Is it worth the extra cash to fly at the front of the plane? After all, let’s be frank, it’s not upping your chances of surviving if you’re sitting at the cockpit end when things go pear-shaped . If you don’t get to your (worldly) destination any quicker what are the other benefits of a UK-Switzerland business class ticket?
The first hurrah when flying SWISS is that you can do everything electronically. Whether you are travelling business or economy, not only can you check in online but you don’t have to print out your boarding pass. Instead you just send it to your phone and scan it at the airport.
The price differential is not always the same between business and economy. For a sample of flights between Heathrow and Geneva the difference ranged from £37 to £120.
Flying business definitely removes some of the stress of modern air travel. You still have to go through the unpleasant Sir! Remove your belt! experience that is modern security, but before that there are much smaller queues at the check in desks and afterwards you can relax in a separate lounge. This removal from the blatantly commercialised flying experience, with shops and adverts everywhere is very welcoming.
In the Swiss lounge you can eat various complimentary pastries, drinks, fruit and snacks. Or fuller meals such as chilli con carne. There’s a lot of choice – although no decaf coffee when I flew :(. Along with Internet access, wifi and charging points there are newspapers to peruse and free magazines to take away. There were even big screens showing the Tour de France, (although don’t book business class on that basis alone, it might not always be on).
I flew to Geneva in the morning in economy and returned by business class in the evening, so the meals served are not directly comparable. However they show the gist of the difference in the service levels in the two classes. On the morning flight I had a rather dry croissant and a take-away coffee. Well, I was on a plane so I couldn’t take it anywhere, but it was in that sort of paper cup. The meal on the evening return flight had china crockery, metal cutlery and was accompanied by a glass of champagne. The beef salad was accompanied with a creamy horseradish sauce, cheese, pudding and a warm bread roll.
Which should you choose? Business has more legroom, is less hassle and the ratio of crew to passengers means you get a lot more attention. Although really that only means you can more quickly get more things to eat, along with complimentary newspapers and ‘refreshing towels’. Depending on the extra price you pay it can improve the airport experience dramatically. But ultimately business class is still on the same plane as economy. You embark a little earlier and get off sooner but you still have to circle Heathrow with the rest of the passengers waiting for permission to land. The advantages are not so much onboard, when there is just more temptation to eat, but being able to wait in calmer surroundings at the airport.