I left yesterday’s instalment of my trip from London to Seattle, via Zurich and San Francisco leaving the first class lounge at Zurich airport.
I left the lounge probably a few minutes earlier than I needed to, as when I walked down to the gate, there was a huge mass of people waiting to board. On the far side there was a priority queue for passengers in first and business class so joined that and after a couple of minutes was walking down the jet bridge towards door 2L. My boarding pass was checked by the friendly crew and I was shown to seat 1K.
Swiss have eight first class seats on their aircraft; the 777-300ER that I was on had the newest version. They are semi-enclosed and absolutely huge. The detailing on them is lovely, a combination of whites, grey and navy, with a high quality wood finish.
There’s a whole host of seat controls, a lamp and a huge TV screen taking up the entire front of the suite.
There’s also a mini controller for the screen and in the same recess there are a pair of noise cancelling headphones, a plug socket for charging devices, and a USB port too.
As I was making myself comfortable, the cabin crew that was going to be looking after me, Martin, introduced himself and asked if I’d like a glass of champagne. Never one to refuse, he quickly returned with a glass of Laurent Perrier Grande Siècle and a bowl of nuts to nibble with it. He also came by with the menus for the day and a wash-bag, then a few minutes later, a hot towel. There was also another member of crew working in the galley for almost the entire flight, preparing the food.
After a few minutes, it was time to push back and after a few minutes taxiing around the airfield, we were in the air, on our way to San Francisco.
The Maître d’Cabine came around immediately after takeoff to introduce himself to everyone in first class and explain how the service worked, and if there was anything we needed, he would be available. He also handed out a voucher for the onboard wifi. However this was only for 50mb of data. The service that Swiss have implemented only works on a metered data allowance – there’s no option to buy an unlimited pass for the entire flight. Well, after a not even five minutes, the 50mb was used up and I gave up for the rest of the flight and just switched off. Had I wanted to work, it would have got quite expensive, quite quickly, but the performance at least did seem quite good with no issues browsing a few web pages.
After a few minutes, the service started and Martin asked what I’d like to drink. I noticed they had a Swiss gin on the menu, so wanting to try something new asked for a G&T. I thought it was delicious and very refreshing; it almost had a minty flavour to it. It was served with some cheesy twists and some hake as a little amuse bouche.
After that, the starter trolley was wheeled around the cabin. The concept that Swiss has in first class is to give you a selection of everything (or whatever you would like). Their signature starter is Balik salmon.
After the starter selection, Martin came around with the trolley offering hand made Caesar salads. Following that was the soup course, celeriac and fennel.
After all of that, it was finally time of the main course. I opted for the fillet steak asking them to make it as rare as they were able to do. It was perfect. It came with a whole set of condiments to have with it, including herb butter and chimichurri.
Mid way through, the Maitre d’Cabine stopped by to make sure that everything was ok, and if there was anything else that I would like. Martin was completely on top of things so I couldn’t think of anything.
The service continued on with the cheese course. Again, the trolley was brought out with the full selection of cheeses, which were plated in front of me. As if that wasn’t enough, dessert was served with a glass of Sauternes and an espresso.
Being somewhat full by this point, Martin suggested that I might want to end the meal by trying some of their selection of Grappa. Who was I to say no?
By then it was time for a nap, so I went to change into some pyjamas while my seat was made up into a bed.
The bedding was exceptionally comfortable and I crashed out for the next few hours. The wardrobe door doubles as a door to the suite, meaning it’s full enclosed giving you complete privacy from the other passengers. My only slight criticism was that the cabin environment was too warm, however I was simply too comfortable so just pushed the duvet back a bit and slept some more. In hindsight I should have asked them to turn the temperature down somewhat.
Around an hour before landing the second service was offered. I wasn’t terribly hungry, so just opted for a light salad with some trout, with another G&T and then an espresso about half an hour before landing.
The Maître d’Cabine stopped by again to make sure that everything had been ok with the flight and if there was anything else that I needed. I explained it had been a pretty spectacular and asked him to thank his two colleagues working up front.
A few minutes later and some spectacular views out of the window, we touched down at San Francisco airport and taxiied to the gate. They used both doors 1L and 2L so we were able to disembark first.
Overall, this was a flawless flight. Swiss have an exceptional first class product and I’m not sure there was anything else that I could have wanted for during the entire journey. They have pretty much every detail down to a fine art, including what is a really beautiful cabin environment from a design perspective.