Flight Review : Swiss Airlines CS100 Business Class Budapest to Zurich

This was the first of two flights on the day, and honestly the one I was least looking forward to. I was just personally looking forward to our long haul flight back to Boston a little more. It’s also a short-haul flight and European carriers are known to use a EuroBusiness model, which is a glorified economy. That being said, I did have a great experience on my short-haul flight with Turkish Airlines last month. They have a proper business class on their 737, instead of the one seat blocked off cabin like most other European carriers.

There was one positive note about the flight I was looking forward to : I would be boarding a new plane! Well, new for me. Swiss just took delivery of the Bombardier CS100 planes last summer and have received great reviews overall. They’re looking to shake up the short-haul market dominated by popular aircrafts like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. Whether or not they’ll be able to do that I don’t know, but I like trying new products so this was exciting for me.

How We Booked It

This is just one leg of a much larger roundtrip itinerary. The entire itinerary is :

Boston – Budapest via Istanbul

Budapest to Boston via Zürich

Boston to Hanoi via Istanbul

All in all the total was 160,000 United miles + ~$100. Not bad for a flight that priced out at almost $5000!

Check In

The check in process was smooth and efficient, as one would expect out of a Swiss company. Swiss shares their check in counters with their counterparts Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa, but with two dedicated counters for business class passengers and at least six counters for economy, there was plenty of room for all three airlines.

Because we were flying business class and on one of the airlines eligible for fast track, we managed to skip to the front of the security line. There wasn’t really much of a line to begin with, but every little bit helps and on a really busy day that benefit could be huge.

Lounge

Swiss doesn’t have a lounge of their own at BUD, so they contract out the Platinum Lounge for its customers. Look out for a review on that soon!

The Flight

The first thing you notice when boarding the plane is the interesting 3-2 configuration they use.  I don’t think I’ve ever flown on a plane with a single aisle 3-2 before.

Like I mentioned earlier most European airlines use a “EuroBusiness” and Swiss was no exception. Business class has the same size seats as economy, but there is a seat blocked off on each side so you’re not sitting next to anybody. It’s smart because they can adjust the number of business class rows according to how the flight is selling. Good for the company, bad for the customer. The seats were pretty comfortable anyway and it was a short flight so it was no big deal, but I would never pay for business class if it was going to be EuroBusiness.

Because the flight was early in the morning, there was no full meal service. Instead, we got a snack consisting of strawberry yogurt with granola, assorted cheeses, grapes, apple slices, and a couple of slices of parma ham. One of the flight attendants then came around with a bread basket and I just couldn’t help myself. Honestly, though it wasn’t a full meal it was exactly what I needed. It was filling but not so much that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything in the lounge in Zürich.

Before I knew it we were already descending. Other than the lack of true business class, I really enjoyed the flight and the plane. It was roomy, even if you had someone sitting next to you, and very quiet. A solid product and a new plane in the books! Hopefully we’ll be seeing more CS100s in the skies in the near future.

We still have lots of catching up to do on the writing front. Expect to see more posts about our time in Europe in the coming days! Til then, happy travels!

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