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Swiss International Airlines:  Definitely The Way To Fly!

We had never flown Swiss International Air Lines before. We had heard and read good things about the carrier. It had garnered many awards:

  In 2007 it was again voted Best Airline for Europe by the readers of Germany’s "Business Traveller Magazine" in the categories of Best  Individual Cabin Crew, Ground Services and Lounges, and Cabin Comfort.  That same year, it was voted Airline of the Year for short-haul services by the readers of "ReiseBlick," and leading Airline in Europe by "World Travel Awards."

With all this acclaim, we decided to try “SWISS,” founded in 2002, which carried 12.2 million passengers in 2007 and today operates about 2,500 weekly flights to 70 destinations world-wide.  SWISS has a versatile fleet of 75 aircraft -- 23 for long and 52 for medium and short haul flights. Nowadays it operates seven different kinds of aircraft.

Our plan was to fly on the national airline of Switzerland from Boston to Zurich (its attractive and peaceful hub which is filled with all kinds of excellent shops and modern features) and from there, go on to Rome via Coach. For the return flights, we'd sample Swiss' ballyhooed Business Class. In that way we'd experience two different levels of service (there is also a First Class).

The outbound trip was about as smooth a flight as we have had the good fortune to be on in years. Attentive, clearly well-trained flight attendants, an immaculate plane, very comfortable seats – and surprisingly good food for Coach enhanced by delicious Swiss chocolates to encourage sweet dreams. And hot towels just before landing just like in Business Class.  What treatment!

But Business Class proved to be indeed in a class by itself. The SWISS Business Lounge in Zurich has bragging rights to the  world’s longest lounge bar, 28.6 metres; it is conveniently located and clearly marked just behind Passport Control. The  lounge has an incredible view of the airport life while, at the same  time, provides comfort, quiet and excellent work spaces.

On board, from the flight attendants' friendly greetings, to the welcome drink of champagne, fresh orange juice or water, to the seating where adjustments are made with the touch of a button (allowing the seat to recline up to 13° degrees),  it is all Swiss efficiency personified.

Immaculate lavatories from the start to end of the flights were stocked with Swiss Care Tribol line products - - eau de toilette and hand lotions. Amenity kits contained the needed but often ignored creature-comfort items that make long-haul flights bearable: socks, sleeping mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, ear plugs.

And for those who enjoy gourmet food on an airplane (and who doesn't?)  -- there is a five-course meal featuring regional specialties and a selection of sensational Swiss cheeses. Menus are created by top-class chefs who recommend matching wines to further accentuate the “SWISS Taste of Switzerland.” Some of them were Swiss which prompted us to opt for a Swiss Riesling. It was surprisingly dry and also aromatic, a good partner for entrees of fish and chicken.

With a choice of two starters, four hot main courses, cheese, a selection of desserts, coffee, tea or digestive, Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate pralines -- the experience evoked dining in a fine restaurant.

A hearty and tasty breakfast was served before the happy landing in Boston – the end to a round trip flight that reminded us of the way flying used to be. Care and respect was shown to passengers, quality control was evident throughout, and announcements from the cockpit were kept to the necessary minimum. This was just about the most civilized and efficient in-the-air experience we'd had in years.

 

Mix all of the above with the eco-minded corporate policy practiced by SWISS – and you have a total satisfying experience, truly a rarity nowadays.

 “SWISS” is definitely the way to fly!

Swiss International Airlines  

1-877-FLY SWISS (1-877-359-7947)

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About the Authors:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.

They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. More about these authors.

You can contact the Frommers at: 

Email: myrna.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Email: harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU
Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer/travel.htm.

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2012 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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