Early October, I flew Swiss International Air Lines First Class on the A330-300 from Zurich to Dubai. I used 62500 Miles & More miles and paid €208 in taxes & fees for my one-way flight. The price of a revenue ticket for my flight would have been €4705! SWISS First Class is rather hard to book with miles as you need to be a Miles & More Senator or HON Circle member to have access to the award seat inventory. Both elite status levels require a lot of paid Business or First Class flying to obtain them. I’m still a Senator from back in the days when you earned 3126 status miles with a €99 Brussels Airlines flight…those were the days! 😉
My layover in Zurich was rather short which made I didn’t get to experience too much of the SWISS First Class lounge. After a quick glass of Champagne, I was ushered to the departure terminal in a black minivan. No fancy Mercedes-Benz or Porsche ride to the plane at SWISS. Overall the transit in Zurich felt less personal than what I’m used to at Lufthansa First Class in Frankfurt or Munich.
SWISS A330-300 First Class Cabin
My SWISS First Class Seat
Upon boarding SWISS flight LX242, I was guided to my seat 2A which offered a great overview of the First Class cabin. All eight seats were taken on this 6 hour flight from Zurich to Dubai.
SWISS A330-300 First Class Seat Controls
SWISS A330-300 First Class Seat 2A
SWISS First Class Dining – Amuse Bouche
After takeoff, lunch was being served. The SWISS ‘Taste of Switzerland‘ menu read as follows: Intro 1, Intro 2, Courses, Cheese, Champagne & White Wine, Red Wine & Dessert Wine, Tea, Coffee.
Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée Champagne
SWISS First Class Dining – First Course cart
SWISS First Class Dining – Balik Salmon
Balik Salmon, a Swiss product, is one of the most expensive salmon in the world. The Balik farm uses a smoking method which was practiced at the court of the Russian tsars. The result is an exceptional product, the best salmon I ever tasted.
SWISS First Class Dining – Apple Soup
Seasonal salad with Mostbröckli dried meat, figs and walnuts
SWISS First Class – Dining in Style Up in the Air
Seared Veal Tenderloin and Braised Veal Cheek in Pinot Noir
Red Wine: Cos d’Estournel 2008 2ème Cru Classé
SWISS First Class Dining – Cheese Platter
Alpine Dream Dessert with Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine 2013
Sprüngli Collection Swiss Chocolates
SWISS First Class – MovenPick Vanilla Icecream
SWISS First Class – Sit back and relax!
Overall the food and service were good, but not exceptional. The inflight service manager clearly hated the fact she had to greet every First Class passenger in person. I had very high expectations for this flight as SWISS is so protective about their award inventory, but wasn’t blown away by the service level or cabin. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a very comfortable and enjoyable 6 hour flight, maybe a bit short to fully appreciate the product. Early next year, SWISS will start flying their new long-haul flagship: the Boeing 777-300ER. The First Class cabin looks really impressive with private suites featuring the largest IFE screens (32 inch) in the industry. Looking forward to watch movies on that! 😉
When will american demand true quality in their own airlines? rather than hustler/ opportunistic mentalities of U.S. corporations where anything for a buck prevails?
Hello Bart – I’ve finally decided to burn some M&M miles.
We could book an award from Frankfurt to Johannesburg in First class. We’ll buy a SAA revenue ticket to get to Mauritius from JHB. No award flights for that route (I’ve tried that for several years now).
Taxes where high (as expected) and so was the number of miles. Guess there are better ways to redeem, but yolo!
Luckily my wife could come with me for 50% of the miles (SEN companion award). So in the end it was cheaper than a 3 region award booking in Business Class (2x 185K miles) that I first got offered via the M&M SEN Hotline.
Strangely enough they didn’t offer me this 1st class award possibility on the phone. I discovered it myself through the M&M Award booking engine.
Though it was booked as a First class I noticed that the first leg is FRA-ZRH with Lufthansa and in Business class. The next leg is Swiss ZRH-JHB in First. Return is the same, vice versa.
My question to you, since you have great subject matter experience :);
I am planning to drive to Frankfurt – can I use their First class terminal (and it’s valet parking)? I would love to experience that.
Secondly – I’d also like to enjoy the Porsche terminal-plane transfers. Would that be available on any of the legs? FRA-ZRH or ZRH-JHB?
Since I booked and paid the miles for First class, but there is no First class on the short FRA-ZRH leg, I am hoping we can still get the real First class treatment.
Looking forward to your response.
Hi Xavier, congratulations on redeeming those hard earned miles on First Class tickets! There’s no First Class cabin on the short haul LH group flights, that’s why your are in Business Class on those legs. Still, you will be able to enjoy all First Class services like the First Class terminal in Frankfurt and terminal – plane transfers. An important remark, SWISS operates the A340-300 to JNB which has the OLD First Class cabin. I would avoid flying that and go for the LH A380 F instead. The First Class terminal in Frankfurt has valet parking, but I assume you’ll need to pay for parking. You’ll be transferred from the FRA F terminal to the plane with a luxury car (can be Porsche, Mercedes-Benz S Class or if you’re unlucky a Mercedes-Benz van, make sure to ask for a dedicated car for you and your wife). Again, you might want to go back to the drawing board to avoid LX A340 F. Let me know if you have any questions.
btw Swiss First Class is normally not shown online (only available to Senators) so surprised you could see it online.
Hi Bart, thanks for your reply. I am SEN so indeed I could see First Class through the M&M award search engine. I tried for Business Class over the phone and through the online engine, but only economy and first seats where available. Though it did look like there where business seats available on a normal revenue ticket. Guess the they only have few award seats and first to make you loose miles quicker :).
Too bad on the Swiss old First class. I’ve looked around but I cannot immediately see any LH A380 flight to to JHB. I know it exists as I flown that route for work once. But cannot immediately see any A380 operated by LH flying to JHB. Only 747s or Swiss and SAA partner flights. How do you search on plane types between routes the easiest?
I’ll book another sun&sand trip in 2 years, I’ll try to find a better deal then. Not so flexible on dates though because we kind of restricted to school holiday periods.
Xavier, I’m a Senator too and SWISS F cannot been seen online. LH F can be searched online. Correct, they now operate the new 748-8i on JNB which is a much better option than LX A340 F in my opinion.
LH 572 FRA – JNB daily
LH 573 JNB – FRA daily
How do you earn so many miles and pointe? I know you use credit card sign up bonuses and other ways but I read you used almost 500k miles to book a first class flight for your family. How do you earn so many miles?
Just curious as I am 17 and wanted to get started flying.
Hi Matt, credit cards are the main source of miles for me as is the case for most other people in the ‘game’. In the US and Canada you can sign-up for credit cards with big bonuses.
Does the restriction of being elite to access first-class inventory apply to other *A airlines, or just SWISS?
Hi Vincent, fortunately these kind or restrictions are rare. The only other example I can think of is Singapore Airlines which only allows member of its own frequent flyer program Krisflyer to book First Class Suites on the A380. But Singapore doesn’t require you to be an elite member.
Bart for me the first time I flew ZRH MIA in F through LX It was a waste of miles… The unique good thing is that I used the Senator companion award in miles and more which was half discounted… But the servicr was soooo impersonal and faked that I’m still and in love used to lh first class (as you teach me 😛 )