Review of SWISS flight Bangkok Zurich in Business

Airline SWISS
Flight LX181
Class Business
Seat 7A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 11:50
Take-off 02 Sep 16, 12:40
Arrival at 02 Sep 16, 19:30
LX   #31 out of 111 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 478 reviews
Rewardflying
By 1937
Published on 5th November 2016
photo lx181 cover

Hi Flight-Reporters. Part 9.

The reservation was made before Swiss had even taken delivery of their first Boeing 777. A seat map wasn't available. I thought it was an error but decided to book it anyway just in case. Eleven flights on this journey and It was the only one I didn't change or adjust at some point leading up to departure. The quest to fly the best of Star Alliance just hit a homerun. Out of the 6 different carriers on this journey, ANA, Thai, Singapore, Air New Zealand, Swiss and SAS, I was most excited to fly the new highly vaunted Swiss 777-300ER.

Once was enough.

I want to fly Air New Zealand 787 again, Thai 747 again and SAS again. They were great all around flights from aircraft to seating to food and amenities. This one wasn't bad, just not memorable.

Arriving at BKK for a 1PM departure found a busy place.

photo lx181 checkin 2photo lx181 checkin 3

The Swiss counter had plenty of agents available considering it's their only flight out of BKK.

photo lx181 checkin 1

Checking in on the Swiss mobile app was easy. All that I needed to do was drop off my bag, as I didn't want to have an issue on the next A320 flight to ARN with its small overhead bin and a fat carry-on as well as 2nd piece duffle bag. So I had it wrapped for an outrageous amount of $10. Swiss also provided a priority pass for security, who promptly confiscated 1 ounce of liquid because it was in a 4 oz container.

photo lx181 boarding pass 1

After doing some shopping in the terminal I headed for the lounge. The spa was in a different concourse.
photo lx181 lounge 0

The lounge was next to my gate. LX181 was parked outside the window.

photo lx181 lounge plane outside

Today was also the day Thai was receiving its first A350. (The one I was supposed to fly last week.) I knew it had arrived, but I was still keen on spotting it. Flight-Report was on that flight!. With an obstructed view from the lounge, and from a distance, every A330 had to be that A350! Even that one up there above Swiss.

photo lx181 other tg 350 arrival

Oh well. Let's find some of those Young Coconut Jelly things they had in Singapore.

Buns, no.
photo lx181 lounge 4

Fried things, yum but no.
photo lx181 lounge 6

Salad, hardly.
photo lx181 lounge 7

Ahha. What are these little colored circles. Coconut pudding. Yes!
photo lx181 lounge 3

I didn't eat them all. Next I passed some time looking around this attractive lounge.

photo lx181 lounge 1

The boarding area was a zoo. Thankfully boarding commenced on time.

The flight's purser greeted everyone and was genuinely nice.

photo lx181 cabin 0

Shortly after ticketing this reward Swiss released a seating chart. I jumped on it knowing the throne seats are the best and found the mini-cabin 4A to be perfect. A few months later I noticed my seat had changed. They moved me to 4K on the other side, not the single throne seat. 4A was still open but I couldn't select it. So I called. It's Reserved for Miles and More Premium Members. But I'm Star Alliance Gold. It's Reserved for Miles and More Premium Members. I took 7A.
photo lz181 seatguru

A hint of things to come was the first flight attendant I encountered once onboard. He was a younger male in his late 20's, early 30's I'd guess and he stood at row 8. He'd say hello if you said it first. I watched him. He never moved, never helped anyone with their luggage. Just watched people lug their stuff past him. After much of the cabin was full he was gone. The female attendants on the other side and in the back of the business cabin were the opposite. Helping and speaking with everyone.

