An event at Zurich Airport today sees SWISS reveal the first of its 12 Boeing 777-300ERs equipped with a premium economy class cabin. According to the airline, the new travel class is intended to further strengthen its positioning as a premium air carrier, particularly in the growing leisure travel sector. A one-way fare in premium economy Class will be around CHF 250 to 350 higher than in economy class.
SWISS follows Finnair in launching premium economy, a class that both airlines see as a growing segment. CLICK HERE to find out Finnair’s view on the premium economy sector. Our March issue (out next week) also features Finnair’s new products, as well as interviews with key executives.
SWISS has opted for the ZIMprivacy (PC-02) seat from ZIM Aircraft Seating, a model which is also being fitted on its A330-300s and A340-300s, as well as B747-8s, B777-9s, A350s and B787s on Lufthansa’s fleet (the orders were placed by parent company, Lufthansa Group).
The SWISS B777-300ER (registration HB-JNH) is the first fitment of the seat in the Lufthansa Group though. Lufthansa and sister carrier, Austrian Airlines, are currently flying with ZIM’s ‘PC01 – ZIMmagic’ model, and the ZIMprivacy seat is an upgraded and enhanced version.
The ZIMprivacy seat features a mechanical kinematic enclosed within a fixed backrest shell structure, with a ‘lazy-z’ cradle system that means passengers behind are not inconvenienced when the seat is reclined. SWISS went big on the options list, specifying the integrated privacy shield, individually adjustable armrests, a translucent cocktail table, ambient mood lighting, a 15.6in IFE display, two USB-A ports, a four-way adjustable headrest, and a foldout legrest.
The airline has opted for a 39in (99cm) seat pitch in the 24-seat B777-300ER cabins (it is 31in/79cm in economy). The new seat is also wider than in economy, at 18.1-18.9in (46-48cm), compared to 17.1in (43.4cm) in economy).
While SWISS will share the ZIMprivacy seat model with Lufthansa, their offers will look distinct, with custom trim & finish and individual cabin branding. Indeed the 24 seats in the cabin have a distinctly Swiss feel, being trimmed with fabrics from Lantal, an aviation supplier based in Bern.
“Our SWISS premium economy class is a top-quality standout product against our international competitors,” stated Tamur Goudarzi Pour, chief commercial officer (CCO) at SWISS. “Our premium economy class should be especially appealing to travellers who have flown economy class to date and would like to enhance their inflight comfort and convenience. So it also helps us strengthen our premium-carrier positioning in the growing leisure travel market.”
Before boarding, premium economy customers can check in two pieces of baggage of up to 23kg each (double the allowance for economy class) and are offered discounted access fees for the SWISS business lounges at Zurich and Geneva airports (and to Zurich Airport’s SWISS arrival lounge after landing). They can also download two titles from the airline’s eJournals portal to their devices before departure for a little inflight reading.
Upon boarding guests are offered an elderberry-based welcome drink, a set of noise-reducing headphones, and an amenity kit manufactured by Skysupply using kraft paper and paper pulp in its contents to minimise the use of plastics.
Premium economy guests are also offered a choice of three hot meals, served on fine china. One meal option is from SWISS’s Taste of Switzerland dining concept, while another is from Haus Hiltl, the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, located in Zurich. Alcoholic beverages are available free of charge.
This first B777-300ER aircraft fitted with premium economy will be deployed on SWISS’s Zurich-Miami services from the beginning of March onwards. During the introductory phase of premium economy, customers will be offered for-a-fee upgrades, if it is available on their flight, either at check in or the departure gate.
After Miami, the next SWISS destinations to be served with premium economy-equipped aircraft will be San Francisco from mid-April, and São Paulo in Brazil from the end of April. Premium economy will be available on all of SWISS’s B777-300ER routes from the end of May onwards.