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LX New Business Class Report on 333

LX New Business Class Report on 333

Old Aug 22, 09, 6:42 pm
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Location: New York
Posts: 6,681
LX New Business Class Report on 333

Swiss’s New Airbus A330-300 Trip Report

As promised, I am going to write a short trip report on my experience of Swiss’ new business class cabin of Airbus A330-300. I was able to redeem a bmi award ticket from JFK to MCT via ZRH and DXB on Swiss to continue my RTW here at Muscat. In general, I am impressed with Swiss’ new business class seats, even compared to Delta’s vantage lie flat seats on Boeing 767-400ER. I am a bit disappointed with the late night supper and how Swiss reacts to our two hours and sixteen minutes taxing time at JFK. The service in general was fine and here is my full report!

Flight Details:
August 18, 2009
LX 15 JFK-ZRH Lv2050 Arr1055+1 Airbus A330-300 HB-JHA “Schwyz”
August 19, 2009
LX 242 ZRH-DXB Lv1245 Arr2050 Airbus A330-300 HB-JHB “Sion”
LX 242 DXB-MCT Lv2130 Arr2235 Airbus A330-300 HB-JHB “Sion”

Check-in at JFK:
Check-in was very busy as Swiss had two evening flights – one to GVA and one was our flight to ZRH – the earlier one was gone by the time I arrived at JFK, and there was a business class line, as well as First Class/HON Circle/Star Alliance Gold lane near the entrance. There was no wait at all as no passengers were lining up. The agent took a minute to check me in and then took a bit to double check the visit requirement for entry into Oman. She also made me put my hand carry on the scale, which was unusual for premium class passengers. So F/J passengers on LX, please aware of your hand carry-on weight. As it was a short two days trip, my bag was light enough to get the cabin luggage tag from LX.

Swiss lounge at JFK:
As reported by others, the Swiss lounge was very nice with preflight dining available after 4pm. There was a menu and I took a picture of it. There was a large cheese plate, fruit plate, deli plate, assorted bread rolls, salad, warm dishes of mushroom fettuccine, rice, chicken artichoke, as well as normal packaged light snacks at the bar area. There was free wifi and ample seating room. Aerosvit, Egyptair and Singapore Airlines also use the Swiss lounge.

JFK – August 18, 2009
Delta Boeing 767-400ER: 1805 to LHR as DL 3 and 1808 to LHR as DL 1
Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 9V-SPH
El Al’s Boeing 747-400 4X-ELE as LY 2 to TLV
Pakistan’s Boeing 777-200ER AP-BGY to Lahore and Karachi
Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 747-400 G-VHOT to LHR as VS 46 & Airbus A340-600 “OU” to LHR as VS 10
Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER A6-BAO to Doha

ZRH – August 19, 2009
Swiss’ Airbus A330-300 HB-IQQ to Montreal and HB-IQJ to Delhi
Swiss’ Airbus A330-300 HB-JHA to Chicago O’Hare
Swiss’ Airbus A340-300 HB-JMC to Tokyo Narita
El Al’s Boeing 737-800 Winglet 4X-EKO to Tel Aviv
Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER A6-ECI to DXB
Thai Airways’ Airbus A340-600 HS-TNF to BKK

Doha’s Apron as I landed on August 19, 2009
Lufthansa’ Airbus A340-300 D-AIGY
British Airways’ Boeing 777-200ER G-VIIJ
Oman Air’s Airbus A330-200 VT-JWD

Boarding and flight details:
For LX 15, boarding began right on time at 8:12pm and everyone was seated at 8:40pm. The flight was full but the boarding was very orderly and it was impressive. We pushed back even fives minutes prior to our scheduled departure time; however, that did not say much about the punctuality of our flight. The weather had been muggy for the day and there was thunderstorm in the late evening, which slowed us down, and also caused a major runway change from 13R to 22R. We were stopped for a large amount of time twice. Departure activities slowed from time to time, and we were given a tour of JFK. Honestly taxing and weather delays occurred frequently at JFK, so I was not surprised or caught off guard. However what surprised me was the lack of action by the F/As to do anything during the two hours and sixteen minutes. The pilots did not talk much until we hit the hour mark. The F/As did not pass out any water until 10:51pm. Even American and Delta have allowed passengers to use mobile phones, as well as time for passengers to use the restrooms. There were times that we just sat at the taxiway for an extended period of time. AA and DL F/As will actually take the entrée orders, as well as serving some drinks and passed out some snacks. I was just surprised at the lack of action by Swiss F/As.