The cabin doesn't do the Swiss promotional pictures justice. Which shouldn't be surprising. It's one tone and bland.

photo lx181 cabin 1

It's also packed with seats.

photo lx181 cabin 2

A peak up front at the mini-cabin to spy on that Miles and More Elitist sitting in my 4A seat.
photo lx181 cabin 6

I'd be tempted to opt for the mini cabin next time, although seat 7A has its advantages.
photo lx181 cabin 4

Amenity items in the lavatory. Good thing it was a smooth flight.
photo lx181 cabin lav 2

Now that Thompson Aerospace has the Vantage XL, I'm surprised Swiss chose the older Vantage style for their new flagship aircraft. The differences are huge, and in the XL's favor. Obviously economics was the deciding factor, 5 business class seats per row versus 4 and of course Swiss went the deplorable 10 wide in economy.

Anyway I don't own the airline so it's not my choice.

7A, a "throne" seat.
photo lx181 seat 1

Nicely designed compartment holding the headphones and a bottle of water.
photo lx181 seat 3

If you have a coat you can keep your boarding pass with Swiss!
photo lx181 seat 14

Rows are offset for privacy. Bulkhead seats have 4-5 inches more legroom and a wider footwell.
photo lx181 seat 23

These seating pods have more storage than any others I've seen. The question becomes, for what?
photo lx181 seat comp map

1. A huge pull out compartment. My kitchen would like this.
photo lx181 seat comp 1

2. On the other side a magazine rack, I guess.
photo lx181 seat comp 2

3. This little compartment stored the my phone. But the power is on the other side.
photo lx181 seat comp 3

4. Down below, shoes? Sure why not.
photo lx181 seat comp 7

Then on the bulkhead or seatback under the monitor. Perfect for the tray but no.
photo lx181 seat comp 4

An interesting little compartment next to the footwell. Could hold a briefcase or small shoulder bag. However I only think this compartment is on the bulkhead throne seats.
photo lx181 seat comp 5

Placards holder.
photo lx181 seat comp 6

Decent sized table.
photo lx181 seat tray 1

Albeit a little awkward to pull out from the side cabinet.
photo lx181 seat tray 2

Easy to find and insert power ports. (Although the plugs stick out and when getting up from your seat they are easy to disconnect, this I know from experience.)
photo lx181 seat 24

The footwell seemed a bit wider than on Austrian. But this may have been the bulkhead.
photo lx181 seat footwell 1

Plenty of room!
photo lx181 seat footwell 2

Seat controls on the armrest that control the seat unwantedly when your arm is resting. But not as bad as prior versions of this seat.
photo lx181 seat control 2

Or pop up the lid and find more options and the audio controller.
photo lx181 seat control 3photo lx181 seat control  1

Being a day flight I did not sleep. However I did extend the bed and unfortunately it has the same hump in the middle of your back. I would not use it fully flat. The seat itself is comfortable, but fairly narrow at 20.5 inches. It seems like you have more room for your feet than your shoulders.

7A is a good seat with the only downside after lunch the line forming for the lav was disruptive if you intended on sleeping.

What about amenities? A small pillow without any bulk, blanket, nice quality headphones and amenity kit were placed in each pod.
photo lx181 seat 25photo lx181 amenity 1

The amenity bag is reusable and they have different ones hoping you collect them all. I didn't want this one.
photo lx181 amenity 2

The amenity kit contents. Mouthwash was not on the aircraft. Nor were slippers.
photo lx181 amenity 3

Beverage Selections:
The Wine region of Neuchatel
photo lx181 menu 4

Champagne and Wine on today's flight.
photo lx181 menu bev 1

And my predictable choice, I'll stick with France.
photo lx181 wine 1

Food Selections:
The Taste of Switzerland, Chef Fiorian Trento from Peninsula Hong Kong.
photo lx181 menu 3

I was going all the way with Chef Fiorian's dishes.
photo lx181 menu food 1

Would Chef Fiorian approve?
photo lx181 food 5

Service began a good 45 minutes after departure. It was disorganized from the beginning.
photo lx181 food 1

Ninety minutes after departure.

