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Swiss recently began operating a fantastic new plane on flights from Zurich to Los Angeles, Montreal, Bangkok and Hong Kong, with flights to Miami, San Francisco and Singapore coming soon. The airline’s 777-300ER offers a refreshed (and much improved) first-class cabin, an updated business-class cabin and a fresh, but fairly claustrophobic economy cabin, with seats arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration rather than the 3-3-3 we used to see with the 777.
In short, it’s easy to say that you can expect a much better experience in first class, an improved experience in business and a slightly inferior experience in coach (again, compared to some other 777s) — join me for a tour to see how it all looks in practice.
3-4-3 Economy Cabin
Our first stop is the airline’s new economy cabin, which has a whopping 270 seats arranged in a 3-4-3 configuration. By comparison Swiss’ next largest plane, the A330-300, has 183 economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, while the A340 has 164 seats, also arranged in 2-4-2.
On all three of Swiss’ long-haul planes, economy seats measure 17.3 inches wide. So in theory, you’ll have just as much shoulder space here as you would on the A330 and A340. Some other airlines offer 18.3 inches of width in 777 economy, though, so if you’re used to a roomier cabin you’re in for a bit of a surprise here.
Seats have 32 inches of pitch, which is fairly standard for the transatlantic market.
Seats in row 23 and 39 offer a ton of extra room, as we’ve seen on other airlines just behind the doors on a 777.
While a bit cozier than some alternatives, the cabin certainly looks modern.
Each seat has a built-in tray table, cup holder and a large touchscreen display.
The overhead bins are roomy as well, so you shouldn’t need to rush on board to store your stuff.
Then, moving forward one cabin, Swiss has two business-class sections on its 777-300ER.
The main cabin has a whopping 52 seats arranged in a staggered configuration that alternates between 1-2-2 and 2-2-1, depending on the row.
Unfortunately, as with Swiss’ other long-haul aircraft, all business-class seats are not created equal. Take for example this D seat, which is located right up against the aisle — its companion seat has considerably more privacy thanks to the design.
Unique to the 777 are these paired seats near the window — these are absolutely the seats to avoid. I could list them all here, but to keep things simple, you just need to avoid grabbing a window seat in a row that has B or J seats. For example, avoid 4J and 4K, and 5A and 5B. Most seats offer direct aisle access, except these particular A and K seats.
Single “throne” seats are the ones to pick if you’re traveling solo, though, since you get a ton of personal space. There are 12 such seats on this plane, and they’re very much in demand.
Then, just ahead of the main business cabin is this spectacular mini-cabin, with just 10 seats.
Since this tiny cabin has so few rows, it also only has a total of six windows — the mini-cabin was completely dark during my flight, while the main cabin behind was very bright.
Just as in the main cabin, there are window seats to avoid here — 4J, 4K, 5A and 5B.
And there are throne seats here as well — it’s amazing what a difference one row makes!
Just look at all that room:
Throne seats provide both privacy and storage space — you could conceivably keep your tray table stowed and use the side platform, instead, for example.
Then, moving on to first class, which we recently reviewed…
Like the mini-cabin in business class, first class has just two rows of seats — these are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, as is the norm for international first class.
First-class seats offer a fair amount of privacy, even with the side partitions stowed.
The cabin also offers mechanical blinds and three windows per seat.
Center seats in both rows 1 and 2 are ideal for couples traveling together.
Or you can raise the center partition if you’re flying next to a stranger.
The seats are 22 inches wide, compared to the 20.5 inches you’ll find in business class.
And, finally, here’s a picture of a business-class lavatory — the lavs are nothing special, even in the first-class cabin.
Overall, Swiss’ new 777-300ER is a fantastic addition to the fleet. While economy is a bit of a squeeze, the seat width is consistent with the airline’s other planes, so passengers shouldn’t notice much of a difference. First class definitely represents an improvement — particularly over the outdated Airbus A340 — while the business-class cabin refresh is welcome as well. Just be sure to avoid selecting those awfully tight paired window seats!
As a reminder, you can currently fly the 777-300ER from Zurich to Los Angeles, Montreal, Bangkok and Hong Kong — flights to Miami, San Francisco and Singapore are launching soon. Unfortunately first-class awards are only open to Miles & More elite members, but anyone can book business and economy awards, from both the Miles & More program and the airline’s partners, including United (70,000 miles in business class) and Aeroplan (55,000 miles in biz). For now, business-class awards are nonexistent on the LAX flight, but there’s plenty of availability out of Montreal, especially for last-minute bookings.
Have you flown Swiss’ new 777-300ER?
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