After a nice meal in the first class lounge, it was time to board our SWISS First Class flight to Los Angeles.
Unlike my usual reviews, where I line up to board well before announced boarding time, this time we were among the last to board. When traveling with a child, 12 hours is already long enough to be on an airplane…there is no sense in dragging it out longer than necessary.
Prior to boarding, a “security specialist” interviewed us to ensure we were not carrying explosive devices, bags for other people, and had been with our carry-on items the entire trip.
Our boarding passes were scanned and the gate agent wished us a very pleasant flight.
Zurich (ZRH) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Friday, December 29
Arrive: 4:20 PM
Duration: 12hr, 10min
As we stepped onboard through Door 2L, a FA inspected our boarding pass, welcomed us onboard, and directed us left to the first class cabin. The SWISS 777-300ER has a mini business class cabin behind first class. It was full, making me all the more thankful that I had booked first class.
SWISS 777-300ER First Class Suites
The SWISS 777-300ER First Class cabin includes eight semi-enclosed first class suites (two rows of 1-2-1 seating). Suites have beautiful wood finishes and the seat is comfortable in all positions.
Seat controls were available in the center console and included a massage function. Power and USB ports were available and the suite also offered plenty of lighting.
The “closet” had room for one garment and two personal items, like wallets, mobile phones, or passports. When the closet also served as the suite door, so when the closet was opened, the suite was essentially closed.
The center section of row two had been reserved by other passengers, so we took the first row. The plan was to let Augustine occupy one seat and my wife Heidi and I would “split” the second seat. The ottomans in SWISS First are intended to be guest seats.
But that turned out not to be necessary. First Class was only booked 5/8 and FAs invited us to spread out. While we stayed together for the first few hours of the flight, it was great having an extra bed for Augustine.
SWISS offers excellent bedding–not quite like the Hästens in the lounge–but very comfortable comforters and pillows.
SWISS 777-300ER First Class Service
First Class was served by two FAs who were extremely friendly…charming really…and provided excellent service throughout the flight.
It was not flawless service. For example, it took 20 minutes to clear away my final dinner dishes:
And FAs did not respond to the FA-call button. They simply did not respond and the light remained on for 20 minutes until I just turned it off.
This sort of thing never happens on Lufthansa.
However, I do not think this was deliberate. The FAs were too proactive and other than not clearing away dishes, too otherwise attentive. At several points throughout the flight FAs checked on passengers and gave extra-special attention to Augustine. There was always a smile on their face, and not a forced smile.
So to be fair, the service was not flawless, but nevertheless excellent. I don’t include pictures of the crew if they were not great.
SWISS 777-300ER First Class Dining
After settling in our seat, we were offered rosemary-covered cashews followed by a hot towel.
Menus were distributed, which included a separate beverage menu.
After a feast in the first class lounge, I wasn’t ready for another multi-course meal immediately after takeoff, but that actually worked out quite well.
Service began with an amuse-bouche of breadsticks and crab. I was hoping for some sort of rosé wine, but there was none on the menu. Instead, I had a glass of Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle champagne.
At first, FAs set up my tray table for both Heidi and me:
But we soon determined that it was better that I feed Augustine first and try to put him to sleep, so Heidi remained in her suite to eat.
Augustine was offered his own main course and we chose a chicken breast for him.
The little fellow has a healthy appetite and devoured his meal. But he should have avoided the lemon…
Meanwhile, Heidi ordered the sole paupiette dish, which she found delicious.
With Augustine put down to sleep, it was my turn to eat. (Not that he was quite ready to go to sleep…)
Service began with Balik Salmon and other assorted appetizers. These were served off a nicely-arranged cart.
A bread basket with exceptional warm and fresh bread was offered with high-quality olive oil and salted butter.
Next up came a soup course – cream of butternut squash. As is often the case, the soup course was my favorite of the meal.
This was followed by a large green salad served with a bit of artichoke inside and a delightful balsamic vinaigrette.
I ordered the veal filet for my main course and it was excellent. Not as good as the steak I had in first class last time, but it was an excellent choice. I loved the rich rosemary flavor of the meat.
My main course was followed by a cheese course, which included an assortment of exclusively Swiss cheese.
Finally, per FA recommendation, I chose ice cream vacherin (a meringue-based cake). Not my favorite dessert, but it was something different.
The meal concluded with chocolate truffles.
The menu did not indicate any mid-flight snack (or pre-arrival meal, for that matter). I was so stuffed from the double lunch that I would not have wanted anything anyway, but unlike the snacks set up in the business class galley, you’ll need to make specific requests if you want to snack on something between meal services.
Water bottles were proactively provided.
About an hour before landing, FAs offered a choice of quiche with salad or meatloaf for a pre-arrival snack. Since my wife and son were still sleeping (and actually slept until about 20 minutes before landing), I asked to try both.
The pork meatloaf was very Swiss/German, but a bit too greasy for my liking. Furthermore, potato salad should never be served cold. The quiche with salad (Feld Salat in Germany, a type of green I never see in the USA) was amazing, though. This was also the same pre-arrival snack I had when flying SWISS First Class last time (in 2011 from Shanghai to Zurich).
I had a cappuccino and fresh orange juice as well. Dessert was an apple tart with fresh fruit.
Overall, I was very pleased with the high-quality and delicious meal service on SWISS. I would prefer, though, that the mid-flight snack and pre-arrival dishes be listed on the menu.
SWISS 777-300ER First Class IFE + Wi-Fi
I ended up spending a large chunk of the flight working, but did take time to watch one movie called The Beguiled. It told the story of a Union solider being cared for at a girl’s school during the U.S. Civil War. There were unexpected twists and I enjoyed it.
Noise-cancelling headphones worked well:
SWISS does offer plenty of movies, games, music, and TV shows, though I’d call the selection somewhat mediocre…average at best compared to what most offer in business class.
SWISS offered each first class passenger a wi-fi voucher, but it was only good for 50MB and expired literally seconds after I logged in (and yes, I had background updates turned off…).
Internet prices were exorbitant, so I chose not to pay for additional internet.
SWISS 777-300ER First Class Pajamas + Slippers
Pajamas and slippers were offered after boarding. Pajamas are by Zimmerli, a Swiss brand that primarily produces underwear.
SWISS 777-300ER First Class Amenity Kits
The SWISS First Class amenity comes in a simple white or gray zippered container. Inside you’ll find socks, tissues, a toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, eyeshade, comb, Ricola lozenges, and la prairie creams.
The female kit is nearly identical, containing only a brush instead of a comb:
SWISS 777-300ER First Class Lavatory
The 777-300ER lavatory in the first class cabin (right outside the flight deck door) is not overly spacious, but was oversized. Cloth towels, as opposed to paper towels, were offered…the most important thing I look for in a first class lavatory.
What Made it All Worthwhile
I already discussed whether it was worth flying SWISS First Class, but I want to underscore here what a privilege it was to fly with Augustine and Heidi. To see August looking out the window and taking in the beautiful views as we took off was priceless.
He might not remember this flight one day, but I will certainly will.
Ground Service at LAX
I was impressed that upon landing at LAX, a HON representative already had all our bags on two carts and helped us out to the car.
I was very glad to try SWISS First Class once again (though I wish it had been under better circumstances). The SWISS crew was excellent and the onboard product also very much “first class”. Will I buy another first class ticket on SWISS? Only time will tell.