Nothing in particular stood out with this appetizer other than the crust on the bread would have broke someone's dentures.
photo lx181 food 2photo lx181 food 3

Two hours after departure.

Fortunately they provided eye masks in the amenity kit.

photo lx181 food 7

Often I'm too full for cheese after a meal. Not today. That bread again. The walnut was good.
photo lx181 food 8

And not even dessert could save this disaster.
photo lx181 food 11

Can't decide if the cake was stale or had just been frozen three too many times.
photo lx181 food 9

They did pass around a box a chocolates and you got to pick a piece. Went so fast I couldn't get a photo.

Landing couldn't come soon enough. Another food service!

A salad should be good.
photo lx181 food second 4

So this whirlwind trip had about 15 in-flight meals. You are looking at the worst one. The pictures don't do it justice. There is no dressing on the salad. In the cup is a thick mustard sauce that was nice for salmon but not so on lettuce, in my taste opinion.

If this tail end piece of salmon weighed more than one ounce I was the pilot of the plane.

photo lx181 food second 2

Then I get to the Hilton in Zurich and stumbled upon a $35 hamburger.
photo lx181 hilton burger

Tomorrow's another day, and besides I've eaten quite well on this trip.

IFE
A nice monitor. But not the same quality as on Austrian or SAS.

photo lx181 ife 0photo lx181 ife 1

An interesting air show that shows pitch and roll. Glad it remained stable.
photo lx181 ife 8

Numerous options for air show view.
photo lx181 ife 3

Why are James Bond movies so popular on Lufthansa Group flights? Austrian had Bond. This flight was over the top. There were 95 movies available. 24 were James Bond. They've made 26. I must have miscounted.

Wi-Fi:
Supposedly available, except I didn't see any instructions on how to connect, nor did I try so maybe it didn't have WiFi.

Crew:
Service was disorganized. It took over 2 hours to complete lunch. The flight attendant who took care of my area was best described as indifferent. The purser was great. I chatted with him and he was super nice and truly enjoyed his job and dealing with people. . The other crew members looked efficient as well. I just happened to get the one that drives the rating down. And they need to get their service orientated.

This was a 4 month old plane.

photo lx181 plane 3

Here's the first 777 delivery at Zurich International.
photo lx181 other plane 1photo lx181 flight report

If you are so inclined, the Breitling Swiss 777 watch is available only when flying the 777. The on-board brochure.


For a mere, wait for it, 7,077 Swiss Francs you can wear one home. I didn't.

On display at the Zurich airport.
photo lx181 watch 5

Zurich on approach. Beautiful country
photo lx181 view 6photo lx181 view 7

Full ratings at rewardflying.com
See more

Verdict

SWISS

5.5/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment7.0
meal/catering3.0

Thai Airways Royal Silk Lounges At Concourse C

7.1/10
Comfort7.5
meal/catering7.0
Entertainment7.5
Services6.5

Bangkok - BKK

8.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Zurich - ZRH

3.8/10
Efficiency2.0
Access4.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness4.0

Conclusion

Terrible flight, no. Disappointing yes. The airplane is great. The seat is ok. The food was bad, really bad for an 11 hour business class flight on an airline trying to reinvent their premium service. The IFE was good, especially if you like Bond, but had some other good selections as well. Would I fly Swiss over the other 5 carriers on this trip next time, no.

(While I didn't write about the arrival in Zurich, it was ridiculous. After waiting in one of 5 immigration lines for 30 minutes another flight arrived and they advanced 5 or 6 handicapped people to the front of my line. I certainly don't discriminate against the handicapped, but this was not handled properly. Now all the other lines were a packed with new arrivals. It took almost 90 minutes to get through immigration.)

Related

8 Comments

  • Comment 373034 by
    JW19 52 Comments

    Yet another honest and great review. There was so much hype going around the Swiss 777 and this was what they presented. Hard product was already below par for both classes, yet they decided to match the service with it. For a flight with that distance you would at least expect 2 full meals or a dine at your convenience concept, yet Swiss mess that up as well. Asian and ME3 carriers for me.....Suddenly that nasi lemak from SQ down under doesn't look that bad anymore.

