Here I am, writing my first flight report! Fitting that it is for a near 12 hour business class flight from Zurich to Shanghai on Swiss (LX188), which I've been looking forward to for quite some time, as it is also my first visit to China. This flight was taken in May 2018.
The journey started with a comfortable one hour train ride from Luzern to the largest Swiss airport. Upon arrival, I went to Swiss check-in 3 (see below) to send my bag through. I prefer this Swiss check-in area as it is normally much less crowded than at check-in 1. Although there was an unusual queue for business passengers, the process was smooth as always. I had already been assigned seat 6D during online check-in (I love the Swiss app), although I was hoping for a so-called throne seat, which doesn't have any neighbors.
The security check was extremely efficient as always. Zurich is one of those airports where it is actually frustrating to have priority at security, as the queue for economy passengers tends to be nonexistent as well.
I simply love the architecture of the main departure hall (pictured below).
Our flight departed from the E gates which implies a short train ride with the sounds of Swiss bells and cows in the background. It takes only a couple minutes to reach and trains between the terminals go every 150 seconds.
Having been to almost all main Lufthansa Group business lounges around Europe, I was extremely impressed and surprised by what the Swiss business lounge had to offer at the E gates (not even comparable to the lounge at D gates). First of all, there is an amazing terrace where one can enjoy the delicious freshly prepared meals. The terrace is a dream for any aviation fanatic as it boasts a fantastic view on the many cool liveries found at Zurich (Thai is my favourite). The lounge has an intimate rest area, a slick business area, on-site chefs, and much more. I truly regret not coming to the airport earlier and spending more time at the lounge. I am certainly looking forward to the opening of the new Swiss business lounges at A gates in July.
As I hurried to gate E56, I had to pass an immigration visa check which proved more difficult than anticipated. The staff was not really aware of the 144 hour transit visa that can be obtained on arrival, which caused me some inconveniences. Being a Bosnian citizen, too bad that the visa liberalization policy between Bosnia and China enters into force only next week!
Boarding was smooth and efficient. I generally like the look and feel of the Swiss business cabin although I must say I was disappointed by the condition of this old A340. I am really looking forward to the phasing out of these aircrafts and the full delivery of the 777s. The entertainment screen must have been at least a few decades old (see below). The amenities kit provided in my seat was standard. It came with better headphones (which I didn’t even touch due to the disastrous state of the entertainment system) and a bottle of water. Welcome drinks were also served while on the ground. Given the lack of wine and my distaste of champagne, I opted for water.
Departure was slightly delayed for operational reasons although the pilot promised an on-time arrival in Shanghai. As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the crew started preparations for lunch. The menu (see below) seemed interesting. I was intrigued by the carpacio and beef steak, although the latter was no longer available by the time they came to me. I was therefore forced to go with the chicken and noodles.
To start, I was served some truly amazing Bordeaux, of which I had several glasses on this flight. The appetizer (see below) was very tasty and exceeded my expectations. I was slightly disappointed that the bread served was not warm, and also that it did not feel particularly fresh. A real shame given how tasty the bread was!
Already disappointed that my entrée selection was unavailable (although I must give credit to the flight attendant who apologized profusely), the main course (pictured below) was a further let down. I don't feel this was of business class standard. Overly salty, no real aromas and small portion size contributed to my modest review. The Bordeaux managed to keep me happy nonetheless!
This was followed by a cheese platter and dessert which were fine. Overall, I can't say I was too impressed by the catering, despite the fact that I had very high expectations from Swiss.
I did not use the entertainment system, partially due to the fact that I didn't feel like watching a pixelated screen but mostly because I had some great Netflix content on my phone. Funny how the viewing experience and quality is better on a 4 inch screen!
I slept for a short while from above the Caucasus to roughly Almaty. I simply wasn't tired as the flight left at 1PM. The route we used was interesting as we completely bypassed Ukraine and Russia. The seat was comfortable with a massage function I enjoyed.
I managed to fall asleep again when we entered Chinese airspace. I was woken up by the FA 90 minutes before landing, as per my request, to be served breakfast. I was quite pleased to see they had tasty smoothies along with nice bircher muesli. However, the burnt croissants completely ruined what could have been a splendid breakfast. I think it is unacceptable to serve burned pastries regardless of the class of travel.
In the end, we arrived with a short 15 minute delay, despite our captain's promise for punctuality. Unfortunately, no pictures of the landing as I had an aisle seat. The landing and customs procedures were easy and efficient in Shanghai, and I must compliment how nice and modern Terminal 2 is.
I hope your enjoyed the read! Makattack
SWISS Business class Lounge Gates E
Zurich - ZRH
Shanghai - PVG
Overall, it was a pleasant, although bumpy flight. The main positives were the preflight experience and the attentiveness of the crew. The condition of the cabin, the old-school entertainment system and average catering left a sour note considering the high standards I expect from Swiss and the steep price paid for the ticket. I think most problems will be solved with the arrival of the 777s, although Swiss should seriously review its catering. I feel that the business class product on Lufthansa is considerably superior.
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