It’s not often that at the end of extended travel abroad we look forward to the flight home – but with Swiss Business all that has changed.
We still marvel that we can fly in aluminium tubes on razor wings at impossible heights above cotton wool clouds and disparate nations; but have come to despise the misery of pared back service and condensed seating for those who have little choice but to ram themselves into inadequate spaces and endure demeaning treatment by harassed cabin crew, in order to afford to escape to exotic climes.
Just the queue of aircraft on Heathrow perimeter track was enough to emphasise this commoditisation.
How wonderful therefore to retrieve the magic of travel on our recent journey to Bangkok and back with Swiss.
Initially, the most attractive part of the outward journey from Heathrow was the very competitive price for Business Class that Swiss offered through Expedia. We routinely scan Skyscanner, Google Flights and other online booking search services for best deals. There’s always the feeling, however, that the service will be compromised with special deals – but Swiss came up trumps.
Much of what Swiss does has become commonplace, such as online boarding cards and email updates; but from the off, it seemed as though their approach was just that little bit more efficient.
The best way to create a happy traveller is to put them on the plane in a good frame of mind, so spending some time in the quiet and relaxed environment of the Swiss (or Star Alliance) airport lounge is a good way to avoid the bustle associated with departures, as is the Fast Track/Priority passage through check-in, security and immigration. The fact that you’ll be seated ‘ahead of the engines’ is always a good start.
Once on board one of the brand new Swiss Boeing 777-300ER wide body aircraft used on long haul, we’re pleasantly impressed by the five-across 2-1-2 combinations of the seats (compared with ten-across in economy) and delighted to find that these innovative seats have bags of leg room, inbuilt massage function and multiple stages towards lay-flat when we wish to sleep.
Large TV screens, Vitorinox designed ‘comfort kit’ in a smart black or silver tin and a host of other small improvements make these seats something special.
With most things in life, it’s the elements that are missing that define a service but we think it’s fair to say that Swiss got it right both ways, on our flights to and from Bangkok.
Meals are not so much sustenance but a time to enjoy browsing the varied menu and creating our own experience from the choices available. The multiple choice menu with special ‘Taste of Switzerland’ treats is most enjoyable but we decline the offer of snacks in between, preferring to concentrate on the wide selection of in flight entertainment.
Aperitifs, Champagne, wine, soft drinks and liqueurs complement each dish and there’s never a time when we think we’re being neglected, for food or care and attention.
Any flight can be made or marred by the cabin crew and again, in our experience, Swiss have got it right. There is no sign of superciliousness or impatience found elsewhere and the Swiss crew genuinely seem to be in harmony with one another and their passengers – all credit to them.
As a relatively new national carrier, now owned by Lufthansa, Swiss has retained the excellence of service possible from its roots as a competitor to the now defunct Swissair.
It’s increasingly difficult to justify extended travel these days because of emissions and climate change, so it’s some salve to our consciences that the Swiss Boeing 777 saves over 20% of fuel and emissions over its Airbus counterpart – a battle that we hope will continue forever.
It makes it slightly easier to lay back and enjoy the view.
We grew up expecting precision, accuracy and professionalism from anything Swiss made – and Swiss as an airline has revived this ethos and is now synonymous for us with pure professionalism and sophistication throughout – please sustain it, it’s superb! We will be back.
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Let us plan your own inspiring journey to exotic climes
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