Airline review: Swiss Boeing 777 business class, Hong Kong to Zurich

THE PLANE

Boeing 777-300ER

FLIGHT TIME

12 hours

FLIGHT FREQUENCY

Daily

THE SEAT

Business, seat 14G. The seats have 60 inches (152cm) of pitch and are 20.5 inches (52cm) wide in a 1-2-2 layout, alternating with a 2-2-1 layout. The seats convert to a 79 inch (200cm) flat bed. With 62 business class and eight first class seats on board, about half of this 777 is taken up by premium seating. Given Zurich's status as one of the world's major financial hubs, it's not surprising such a large percentage of seats would be aimed at premium travellers.

BAGGAGE

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Two checked bags of up to 32 kilograms each, two carry-on bags of up to 8 kilograms each plus a personal item (handbag, laptop bag etc).

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

Miles and More (Star Alliance)

COMFORT

The interlocking design of the seats leaves some spots exposed on the aisle, while others are ensconced in their own space (every second window seat has no neighbour, while the other window seats don't have direct aisle access). I'm in a middle seat that offers direct aisle access and a high level of comfort. The flatbed is long enough for my 185-centimetre frame to easily stretch out and get some sleep on this overnight flight. An amenity kit is provided with socks, earplugs, toothbrush and paste, lip balm and an eye mask. There's no moisturiser but you can help yourself to small tubes kept in the business class bathrooms. There's adequate storage space but it takes a bit of time to figure out where the storage compartments in the seat are and how to open them (a quick explanation from staff would help).

THE FOOD

There are three entrees – smoked salmon, a salad or vitello tonnato (sliced veal with, mayonnaise) and three mains – beef tenderloin, grilled salmon or bramata (Swiss polenta). A selection of European wines are available. As this is a late-night departure, I opt for the menu's "quick" option of starter, eggplant soup, salad, cheese and dessert. This is served and collected promptly, allowing me to get to sleep. Swiss chocolates (of course) are offered after the meal. A hot breakfast is also served in the morning, with the option of a continental breakfast for passengers wishing to sleep longer.

THE ENTERTAINMENT

The large entertainment screen is sharp and responsive to touch, but there's also a controller hidden away in an arm compartment. A nifty aspect of the controller is that it also has a screen like a smartphone, allowing you to check the flight path and time remaining without having to switch on the big screen.

There's a wide selection of movies, including recent releases, old favourites and foreign films. The TV selection is not as extensive, but there's a number of complete seasons available (I binge on HBO's Westworld). Good quality headphones are provide. Wi-Fi is also available starting from 9 Swiss francs for 20MB of data.

THE SERVICE

Staff are pleasant and efficient with requests met promptly and politely, though on occasion the cabin manager rushes about appearing somewhat harried (it is an awfully large business class cabin).

ONE MORE THING

Business class passengers flying into Zurich Airport get access to the Swiss Arrivals lounge, which is beyond customs and immigration and allows you to have breakfast and shower. As it's also after baggage claim, you can freshen up with full access to your checked luggage. It's particularly good for early morning arrivals when you won't be able to check in to your hotel until the afternoon, or for those heading straight to the train station beneath the airport to another destination.

THE VERDICT

Swiss' business class seats aren't among the best in the sky, but they are still sufficiently spacious and comfortable for any overnight traveller to get plenty of sleep and start their trip off the right way.

Our rating out of five: ★★★☆

The writer travelled as a guest of Switzerland Tourism and the Austrian National Tourist Office.

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