All in I paid about $1,800 round trip for a business class ticket that I think is a steal. Compared to the normal rate of $3,500+ or 180,000 points I was happy to pay cash for this fare.
Check In Experience
I arrived at Newark airport a few hours before departure but given I was in Terminal B I had no interest in going to the lackluster lounges. If this flight was out of Terminal C I would be happy to spend time in the United Polaris lounge but it didn’t make sense to visit on this trip.
I made my way through security down the long hallway of Terminal B. I find this Terminal to be one of the most depressing out of any of the New York Airports.
Each of the gates are separated into these clusters of 5/6 with a few shops and lounges in the area. If you have extra time in a Terminal this is certainly not one you want to spend any in.
Luckily for me my flight was boarding soon after I arrived and security was a breeze.
I had never flown Swiss before and I was lucky enough to actual snag a “throne” seat for free right before check in.
This particular aircraft was an older A330 as you can tell from the finishings and the screen size. I did like the way Swiss styled this cabin but it is starting to look a bit dated.
As I made my way to the seat I passed by the couple seats and while they didn’t look bad they were no match for the privacy of the throne seat.
I arrived at my seat and immediately noticed why these are so coveted on Swiss Airlines. In this cabin not all seats are created equally and the throne seat often comes with a $150 up charge to select.
It does make sense if you see you get about double the amount of table space and complete privacy, although no door.
When you settle in you will notice on this plane the IFE could definitely use updating but what you want this seat for is the privacy, especially if you are traveling alone. I was traveling with my partner on this flight but we actually both got throne seats to enjoy some rest on the red eye.
When I hung my jacket you can notice just how much space there is here. I almost never hang my jacket on these hooks but Swiss provided a hanger and it clearly didn’t get in my way this time so I thought why not.
I took a quick look at the seat controls and it had all the standard buttons including an adjustment to the seat cushion. I never really use many of these except for the recline but I often find them to be finicky.
I did like the wood design on the panels as well as the location of the outlet. Sometimes airlines tuck the outlet into the hardest to reach of places making it almost impossible to plug your charger in. These were easily accessable and did not get in the way even when sleeping.
As I settled in the flight attendants came around with champagne. I have to say there is nothing better than drinking a glass of champagne with so much space to yourself as you see others boarding the plane.
The amenity kit on Swiss was pretty basic but I liked the simple design and hard cover. I find most airlines are going with flimsy cloth amenity kits that don’t really hold much together.
Inside the amenity kit was nothing too interesting and was actually pretty light. I find I never really use most of the items, except for the socks, so this was welcome.
Then it was time for one of my favorite parts of any flight. Checking out the menu and having a hoping for decent meal. I hadn’t heard much about Swiss food offering so I didn’t really know what to expect.
I actually really liked the design of the Swiss menu. It sure beats airlines that have pulled back on menus and just rush you through a 2 choice offering – United I’m looking at you.
There were three main selections on this flight – a braised beef short rib, seared shrimps, or a vegetarian potato gnocchi. I can appreciate Swiss has made one vegetarian dish standard on their menu, eliminating the needs to preorder if you don’t want meat.
The wine list was also pretty decent with a local option as well as a few foreign ones as well. I tend to try to lookup each wine before I depart but on this trip just decided to stick with the Swiss options.
One feature I did really like was the attendants came around with this breakfast card as well. They ask you to fill it out and they collect it so you can have a customized breakfast when you wake up before landing.
The breakfast selection of food was pretty light but they did have plenty of drink options.
Once my selections were made we were off for me to checkout the rest of my seat before food was being served.
As seen in the earlier pictures of the seat the IFE on these planes are definitely old and a bit small. Surprisingly the remote was pretty responsive so I had no issues navigating the screens but as Swiss updates their aircrafts they can definitely do much better than this IFE.
The headphones they provided were not bad and got the job done. These days I’ve been using airline headphones less and less, often opting to use my Airfly Pros to connect my bluetooth headset.
After we took off I pulled out the tray table to see how much space I had. With the added features of the two side table it really feels like you have one huge table space, which is great for when you have to handle drinks with meal plates in front of you.
Another feature I enjoyed was being able to partially pull out the tray table so I can still get in and out of my seat.
Meal service started with drinks and I went with a coke as well as a glass of red wine. I drink red wine on late night flights mostly to put me to bed but nothing beats a coke with a meal.
Soon after the meal service came out, all on a single tray. I went with the poached halibut as well as the short rib for main.
After a quick glance at my food it didn’t look the most appetizing. Everything had a bit of a blob like look to it especially the short rib and polenta.
I mean if you were served this anywhere but an airplane would you find it appetizing? It looks like Swiss can really use some help on the presentation piece since it actually didn’t end up tasting too bad.
For my starter I went with the poached halibut with veggies. Not going to lie as soon as I saw this I thought “why did I not order the beets”.
I ended up picking at this but definitely wouldn’t order it again.
Lastly was the cheese, which wasn’t half bad but also a pretty small serving for business class.
I chalk a lot of this up to being catering out of EWR since I know the food quality would be way better if we were flying out of Switzerland.
After the meal I immediately needed to get some sleep and caught a few hours before it was time to wake up again for another meal.
I don’t often eat breakfast so having a light option wasn’t bad for me here. I ordered some fruit, a yogurt, and an espresso which was just ok.
I did connect to wifi on this flight but the pricing was pretty absurd.
I dislike that airlines put wifi caps on using and Swiss doesn’t offer anything special for business class passengers. $66 USD for 220mb is painfully expensive for wifi and in my opinion not at all worth it.
Before landing I took a quick look at the bathrooms and I found it to be kept pretty clean.
I did consider bidding for first class before this flight for $1,200 but decided not to in the end. As I was walking out of the plane I got to check out what I missed out on.
The first class cabin definitely offered better seats and IFE for each of the seats. It also appeared that all seats were relatively the same size unlike in business class where there are huge differences.
I would like to try Swiss first class one day and I think purchasing an upgrade from business is the most reasonable way to get a ticket. However, I might save it for a flight out of Switzerland to not have to experience Newark catering again.
Summary & Takeaways
My first experience on Swiss was a rather decent one and given the price I paid for this ticket I had nothing to complain about. Swiss has a decent product and have been updating their planes to be more modern.
I would say flying out of EWR is not the best experience and I can see a similarity in United’s poor food quality. Luckily Swiss made up for it in its service as the flight attendants on my route were excellent.
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