Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Airline
SWISS
Flight
LX177
Aircraft
Airbus A340-300
Registration
HB-JMB
Class
Economy
Seat
43K
Date
04/11/2021
Flight time
12:40

  England Trip 11-12/21

SWISS Singapore (SIN)  →  Zürich (ZRH) A340-300 Economy Class 04/11/2021 Current review
SWISS Zürich (ZRH)  →  London (LHR) A340-300 Economy Class 04/11/2021 Short review - 4.2/5
Lufthansa London (LHR)  →  Frankfurt (FRA) A320neo Economy Class 09/12/2021 Short review - 3.6/5

Share this review

  England Trip 11-12/21

SWISS Singapore (SIN)  →  Zürich (ZRH) A340-300 Economy Class 04/11/2021 Current review
SWISS Zürich (ZRH)  →  London (LHR) A340-300 Economy Class 04/11/2021 Short review - 4.2/5
Lufthansa London (LHR)  →  Frankfurt (FRA) A320neo Economy Class 09/12/2021 Short review - 3.6/5

Introduction

Welcome, everybody, to another Flight review! I absolutely love the A340, so I cannot wait to take you along with me to fly with SWISS in Economy Class, on the A340-300 from Singapore to Zurich!

This Detailed review will mainly cover the airport experience in Singapore, the onboard hard and soft products, as well as the transit experience in Zurich.

This was the first leg of a trip to London, where I got a return ticket with SWISS (outbound) and Lufthansa (inbound) for only 580 Euros; prices have doubled since!

Note that this flight was in 2021, and in most parts of the world, including Singapore, the Covid-19 pandemic was very much still negatively affecting air travel globally. This, however, means that the airports and flights will be very empty, great from a traveler's standpoint, though not so much for the rest of the industry…

For each aspect of the experience, I will rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. The final score for the full experience will be out of 100.


Departure Airport

Check-in

Welcome to a very empty Changi International Airport!

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

I arrived at Terminal 3 some three hours before our scheduled departure time, just as the check-in desks opened. Check-in was a breeze, seeing that there were at most a total of 40 people on our flight today. The check-in agents were also friendly.

Check-in experience scores 9/10

Immigration

When departing Changi Airport, I was eligible to use the Automated Immigration Lanes, and I did so. The procedure was a breeze, and I was airside within 30 seconds.

Immigration gets a 10/10

Airside

Immediately after immigration, we come across a massive Louis Vuitton display. Wonder if it's financially viable for LV to put it there seeing how little people were travelling at that time. Other than that, few shops and restaurants were open.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

I then headed to my gate, B7, with an hour to spare before the gate opened.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Security and Gate Area

Unlike most other airports, Changi does its security at each of the gates. While this does prevent the scary queues in one big crowded hall found at most other airports, one will be entrapped in a not-very-large seating area by the gate once past security, with no access to toilets whatsoever. On the plus side though, the gate areas generally offer some quite awesome views of the aircraft.

The aircraft did not arrive at our gate for a while. It eventually came around 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time, towed by a ground vehicle, after having parked at a remote stand since arriving from Zurich the previous afternoon.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

This section gets a 7/10

Rating for the departure airport experience at Singapore Changi: 9/10


Flight and Aircraft Information

Flight information

Flight date: 04/11/2021

Airline: Swiss International Air Lines / SWISS (LX/SWR)

Operated by: Swiss International Air Lines / SWISS (LX/SWR)

Flight number: LX177

Route: Singapore-Changi (SIN) – Zurich-Kloten (ZRH)

Scheduled Departure Time: 00:30 (UTC+8)

Actual Departure Time: 00:45 (UTC+8)

Scheduled Arrival Time: 06:40 (UTC+1)

Actual Arrival Time: 06:26 (UTC+1)

Scheduled Flight Time: 13h10min

Actual Flight Time: 12h41min

Aircraft information

Aircraft Registration: HB-JMB

Aircraft Name: Zurich

Aircraft Type: Airbus A340-313X*

Engines: 4× CFMI CFM56-5C4

Line Number: 545

First Flight: 03/07/2003

Aircraft Age (as of flight): 18 years 4 months

Aircraft Delivered: 26/09/2003

Seating Configuration: F8J47M168**

*This route is normally served with a B777-300ER, though it was exclusively operated by the A343 between 11/2021 and 03/2022.