LX 15 finally took off at 11:01pm from R/W22R and if we had to wait for another five minutes, we would have to return to the gate for refueling. Flying time was six hours and fifty-eight minutes and the routing took us mostly over water and we climbed to 37,000feet, and did not climb to 39,000feet until we passed the French city of Brest. We got a good view of Paris this morning, and we passed cities of Melun and Basel. Descent began at 5:30am NYT/11:30am ZRH time, and we landed on R/W14 at 11:59pm and parked at gate E35 four minutes later.

LX 242 was a direct flight from Zurich to Dubai, and then onto Muscat. Boarding began on time, but I could not record the exact time as my JFK flight was late arriving at ZRH. The flight was full in J and Y for the flight to Dubai, and the load lightened a bit before continuing to Muscat. There were about thirty passengers boarding the flight at Dubai and all were coach class passengers. Door was closed late 12:54pm as we were waiting for some late arriving connection passengers. We pushed back at 1:02pm, as the E concourse was quite busy as many transatlantic flights were departing at this time. We took off from R/W16 at 1:17pm. Flight time was five hours and thirty-eight minutes. The routing took us over Zagreb, after reaching 37,000feet. We passed the cities of Belgrade and Sofia, before further up to 39,000feet. We passed Istanbul, Ankara, Elazig, and Orumiye before turning South towards Iran and Shiraz, and then into Dubai. Descent began at 8:28pm Dubai local time, and then landed on R/W12L at 8:55pm. We parked at gate F2 on 9:05pm.

During our short stay, cleaners came on board and did some basic tidying. There were basically still lots of trash around, but more detailed cleaning would take place at Muscat. Some Lufthansa Technique repairmen came on board and fixed a few broken seats in business class. At 9:28pm, boarding recommenced for passengers departing from Dubai, and about thirty of them got on board and headed to economy class. At 9:48pm, door was closed and we pushed back at 9:56pm. Dubai was not terribly busy at this time and we took off from R/W12R at 10:13pm. Flying time was forty-four minutes and we reached 23,000feet for this short flight to Muscat. We began our descent at 10:33pm and landed on R/W8 at 10:57pm and parked at a remote gate at 11:02pm.

I think the new Swiss Business class seat definitely tries to set a new higher standard for business class. The seats are indeed very similar to those used by Delta Air Lines on their newly renovated Boeing 767-400ER. Despite having similar design and concept, LX seats are very different from DL seats, and even the control buttons are different. I am not sure, but those two seats may come from two different manufacturers. After flying both seats, I like Swiss seats a bit better. The décor, fabric pattern and the carpet are stylish and represent a modern lifestyle – simple, efficient and elegant. Swiss seats are a bit more comfortable to seat on and the padding was nice, as you can adjust the softness and thickness of the seats, as well as a nicer message functions. However, both seats and indeed most of the new generation of business class seats seem to have this width issue. Without receiving facts, I felt that some seats feel wider than others. I was in two different seats, both the solo “K” seats. 9K is a window seat directly next to the wall, and 10K is also a window seat but with the wide table next to the wall. 9K felt a bit uncomfortable in the upright position because of the cabin curve, but feels wider when in lie flat position. 10K felt a bit narrower in lie-flat position. I think if they can lower the armrest or raised them up, they will make the seats wider. The best seats in the house seem to be the bulkhead solo seat at 4K, 6A, and 6K. Then the next best seats are all the solo window seats at “K” and 6A, 8A, 10A, and 12A. However, Row 9 has no view, as you sit next to a wall instead of windows. If you want to look out, they have to lean back or lean towards the front. I was so mad when I found out 9K had no view.

