Review: Swiss Senator Lounge Terminal A

Introduction
Virgin Atlantic 207 787-9 Economy Class Hong Kong to London Heathrow
Swissport Lounge London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic 206 787-9 Premium Economy Class London Heathrow to Hong Kong
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
United Club Hong Kong
Swiss 139 777-300ER Business Class Hong Kong to Zurich
Swiss Arrivals Lounge Zurich
Glacier Express 902 Zermatt to Andermatt
Hotel Victoria Jungfraujoch
Touring the Hotel Schynige Platte
Hotel Baur au Lac Zurich
Swiss Senator Lounge Terminal A
Swiss Panorama Business Class Lounge Terminal E
Swiss 138 777-300ER Business Class Zurich to Hong Kong


Our private transfer whisked us to Zurich Airport by 7:30, where I had a couple of lounges in mind that I was planning to visit.

img_1741 Zurich Airport Swiss Wing

We made our way to the business class check-in counters. While I’d checked my family in, the family we travelled with hadn’t been checked in yet, so we had a rather lengthy wait as they did so.

img_1742 Zurich Airport Swiss Wing

While I’ve seen lots of airport wings dedicated to the airline hub, this had to be one of the most “dedicated” wings out there. The airline’s logo was in big letters plastered on the window, and even had birds flying around it, which looked nice.

img_1743Zurich Airport Swiss Wing

After a short tax refund I passed security, which was one of the most interesting times I did. First, I was selected for additional screening through the randomizer, which was painless. But then my bag was selected for additional screening, as they found a “circle”.

They kept explaining it as a “circle for making circles”. Confused, I let them rummage through my bag for whatever circle they were looking for, and found out that I left my compass in my bag. Crap! They let me take it, however, and I was on my way.

I went into the A section of the airport, where I wanted to check out the old Swiss Senator lounge located here. I loved Zurich Airport – it was airy, nice and had good signage (or so I thought – stay tuned for the next installment).

img_1745Zurich Airport Terminal A

The Swiss lounge was located somewhere near the end of the terminal, and open to all business class passengers, as well as Senator members.

img_1747Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Entrance

As far as I know, as long as you’re flying Star Alliance business class and/or have a Lufthansa Senator card you’ll be allowed in, but you’ll want to visit the international business class lounge if you depart from the E gates, which I next visited.

img_1748Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Entrance Signage

There was not much of a queue by the entrance, and the lounge attendant said that near the E gates there was a “more beautiful lounge with a terrace”. I knew that, so I told her I’d just have a quick look at the lounge, then I’d be on my way there shortly.

img_1749Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Lounge Entrance

I turned left into the lounge and found myself on the lower level. The lounge has two levels – presumably the top level is more for eating, and the lower level for relaxing and working.

The lower level wasn’t really crowded, as expected. It featured a few comfortable chairs by the side and more work-ergonomic seating with power ports closer to the end, though those seated by the comfortable chairs did give me weird looks while I was taking pictures.

img_1753 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Relax Area

img_1754 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Relax Area

As you can see, the work area was really sleek. It’s by no means private, but if I was stuck here (which I wasn’t) I’d be able to work pretty productively.

img_1755 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Work Area

img_1756 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Work Area

As you can see each seat featured power ports, which is a nice touch. While they weren’t universal, they looked perfectly serviceable and actually rather modern.

img_1757 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Work Area

img_1758 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Work Area

Past that was actually another relax area, which was deserted when I was there.

img_1759 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Relax Area

img_1760Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Relax Area

The food spread down here was rather limited, as the real one was upstairs. There was a tub full of ice cream, as well as a few drinks and liquor.

img_1751 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Ice Cream Tub

img_1761 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Drinks

img_1762 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Liquor

Newspapers were also available downstairs, for those who wanted to read on the chairs.

img_1750 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Newspapers

There were also departures boards that were limited to Lufthansa Group departures, such as Germanwings, Swiss, Austrian, etc.

img_1752
Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Departures Board

The stairs led to the upper part of the lounge. While the stairs weren’t anything special, I liked how they were wooden and matched the theme of the lounge.

img_1763Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Stairs

There was a pretty cool airplane model display. Good thing they were attached, or I’d have “borrowed” one of those airplane models by now.

img_1764 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Airplane Display

img_1765Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Airplane Display

The main seating area and food spread were located on the second floor. It was much more crowded, but decorated nicely.

img_1767 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Main Seating Area

img_1768 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Main Seating Area

img_1770Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Main Seating Area

The food spread was rather impressive, featuring drinks, hot items, and more ice cream.

img_1777 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

img_1778 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

img_1779 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

I was surprised at the amount of Middle Eastern options the hot spread featured. There was chickpea curry, shashoushka, etc.

img_1780 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

img_1781 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

There were even chickpeas as part of the cold food spread.

img_1784 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

img_1782 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

img_1783 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

The ice cream was also from Movenpick, which was nice.

img_1769Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Food Spread

Apart from the main seating area, the lounge also featured a business center. The business center had a large array of seating. There were individual cubicles lined up along the inside of the lounge.

img_1773Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Business Center Cubicles

img_1775 Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Business Center Cubicles

img_1776Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Business Center Cubicles

There were also communal computers that you could use.

img_1772Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Business Center Communal Computers

There was conference seating, though I think private conference rooms, or at least cubicles, would be appreciated.

img_1774Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Business Center Conference Seating

There was also enough reading material for those who wanted to catch up on news in the lounge, though the WiFi was fast and free (more on that in a bit).

img_1771Swiss Business/Senator Lounge Terminal A Business Center Reading Material

What I didn’t manage to photograph was the world’s longest airport bar, as I was deceived when the stairs to the third floor pointed to a “smoking lounge”. I will photograph it when I drop by next January, though.

One thing I wanted to do was get the WiFi to work, except that the login page wouldn’t show no matter what I did. The lounge agents were more than willing to help, actually pulling out one of the “suits” (not that they were any better than I was at connecting, but at least they tried). Eventually when walking through the terminal I rebooted my phone, which was apparently the key to getting the WiFi working again.

While normally all airport users get WiFi for two hours, I was handed a receipt-like piece of paper from every lounge with a WiFi code, which would give me unlimited WiFi. My phone had trouble taking advantage of that, however.

Bottom Line

While the lounge is nothing compared to Swiss’s international lounge which I’ll review in the next installment, I found the lounge practical and rather nice for domestic passengers. It’s also nice that the lounge agents advertise the international lounge by the E gates, as you do have to pass immigration to get there.

This lounge, which you’ll be able to visit if you’re a regional passenger, isn’t really worth coming early to the airport to, but perfectly fine for an hour or so of waiting. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend time here, unless I also had access to the international lounge, which is definitely one of the better lounges I’ve visited since I started writing…

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