I’m just gonna say it – I’m not a fan of SWISS at all. For a “high-end,” boutique airline, the Lufthansa Group has done nothing to elevate SWISS from the other airlines under their umbrella. SWISS may have an exclusive first class product but their “new” business class product is a mediocre experience at best and it baffles me why people love them so much.
I recently flew SWISS business class from Bangkok to Zurich on their brand new flagship aircraft, the Boeing 77W, and had a very disappointing flight experience. You can read my SWISS business class trip report here. In short, there is nothing special about SWISS business class over any of the other European carriers and I would actually choose any of them over SWISS any day. Austrian Airlines has the same Thompson Vantage seats but at least they have Do&Co catering and a fantastic coffee service and heck, even Lufthansa business 2 x 2 x 2 footsies class provides a more spacious seat over SWISS.
And as if all that weren’t bad enough, it looks like SWISS is racing (themselves) towards the bottom by screwing over their elite members. As reported by the Australian Business Traveler, SWISS will now allow “regular” business class passengers (non-elites) to pay a fee to select seats normally reserved for HON Circle members and Miles and More Senators. Talk about a slap to the face of your most prized customers.
Starting March 1, 2017, all passengers will be able to pay a fee of $100 – $200 USD to select one of the coveted “throne” seats in the business class cabin. These seats offer direct-aisle access, additional storage spaces and increased privacy from the other passengers. There are 12 throne seats found on their Boeing 777-300ER fleet and 5 throne seats each found on their Airbus A330 and A340 fleet.
There is not doubt these seats are far superior to the other seats and thus, were reserved for their HON Circle members and Miles and More Senators only. And I actually don’t have a problem with that. If you’re a valuable SWISS customer, you deserved to be rewarded with a better seat selection. But soon, any business class passenger (on a revenue ticket or award flight) can pay extra for one of these preferred seats.
HON Circle members and Miles and More Senators will still be able to select these seats free of charge assuming regular passengers haven’t snagged them up already and all passengers can select any other seat free of charge (for now).
On the surface, this doesn’t affect anyone other than Miles and More elite fliers but this is what worries me. When they start charging business class passengers for preferred business class seats (and it proves to be profitable), what’s to stop them from charging everyone else a seat selection fee for any seat selection in the future. I mean, British Airways gets away with it; SWISS is probably thinking why can’t they?
Overall, I’m not happy with this move. It doesn’t affect me at all but I think ancillary fees for business class passengers is a slippery slope. I hope this fee doesn’t spread to all seat selections and more importantly, I hope the other airlines don’t follow suit and try to pull this BS also.
What do you guys think? Is this a good move for SWISS? Will you choose to fly them now that you can purchase one of these coveted seats? Please let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!