Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Swiss Air Business Class Review

We traveled in business class on Swiss Air Flight 9 from Chicago O'Hare to Zurich. We booked discounted cruise fares because we were taking a Rhine river cruise.

One perk of flying International Business Class on a United partner is access to the United Polaris at Chicago O'Hare. The lounge is located near C18.  Take a peek:

Overall the lounge is very nice. I appreciate how they try to protect personal space. All the bathrooms are individual. The seating is spread out. Showers are availability. A large bar offers many premium cocktails, wine, and spirits. 
The Dining Room is a small space that seems to be an after thought. You can order from a menu. The food was decent. The service was friendly, but a tad slow. My only other experience with this type of lounge is the Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto. That is far superior. The Maple Leaf Lounge included restaurant was an intentional space with a coat and luggage storage room. The menu was larger and the service was impeccable. 

The United Polaris Lounge offers a buffet with soup, salad, hot entree items, and cold appetizers. The buffet had servers available making sure the food area was clean and well stocked. I appreciated that.

One big issue with flying with a partner airline is Terminal 5 (imagine ominous music here).  To get to Terminal 5, you have to exit the secured area, board a tram, and then pass through security again. United recommends leaving an hour and a half for that process. 

We met my parents at gate C3. We left gate C3 at 4:47 pm. We were at Terminal 5 and through security by 5:30 pm. 

Swiss Air Business Class also includes access to the Swissport lounge. Outside the lounge, a sign stated the lounge was at capacity. In small print under it, it said space was reserved for airline guests. We entered. It's a simple lounge with packaged snacks, pre-made sandwiches, and a serve yourself bar with beer, wine and spirits. Terminal 5 is crowded so it was nice to have a place to sit. 

We left the lounge around 6 pm for out 7:10 pm flight. It was a bit of a walk to M25. We had to go to the desk for a passport check. We waited about 15 minutes until boarding. 

The flight left on time. Take a quick tour of my experience:

We chose 4K and 5K. These are the first seats in the Business section. They are solo seats. A warning about A and B: A does not have easy aisle access. You'd have to crawl over the person in seat B. 

Prior to take off, the flight attendant collected our dinner and breakfast orders. For dinner, we had a choice of appetizer and main. 

7:49 pm Dinner service began. The tray table is a little tricky. Don't worry about asking for help. 

8 pm Dinner was served. I compare it to domestic first class. I liked the gnocchi. I liked all the vegetables. I also liked the cheese plate.  Two types of white wine and three types of red wine were available. 

A wine and water refill was offered. 

8:24 pm Dinner was clearer for those who were finished. 

8:32 pm Dessert was offered. It was cheesecake. I passed. I ordered a mint tea. The flight attendant ordered it via a tablet. It came quickly and freshly made to order. 

8:45 pm Dessert was cleared for those finished. 

I moved the seat to lie flat. It was very comfortable. The seat came with a pillow and a blanket. I'm 6 feet tall and the bed was long enough. I was also able to sleep comfortably on my side. 

About 120 minutes before landing, a blue light came on overhead. 

80 minutes prior to landing - My pre-ordered breakfast was served. I love that I could pre-order espresso. 

Everything was cleared by 40 minutes before landing. 

It's a very scenic landing. 

We landed at 10:33 am local time. 

We reached passport control at 11:00 am with a brief stop at the bathroom.

We were through passport control by 11:25 am. We picked the slow line. We could have been through about 12 minutes faster in at least two other lines.

Our luggage was off the carousel and waiting for us. 

Our transfer was waiting. We were on the way to the hotel by 11:29 am.