After two long years, we finally embarked on a long-haul trip to Europe, with our sights set on exploring the beautiful country of Italy. In the midst of a pandemic, we approached our travel plans with caution, opting to stay in one country to adapt to any sudden changes in travel restrictions. With the aim of experiencing a comfortable journey while keeping safety in mind, we decided to try out Swiss Air's new premium economy product. Here's an honest review of our entire experience.
Check-In: While there wasn't a dedicated check-in counter for premium economy passengers, we were fortunate to have visited airports that weren't overwhelmed by the influx of travelers. Whether it was at SFO for our flight to Milan via Zurich or our return from Rome to SFO, the lack of dedicated counters didn't pose a significant inconvenience due to the manageable queues.
Boarding: As premium economy passengers, we boarded after business class travelers, which allowed us to secure overhead bin space comfortably. A noteworthy touch was the welcome drink offered exclusively to premium economy passengers. Known as Elderberry soda, this refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage provided a pleasant tingling sensation on the tongue, setting the stage for a perfect flight. Though it didn't leave a lasting impression, it was a thoughtful gesture.
Staff: The flight attendants were pleasant and helpful throughout our journey. As the new seats had only been launched in April, both passengers and crew were still getting acquainted with them. However, any uncertainties were swiftly resolved as the attentive staff promptly sought assistance from colleagues when needed..
Food: Our dining experience in premium economy had its ups and downs. On the flight from SFO to Zurich, the steak was tough and overcooked, prompting me to indulge in the delicious gravy, potatoes, cheese, and grapes instead. However, the return flight from Zurich to SFO presented a tastier option with the chicken dish. As first-time Swiss Air passengers, we couldn't make a direct comparison to their regular economy or business class catering. Snacks were served to premium economy passengers, while economy passengers had self-service options.
Seats: The primary allure of premium economy lies in the promise of superior seating and more legroom, which Swiss Air indeed delivered. However, I encountered difficulty with the seat's reclining mechanism, which was not intuitive to operate. Though the hard shell and forward sliding feature to cradle the recline were acceptable, the reclining motion itself proved troublesome. Even on the return flight, my attempts to recline resulted in the seat constantly sliding back to its original position, failing to lock into the desired recline.
Overall, when the reclining feature functioned as intended, the seat proved to be comfortable. It's possible that I simply need more time to become familiar with this product, and if I have the opportunity to fly premium economy with Swiss Air again, I'll gladly provide an updated review. It's worth noting that the premium economy cabin lacks a separate partition and lavatory, as it is integrated within the economy class section. However, a small amenity kit, complete with a sleep mask and a biodegradable toothbrush in a recyclable container, was provided.
Zurich Airport proved to be an efficient gateway for our European travels, free from the long queues experienced in other busy airports. Though baggage arrival in San Francisco presented some challenges, it paled in comparison to the horror stories of lost luggage during European vacations. To add an extra layer of security, we invested in Air Tags from Best Buy, allowing us to track the movement of our luggage through the Swiss Air app. This proved beneficial upon our arrival at SFO, giving us peace of mind as we monitored our bags en route to the carousel.
In conclusion, our experience with Swiss Air's premium economy product offered a mix of comfort and efficiency. While the seat's reclining mechanism posed some challenges, the overall journey was pleasant. Zurich Airport's smooth operations and the added security of Air Tags alleviated common travel concerns. As we reminisce about our Italian adventure, we acknowledge the efforts made to enhance our travel experience, making our long-awaited trip a memorable one.