      0
  • Comment 373077 by
    Caribel 113 Comments

    My experience is that BKK catering is sub-par, owned by a friend of the king. Bland food and no culinary school chefs from reputable schools. Your main dish picture reminded me of a Stouffer's frozen dinner. Thanks for an engaging travel account.

      0
    • Comment 373178 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 150 Comments

      Hi Caribel, thanks for reading. Considering the extent they went to promote the chef from Hong Kong's Peninsula the meal was just a huge disappointment. The carrot cake was definitely a frozen stouffer's dessert!

        0
  • Comment 373082 by
    jetsetpanda 2134 Comments

    Hi Rewardlying and thank you for sharing this honest and informative FR.

    I think that LX is an airline that rests on its past reputation when it was SR. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then you report speaks loudly about the disappointing experience that you had.

    To begin I get the impression that the J seat is narrow. too busy with so many compartments and designed without much though. The way that your seat change was handled at the last minute reflects badly on the airline. I can understand about taking care of your best customers in your program first, so in that case don't allow open seat selection for everyone. The amenity kit is poor compared to other carriers. Even AZ has a much better one in comparison.

    Catering is a huge letdown starting with the timing of the whole service, the small portions, limited choices and dishes not being up to par with what is expected from a premium cabin. To top this you had an indifferent crew who served you which is just the final straw that broke the camel's back.

    I have read other disappointing reports about LX's J product and your experience confirms the overall impression that I have gotten.

      0
    • Comment 373175 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 150 Comments

      Hi jetsetpanda, thanks for your comments. I think my seat review would have been worse had I not sat in a bulkhead seat. These seats had more legroom without question. And the rear J cabin has 52 seats out of 62 J seats on the aircraft. There is no sense of privacy with that many. In fact I think it is the largest J cabin 777 flying. United's new 777-300 might compete when released. Anyway there are a lot of great J products out there, LX just doesn't compete in my opinion.

        0
  • Comment 373085 by
    Razza_Pr 125 Comments

    Hello, Rewardflying, and thank you for sharing this FR.

    First of all, a personal welcome to my hometown of Zürich, though it is unfortunate that your journey there wasn't very pleasant.

    I'm somewhat surprised SWISS actually let a most likely inexperienced (the young male FA) crew on a long-hauler. And as for the other crew members, that's just how most Swiss people are. It'd take a miracle to find an attentive crew as you would on Southeast Asian/Middle Eastern carriers.

    The seat has more room for your belongings than for yourself, which I think is a bit counterintuitive. A throne seat won't do you any good if the feeling of claustrophobia crawls over your nerves - and that's what the throne seats look like to me.

    I can't even begin with the catering. At least they used real cutlery.. Was the cheese platter at least satisfactory?

    There IS no queueing in Switzerland, so the arrival at ZRH doesn't really surprise me. This usually comes as a surprise to foreign nationals, as they typically expect the "typical civilised Swiss society" occurrence going on.

    Thanks again. Willkommen in Zürich, and happy flying!

      0
    • Comment 373177 by
      Rewardflying AUTHOR 150 Comments

      Hi Razza_Pr. Thanks for reading and the welcome! It was a short overnight stay but no doubt the area is beautiful. Someday I'd like to spend some time there. Visited Zurich many years ago when the weather wasn't so nice. If I do, I'll look you up and remember the queue on arrival.

      No question the purser on this flight was a genuinely nice person. I just got an inexperienced FA, it happens. I've read from others that the service can be disorganized and it certainly was on my flight. They need to fix this. It's beyond personalities. It's process. Also a little training in food presentation might help. I understand FA's aren't in the restaurant business, but a plate of gravy is not appealing. And like I said, the walnut was good! See you in the skies.

        0

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