Simply Wonderful Inflight ServiceS
Always a pleasure flying Swiss International Air Lines, but this route in particular is a favourite of mine thanks to the ease of the entire experience from start to finish, with the start in one of the most modern of the world’s big airports and the finish in one of the most modern small airports. The famous Maglev train from Shanghai’s Pudong district to the airport is a great way to bypass the traffic in speedy comfort to arrive at the ultracontemporary Shanghai Pudong International Airport, where the check-in counter was a short walk away from the Maglev station. No waiting at Check-in, so it was right up to the First/Business Class lounge, a huge expanse of open space with many private seating areas. Some airport lounges can be busier than the public areas, defeating their purpose. Not this time; the openness of this balcony-style space was bright, quiet, relaxing, and uncrowded. Surprising were the sticks of aromatic incense burning in the restroom, a great idea no doubt vetoed at other airports around the world due to such modern-day considerations as insurance and liability.
The spaciousness of the lounge was a harbinger of the aircraft itself. SWISS is just beginning a rollout of new Business Class seats, though the ones it has now are already very comfortable. This A340-300 had a 48-seat Business Class in a 2-2-2 configuration, with one quarter of those in a separate section just behind First Class—in which the personal space of each seat is enough to throw a dinner party.
With the fine cuisine served on board, why not? The menu on SWISS is not a simple list of dishes, but rather a brochure not only presenting the food options, their origin, and the chef behind their creation. Each month, SWISS brings A Taste Of Switzerland to its passengers, presenting the outstanding talents of Switzerland’s leading chefs and the country’s fresh ingredients, always of the highest quality. I have yet to enjoy snacks as much as the puff pastry sticks accompanying welcome drinks, a good start to a meal that ends, of course, with Swiss chocolate.
It’s the little touches like this that set a SWISS Business Class experience apart from others. There are other touches, too—the wood hanger for each seat, already numbered so that boarding passes need not be impaled to identify garments’ owners and the understated interiors that encourage calm and relaxation are two more. For those to whom rest is a luxury not covered by the expense account, there are power outlets at every seat when the boss, a.k.a. the laptop, shows up.
The boarding process was quick and easy and was completed in a matter of minutes. With a boarding time only twenty minutes before departure, there was more time to enjoy the lounge.
For a twelve-hour flight, the time went by quickly. There was a good number of periodicals on board for readers and on-demand video entertainment for viewers. SWISS supplements its inflight magazine with a second publication, SWISS Universe, specifically for First and Business Class passengers.
More reading pleasure came from a most unexpected source—the duty-free catalogue. Along with the usual international brands of cosmetics, perfumes, and alcoholic products was an interesting array of high-quality, made-in-Switzerland products rarely seen in other countries. From iconic Swiss Railways watches to stylish Uvex sunglasses and the beautiful writing implements of Caran d’Ache right through to a selection of electronic gizmos more likely seen in a spy shop.Whoever thinks Swiss people don’t know how to have fun have obviously never flown into Zurich Airport. After flying over the land of a cheeky farmer who has a Swiss Army knife ploughed into his field and enjoying the moos and cowbells of the shuttle train at Terminal E, arrival at Zurich Airport was efficient and easy.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B