TRAVEL | Swiss International Air Lines (“SWISS”) operates a daily flight from Sinagpore to Zürich. It departs Singapore at 11:30pm Singapore time and arrives in Zürich at 6:10am Switzerland time. The fact that it’s a 12 hour and 40 minute flight the departs late at night and arrives early in the morning makes it very handy for those who are able to sleep on a plane and essentially sync up to local time and minimise jetlag.
SWISS fly their flagship Boeing 777-300ER (“777”) aircraft on this route. It’s a new plane and, combined with my fondness for Swiss efficiency, had me excited to fly on SWISS for the first time.
As I was flying from Melbourne, with Singapore Airlines I’d already been checked into this leg of the flight back there. SWISS don’t fly to/from Australia but they are part of the Star Alliance so for Aussies Singapore Airlines takes care of the first leg of the journey. My bags had been checked in the whole way through so it was a simple matter of enjoying some tasty Singaporean food at Changi Airport (I didn’t have time to pop out of the airport for some food, which is possible if you have a few hours transit) before re-clearing security at the gate and flying onward to Zürich.
On the return leg from Zürich to Singapore I checked in at Zürich airport and the process was simple. You can check in online from 23 hours before departure and drop your baggage off at a counter. If you can’t check in online, there are check in machines at the airport, and there’s always the option of checking in with a person at the counter. Security and bag scanning was pretty efficient and fast. If you’re plane is departing from Terminal E, which mine was, the underground Skymetro gets you there with minimal fuss.
Checked luggage is included with all SWISS Economy tickets. You can check-in one bag up to 23kg, and one carry-on bag up to 8kg.
I was happy with the service on board my flight. Staff were friendly and, in true Swiss style, efficient and to the point. Any requests are dealt with promptly and without fuss. On the one occasion I pressed my call button because I wanted some extra water, it didn’t take long at all for someone to come over and they happily got a bottle of water.
The SWISS Economy cabins on the 777 that flies from Singapore to Zürich features 270 seats, in a 3-4-3 layout. There are enough flight attendants around so getting the attention of someone should you need assistance isn’t an issue. Colour wise it’s black, white, and brown. Not the most inspired colour scheme but it’s simple and modern. When it comes to cleanliness, everything nice and clean.
The fabric seat has dimensions of about 78.7cm x 43.3cm. it’s a bit wider than the standard economy seat you find on most airlines and the extra space is much appreciated. Like any economy seat, it doesn’t recline that far back, but it’s no better or worse than the competition. There’s a little footrest which is handy, but I didn’t make use of it because I was lucky enough to be sat in an exit row seat with, as you can see from the photo of my legs and feet, loads of leg room. There’s also a cushioned headrest, with an impressive degree of adjustability compared to most.
There are small armrests, and a pocket sleeve with three compartments at the back of the seat in front to place your magazines and electronics. There’s also a cup holder for when your tray is up but you want somewhere to put your drink. If you’re in the exit row seat, it’s a plastic sleeve on the side of the plane, with a tray that comes out of the armrest.
There’s not much space to get work done with the tray down if you’ve got a laptop, but for a tablet sized device it’s possible to get some productive stuff done. Again, if you’re in an exit row seat the proposition changes as you can adjust a laptop properly without it being restricted by space or the fear of it being hit by the reclining seat of the person in front.
A USB port was available which was convenient for charging my phone during the flight but unfortunately there’s no in-seat power. I was surprised given that it’s a modern plane and common on many comparable flights these days. In seat power is super handy for charging larger items, or smaller items faster.
There’s a 28.0cm screen on the back of each SWISS Economy seat on this plane which is your gateway to the SWISS in-flight entertainment offering. There’s over 90 films and 170 TV programmes to choose from at any given time, including the latest blockbuster movies, documentaries and the popular TV shows. You can also listen to over 100 music playlists, albums, podcasts and audiobooks. For children there’s also a wide selection of films, cartoons, and video games.
WiFi is offered on all 777s on this route. The connection is fast enough to access your emails, social media apps, and basic surfing but not for streaming or video. There is a charge for WiFi which varies depending on how much data you want. Provided headphones are acceptable, but if you’re anything like me you’ll bring your own noise cancelling headphones and an adaptor for the headphone socket.
Meals are included with all SWISS Economy tickets, with the exact options changing depending on what time of day you are flying. On both the flight to Zürich and the return leg it was dinner and breakfast for me. Dinner consists of a starter, choice of one of two mains, Swiss cheese, and dessert. Flying to Zürich I started with a perfectly acceptable soy poached chicken with brown rice salad. For my main it was a choice between braised beef with thyme jus, mashed potato, sauteed broccoli, and carrots, or spinach ravioli with tomato and basil sauce. I find meat options in economy class across most airlines to be quite variable so tend to go for the vegetarian option. The ravioli was quite tasty, and I happily polished off the entire thing. For dessert it was a moist orange mousse cake.
Come breakfast it was an omelette, bacon, potato wedges, bread roll, butter, jam, yoghurt, and fresh fruit salad. The cooked offering was fine, but I do prefer when an uncooked option is offered like a museli or something. What I did appreciate was that the yoghurt was full fat, proper yoghurt. A few airlines have started offering only fat free yoghurt for breakfast which is always watery and super sugary. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy real yoghurt.
Drinks wise, it’s your choice of an Italian Prosecco, Swiss white wine and French red wine, spirits, Swiss beer, soft drinks, juice, and water. Attendants come around a few times offering drinks and Frey chocolates throughout the flight, and you can always ask for some if you’re hungry/thirsty. At breakfast it’s coffee, tea, and juices on offer.
On the return leg from Zürich to Singapore the drink selection was the same, but the food offering was different. This time the meal started with a carrot, sweetcorn, cucumber, and pepperoncini salad. For mains it was a choice of chicken breast with tomato cream sauce, Spätzle, and broccoli, or Malaysian vegetable curry with rendang sauce and Thai rice. On flights departing Switzerland the vegetarian options are always the way to go. They’re designed by Hiltl, a Zürich institution that’s the oldest continually operating vegetarian restaurant in the world. They know their stuff and this rendang curry didn’t disappoint. There was also some Gruyere before a dessert of rhubarb crumb cake with raspberry coulis.
For breakfast on this leg, it was an omlette that was better than the one I’d had on the other flight. This one had cheese in it, and was served with spinach, parsley, potatoes, and datterini tomato. Another example of vegetables shining on an economy flight. It was served with a bread roll, butter, jam, yoghurt (real yoghurt again), and seasonal fruit salad.
There is no amenity kit provided by SWISS on this route in economy. When you get to your seat it’s a pillow, plastic-wrapped blanket and a set of headphones.
I enjoyed my flight from Singapore to Zürich and would happily fly SWISS again on the same route. While the lack of in seat power and a basic amenity kit in economy class is a noticeable omission in 2019, the seat comfort, extensive entertainment options, quality food, and friendly service more than make up for it. If you’re flying to or from Switzerland, SWISS is definitely an airline that you should consider.