Swiss: Contemporary New Business Class Catering to Bankers

Swiss Inaugural Flight Boeing 777-300ER in Singapore

Swiss Inaugural Flight Boeing 777-300ER in Singapore

Swiss International Air Lines will use the new Boeing 777-300ER to connect Zurich and Singapore. A first impression of the new business class indicates that is designed to lure bankers and managers for this flight between the two financial centers.

The 10,000 kilometers between two cities sporting a lion in their crest – Zurich and Singapore – no doubt are among the most frequented by bankers, little surprise of course given the importance of the respective financial markets.

And many bankers obviously were looking forward to the arrival of the Boeing 777-300ER (B777) with anticipation once Swiss had announced that the spanking new aircraft would be used to connect the two cities. The anticipation was also stoked by the fact that the fittings of the Airbus A340-300 (A340) had become rather jaded.

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Room Galore

Last Friday evening, the first B777 took off for its maiden voyage to Singapore and was among the lucky few to enjoy the luxuries of the new business class.

Catching the eye first and foremost is the room available to the 62 passengers traveling in business class (A340: 47 seats), being broader and airier. The fittings don't differ fundamentally though, with brown and beige remaining the colors of choice.

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Not All Are Equal

Once seated, it quickly becomes apparent that not all guests enjoy an equal amount of space. In the two-seater-rows, one passenger enjoys significantly more stowage than the other. But even more noteworthy is the space on offer in the single window seats, earning them the nickname of 'throne' among Swiss staff. Those seats truly offer an outstandingly comfortable time on board.

Business class passengers are well advised to make sure that they book the right seat if they want to avoid a negative surprise. Or put in another way: frequent flyers better get to know the cabin quickly.

Different Needs – Different Seats

It will be interesting to see how Swiss is going to sell the product that comes in a diverging form. Chief Commercial Officer Markus Binkert told that the airline tries to accommodate the different requirements of passengers and therefore created distinctive sleeping and working seats. The airline has not had any complaints yet.

Binkert also said he couldn't exclude that the airline will offer different tariffs within the business class in future, very much like in the economy class. So far though this isn't the case.

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The seats are much more comfortable than in other business classes. The materials used in the B777 adjust to the body and this is makes itself felt lying down. In the middle part, supporting the pelvis, the seats have a finely adjustable, flexible area which makes sure the passengers doesn't arrive with a bad back pain.

Quantum Leap in Entertainment

The inflight entertainment of Swiss International's new business class is miles ahead of the old system. The new, evidently bigger TVs (16 inch) are touch screens making the remote control less important. Audio and video services are so diverse that all needs will be catered for.

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The numerous real-time figures available in the 'airshow' menu are pretty remarkable and keep the passenger well-informed throughout the flight.

Internet – Boon or Bane?

The newly available internet-option is obviously the biggest change available. A test-run on the first flight out to Singapore proved successful, with satisfactory results. Websites are quickly available and the emailing function worked flawlessly. Packages of 20, 50 or 120 megabytes are available on board for 9, 19 or 30 francs and passengers can use their credit cards to pay for them.

Is this boon or bane? Giving up one of the last internet-free zones is a contentious issue. Time only will tell whether passengers will use the option, not least as making phone calls via the personal mobile phone will also change the hitherto tranquil atmosphere of the business class cabin.

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Functional and Sober

All in all, the new business class is markedly better than the old one, even if it doesn't give that impression at first sight. The Swiss product is less «designed» than those of rival airlines, more functional and sober. And it isn't as ostentatious as other business classes, and this obviously can be a good thing.

The B777 will be utilised on the connection three times a week – on Fridays, Sundays and Wednesdays. On the other days, Swiss is still using the A340. Starting March 20, 2017, Swiss will use the B777 every day, according to Aditya Khullar, head of Swiss Southeast Asia & Pacific.

The new aircraft is already in use for flights to Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore; sometimes also to Sao Paulo and Montreal. Miami (starting October 30, 2016) and San Francisco (starting February 16, 2017) are next in line.

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With 340 seats, the B777 has 55 percent more capacity than the A340. As Singapore Airlines is flying the connection between the lion cities with an A380 every day, the additional seats will take some clever marketing from Swiss, even it doesn't want to make to may concessions in terms of its pricing policy (Photos: Swiss/

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