When traveling from Europe to the Middle East, there is no shortage of quality airlines to choose from. The list ranges from Middle Eastern giants that pride themselves on unparalleled luxury and service to the ever-dependable European airlines. Needing to get to Dubai one weekend, my most convenient option was Swiss from Amsterdam to Dubai with a quick transit in Zurich.
I checked in online about 24 hours before my flight from Amsterdam. Despite having only booked the ticket a week out, I was able to snag one of the single seats on the right side of the Business cabin. The process was quick, efficient and smooth. The agent in Amsterdam issued both my boarding passes without much fuss, and I was on my way in no time.
Boarding and Cabin
With my inbound flight from Amsterdam running late and relegated to a hardstand at the corner of Zurich Kloten airport, I raced over to the E gates, where they had just announced boarding for the flight to Dubai. Thankfully, boarding was orderly, with signs separating First, Business and Economy. At the aircraft door, I was welcomed onboard by a smiling flight attendant, who pointed me across the galley and down the aisle toward my seat.
The Swiss Airbus A330-300 is configured in an alternating 1-2-1 and 2-2-1 pattern. My seat, 11K, was three rows from the back of the cabin in the row of single seats.
The seats are decked out in dark blue cloth with wood paneling surrounding the side. Thankfully, each seat is equipped with a universal power outlet and USB, which came in handy to charge my phone during the flight.
Each seat had a fluffy pillow, thin blanket, noise-canceling headsets and a small blue cloth Victorinox amenity kit. Unfortunately, there was not much storage space besides a small cubby under the IFE, which cluttered things during the flight. A welcome drink of champagne or nonalcoholic elderberry spritzer was offered, providing a refreshing and unique Swiss touch.
The captain welcomed us onboard and told us to expect “a fairly smooth six-hour flight down to Dubai,” carrying us over places such as Greece, Turkey, Iraq and Kuwait. I spent most of my time enjoying the IFE with several Hollywood movies and TV shows.
I placed my order just before the flight began and decided to have the beef terrine as an appetizer. The other option was a tomato and mozzarella salad. I opted for the beef shoulder with a port wine reduction for my main course.
The remaining choices included a chicken curry, a pike-perch fillet served with lobster bisque sauce, and a vegetarian udon noodle dish.
Thirty minutes after take-off, drinks were served with some mixed nuts. Around 20 minutes later, the initial tray with the appetizer, a cheese plate and some warm bread appeared.
While the beef terrine was delicate, it unfortunately did not meet my tastes. However, the piping hot bread and butter accompanying it were genuinely satisfying. After my appetizer plate was cleared away, I didn’t have to wait long for the main course to arrive.
While the ice-cream-scooped mashed potatoes made the dish look like a frozen TV dinner, the beef shoulder was soft and tender, and the port wine reduction packed quite a bit of flavor. I enjoyed the dish’s simplicity and taste and polished off the cheese plate with the bread.
I concluded my meal with an apricot tart with thyme and white-chocolate cream and a cup of tea. Unfortunately, I found this dish not to my liking as the thyme was overpowering. In fact, it was almost impossible to eat.
Following the initial meal service, the crew were in the aisle frequently with a snack basket consisting of various Mövenpick ice-cream tubs, butter cookies, chips and popcorn.
I noticed the flight attendants diligently passed through the cabin every few minutes and ensured they approached everyone awake. On one such round, I chose a tub of delicious Swiss chocolate ice cream delivered with another smile.
In general, I was quite satisfied with Swiss International Air Lines. What most impressed me was the cabin crew, who were friendly, engaging and always smiling. They made sure to top off our drinks and check on us continuously. Although the seats were slightly outdated, they were still comfortable, and the in-flight entertainment was perfectly acceptable. The only area that could use some improvement was the meal service, which, by and large, was a letdown. Swiss is a reliable option, and I wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again.