Business class travel in Europe is usually much of the same. A standard economy class seat, sometimes with the middle seat blocked off, and a sandwich in a box if you’re lucky. Some airlines compensate for the lack of hard product with a far superior soft product – notably British Airways, Lufthansa and Swiss.
Swiss operate their Airbus A220 series aircraft on regional routes around Europe. I decided to try out their business class service on a short, one hour flight from Dusseldorf to Zurich.
I arrived into Dusseldorf from an inbound flight out of Dublin with Eurowings. Dusseldorf is a bright and airy airport, with loads of greenery around that makes the airport feel a lot nicer than it looks, from its grim exterior facade.
Check in today was at the Lufthansa check in desks, where I got my boarding pass and directions to the Lufthansa lounge.
Lufthansa has two lounges here in Dusseldorf – the Senator Lounge and Business Lounge. Both are located in the A pier, on a mezzanine level. While the Senator Lounge is reserved for First Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold passengers, the Business Lounge can be used by any passenger on a business class ticket. Internally the lounges are pretty similar, and this segregation is mainly to split the capacity across two lounges.
I always find Lufthansa lounges to be pretty stale, and whilst they are clean and comfortable they are very business like, feeling more like an office building than a relaxing space. That said, they still have a good amount of comfortable seating, as well as good food and drink.
Draught beer is self-served, which is handy but frustrating when you’re not a bar tender with the skills to pour a perfect pint!
The Business Lounge at Dusseldorf offers some good views over the apron. Dusseldorf is a huge hub for Eurowings, the low-cost subsidiary of Lufthansa.
After some time in the lounge, I headed down to the gate where my flight was preparing to board. Business class passengers were allowed to board first, and I headed down the jetbridge to the waiting Airbus A220-300.
The cabin on Swiss’ Airbus A220 aircraft is very smart. The seats are a dark leather with light leather headrest cover and beautiful chrome finishings around the seats. For me, this is one of the most stylish regional airliner cabins in the world.
Soon after sitting down, I was given a bottle of water and a refreshing towelette.
The A220 series have small overhead monitors. Swiss use them to display an overhead airshow map, something else that sets the A220 apart from its competitors – how many regional airliners have an airshow map?
We pushed back from the gate on time and commenced our taxi out to the runway.
Onur Air had sent a particularly smart A320 into Dusseldorf this day.
Since the demise of German airline Air Berlin, Eurowings have continued to operate the livery on some of their inherited aircraft. It was a nice blast from the past seeing this livery again.
Pretty soon we lined up and made a typical A220 rocket takeoff from Dusseldorf.
Swiss’ safety cards still refer to the A220 as a Bombardier C Series. I wonder when they will be updated with the new name?
Soon after takeoff, the inflight meal service was started. To start, there was a light meal which was very tasty.
Next up was an iced coffee, with a shot of Baileys to spice it up, as well as some Swiss Movenpick ice cream.
After a fairly short flight, the unmistakable scenery of Northern Switzerland appeared beneath us, and we commenced a winding approach towards Zurich.
We made a right turn over the town of Schaffhausen.
The Victorinox field was looking particularly dry at this time of year.
We touched down on schedule on runway 14 at Zurich, taxiing into the terminal.
We docked to a jetbridge which made a nice change from the bus that regional arrivals usually see at Zurich.
Swiss continue to impress me on their short-haul flights. Yes, the seat is still a standard economy seat with a blocked middle – but the service onboard is astounding. A meal service with alcohol and even an ice cream on a 50-minute flight is fantastic.
Swiss remains my favorite short-haul business class product in Europe, and the A220 is a fantastic aircraft to fly on.