|Features||SWISS A330-300 Business Class Highlights|
|Seat Comfort||Comfortable Business Class seats in a staggered layout.|
|Amenities and Toilet||Amenities pouch and Kids sticker book. Toilets were clean.|
|Cabin Crew Service||Flight attendants didn't like to be bothered.|
|Food and Beverage||Very limited choices.|
|The GET.com Verdict||Very average flying experience.|
It was the last day of our family's safari adventure in Africa, and after a long day of waiting, flying and transfers, we finally arrived at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, for our SWISS LX 294 flight to Zurich, Switzerland. We were looking forward to our free Business Class flights on SWISS A330-300, which we redeemed as part of an RTW ticket using our air miles credit cards). JKIA suffered substantial damage from a major fire in 2013 and they are still in the process of rebuilding parts of the airport.
JKIA consists of two terminals, T1 and T2. The SWISS check-in counters are located in sub-terminal T1E, which also houses the Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Lounge. We checked in our luggage at the SWISS Business Class counter which didn't have any queue.
Security was already tight outside the airport building. We had to go through a checkpoint on the main road into the airport with scanning machines for people and vehicles, and another checkpoint with heavily armed police officers before we entered the building. Not sure if this part of the terminal has been refurbished or not, as it looked dark and dated inside.
With a lot of time to spare after going through immigration, we headed upstairs to use the Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Lounge which we reviewed in detail here.
The departure time was supposed to be 20:40, but the flight was actually delayed. Instead of announcing that the flight would be delayed, they kept playing the "last call for passengers" announcement. The departures TV screen also didn't indicate any flight delay.
As a result, we ended up waiting a long time with our two very exhausted toddlers at the rundown departure gate meant for premium passengers. Throughout the wait, no one communicated to passengers that the flight was delayed. After an hour at the gate, we finally boarded the A330.
SWISS A330-300 Business Class Review
Mainly used for long-haul routes, SWISS A330-300 consists of 8 First Class suites, 45 Business flat-bed seats and 183 Economy seats.
Our flight LX 294 (NBO - ZRH) would first stop over in Dar Es Salaam (DAR) for an hour-plus layover before heading to Zurich.
SWISS A330-300 Business Class Seat Comfort
The front-most section of the plane consists of 8 First Class seats and 9 Business Class seats. Four of us were seated in 5A, 5B, 5D, 5G, the last row of the front-most section.
In Business Class on this A330-300, the seats are arranged in a staggered layout: 1-2-1, then 2-2-1. The Business Class seats are all lie flat seats, and have a pitch of 60" and a width of 20.5".
Solo travelers should go for even-numbered rows for that single A seat on the left hand side of the plane as that makes it more spacious. Since we are a family of four, we went for row 5, which has seats A and B side by side. The lavatory located directly behind 5A and 5B didn't bother us at all as it was hardly used.
The look and feel of the Business Class product was contemporary. The black seat covering and wood panel by the side of the head rest exuded a cafe feel, rather than a luxurious feel. The seats looked relatively new and were comfortable.
Each First and Business Class seat has a conveniently located 110v AC power port which comes in handy for laptop charging and it doesn't require an adapter. This power outlet isn't available on Economy seats though.
SWISS A330-300 comes with Swiss Connect WiFi internet access should you wish to pay to use it.
All the seats on SWISS A330 have USB ports.
SWISS A330-300 Business Class Amenities and Toilet
We were each given a Business Class amenity kit in the form of a recycled grey and black felt pouch which consisted of a lip balm, eye mask, socks, toothbrush and ear plugs.
Ramses and Ranefer were each given a few kids items from SWISS, namely a small plane soft toy, a sticker book and a jigsaw puzzle. Out of these, Ranefer liked the soft toy the most.
There was nothing special or noteworthy about the Business Class toilets. One thing lacking on the flight was mouthwash.
SWISS A330-300 Business Class Cabin Crew Service
The cabin crew in Business Class weren't particularly friendly. There was no greeting of Business Class passengers by surname.
For the short flight to Dar Es Salaam, we were served by the same crew who worked on the long-haul incoming flight from Zurich, so maybe that's why they seemed disinterested for the rest of their shift.
Thankfully, the entire crew was replaced during the 90 min stopover in Dar Es Salaam, but service didn't improve much. The flight attendants looked stern; there was no warmth in their service.
Grace asked a female flight attendant if she could help wash the milk bottle, but she gave a very startled look and said she didn't know how to wash it and hence couldn't do it. A vast difference in service standards compared to top Asian airlines.
SWISS A330-300 Business Class Food and Beverage
This SWISS A330 flight was a late night flight. Grace and I weren't hungry for a full dinner but Ramses and Ranefer were feeling peckish.
When we asked the flight attendants for some snacks, they said they didn't have any except for the chocolate thins that they were handing out. No crackers, biscuits, chips, nuts or sandwiches of any sort. Suddenly I wondered if SWISS had become a budget airline.
We didn't order any dinner from the menu as all we wanted to do was to get some sleep.
Instead of asking each passenger what they would like to eat for breakfast later on and noting it down themselves, we were each given a breakfast order form to fill up, like we were in some self-service cafe.
Despite indicating at the top of the form where it said "Yes - please wake me up for breakfast", no one actually woke us up for breakfast at all. They obviously didn't bother to get things right.
The breakfast served onboard was atrociously basic, considering it was a long haul and Business Class flight. You could only pick one out of these choices: croissant, danish pastry or bread roll. Mine was danish pastry which came with fruit yoghurt and fresh fruit. Not very appetising.
Grace chose a croissant. As you can see from the pic, it looked quite pathetic.
SWISS A330-300 Business Class: The GET.com Verdict
Flight LX 294 on SWISS A330-300 Business Class would have been more enjoyable if the crew were more attentive and less self-absorbed, and if the food weren't so bad.
I wasn't expecting any special food, and yet I was disappointed by the poor food quality and lack of snack choices. The lack of attentiveness from the crew was my main gripe. It was overall a disappointing flying experience. Can't imagine how it must be like in Economy.
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Background info: In January 2017, Grace and I, together with our two toddlers Ramses and Ranefer, went on a round-the-world (RTW) trip to five continents for 6 months, using 4 free Business Class air tickets, worth US$54,000, which were redeemed using our one million air miles (which we earned through our air miles credit cards) on Star Alliance, a network consisting of many airlines including Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, Avianca and many more.