Review: Swiss 138 777-300ER Business Class Zurich to Hong Kong

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


Swiss Flight 138
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Origin: Zurich (ZRH) Gate: E35 Dep: 22:45 (23:10)
Destination: Hong Kong (HKG) Gate: 22 Arr: 16:30 (17:05)
Duration: 11 h 45 min (11 h 55 min)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 5A (Business Class)

I was quick to get a picture of the 777 door as we walked in. I’ve always had a fascination for airplane doors, as I don’t get how they’re so well sealed.

img_1879Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Door

I quickly snapped a picture of the empty main business class cabin, which features 52 business class seats – though once again I was sure to choose seats in the mini-cabin.

img_1880Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Main Cabin

img_1892Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Main Cabin

The mini-cabin is located left of door 2L, and once again I’d selected the middle seats and the window pair at row 5. The throne seats were taken this time around, so I stuck to my seat, 5A.

img_1881Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mini-Cabin

img_1882 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mini-Cabin

img_1883Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Mini-Cabin

One disadvantage of all non-throne window seats are that they don’t feature direct aisle access, so I’d actively avoid them if I weren’t travelling with a partner.

img_1884Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seats 5A and 5B

As for seat 5A, it’s also missing a window, though it’s not too hard to look out the window if you’re leaning forward.

img_1885 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 5A

The seat itself is a good size, though compared to the throne seats it really doesn’t have much storage. For example, the only place I could really put my amenities was in the storage compartment above the seat (more on that later).

img_1886Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat 5A

The purser once again noticed me taking pictures and asked me if it was my first time on a 777, much like the purser on the outbound. When I said no (telling her it was my second time on Swiss), she said that it was her first time on a 777. She wasn’t too comfortable about the prospect of running the new plane for the first time, though was super friendly. I asked if I could take some pictures of the first class cabin, though unfortunately, they all arrived pretty quickly, so by the time I asked it was too late.

I visited the lavatory on the left, which again featured a nice sink.

img_1890 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

img_1889 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory

img_1888 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory Amenities

img_1887 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory Sink

The lavatory also featured an accessibility bar.

img_1891Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory Accessibility Bar

I went back to my seat and as I had already explored it in a little detail last time round, I just decided to stick to my seat and have a look at the queue starting to form on the jetbridge (it happens every time on Swiss, as the inflight service manager greets every single passenger before sending them on their way to their seat).

img_1893Jetbridge Zurich Airport

Not long after I returned from the lavatory the purser came to find me, saying that the first row of first class was empty and I could go and take some photos. Awesome! I quickly made my way to first class to do my business before anyone could board and stop me.

She escorted me past the passengers in the second row, who smiled at me. First class is normally reserved only for top-tier HON Circle members (apart from a recent glitch that allowed all Star Alliance members to book Swiss first class) and revenue passengers, so I was really glad that I was allowed to take some photos. It consists of fully enclosed suites with a massive Tv and electronically controlled blinds by the windows.

img_1894 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER First Class

img_1895Swiss Boeing 777-300ER First Class

The ottoman is literally slated to be a companion seat – it even has padded armrests to make it look like a sofa.

img_1896Swiss Boeing 777-300ER First Class Ottoman

I went back to business class and had a look at my seat, as there are considerable differences between the throne seat and the non-throne window seat. First of all, the foot cubby isn’t restrictive at all – while it may look small, it’s actually pretty spacious. While the throne seat foot cubby is larger in these Vantage XL seats, they’re still smaller than the foot cubby at the window seat.

img_1905 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Foot Cubby

img_1906 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Foot Cubby

I’d still pick a throne seat if I could, though – at the throne seats, you get a large sliding cupboard all to yourself, as well as another compartment to place your loose items. In these seats all we got were two small cubbies on top of the center console. Still more than what you’d get in a “normal” Vantage seat, but definitely not enough.

img_1913Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Storage

The rest of the seat was pretty much the same. The seat controls were located to the right of my seat, near the console – including the basic controls and the more “complex” controls, including lumbar and cushion control.

img_1900Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat Controls

Behind that was the remote, actually functional this time, which was touchscreen and could control the entertainment system, which I used during the flight.

img_1901Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class TV Remote

A power port and USB port were located at the seat, though I found it interesting that the USB port was only activated in the air on this flight (which wasn’t the case on the outbound).

img_1996Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Power Port

A coat hanger, decent noise-cancelling headphones and a water bottle holder were all on the right by the console, as was the case on my previous flight.

img_1899 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Coat Hanger

img_1898Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Headphones

The water in the holder was of a local brand this time, but I can’t imagine that’s any worse than Bonaqua (in any case, it’s better).

img_1902Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Water Bottle Holder and Water

The TV screen was also large, as was the area under it – while you can store an entire laptop there in row 4 or 6, you really can’t store any more than a phone in there in any other row.

img_1903Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class TV Screen

img_1904Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class TV Screen Storage Compartment

