The airline with the best average rating is SWISS with 7.8/10.
The average flight time is 7 hours and 40 minutes.More information
Grüezi und Herzlich Willkommen to this review of Swiss International Airlines flight LX19 to Zürich Kloten from Newark liberty. I originally flew with Swiss about a year ago when I went on a family vacation to Zürich and Innsbruck to enjoy a relaxing week in the alps. This transatlantic evening service to Switzerland was operated by Swiss's amazing airbus a330-300. I had the pleasure of flying this route in Swiss's business class bulkhead throne seat. It was an unforgettable flight thanks to a wonderful crew, well prepared meal service, and outstanding seat.
I booked this flight through Air Canada's mileage program Aeroplan by transferring about 55,000 points over from my American Express account. I originally was planning on fly in economy class since Amex wanted about 150,000 points for a one way business class ticket, but I remembered someone telling me about Aeroplan amazing business class awards on Star Alliance carries. So I made a free account and fount the flight I wanted and booked it. Aeroplan is a great way to book cheap award tickets in all class's, especially considering Amex wanted 150,000 points for a ticket, when I ended up booking the same ticket for about 55,000 points plus about 12 dollars in tax's and fee's.
Swiss fly's from both Newark Liberty International airport and New York John F. Kennedy International airport, so it's always important you check which airport you will be departing from. My flight departed from Newark, New Jersey which is about 30-45 minutes from NYC by train. Swiss has it's operations based out of terminal B at Newark like most International and Star Alliance airlines. Since Swiss is a member of the Lufthansa group you share a check-in facility with partner airlines Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines.
Check-in was fast, easy, and manned by a kind and friendly employe. Every though three airlines use this shared check-in there was no line for First and Business since the only flights left to depart where the Lufthansa flight to Munich and our flight to Zürich. I can imagine though that this check-in can get crazy around 5 or 6 when there are people trying to check bags and get boarding pass's for flights on-board a Boeing 747-8 to Frankfurt, a Boeing 767-300er to Vienna, an Airbus a350-900 to Munich, and an Airbus a330-300 to Zürich.
Security at Newark can be long and boring, but not when it's around 8pm and there are about 4 flights left leaving for Europe and Africa. Business class passengers get a green sticker on there boarding pass's to get you access to the priority security line, but its meaning less when there no line for security and no ones there to check your boarding pass for a priority sticker.
gates B60-B68 are used by most Star Alliance airlines flying from Newark. The old concourses at Newark are small and dirty, with a lack of good eating option. Luckily I had access to both the Lufthansa Business Lounge and the SAS lounge.
Both lounges had pros and cons. The Lufthansa lounge had better seats and better food option, but more of a crowd and harsh lighting. The SAS Lounge had limited dinning option, but a better atmosphere and more space to relax. What I did was, first I went to the Lufthansa lounge for a snack and drink about 2 hours before my flight. Then I went across to the SAS lounge for some tea and to wait for boarding to begin. Another advantage the Lufthansa lounge has over the SAS lounge is they call boarding from the lounge so you don't have to wait in a line in the main passenger waiting area.
I left to SAS lounge at 9:40 which was 5 minutes past the time of boarding as stated on my boarding pass. When I got to gate B66/67 pre-boarding was still commencing, so I still had to wait in a line. First Class and Business class board together in the same line and then there is a separate boarding line for economy class. After a 2 minute wait in line my boarding pass was scanned, passport checked, and I was waiting on the jet bridge about to start my flight on yet another flight to Europe.
Standing at the door to the plane was a Swiss flight attendant pointing passengers to their seats. My seat was 6A a bulkhead seat directly behind door 2L. Swiss's A330-300's have two business class cabins, a smaller mini cabin with two rows in the front section the aircraft behind 2 rows of first class and then the larger section behind doors 2L and 2R with 9 rows of business class.
The easiest way to under stand the cabin lay out is to simply look at the seat map. There is about 5 differs types of seat in business class. Upon boarding waiting at the seat was a victorinox amenity kit, pillow, blanket, and noise cancelling head phones. we where also offered a predeparture drink and given the menu for are flight.
The meal service began about 20 minutes after take-off and took a total of 25 minutes from when I opened my tray to when I closed it. I really appreciated the crew's speed since getting sleep on late evening Europe bound flight is super important. When I asked my flight attendant "How long should the whole service take" she responded by saying "40 minutes but I'll do my best to prepare your meal first."
I Chose the seared beef tenderloin with the gnocchi and carrots. It was served along side a plate of cheese and a small simple salad. Following the main course was a slice of chocolate cheesecake with whipped-cream and a cherry.
