Swiss Introduces Paid A-La-Carte Dining in Economy

After my flights with Swiss last July, they’ve constantly intrigued me. Their business brand is quirky, their actual product is good (in business class – economy seems like a different story), and they seem really proud of their products, to the point where they’re updating A340s with their slightly older business class product to their slightly newer business class product, which basically features better finishes and more privacy (the seat configuration doesn’t change at all).

img_1880Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

According to Swiss, their next change is offering a la carte dining in economy class, where passengers can now pre-order their meals for a fee.

As far as it’s developed as of now, this is a nonrefundable service, though if your flight gets cancelled and you’re rebooked, the meal will be transferred to your new route. All longhaul routes are implementing this service, apart from Cairo, Shanghai and Tel Aviv (it’s unlikely that you’ll be rebooked through these routes anyway).

IMG_0144Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class

For 29 CHF (HK$225) you get a “healthy meal” or a “brunch”.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-9-00-39-pm

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-9-01-18-pm

For 39 CHF (HK$303) you get a “traditional meal”, consisting of the sliced veal that I had on my flight in business class from Hong Kong to Zurich.

IMG_0155Zurich-style Sliced Veal with Mushroom Cream Sauce, Rösti, Seasonal Vegetables

For 49 CHF (HK$380) you get a “gourmet meal”, consisting of the steak I had on the return.

img_1974Beef Tenderloin with Herb Crust, Red Wine Sauce, Potato Gratin and Spring Vegetables

You can also get a Japanese meal for 49 CHF (HK$380) to experience the cuisine of the “Land of the Rising Sun”, something I’m guessing they serve in business class to Japan.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-9-01-09-pm

If you just want cold cuts, that’ll set you back 18 CHF (HK$140).

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-9-00-46-pm

Bottom Line

This is a good idea that airlines are starting to implement, though I’m not sure how this is going to be carried out in practice.

  • Is meal service going to slow down, now that they have specific meals to serve to specific people, as well as the normal meals?
  • Is the pricing reasonable? Are airline-served cold cuts worth HK$140? Would I pay HK$380 for a better onboard meal?
  • In fairness to them, the food is actually very good

I’m not sure what worth this brings and what it could bring to normal economy service, but a la carte dining is certainly rather creative. Swiss would deserve a huge kudos if they managed to pull it off without slowing things down in economy (especially since their 3-4-3 777s have so many seats).

img_1792Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Zurich Airport

Have you tried Swiss’ new a la carte dining? How did they pull it off?

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