On the console was a strong reading light which was useful during my short time awake on the flight. The headphone jack was also located there – while I had trouble plugging it in, I realised it only went one way (stupid of me, I know, but I was really tired – given the amount of changes my body clock had, I was in “perpetual 3 AM mode” by the time).

img_1908Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Console Reading Light and Headphone Plugs

Waiting at my seat was an amenity kit. While it was more like a bag this time round, I do find it quirky that they have different packaging for the same amenities every time. Speaking of amenities, you won’t have an issue with them on Swiss – they’re well stocked, with eye masks, toothbrushes, lip balm, earplugs and basically everything you’ll need apart from slippers).

img_1909 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Amenity Kit

img_1912Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Amenity Kit

The blanket waiting at my seat was fine, though I would’ve wanted a thin duvet instead.

img_1907Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Blanket

Soon enough, the purser came out with pre-departure beverages, in which I selected an orange juice.

img_1897Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Orange Juice

I also received a menu, though more on that later.

Normally I find that the purser works the right side, and the junior flight attendant works the left side, which, I guess, is the reason why the left side is usually more readily available for seat selections. The junior flight attendant was fine, though she was uncomfortably attractive. She reminded me of Selena Gomez.

She gave us hot towels, which were fine as far as they go.

img_1916Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Hot Towel

I browsed the entertainment selection mainly before takeoff. My focus on the entertainment system is usually on the music selection, as I wouldn’t be able to judge based on the (decent-looking) TV and movie selection, given that I’m not really into that.

I found the system incredibly hard to work with – while the actual selection was fine for my standards, I really wish there was a way I could alphabetically scroll through the artists.

img_1910 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Music Selection

img_1911Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Music Selection

I decided to also have a look at the airshow, which was similar to the likes of Cathay Pacific or Virgin Atlantic‘s new systems. I assume they’re all powered by Panasonic.

img_1917 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Airshow

img_1915Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Airshow

At around 10:55 PM the doors were closed and the safety video was played, which had nice animations, but compared to some of the others was bland.

Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Safety Video

img_1920Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Safety Video

img_1919Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin during Safety Video

We taxied past some interesting aircraft, including a lot of Swiss heavies, as we left the gate. This included a Swiss A320 as well as a few smaller TAP/Edelweiss aircraft.

img_1922 Swiss Airbus A320 Zurich Airport

img_1924 Traffic Zurich Airport

img_1925 Edelweiss Airbus A320 Zurich Airport

img_1929TAP Airbus A320 Zurich Airport

img_1936Traffic Zurich Airport

We taxied over the runway and began a rather long takeoff roll due to our heavy load, though it was dark outside, and Zurich isn’t known for their night lights.

img_1948 Takeoff Zurich Airport

img_1956 Takeoff Zurich Airport

img_1958Takeoff Zurich Airport

When taking off I resorted to listening to some Michael Bublé, which I had trouble finding on the entertainment system.

img_1965Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Entertainment

img_1966Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Airshow

While I stayed awake for the meal service, the same wasn’t true for my sister, who reclined her seat and went to sleep right away. I found it cute that one of the male flight attendants came and tucked in a stuffed plane toy by her seat. It wasn’t asked or paid for at all, so I’m guessing it’s a courtesy out of Zurich, given that she didn’t get one on the outbound. You guys should know whose bedroom it ended up in by the end, though. 😉

img_1980Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Toy

This flight also served dinner, which makes sense given the 11 PM departure out of Zurich. The menu read as follows:

img_1914
Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Menu

I decided to go with the beef tenderloin for the main course, as it seemed like the best choice out of the three (not that the gnocchi didn’t sound nice as well, though I don’t really have high expectations of gnocchi in the air).

The table itself is of a good size, applicable for working.

img_1961Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Table

I went with the fera trout timbale for my starter, which was delicious.

img_1967Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner First Course – Fera Trout Timbale with Saffron-Marinated Vegetable Salad

img_1969Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner First Course

This was served with some local cheese, paired with some pear bread.

img_1970 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Cheese – Tête de Moine and Jean Pierre with pear bread

A side seasonal salad was also offered, though it was pretty bland (as expected).

img_1971 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Salad

I also selected a bread roll, which was picked out by hand out of a basket. I don’t like the fact that Swiss serves their bread cold.

img_1972Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Bread Roll

For the main course I had the beef tenderloin, which was juicy albeit being well done. I disliked the crust on top, which was borderline soggy.

img_1973 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Main Course – Beef Tenderloin with Herb Crust, Red Wine Sauce, Potato Gratin and Spring Vegetables

The potato gratin and spring vegetables were really nice, as was the sauce.

img_1974Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Main Course

Look at how juicy the inside of that tenderloin was. It was also full of flavour given how well done it was. It’s worth noting that my parents both got a perfect tenderloin, though, so the consistency there is lacking.

