Swiss First Class Lounge Terminal E Zurich Airport
I booked Lufthansa first class on the 747 from Frankfurt to Shanghai and at no extra cost was able to add a connection from Zurich on Swiss.
That meant I would be able to use the Swiss first class lounge, although sadly only the main terminal lounge, not the exclusive lounge in the first class terminal only for passengers on long haul Swiss First departures, which is in terminal E.
I wouldn’t get to use the private day rooms. I wouldn’t get the limo transfer. I wouldn’t get the delicious gourmet food. I wouldn’t get to enjoy the prestigious environment at the pinnacle of the Swiss first class offering. I wouldn’t even get to see it.
Or would I? Read on!
After checking in at the dedicated first class check-in lounge and being escorted by the dedicated first class staff through the dedicated first class security check and into the dedicated first class lounge, I was quite impressed and no longer disappointed about missing out on the premium lounge.
But then I got chatting with the staff.
As I was walking around taking photos, a lovely lady asked me if she could show me around. Yes, please. And as we walked around we talked, and I mentioned how I’d only come to Zurich in the first place just to see the Swiss first class lounge.
“When’s your flight? Oh, you’re here very early, aren’t you?”
Well, yes, and this might be a bit odd but I’ve only come here just to see the lounges, and I wanted time to see it all and enjoy it.
She was just as keen on aviation and lounges and so on. She’d mentioned how much she loved her job, being able to be around the airport all day long.
“Would you like to see the First Class Terminal? You have plenty of time.”
Are you serious? Really? That would be amazing!
Could not believe my luck.
Now, my memory is a bit wobbly at times, thanks to getting hit in the face by a car, but I think I made my way to the first class terminal on the airport train.
In fact, I have a vague memory that the wonderful lady who offered to send me to the first class terminal said something about how she could organise a car to take me to the aircraft for boarding, but that I would have to make my own way across to the other terminal.
Something like “The only problem is that you will have to take the shuttle to the other terminal. Will that be OK?”.
As if I’m going to turn down the chance to go to the first class terminal because I have to walk down the staircase and jump on the shuttle.
“Oh yes that’s fine! No problem at all.”
I’ll do the washing up and clean the bogs if that’s what it takes.
I must have been grinning like an idiot all the way there.
The lounge is lush. My photos don’t do it justice at all. It was also almost completely empty. There were twice as many staff as passengers.
There are all sorts of different places to sit. Comfy arm chairs arranged around a coffee table and a TV, laid out in areas outlined by rugs and walls that make the open spaces feel like private zones.
There’s a row of booth style seats with tables, and a proper dining room. You can sit at the bar. You can recline on a lounger.
There are views of tarmac and runways all around, and you can go outside onto the terrace, where it is very cold and windy, but where you can watch the endless stream of jets coming into land.
The staff are all immaculately dressed and well-spoken. I’m sure there are people who go in this kind of lounge all the time and look down on “the help”, but I felt like an out-of-place commoner, looking like the scruffiest person in the place.
The staff made me feel very welcome though. They obviously know the points-and-miles travel blogger type. They knew what I was there for and they were really happy to indulge me. They seemed to genuinely enjoy my enjoyment, and did their best to show the place off.
Would you like to see the day rooms? Let me show you around. You can get some great photos over here. Come and try these wines. Now this is a particular speciality, go on take one.
It was brilliant. I’ve never had such sincere attention from staff in any luxury environment. It wasn’t a veneer of politeness, it was a real shared interest and satisfaction from indulging me.
There are even amazing airport views from the bathroom.
Of course, you can have anything you want to eat and drink. In a place like the Swiss First Class terminal at Zurich airport you do not have to lift a finger. You’re royalty. A megastar. Even though you’re here thanks to a couple of hundred quid and a few Miles & More points.
“Would Sir care to enjoy some breakfast?”
One would indeed like to take breakfast, yes one would. Call the chef, would you old chap? Royal wave. Smug. Happy.
Even the dining area has runway views.
I had to resist the urge to go for sturgeon caviar and champagne at 9am, because I had to pace myself for the upcoming Frankfurt First class terminal and flight where I knew there would be plenty more opportunity for gourmet food and expensive drinks, but the menu in the Swiss lounge is stunning:
Food, drink, service, atmosphere, enjoyment, comfort, all exceptional. Perfection.
Now comes the best bit.
Another incredibly friendly member of staff, also equally mad about aviation (she keeps her own personal log of actual flight arrival times compared to schedules, as she watches them through the windows of the lounge) had shown me around the lounge including all the amazing facilities and the beautiful day rooms.
This time she had come to ask me if I would like to use a day room. Absolutely yes!
As you can see, the rooms are simple and clean and fresh, and have more of those brilliant runway views. The bed is more comfortable and luxurious than many hotels, and there are at least 8 members of staff in this lounge, not including those behind the scenes in the kitchen etc, and so far only 3 other guests.
The view from my bed (My bed!) in the Swiss First Class lounge at Zurich airport:
Look the other way and you’ll see the equally appealingly designed bathroom. The glass wall makes the room feel much bigger than it really is (it’s quite big enough). There’s a curtain you can draw if you want to leave the outer curtains open.
In the bathroom are some Swiss First amenity kits, with Rausch toiletries, toothbrushes and razors, robes and slippers.
All that was left was another chauffeur driven private car to take me out to the plane.
Here’s my car. A brand new Mercedes:
which takes me straight to the aircraft.
Long before any of the “peasants” arrive.
I’m being sarcastic, of course. I don’t think all the other passengers are peasants. But you really do feel very smug when the bus arrives to drop off everyone else when you’re already comfortably seated.
And then we’re off.
Food on the short flight to Frankfurt is simple but delicious and well presented.
No, thank you!
When we land at FRA, we stop away from the terminal and it looks like I’ll have to suffer the indignity of riding the bus. Then a Lufthansa Porsche pulls up. Is that for me?
Yes, it’s for me! First class all the way!
And on we go to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. But that’s another story. A really good one!
I’m torn though. The Lufthansa First Class Terminal was the one I had read most about and was most anticipating. It was awesome. Really fantastic. The Swiss First Class Terminal was an unexpected bonus, and I loved every second of it. Which one was the best?
They’re quite different. Different in the look and feel, in particular. The Swiss First Class Terminal feels lighter and brighter and more open because of the glass walls all the way around and daylight flooding in. It feels newer and fresher. And it really felt much more exclusive.
Maybe it’s because I knew I wasn’t technically entitled to be there. The unexpected free gift that becomes a better memory than the original purchase.
If I could pick one or the other for a return visit, I’d pick Swiss for sure. If you’ve never been to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt, then you should put it high on your list while it’s still quite easy with Miles & More and a Lufthansa First Class redemption.
If you do get chance to visit the Swiss First Class Terminal at Zurich, you will most certainly leave with a very big grin on your face.
By the way, Zurich, even on a drab winter’s day, is well worth a visit.