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Review: SWISS First Class, Zurich to Boston

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This is my review of SWISS First Class, flying from Zurich to Boston.

It is the next installment of my current US trip.  I have already covered the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport hotel, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal and the SWISS First Class Lounge.

After having been driven from the lounge across the tarmac to the plane, it was time to settle down in SWISS First Class.  The photos here (all library pictures – I don’t like taking photographs in-flight, especially when 5 of the 8 seats were taken) show the new SWISS First Class product.

I think (feel free to correct me ) it is now fleet wide, but I was on one of the new A330 planes delivered over the last couple of years which came with this product from day one.

It is a very ‘Swiss’ product – lots of wood, very clinical, lots of square edges.  You have a VERY big TV (obviously video-on-demand, with a big selection), noise cancelling headphones and a Bally amenity kit with La Prairie products inside.

Swiss First Class review

This is not me:

Swiss First Class review

And neither is this:

Swiss First Class review

The seat is fine.  Obviously it goes fully flat, obviously it is more than long enough even for a tall guy like me.  My only slight grumble was that the ‘buddy seat’ was not quite close enough – one of the downsides of having a very long seat! – so it wasn’t easy to put your feet up without reclining the seat.

The real highlight of SWISS First Class is the food.  You need to trust me that this was the best food I have ever had on a plane, full stop.  There is nothing fancy about it – no caviar, no lobster, no Dom Perignon – but everything was done exceptionally, exceptionally well.

Even stuff I thought I would hate (cold Mango soup?) turned out to be exceptionally good.

Here is the menu:

First course:

Fillet of Balik salmon

Grilled scallop, goats cheese with canola seeds and watermelon

Moutable, tabbouleh and red lentil patty with pomengranate seeds

Mangospacho with wasabi yoghurt sorbet (this was actually served as a separate course)

Seasonal salad with grilled courgette and oven-dried tomatoes (this was also offered as a separate course)

Main course:

Beef tenderloin medallion with braised oxtail praline and spinach; red wine jus with oyster mushrooms; Ofetori-Nidwalderner mashed potato with veal speck and cheese

Herb coated chicken filets, alper ravioli with Nidwaldner cheese, potatoes, fried onions and apple sauce

John Dory fillet wih pureed and roasted corn, courgette, shallot confit

Spinach tagliatelle with Provencal vegetables


Selection of Swiss artisan cheese


Apricot sable with lavender creme, sour creme ice cream, apricot compot

Greek yoghurt mousse and raspberry sorbet, marinated melon, pine nut crumble

Once we had got through the food (which was outstanding, did I mention that?!) I had a look through the movie selection and decided that now was a good time to try out the h-u-g-e TV and watch Moulin Rouge again.  After I had got through that, I managed six episodes of US comedy 30 Rock.  Time well spent, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I haven’t actually mentioned at any point in this trip report so far how I funded the flight.  A one-way in SWISS First Class to the US is 85,000 Miles & More miles.  The Frankfurt-Zurich connection was included for free. 

Taxes were £242.  There was no UK Air Passenger Duty as I started the flight from Frankfurt.  Had I not done the FRA-ZRH flight, I would only have paid £174 in tax for ZRH-BOS one-way.

A similar First Class British Airways flight from London to Boston would be 60,000 Avios one-way.  However, in terms of quality, SWISS is WELL worth the extra 25,000 miles – especially if you go via Frankfurt first!

Of course, this is not a fair comparison.  For a start, SWISS First Class is very tricky to book – seats are not made available to Miles & More partner airlines until very shortly before travel, so you need a large Miles & More stash to book.  You are unlikely to get more than two seats, and may struggle to find more than one.  It is a small cabin with just 8 seats, compared to almost double that on BA.

This flight was really a treat for myself, given that it is rare that I get to travel without my family.  It obviously also helped that I had to be in Germany anyway before the flight, although I would HAPPILY have paid for a London-Zurich connection if it had been necessary.

Seven hours in, the plane came down to land at Boston Logan.  Amazingly, there were no other overseas planes landing at a similar time.  SWISS messed up the deplaning – I was about the 20th person off instead of at the front – but there was absolutely NO-ONE at immigration so I was through quickly.

The airport is also very close to downtown, and it took just 50 minutes from the steps of the plane, through immigration, getting a taxi, arriving at the InterContinental Boston, checking in to flopping down in my room.  More on that next time …

Comments (19)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Andrew says:

    Absolutely agree, Swiss First food is truly exceptional – being served on such a large table helps with the restaurant atmosphere. And the choice of Nespresso varieties is also a nice touch. And I particularly like the hot canapés BEFORE take-off, of course coupled with the vintage Champagne.

    I also had the best sleep I’ve ever had in the sky. I found the bed very comfortable and the huge duvet made me feel I was actually in my bed at home. Certainly far more comfortable than the EK first class suite bed.

  • Lady London says:

    You jammy b*gg*r, Raffles! :-))

    • Rob says:

      Wait until the read the post about how I lucked out and got the airberlin flat bed on Friday night coming back from New York, for the grand total of 40k Avios and £1 of tax!

      • Brian Taylor says:

        Not really related to the post, but I’ve been trying to find out how one books flights on oneworld partner airlines with Avios and can’t seem to find the answer. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong place, but I’d be grateful for a tip or two.

        • Rob says:

          From You can’t.

          You need to open a British Airways Executive Club account, move your Avios to BA via Combine My Avios and book with the BA booking system.

  • Thunderbirds says:

    Pictures look very much like IKEA meets (old style) Holiday Inn! Food sounds very good but Swiss don’t seem to have grasped the concept of style over functionality.

    • Rob says:

      True, although the huge TV does have a big visual impact when you are actually sitting in the seat.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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