**This aircraft has since been reconfigured F8J42W21M144


Pre-departure

Boarding

Due to the exceptionally light load factor for our flight, everyone was called on board at once. Soon, I was walking down the jet bridge, onto the then-recently retrofitted A340.

For your information, in 2018, SWISS announced that they would be retrofitting their then fleet of 5 A340s to have similar interiors to their flagship 77Ws; this retrofit was completed in 2020).

Welcome Onboard

Once onboard the aircraft, two flight attendants positioned at door L2 welcomed the passengers on board. We walked through the Business Class cabin (in a staggered 2-2-1 and 1-2-1 arrangement) before entering the Economy Class cabin (in a mostly 2-4-2 arrangement). The seats, cabin walls, and overhead lockers all looked fresh, new, and very clean. It remained this way throughout the entire flight.

I soon found my seat, 43K, in the third last row of the cabin. Here, due to the airframe narrowing towards the back, the seating arrangement is 2-3-2. It could also be noted that towards the back of an A340 or A330, the cabin floors also angle upwards slightly, which can be observed from the aircraft's exterior through the positioning of the windows.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

The pre-departure experience gets a 9/10


Taxi and Take-off

We pushed back soon and the safety video was shown. SWISS' safety video can be described as… the bare minimum and is among the most boring safety videos I've ever seen. They show all the information needed, but there is no guarantee any of the passengers will have the safety video's attention. Also, a select few of the figures featured in the safety video are a bit… creepy? Just look at how uncanny that expression is.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Our aircraft soon aligned on runway 02L. After our spool-up at 00:44, we sprinted down the runway for around 70 seconds before slowly rotating at 00:45, 15 minutes behind schedule. We then climbed exceptionally slowly toward our cruising altitude.

Our aircraft felt very heavy, and it almost felt like every time we slowly pitched up a bit more, we were going to stall. All the fuel needed to get this majestic bird to Zurich must have put some strain on those tiny CFM56s!

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Flight Path

Now is a good time to take a look at our flight path. Our entirely night flight out of Singapore took us over Malaysia, the Bay of Bengal, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey (now Türkiye), the Black Sea, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, and Austria before we descended into Switzerland.


My Seat

As climb towards our cruising altitude, we can take a closer look at the seat details.

Seat Details:

Seat: 43K (starboard side window seat)

Seat Manufacturer: ZIM

Seat pitch: 31”

Seat Width: 17.1”

Recline: 13.5 degrees

Class: Economy (M)

Cabin: Rear economy cabin (between doors 3 and 4)

Seat Features:

  • 4-way adjustable headrest
  • Retractable bi-folding table
  • 11” HD touchscreen IFE display
  • Flip-down cup holder
  • USB sockets
Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Some thoughts about the seat:

Seat Comfort: The seat was generally well padded, with most of it covered with fabric featuring a Swiss pattern. The leather headrest was a nice touch. 9/10

Legroom: The 31” seat pitch allowed me to sit comfortably. 7/10

Seat Storage: There is a netted seat back pocket in front of every seat. On top of that, there is also a hidden compartment below the IFE screen where the in-seat literature (such as the safety card) is stored. This is a really good design and looks very neat. 9/10

Recline: Recline was the perfect amount. Not too steep such that the passenger behind's space gets extremely limited (like on Qatar Airways), and not too stingy such that it could barely be noticed. 9/10

Overall for seat comfort: 9/10


Dinner service

Approximately an hour after takeoff, the dinner service started. The cabin crew members pushed two trolleys up each aisle, one for the food, the other for beverages.

Each Economy Class meal is served on one tray, featuring an appetizer, a bread roll with butter, and a dessert item, all served in a reusable plastic dish, as well as the main dish served in a single-use aluminum-plastic (?) container.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

May I just say that this presentation is just gorgeous? Also, even during Covid times, SWISS still provided metal utensils (fork, knife, and a dessert spoon): how classy.

