I’ve flown Swiss numerous times over the years, sometimes in business class, other times in economy. Here’s a rundown of their economy class service, buy on board meal program and the Swiss Alpine Lounge at Zurich Airport (Pre-Covid of course!).
I flew from Montreal to Zurich in economy class and was pleasantly surprised at the amount of catering provided for a flight of 6 h 45 mins. Thirty-five minutes after takeoff, the drinks cart rolled through the cabin with the crew offering an assortment of drinks. Ten minutes later, I received a drink and a small snack.
1 h 25 mins after take off the cabin crew started the meal service, I received my meal about 5 minutes later.
The meal consisted of a chicken breast with rice and bok choy, and I can’t remember the last time I had such a large portion of chicken in economy class. The side salad of carrot and sultana had a unique taste, and the chocolate cake with a thick gooey topping was one of the better economy class desserts I’ve sampled in a while.
The purser and another crew member from the business class cabin came to economy class to assist with the service. I am not sure if this is standard for Swiss; however, I got the impression that the crew were new, I could be wrong, but that’s the vibe I got from their body language and the way they worked.
To their credit, the crew were very friendly, and I wasn’t phased at how long the service took. It took the crew 2.30hrs to complete the inflight service in economy class with four crew members working in economy.
The second meal service began 1 h 45 mins before landing, it started with a hot towel service, and I received my breakfast about 15 mins later.
I was impressed with the breakfast offering which was served in a box and included an orange juice, yoghurt and a rather tasty croissant. I felt as though this was the perfect snack before landing, another meal would have been too much to consume, but anything less wouldn’t have been enough. The crew finished the service with only 55 mins to landing.
My connecting flight was to Athens, and the flight was only around 30% full, the service was quick and professional. On this particular flight, I received a piping hot quiche which was delicious.
On shorter Swiss flights within Europe, you will usually receive a bakery item such as croissants, or bread rolls with various fillings.
In 2018 Swiss lowered and diversified their ticket prices to compete with EasyJet in Geneva. This resulted in the removal of complimentary catering on certain fare types, not all. The airline teamed up with Globus, a Swiss department store company with 13 stores across Switzerland, to create an inflight menu that offers quality food products for sale inflight.
Most airline buy onboard programs offer the same types of products for sale, without giving much thought to the quality of products offered. Decisions are usually based on profit margins rather than passenger experience.
However, I’m pleased to say that this menu truly encompasses Swissness and there are some quality products for sale inflight. It’s probably one of the best buy onboard programs, and the prices are reasonable, all things considered.
I ordered the Grazing platter which consisted of salami, air-dried beef, cured ham, pickles and pickled onions, a Carac for dessert and a tomato juice, for CHF22.50. I didn’t find the prices to be excessive; they were on par with other airlines in Europe.
You can take the wooden board home with you which is a lovely souvenir from the flight and provides additional value. The unboxing experience was fun, and I enjoyed the concept of this meal.
The Carac is a Swiss dessert pastry made from chocolate, cream, fondant, and shortbread pie crust, it’s typical of the French region in Switzerland. It was freshly made, not frozen, and was superb.
SWISS ALPINE LOUNGE
The Alpine Lounge opened in late 2019 and offers buffet-style dining as well as on-demand dining. The lounge is tranquil, aesthetically pleasing, and a great space to relax before your flight. Seasonal dishes are prepared in a rustic oven and self-service buffet areas offer food subject to the time of day.
I visited the lounge numerous times and was impressed with the menu offerings and quality of food.
Expect soup, salads and cold meat options, and at breakfast time bakery items, fresh fruit and Swiss muesli. There’s even an entire wall of muesli, seeds and nuts to choose from.
On the beverage front, expect to see a selection of local Swiss wines and spirits. Wines are served using a new and more eco-friendly dispensing system that enhances both the quality of the wine and the lounge’s recycling credentials.
Access to the lounge is reserved for the airlines’ and their partners’ frequent flyers. If you have access via your frequent flyer status I highly recommend visiting the space, it’s quieter than the main lounge and more relaxing.
Swiss offers a great inflight product in economy class and I’ve always enjoyed my experiences with the crew onboard. The airline offers typically Swiss inflight products that are well thought out and provides passengers in all classes with a taste of Switzerland.