business, having previously only flown with them in first class.

We arrived at a busy Zurich airport 90 minutes before the flight and, after enjoying the uniquely Swiss train to the satellite terminal (listen out for the yodelling and lowing cows), we proceeded straight to the gate. Boarding started soon afterwards and we were first on board, thus able to settle down and explore the seat. This plane featured an older business class product, but it was in good condition with lie-flat seats and a sophisticated design. Swiss uses a 1-2-1; 2-2-1 seating configuration, split into 2 cabins (see seat map here). We had chosen a middle pair in the quiet cabin with just 9 seats, just behind first class. The best seat for a single passenger is 4A – a throne seat with plenty of storage and a high level of privacy. For a couple, 4D and 4G, the middle pair in the first row of the mini cabin would be the best option. Avoid 5A, 7A, 9A, 11A and 14A as these are the only seats without direct aisle access.

Basic amenity kits were present in the storage cubby hole of each seat, along with headphones for the IFE, a soft pillow and blanket. Cabin crew busied around, offering newspapers, magazines and pre-departure bubbles. We enjoyed the refreshing pre-flight Duval Leroy Brut, but decided to skip dinner and sleep instead in-flight. There were a number of international and Swiss specialities on offer for those who decided to dine.

Swiss offers a pretty basic amenity kit contained in a useful re-usable tote bag. Inside are socks, earplugs, dental kit, lip balm and eye-mask. Plentiful supplies of Swiss Code branded hydrating facial mist and mini tubes of non-greasy facial moisturiser are provided in the toilets. Unfortunately, Swiss does not provide pyjamas in business class, but we had brought our own and had soon changed into them, reclined our seats and snuggled down under the duvet. The cabin was kept pleasantly cool during the flight, so we didn’t spend the whole night tossing and turning through overheating (unlike many other airlines). However, the seats were very hard and could really benefit from a mattress topper or more padding. There is also an irritating step just at the level of the passenger’s feet with the seat in full lie-flat configuration.

After 6-8 hours of dozing, we awoke, ordered a comforting green tea and raided the snack bar for dried apricots. Crisps and chocolate were also available, but we kept it light, knowing breakfast would be served soon. Shortly afterwards, the lights were turned on and the friendly crew began serving breakfast. Swiss offers a trolley service, which was excellent. On offer was a choice of meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, bircher muesli, egg dishes, yoghurt and pastries, served with a choice of hot drinks and fresh juices. We vastly preferred being able to see everything on offer and selecting exactly what we wanted to choosing off a menu – this meant we could request extra large portions of fruit and ensure that everything suited our tricky dietary requirements.

The crew throughout were friendly and happy to talk to us in German or English. Of particular note was the service given to the passenger sitting next to us, whose birthday was during the flight. He was wished Happy Birthday multiple times and was even provided a present from the crew including a box of deluxe Swiss chocolates.

Whilst the seat was somewhat uncomfortable, service and dining was excellent. The Swiss business product on the A340 is by no means class-leading; however, it is competitive with the offering of other European airlines. Whilst we would choose to fly Qatar, Etihad, Cathay Pacific or Singapore Air if available, we would be happy to fly Swiss again and would choose them over Lufthansa, British Airways or Iberia.

You can also read my Swiss Airlines long haul First Class flight reviews and Swiss Airlines Business Class flight reviews.

This review was written by our friends at Driven2Travel.