Appetizer:

Cold vermicelli in chili oil served with cilantro, shrimp, and cherry tomato.

This appetizer was among the best that I've ever had in the sky, even in Economy Class. All the elements just combined perfectly. 10/10

Main:

Chicken in tomato sauce with mashed potatoes served with broccoli and baby carrots.

This was once again, some of the best food I've had while flying. The taste of the chicken worked really well with the tomato sauce, the mashed potatoes were rich and creamy, and the vegetables were cooked perfectly. 10/10

*The other main dish option was vegetarian pasta

Side:

Warm bread rolls

These bread rolls were perfect, the skins were light and crispy, and the inside was fluffy and soft. Tasted really fresh. Could not turn down another when the FAs came over offering extras. 10/10

Dessert:

Swiss dark chocolate brownie

The brownie was perfect taste-wise, just the perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness. My only complaint would be that it was slightly dry. 9/10

Beverage:

There were multiple choices for beverages available. I just went with a cup of Sprite. Lovely FAs kept offering refills. 10/10

Overall Rating for the dinner service: 10/10


Amenities

Blanket and Pillow

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

At boarding, a blanket and a pillow were available at every alternating seat (the reason being the flight's low load factor). The blankets were large enough and were made of a rather woolly material: very comfortable. The pillows were on the small side, though they still provided some support. As expected from Economy Class; nothing too special, but does the job well. 8/10

Lavatories

The decently sized lavatories were kept spotless throughout the flight, and I saw the FAs going in to clean them multiple times throughout the flight. The lavs were also well stocked with hand wash, hand sanitizers, and dental kits. 9/10

The overall score for Amenities: 9/10


In-Flight Entertainment

IFE System

Each seat came equipped with an 11” Panasonic HD IFE Touchscreen. It features a decent selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games. There was also an interactive in-flight map of really high quality. There were also provided wired earpieces at every alternating seat.

IFE System gets a 9/10

I highly recommend The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Here is a view of the interactive in-flight map while cruising over Pakistan, just south of the Afghan border.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Onboard Wi-Fi

Swiss A340s come with in-flight Wi-Fi (branded Swiss Connect) powered by Panasonic Avionics. The prices, however, were quite steep, and I did not make use of the Wi-Fi.

Onboard charging

Each seat comes with some USB-A charging ports, which charge my phone quite quickly. However, there were no Universal Power Outlets at the economy seats, which might bother some travelers. 7/10

The overall score for the In-Flight Entertainment: 8/10


Sleep

I headed over to one of the empty rows in the middle for some lie-flat sleep. This was definitely not the most comfortable way ever to sleep, but it was still a flat surface in Economy Class. The A343's noise levels also weren't the highest, which helped me have a solid 6-and-a-half hour of deep sleep: really rare in Economy Class.

10/10 sleeping experience


Breakfast

Around 2 hours before our arrival in Zurich, the breakfast service commenced. Once again, everything came served on one tray as per economy standards. The metal utensils also made a return.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Main breakfast item:

Swiss cheese mushroom quiche served with chicken sausage, roasted potato slices, and spinach

Everything in this dish was delightful, making this the perfect way to start the day. I've never been so happy eating spinach before. 10/10

Breakfast sides:

Cold fruit

This consisted of watermelon, honeydew, and pineapple. They were fresh and juicy. 10/10

Swiss premium strawberry yogurt

Pretty standard strawberry yoghurt, but very delightful. 9/10

Warm bread roll

This was served with some strawberry jam and butter. Not as mind-blowing as the one from dinner, but still pretty awesome. 9/10

Orange juice

Once again, pretty standard, but still thoroughly enjoyable. 9/10

Breakfast service scores 10/10


In-flight light show?!

Throughout the flight, the cabin crew seemed to have a lot of fun playing around with the recently retrofitted mood lights. Here are just some of the many color combinations they tried:

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Pre-Landing

As we started our descent into Zurich, the FAs came around once again, this time holding baskets containing individually wrapped Swiss chocolates. This is such a simple, yet charming touch, and just makes flights with SWISS so special. The chocolates themselves were really exquisitely made as well, with the SWISS branding printed on clearly. They were delicious.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Pre-Landing service scores 10/10


Cabin Crew

While we descend into Zurich, let's review the cabin crew on this flight.

