American Express Business Travel Zurich
Swiss Airlines, especially its First Class, is often lauded as one of the best, and its new business class seats are supposed to be fully lie-flat (not angled flat) so I was looking forward to trying it a long-haul flight from Bangkok to Zurich.
In keeping with my aversion to taking Bangkok taxis or pricey car services, I decided to get back to Bangkok Airport the way I came-using the BTS, then the airport train. Unfortunately it turned out I was on the wrong platform to get the Airport Express train (and instead got the local airport train), so I fretted a bit about whether I'd get to the airport with enough time to spare, but fortunately there was absolutely no line at check-in and security and passport control also proceeded quickly. I even had enough time to duck into the very crowded Thai Business Class Lounge (which Swiss uses in Bangkok) and nosh on some pomelo and papaya, to take the edge off since I hadn't had dinner. The other food offerings there-overcooked dim sum, tired sandwiches-did not appeal, and I figured I could save my hunger pangs for the meal onboard.
There was even a children's room (messy, but functional) in the business class lounge, which as a parent I'm always glad to see:
The gate area was packed, so it looked as though it would be a full flight. I was glad that I'd been able to secure a seat reservation in the business class "mini cabin" between first class and the main business class cabin, and highly recommend you try to get a seat reservation there. I was in seat 5G, since my ideal choices of 4A, 4K and 5K were already taken. Here's what row 5 (or at least 5A, 5B and 5D) look like:
And here's the view from 5G:
I was surprised to see not a usual toiletry bag as our amenity kit, but instead a Swiss Airlines metal box with socks, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste:
We were offered a pre-takeoff drink (I chose water, as usual-don't need dehydration to compound jetlag) and, a bit later, the menu:
Even though it was a night flight, I was very glad to see that they had a main course offering of beef fillet with red wine sauce and vegetables. Normally I wouldn't eat so late, but since I hadn't had time to grab dinner, I was famished. There weren't any kind of pre-dinner nuts offered, and that was fine with me-I wanted to get right to the dinner.
Takeoff was on-time and went smoothly, and we were soon airborne. Even though Switzerland is one of the few countries to have four national languages (French, German, Italian and Romansh) I noticed that virtually all crew appeared to be Swiss German (there was one crew member in business class who was Thai), and messages were provided in German, English and Thai. German is not one of my languages, but I had fun pretending to speak it with the friendly attendant who was serving, using the 5 or so German words I know-bitte, danke, wein, stark, heidelbeer, etc. Eventually I gave up though and switched to English, which surprised her-I think she thought I was Thai :)