img_1975Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Main Course Tenderloin

Dessert was served a little while later. For cherry desserts this was one of the best I’ve had, though I tend to hate cherry desserts, as they give the dish an unpleasant flavour.

img_1977 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Dessert – Cherry Clafoutis with Crème Diplomat

img_1978Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Dessert

Dinner ended with Swiss chocolates being picked out of a box, which were great as usual. I denied a coffee or tea, as I was going to sleep.

img_1979Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Dinner Swiss Chocolate

The meal service ended over Serbia, an hour and a half into the flight. That’s a pretty reasonable pace for dinner on a longhaul night flight to be, in my opinion.

img_1976Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Position after Dinner

Overall I found the meal service great. As much as I don’t like well done steaks, the main course was one of the better business class main courses I’ve had out there. The crew on this sector was also great – again, I got a little attitude from the junior flight attendant, though much less than on the previous sector. The senior flight attendants, once again, were as hospitable as ever.

After dinner I reclined my seat and went to sleep. While the bedding isn’t amazing and the configuration isn’t my favourite, there’s no denying that I really like the seat’s padding, as well as the ability to adjust it. Also, being cornered in the window seat, privacy was as good as it’ll ever be in this configuration. The length was also more than enough for all of us.

img_1981 Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

The foot cubby, as I mentioned, was expansive and easy to sleep in.

img_1982Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Bed

It’s worth noting that the seat also has a “relax” setting, which I wasn’t able to photograph on the last flight. I’d prefer watching TV from a little further down, but I guess some people would like lounging at that angle.

img_1994Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Seat in Relax Mode

I slept for a solid nine hours, and woke up an hour and a half out of Hong Kong. I loved how much sleep I was getting on my three premium cabin longhauls from Europe (if only I could’ve slept as well in a middle seat in economy, but oh well).

img_1986Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Position upon Waking Up

I didn’t miss breakfast this time, waking up a little before. Once again, the junior flight attendant came around with juice, pastries, then hot dishes.

img_1983Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Breakfast

The hot dish was some kind of egg dish with potato, which was surprisingly flavourful.

img_1984Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Breakfast Hot Dish

In terms of the pastries, I chose a criossant, which was nice and flaky, though cold.

img_1985Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Breakfast Croissant

At this point it was light outside. It was nice to be flying in pure daylight after so long in the dark, as well as being able to see Swiss’ business class cabin in broad daylight.

img_1989Views past China

img_2003Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Cabin

The cabin announced twenty-five minutes till landing, and soon we were asked to put up our window shades and our seats upright, while I tucked in for the landing. My sister woke up, after being passed out for eleven hours. We began our descent about 15-20 minutes before landing.

On the descent I saw good progress being made on the new Hong Kong-Macau-Guangzhou bridge they’re planning to build.

img_2005 Descent into Hong Kong

img_2006 Descent into Hong Kong

img_2009 Descent into Hong Kong

img_2010 Final Approach into Hong Kong

It was a beautiful day home, and I was looking to spend some quality time in this amazing weather (that said, it was also amazing in Zurich – though it’s been a while since I’ve encountered Hong Kong Airport in such good weather).

img_2012 Touchdown Hong Kong Airport

We taxiied past some interesting traffic. While gate 22 is awesome for jumping off and getting straight to immigration, it does take a bit of “plane time” to get to.

img_2015 Traffic Hong Kong Airport

One of the aircraft we passed was a Garuda Indonesia A330.

img_2016 Garuda Indonesia Airbus A330-200 Hong Kong Airport

Another was a Singapore Airlines 777-300ER, which I’ll be seeing next April.

img_2018 Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Hong Kong Airport

We finally parked at gate 22, next to an EVA A321.

img_2020EVA Air Airbus A321 Hong Kong Airport

From there we bid farewell to the crew, and I was grateful to be back home for quite a while…

Bottom Line on Swiss 777-300ER Business Class

Overall, I was impressed by Swiss’ 777-300ER business class. They have a great seat, though it’s not my favourite in the sky. The catering is amongst the best I’ve had out there, though still not restaurant quality. The service was generally great as well. While the WiFi prices are crap, I’m not in a position to complain, as I can survive 12 hours away from land.

I’m excited to sample Swiss’ longhaul and shorthaul service again in the near future…

Bottom Line: London to Zurich via Hong Kong

I won’t even start talking about the amount of people I’ve met and things I’ve learned during the first half of July, as I don’t really feel like sitting there with a box of tissues and a few tubs of ice cream (feel free to email me if you’re interested, though).

Purely on a product front, I sampled three interesting European products for the first time. Virgin Atlantic was quirky and fun, and Swiss was polished – they both are top-of-the-class in their very own ways. The hotels I visited were interesting as well.

I can’t wait to visit more of Europe in the future, and once again, I dedicate this trip report to my amazing parents who gave me the opportunity to take the trip, since this blog wouldn’t exist without their help.

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