What I like about the seats?
1. I really like the option of a solo window seats without the need to twist my neck to look out of the windows like the herringbone seats.
2. The mattress pad system and messages definitely make Swiss seats unique especially the option of having the mattress inflating or deflating, as well as a good message function.
3. Delta seats have major issues with the lack of room for my feet as they go flat. But Swiss seats seem to go a bit closer to the floor as the seats turn into full flat, and there are more rooms for my feet to move around.
4. The seats are very practical with a large magazine pocket, a larger PTV, coat hooks, a small storage area underneath the PTV, which include a slot for bottled water, the amenity kit and maybe a book. There is even a shoe storage bin, which actually fit a pair of men shoes (size 10). There are power outlet, as well as USB drives.
5. Lighting – maybe more to do with the A330s, but the area is well lit with two overhead light bulb as well as a personal lamp on the sides.
6. Seat control – most seats have one seat control panel on the armrest, but Swiss is really thoughtful with a second seat adjustment panel on the sides of the bed. Once you recline the seat, you will find a second panel on your right side (depend on your seats), so you don’t need to sit up to move your seat or turn off the mood lights.

What I don’t like:
1. My number one issue is still the width of the seats. The seats are pretty narrow and it is hard to seat on your back. You have to sleep on your sides.
2. Why can’t they make the armrest movable – either to raise it or lower the armrest to the side panel. They will automatically add half an inch to the seat with a removable or flexible armrest.

For LX 15, an one tray dinner/supper was served after takeoff, and then on demand continental breakfast was offered about ninety (up to forty minutes) prior to arrival. For LX 242, a hot lunch was served after takeoff, and then a movie snack of Movenpick ice cream was served an hour prior to landing. From Dubai to Muscat, a sandwich (like intra-European flights) was served in business class. (Not sure if Y class has any service at all).

First, the quality of food served on Swiss Business class is very high. The main courses that I had on both flights were excellent. The chicken was not dried out and the side vegetables and starches were flavorful. The sauce is good and none of the dishes were dried out or soaked in sauces. Second, the pre-arrival breakfast card is a very good concept and we can request as many items as we ask, and the F/As were accommodating in giving out breakfast up to forty minutes prior to arrival. Third, the full lunch service on the Zurich to Dubai segment was excellent from starters to dessert. Two hot towels are offered on the two long segments – one prior or shortly after takeoff, and one prior to landing.

However, I have a few issues with the concept of a late night supper. For the supper from JFK to ZRH, salad, entrée, and cheese are all served together in a tray, followed by a dessert service. I understand for those short transatlantic flights, it may not be smart to serve a full four course meals after takeoff, which takes more than two hours. However, I still think there should be a proper beverage and snack service first, and with the quick and dine option, folks who want a light dinner can get them quickly anyway. Also the salad is not acceptable for an appetizer even if it is a one tray supper service. A more interesting appetizer salad mix can be serve, like a Chinese chicken salad, chicken Caesar salad, or a shrimp on top of mesclun greens.

Here are the wine list (applied to both flights) and then menu:
LX 15 JFK to ZRH Business Class
June to September 2009
Wine List
Brut Mosaique

White Wines
Lenggiser Rauschling AOC 2008
Friendly Gruner Veltliner 2007

Red Wines
Continuo 2008
L’Ostal-Cazes Minervois La Liviniere 2004
Old Vine Zinfandel 2007

Porto Niepoort Tawny Vintage

Dinner (All served in one tray)
First Course
Seasonal Salad with a balsamic vinaigrette

Main Course
*Fillet of Beef with Café de Paris butter, mashed potatoes, carrots and green asparagus
Created by our featured chef Dani Jann-Annen, Landgasthof Adler, Ried-Muotathai
Seared chicken breast with tarragon sauce, corn and risotto cake with sautéed Savoy cabbage
Barramundi fish with lemon olive oil, roasted potatoes and sautéed mixed vegetables
Wild mushroom ravioli with Chablis beurre blanc

Cheese selection

Strawberry compote and vanilla mousse
Swiss chocolates
Coffee and a selection of teas

Dine and Recline
The quicker option
A cold composition of starter, cheese and dessert to be enjoyed promptly after take-off, allowing more time to sleep, work, or simply relax and enjoy your flight.

