Why I chose SWISS
For the past decade, I’ve flown Lufthansa to Europe, but this time I decided to look for an alternative. Lufthansa is one of the pricier airlines, and I really don’t enjoy flying through Frankfurt. Not to mention our last experience left a bitter taste in my mouth (wet seats on a 11+ hour flight and rude flight attendants!!!)
My favorite search engine is Hipmunk because of the ability to sort flights by “agony” (price, number of stops, and duration). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any direct flights from San Francisco to Italy.
It came down to Air Canada and SWISS, which were both around $1,000 round trip (the cheapest I could find in late August returning in mid-September. I opted for SWISS for several reasons:
- I would have had to fly Air Canada Rouge, and most reviews complained about super uncomfortable seats.
- I couldn’t bear the thought of two 6+ hour flights if I chose to fly via Canada (same issue if flying on an American carrier). I’d rather get settled in and enjoy the movies and dining services on one long flight.
- I read good reviews about the Zurich airport, and who doesn’t love Switzerland (and Swiss chocolate?!)
Each passenger has a personal TV along with what looks like an old school Nintendo controller located in the armrest. A standard selection of movies, TV shows, and music are available. There are quite a few options, so I’m sure everyone can find something they like.
The best “entertainment” for me on both flights turned out to be my single-serving friends (I learned this phrase from one of my seatmates and I love it! These are the people you befriend on the plane that you never see again). I feel so fortunate that 99% of the time my “single-serving friends” are people I really connect with and have some of the most enjoyable and meaningful conversations. I still remember many of them to this day.
Flying from the States, the food was decidedly American (Tilamook cheese & Yoplait yogurt). It was also carb heavy and we got bread with almost every meal. It was the typical airline food…some sort of “chicken” or “pasta.” I was just coming off of the Whole 30 diet, so I didn’t eat most of the food.
On the way back to the States, we seemed to get more and better food. First we were served some rosemary crackers, then dinner shortly after. I had chicken in what was labeled “apple and cream sauce” along with dumplings and green beans. This time instead of Tilamook cheese, we had Gruyere. Then they brought us the most interesting ice cream I have ever tried: Gruyere double cream and meringue. It really did taste like sweet Gruyere, and was surprisingly good! Then a few hours later, we got the strangest sandwich I have ever eaten! It had ham and some sort of smoky mustard(?) and shredded carrots (what the heck!!!). It was the most interesting flavor combination…not terrible, but not overly delicious. Lastly, we got a tomato and red bell pepper calzone made in Italy (it made my heart happy more than my tastebuds). And the best part…a piece of Swiss chocolate!
To be honest, unless you’re lucky enough to fly business or first class, economy seats on any airline are not going to be super comfortable. On the way to Europe, my legs ached, which was partly my fault because I had my backpack under the seat. On the way back to the States, I made sure to take out what I needed for the flight and put my backpack in the bin. I was much more comfortable!
I also noticed that the temperature was much warmer where I was sitting near the wing than the back of the plane where everyone was using a blanket. I am always cold and all I needed was a scarf that I brought! (This is the first time I have never been cold on a plane, too!)
This goes for any plane, but if you’re not a fan of turbulence (who is???), I would definitely recommend sitting near the wing because it is the most stable part of the plane. The tail of the plane is where you’ll feel all the bumps.
All of the flight attendants were friendly and pleasant (unlike some of the grumpy Lufthansa ones).
I really love when pilots give detailed announcements, especially to calm my nerves when there’s turbulence. On the way back to the States, our pilot told us to expect a little turbulence over the Atlantic.
The bottom line is, most airlines offer similar services and levels of comfort. Flight attendants in a good mood and a pleasant seatmate seem to be the deciding factor of a good experience, which all come down to a little bit of luck.
Would I fly SWISS again?
YES! I definitely plan on it!
I love reading airline reviews to choose my flights. I hope that this will be helpful for you to plan your next trip to Europe (or from Europe to the States!)
La Dolce Vita through from California to Italy. I’m Kelly, an American girl with Italian taste in food & wine. I blog about learning Italian, food & wine pairings, how to find authentic Italian ingredients in the US, and seasonal recipes from scratch.