The whole main dinner service was served on one tray, unlike the flight that operates from Zürich to Newark which has a muli-course meal spread over the time span of about an hour, this meal was fast, tasty, and efficient. The meal looked neatly presented and tast. the tenderloin tasted great with the red wine glace and the gnocchi had a great flavor. I do think the size could have been a little big and it would have been better to receive a hot bread roll with the main course, but it was still a great meal service. The cheesecake tasted like a combination of chocolate pudding and vanilla cheesecake. During dessert service, a flight attendent came around the cabin with large box of specialty Lindt Swiss chocolates. I was also offered a cup of coffee and tea after the meal service but I declined and made up my bed so I could get some rest after a long day.
The cabin on board Swiss is incredible. Threw out the flight there was constant mood lighting and ambiance lights shining threw the cabin. Upon boarding you feel very relaxed by the colors in Swiss's business class. A combination of real alpine wood, light creams, and dark browns made me feel like I was entering a fachwerkhaus high up in the Swiss alps. The seats have a alternating configuration of 1-2,1 and 2-2-1. Looking at the cabin you can clearly see some seats are better than others. My seat 6A is the best seat on the plane in my option. It had the advantage of a large foot well, space on both sides of me, and a larger storage cubby under the video monitor.
The seat's features included a USB port under the IFE screen, a universal power outlet next to the seat, a flexible reading light, a head phone jack for the IFE, motorized and adjustable seat controls, a foldable tray table, and a remote for the IFE. The 5 thrown seats on Swiss's a330's have the most space and privacy as they have two large arm rest with room for all your belongings, two literature pockets for more storage, and direct isle access with two windows to every seat. The bulkhead seat's also have the advantages of a larger storage shelf und the IFE and a cut out for your shoes under the literature pocket. There are two seat's like this, theres 4A the seat right behind First class in the front section of the plane and my seat 6A the first row of the main business class cabin.
I personally love this seat, but It is a little tricky to reserve seats on Swiss. Usually thrown seat coast 150 dollars to reserve when booking. This is an outrageous cost and a cheap money grab from Swiss. There are also 5 solo window seats on the right side of the aircraft, but they are usually reserved from Lufthansa Senator and HON circle members. But there is a way to reserves these seat's for free. 24 hours before the flight during on-line check-in the seats become free and open for selection to anyone. I was super lucky I got this seat but an isle seat like 6G would have been great as well.
There is also a coat check serves available to all Business class passengers. All you do is put your coat on the hanger waiting at your seat when you board and it is returned to you about 40 minutes from landing. I think its a great service as it got ride of some of the clutter around my seat, especially since it was mid February I was traveling in a large ski-jacket.
The IFE green was a decent size and could be moved up or down. It had about 50 movies and 50 tv shows loaded onto it, a moving flight map, information about Swiss, and things to do while in Switzerland. Another advantage of the bulkhead is the shelf above the IFE. I put some empty water bottles on it and the crew nicely threw them away for me.
Swiss use's a cool method for its breakfast service. During boarding when we where given are menu's there was form with a pen that we needed to fill out in order to place a breakfast over. It had various option for drinks like coffee, tea, juice, and smoothies and food option like fruit, bread roll, yogurt, Muesli, cold cuts, and croissants. All you needed to do was check off boxes next to what you wanted and put your name and seat number on it and give it to the crew.
I chose to have the fruit, a croissant, a bread roll, coffee, and a glass of orange juice. This service started about 1 hour from landing and was given to be my by name. My flight attendent said "Good morning Mr. Anderson Ready for breakfast." I replied with a happy "yes" and enjoyed my breakfast while looking out the window at some amazing views of Northern France. Even though It was small breakfast it was a good start to my day in Switzerland. Soon it was announced by our captain that we would be landing in Zürich at 11:30 am and we would need to prepare the cabin for Landing. After a wonderful flight I put my bag in the overhead bin, put me seat in the upright passion, and fastened my seat belt.
I was glued to the window for the rest of the flight looking at the beautiful European countries of France, Germany, and Switzerland. It was a clear blue sky day and I was so happy I got a window seat so I could enjoy the views.
Upon landing In Zürich, we made are way down the international terminal E to the underground train that took us to customs. There was no line and I must say Zürich airport is one of the coolest and nicest airports I've been to. I was clean, modern, and efficient and I would hesitate to fly here again.
Over all It was an outstanding flight with great service, food, and a well designed seat. I think If I had departed from JFK my airport experience would have been very different, but since Newark is close to me and easy to navigate it's still my preferred NY/NJ airport. I really enjoyed Swiss, and loved the experience so much I flew threw Zürich when I went on my latest trip to Israel.