Before Landing
To order to your preferred selection, please fill in the breakfast card and hand it to your Flight Attendant.

Juices/Water: Orange Juice, Grapefruit Juice, Smoothie, and/or Water
Warm breakfast pastries with butter and jam: Croissant, Danish, and/or Bread Rolls
Fresh Fruit and/or Fruit Yogurt
Coffee: Regular or Decaffeinated
Tea: Tea with lemon, Tea with milk, or Glass of milk

C-NA-CH-C3 06/09-09/09 (15-17-53)

June to September 2009
ZRH to Dubai

First Course
*Tartar and carpaccio of Mostbrockli – air-dried beef with potato and Troligen Alpine goat’s cheese timbale
Created by our featured chef Dani Jann-Annen, Landgasthof Adler, Ried-Muotathai
Spring leaf salad with herb croutons

Main Course
*Rosemary marinated medallions of lamb with hay sauce, vegetables and fettuccine
Created by our featured chef Dani Jann-Annen, Landgasthof Adler, Ried-Muotathai
Fried chicken breast with morel sauce, Savoyard potatoes and French beans
*Salmon, lightly smoked with Muota Valley forest wood, saffron risotto and courgettes
Created by our featured chef Dani Jann-Annen, Landgasthof Adler, Ried-Muotathai
Spinach tagliatelle with artichokes and feta in saffron sauce
Designed by Hiltl, Zurich’s vegetarian restaurant since 1898

Selection of Swiss cheese with pear bread

*Liplisbuel yogurt crème with fruits of the forest compote and fresh berries
Created by our featured chef Dani Jann-Annen, Landgasthof Adler, Ried-Muotathai
Fresh Fruit Salad

Swiss Chocolates
Coffee and a Selection of teas

Movie Snack
Ice Cream

Dine and Recline
The quicker option
A cold composition of starter, cheese & dessert to be enjoyed promptly after takeoff, allowing you more time to sleep, work or simply relax and enjoy your flight
C-228-242-C3 06/09-09/09 (228,242)

The new entertainment system on LX’s Airbus A330-300s is definitely a marked upgrade from the current non-on-demand/cycle run system used on Airbus A330-200s and Airbus A340-300s. The system is on demand with a good amount of movies, short TV subjects, games and documentaries. It is nothing like Singapore Airlines’ Kris World, Emirates, Qatar Airways, or Cathay Pacific, or even Delta system, but a good improvement. The F/As are still getting used to the system, and I am sure once the initial learning and system teething programs are over, LX can add more programs and television shows to its entertainment program. For now the Airbus A330-300s are only used on seven to eight hours flight, but as time goes, I am sure LX can further expand the system.

Flight Attendants:
Swiss flight attendants in general are efficient (just remarkable), organized, and courteous. There is always a smile and all requests are granted, unless something really difficult. They handled a few passengers’ issues very well and are always patient. There was a small event dealing with a couple with their child. Due to the limitation of the seat, the lap child/baby have to go to first class cabin during takeoff and landing. Not sure how Swiss is going to deal with this issue if their first class goes out full. The F/As on LX 15 was better than my second flight, as they seemed to be more enthusiastic about the flight.

However I had issues with the lack of service during the two hours and sixteen minutes wait at the JFK tarmac/taxiways. Not sure how to explain, but there are a few opportunities that the aircraft will start a queue on a taxiway, shut down one of the engines and sat there to conserve fuel and to allow passengers limited movement to the restrooms and a chance to use the restroom. The F/As can take entrée/meal orders, as well as serving drinks to premium passengers, as well as water for coach class passengers. It is impossible to roll carts out, but at least serving some water and juice will be humane and make the wait more tolerable. Not sure why the F/As never take that initiative, as well as allowing passengers to at least use the phones. The pilots should have been a bit more informative. The F/As only started to pass out bottled water in business class at 10:51pm after two hours had passed, which was too late.

