Trip Report: Milan to Barcelona upgraded to SWISS business!
My trip back to Spain started out innocuously, but there was a nice surprise in store.
Milan Malpensa to Zurich was on this A321...
...and in the short 40 minute flight, they managed to hand out bottled water and chocolate to all of the passengers on a very packed flight.
Zurich to Barcelona was on another A321. Funnily, the Vueling A320 right behind it was also headed to Barcelona just a few minutes before us.
When the gate agent scanned my boarding pass, it beeped loudly and the machine spit out a receipt-looking paper with a new seat assignment. 1A, Business Class!
This was a big surprise, especially since as a United flyer, I hardly ever get upgraded on United itself, even with their "Complimentary Premier Upgrades." There is no published upgrade benefit on SWISS, so I suppose Economy was simply full.
Before takeoff, we were handed a bottle of water and moist towelette. Then the captain came out into the cabin, and standing at the front made the announcement that we would be delayed 20 minutes because they had to change the tire of the front landing gear! (I wonder if it wouldn't have been easier to do that before the passengers boarded?)
Oh well, I was comfortable in my seat - Business class uses the same seat at Economy, just with the middle blocked. The flight attendants took the chance to come around with the basket of chocolates to hand out.
Eventually we did take off, and the flight attendants quickly served a cold dinner with choice of warm bread from the basket, and drink.
Dinner tonight were a few slices of air-dried beef topped with a dressing of oil and pine nuts. On the side was a white quenelle, a scoop of ricotta or marscapone or something along those lines, and a red quenelle, a scoop of what tasted like delicious, solid tomato sauce! In between, some cherry tomatoes and arugula. It was a satisfying light dinner.
On the side were two cheeses, including a ruffly cheese which I remember getting on a flight a couple years ago on SWISS. The flight attendant on that flight kindly explained to me what kind of cheese it was, but sadly I don't recall now.
Then there was a little pot of panna cotta with a tropical fruit topping. I think that SWISS often makes desserts in these little glass pots. They're quite cute and efficient with space.
I guess since the flight attendants came around with the chocolates during our delay, we didn't also get chocolates after dinner!
One nice touch which I really appreciate from SWISS is that they put Business Class passengers on their own bus when you're parked at a remote gate. There isn't much separating Business with Economy on intra-Europe flights, so I appreciate this one gesture to make it more premium. (Lufthansa doesn't do the same). My biggest pet peeve with flying intra-Europe is needing to get on a bus to go to a remote gate. Not only does it take longer than boarding from the jetway, any benefit from priority boarding is negated when you have to wait for the bus to fill up, and any benefit from sitting towards the front is negated when deplaning too.
Having your own bus really speeds things up (and it doesn't have to be an entire bus, it could also be a van for just the number of business class passengers).
Here we are departing in our bus, with our maitre-de-cabin seeing to it that we departed and another bus pulled up before letting the economy class passengers deplane.
It was nearly 11pm by now, so I extra appreciated the quicker exit to the terminal, since I wouldn't arrive to my Airbnb until almost midnight. All in all, this was an enjoyable flight in Business Class, and I'm very appreciative of SWISS in bumping up a United Gold customer!