Flight Review: SWISS (A340-300) From Shanghai to Zurich in Economy – Horrible!

My first flight ever with the Swiss national carrier was scheduled to depart at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 9:30 am. It was a sunny yet foggy Friday morning in the Chinese mega-city. Prior to boarding, my expectations were up high as the Lufthansa’s daughter SWISS is said to deliver one of Europe’s finest inflight experiences.

SWISS Airlines Economy Class Airbus A340-300 – The Plane

Swiss operated the flight with a 20-year-old Airbus A340, which formerly was integrated into Lufthansa’s long-haul. The airline is planning to remove the old four-engines planes from its fleet during the next years and with newer Airbus models as replacements. 

SWISS Airlines Economy Class Airbus A340-300 – The Seat & Comfort

The seating configuration was in a classic 2-4-2 layout. Unfortunately, it was obvious that the seat has seen its best years passed by already.

I was lucky enough to get a window seat with the seat next to me staying empty – a good night sleep was about to happen. While getting comfortable in my new spot for the upcoming 11 hours flight time, I realized that I was actually sitting in a flying trash bin.

Both the floor, the armrest, and the seat was covered in food remittances from previous guests. It not only seemed to me that the previous cleaning crew had just not done their job, it simply looked like that the plane has not seen a proper cleaning in years – words cannot describe the disgust I was feeling prior taking off.

SWISS Airlines Economy Class Airbus A340-300 – The Catering

From the beginning of this flight, it was challenging to analyze the catering from a neutral point of view. Nevertheless, the food that was served was alright after all. Vegetarian lasagne for lunch after taking off and fried noodles before landing.

SWISS Airlines Economy Class Airbus A340-300 – The Entertainment 

While I was getting used to modern and large screens in new aircrafts such as Airbus’ A350 or Boeing’s Dreamliner, tiny and pixeled screens are not the up-to-date standard in aviation anymore. Unfortunately, the screen did not work during the entire flight. After consulting the cabin crews, a reset was also not possible – no entertainment for me then.

SWISS Airlines Economy Class Airbus A340-300 – The Conclusion

Prior to boarding this flight, my expectations of flying with SWISS were exceptionally high. The flight experience that was offered on the way from Shanghai to Zurich was simply unacceptable. Nevertheless, I look forward to trying out its business class to give them a second chance.

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