Amenity kits are given on both flights and to my surprise, both flights feature a different amenity kit but with similar contents, which are basically toothbrush sets, eyeshades, earplugs and socks. Swiss cosmetic products (brand name was VALMONT and made in Switzerland), like hand cream, moisturizing spray, mini lip palm/repair and cream are available in the restrooms.

Swiss has definitely stepped up the business class game on transatlantic flights. The new seats are definitely an improvement over the reclining seats on Airbus A330-200s, as well as a small improvement over the Airbus A340-300s. With a few minor adjustments, these new seats can help Swiss to improve its image and reputation among business class passengers. LH can perhaps use Swiss’ business class seats as a good model for its new generation of new seats. Apart from the new seats, the lounge at JFK was nice, which had free wifi as well as an evening pre-flight dining option. Showers are also available. The whole airport experience was acceptable except the weighing of hand carries. For premium passengers, there should be more flexibility. Food wise – Swiss serves excellent food but could really improve the late night supper. A plain salad is not acceptable for any main meal, even an abbreviated one to speed up service. There should also be a snack station with chips and light snacks. Flight attendants in general are efficient, friendly and courteous. I appreciate that they don’t gossip or talk loudly in the galleys or mingle with non-rev. From the magazine, Swiss actually had a strict non-rev traveling policy and the staffs are not allowed to mingle and to maintain certain distances! The magazines quotes the interaction of a F/A and a passenger, who was actually her boyfriend traveling non-rev! She had to maintain certain distance and treated him like a regular passenger. I actually think that is the right way to handle non-revenue! Being discreet! They are not like your CX, OZ or SQ F/As, but acceptable. They never crack under pressure, which reflects a high level of training in dealing with passengers and handling problems.

I hope you enjoy this trip report! If time permits, I will try to write a report on my return flight on RJ from Amman to New York JFK.


Last edited by Carfield; Aug 23, 09 at 10:20 pm
Carfield is offline  
Old Aug 22, 09, 9:38 pm
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wow nice good one ^
ely3256874 is offline  
Old Aug 22, 09, 11:58 pm
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Thanks for your trenchant and informative analysis. It is a pity JFK gets so messed up during the summer. I try to fly out of JFK as little as possible during t-storm season. It's worse than winter.
Buster CT1K is offline  
Old Aug 23, 09, 2:10 am
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Nice trip report Carfield!

I was on HB-JHA as well on my LX F flight from JFK-ZRH back in May.

Any idea what LX serves in F for the short segment between DXB-MCT?
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Old Aug 23, 09, 5:52 am
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I love reading your trip reports, Carfield. You strike the right balance between standard-setting and pragmatism, and cover off the details. Thanks for all your writing, and keep it up!
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Old Aug 23, 09, 8:05 am
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Excellent trip report once again.. Thank you for sharing.. It truly is appreciated....
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Old Aug 23, 09, 4:24 pm
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Originally Posted by daniellam View Post
Any idea what LX serves in F for the short segment between DXB-MCT?
The F menu says "A selection of drinks and snacks will be offered on your flight". Not sure what that means though because I always get off in DXB.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 8:40 am
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Thanks for an interesting trip report.
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Old Aug 24, 09, 7:57 pm
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Thanks for the updated info, Carfield!
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Old Aug 24, 09, 11:16 pm
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I always enjoy your reports. Thanks for all the great pictures and commentary!
upgrade lover is offline  
Old Aug 25, 09, 6:20 am
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Great report. Thanks for the details on the seats!
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Old Aug 25, 09, 10:57 am
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Always a pleasure reading your excellent reports. Thanks.
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Old Aug 26, 09, 11:26 pm
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Great report as always Carfield! ^
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Old Aug 27, 09, 7:31 pm
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I'd like to try Swiss one day. Thanks for the report.
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Old Sep 9, 09, 2:55 am
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Nice report. So sad for the meal service on LX between JFK-ZRH. It seems really sad.
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