Background and Introduction
As the weather in Denmark isn’t impressive these days, I was looking forward to 7 days in sunny Miami.
Luckily we had been able to find some well priced tickets in business class through Lufthansa, that would make the long trip at bit more comfortable. The tickets included two stops on our way to Miami from Billund. I normally prefer having maximum one stopover for a long haul trip. However, with short connection times and business class tickets all the way through, I saw it as a good opportunity to check out some flights, airports and lounges along the way.
During this report I will focus mainly on the long haul flight from Zürich to Miami which was operated by Swiss International Airlines.
At the Airport
We got up early sunday morning as our plane from Billund was scheduled at 6.15 AM. We arrived at the airport 1 hour before departure and went straight to check-in where there was no queue at the business-line. However, for the first time ever, we experienced that the lady at the check-in counter requested to see our ESTA-applications in hand. I have travelled to the U.S a number of times during the last couple of years and never experienced this. At least I thought they were able to extract these files from their own system. After some time I managed to find and show our ESTA’s on my phone and we quickly went through security and into the lounge to eat a bit of breakfast. There is only one lounge in Billund. It is surprisingly big, classy and overall very nice.
After a short one hour flight we landed in Frankfurt and smoothly moved through the airport to our next flight to Zürich an hour later. We made a quick stop at one of the smaller business lounges in Frankfurt which was crowded this morning.
A 50 minute flight later we arrived in Zürich where we had a 3 hour stopover. We transitted to the international terminal and found the impressive Panorama lounge. The lounge is big and stylish with a wide selection of food and drinks. It also contains a big outdoor terrace with an excellent view of the airport, planes and swiss landscape. Unfortunately the weather was foggy, so the swiss mountain landscape was difficult to see.
Besides all of this, the lounge also contained an exclusive whisky-bar with a huge selection of whisky. I am not a big fan of whisky, but it sure did look impressing.
I have taken a few shots of the view and whisky-bar from the lounge, which I will add further down this review.
Lounge: Panorama Lounge, Zürich Kloten (ZRH)
The lounge is reviewed separately from the flight. You can more about the lounge in the corresponding lounge review.Read more about the visited lounge »
Boarding and First Impressions
Boarding went smoothly as the business-line progressed quickly. My first impression of the cabin was good, even though it seemed clear that the cabin was a bit worn down and definitely wasn’t newly refurbished. There was a nice comfort kit at the seat formed like an Ipad-sleeve. Turns out, it works perfectly as a stylish Ipad-sleeve.
Before take-off we were offered a glass of champagne.
The Seat and Entertainment System
We were seated at row 14 in this Airbus A330-300 from Swiss International Airlines. Row 14 is the last row of business class seats before the economy section begins. Only a thin wall and a curtain seperated our seats from the economy section. I got a bit nervous when I realized that an infant was placed right behind us in economy. Luckily the infant acted silent and there was no notable noise coming from behind.
The seat itself was comfortable and with the ability to turn into a flat-bed. Today, this is an absolute must-have in business class long-haul. Compared to other airlines, I found the space by my feet a bit tight. This may have something to do with me being 1.9m tall. Also at the upper body the seat seemed a bit tight when wanting to turn your body while lying down. Despite these things, the seat was still alright. Just not in the top of its class.
The entertainment system was okay with a wide selection movies including pretty much every James Bond movie ever made. As far as games go, it stuns me that they can’t offer anything newer than Battleship, Space Invaders and old school blackjack and casino games. These games have been in IFE-systems forever and the graphics haven’t even improved.
There was no wifi available on this flight. This is kind of dissapointing with todays technology, but not a deal breaker. I guess we all could benefit from not being on the internet for close to 12 hours 🙂
Meals and Service
The menu was handed out after take-off and shortly after the service crew came by to take our order. You can see the complete menu in the pictures below. I ordered fish for an appetizer and beef for the main course.
The appetizer was decent but not really my thing. The bread however was excellent! The main course was tasty and the beef was surprisingly tender. Also the mashed potatoes was good. I skipped the desert but got a couple of pieces of swiss chocolate which tasted amazing.
Upon arrival another meal was served. I chose the tortellini which was delightful.
The service crew on board was kind and pleasant throughout the flight. Even though one attendant managed to spill a bit of water on me, the overall experience of the crew was very positive.
As mentioned previously, the seat could turn into a 180 degree flat-bed. This is a very nice feature when you want to get some real sleep on an airplane. Despite my thoughts regarding the seat being a bit tight when in sleep-mode, I managed to get a good 3-4 hours of consecutive sleep, which for me is very good as I usually have a hard time sleeping properly on an airplane. When sleeping on an airplane, the difference between a flat-bed business seat and a standard economy seat is just huge!
We arrived at Miami International Airport half an hour late due to the strikes made by french air traffic controllers.
As always in the U.S there was a line at immigration but not worse than anywhere else in the States. Due to the line at immigration, our luggage was ready for pick up and we proceeded to the Rental Car Center where we quickly got our car and drove toward our apartment and a week of golf, shopping and relaxation.
Overall the flight was enjoyable and went rather smoothly. The hard product of Swiss business class is good but not the best business class out there as the cabin seems a bit worn down. The service was good and the Zürich airport and lounge was very nice. I can recommend flying with Swiss International Airlines and transit through Zürich airport.