Service attitude

All the Flight Attendants were very friendly and professional, and they really seemed to enjoy doing their jobs. Service attitude gets a 10/10

Service speed

The flight was very empty, so the meal services went by really quickly. 10/10

Overall, the cabin crew on board will get a score of 10/10


Approach + Landing

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

The city of Zurich soon came into sight as we descended toward Kloten International Airport.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

We soon lined up with runway 34, and we touched down at 06:26 local time, 14 minutes ahead of schedule. It was a short taxi before we parked at gate 27 at Concourse E, ZRH's satellite terminal for most wide-body operations.


Arrival Airport

I was connecting in Zurich this time, and it was another 5-and-a-half hours later before my next flight. Turns out, my connecting flight to London Heathrow would be departing just a few gates away! This meant I would not have to go through any kind of security or immigration. This gave me plenty of time to appreciate how beautiful the Terminal is.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

As the sun came up, we had pretty spectacular views of our gorgeous A340.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

There were 24 hours of free Wi-Fi for all passengers to use. These were of decent speed.

However, due to Covid and it being early hours, most of the shops here remained closed. Pretty unfortunate. I spent some time watching aircraft takeoff and land since Concourse E has really good views of runways 28 (where the landings were while I was there) and 32 (where the takeoffs were).

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

The experience at Zurich Kloten scores 8/10


My Final Ratings

Airports

Airports Experience: 9/10

Hard Product

Seat Comfort: 9/10

Sleep Comfort: 10/10

In-flight Entertainment: 8/10

Aircraft Cleanliness: 10/10

Aircraft Comfort: 10/10

Soft Product

Dinner service: 10/10

Breakfast service: 10/10

Amenities: 9/10

Cabin Crew: 10/10

Overall rating: 95/100

So, that was a very deep dive into my experience in Economy Class onboard SWISS' brilliant A340-300 from Singapore to Zurich!

If you made it so far down, thank you so much! I really hope this review, as well as all my future reviews, can help you decide how you want to travel in the future.

Before you leave, let me also just quickly show you a bit of my connecting flight!


Encore

My connecting flight, LX332

This flight was operated on HB-JMH (named Chur), the younger sister of my earlier aircraft! This was also an A340-300, and it would be flying me to London Heathrow, after an unexpected aircraft swap from the A330-300 the flight was scheduled to be operated on (a big upgrade in my view).

My seat on this flight was 23K, in the first row of the Economy Class cabin (seat 23K has since been removed on SWISS' A340s to make way for their new premium economy product). As expected for a bulkhead seat, there was plenty of legroom to stretch out!

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

However, SWISS went above and beyond, to even include a leather calf rest and a footrest on each bulkhead seat: just brilliant!

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

We had stunning wing views as we cruised over France.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Just look at how beautiful that winglet is!

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

Even on these shorter intra-European flights, SWISS also offers each passenger some of that fabulous Swiss chocolates and a bottle of water.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

After touching down at Heathrow a gawping 45 minutes ahead of schedule, we had to park on the taxiway for some time while we waited for our gate to become available. It turns out, it was this Icelandair 757-200 in the Aurora Borealis livery that was occupying our gate! So beautiful…

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

We also spotted this British Airways A319 in the BEA retro livery

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

And this TAP Air Portugal A321neo in their retro livery.

Flight review: SWISS from Singapore to Zürich in Economy

What a feast for an avgeek's eyes!

That's it! I hope you very much enjoyed reading all this! Travel safe, and goodbye for now!


Ratings

4.7/5
Cleanliness
5/5
Accessibility and orientation
5/5
Efficiency
5/5
Services
4/5
4.5/5
Cabin and comfort
4.6/5
Entertainment
3.7/5
Food and beverages
4.6/5
Crew
5/5
5/5
Cleanliness
5/5
Accessibility and orientation
5/5
Efficiency
N/A
Services
N/A

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