On my way back from Europe to Japan back in September 2022, I flew with Swiss from Prague to Tokyo. The flight from Prague to Zurich was operated by a Helvetic Airways E190-E2 and the long-haul flight was operated by a 777-300ER. While I reviewed Swiss 777-300ER business class in the past, this is my first time writing about an economy class flight on the aircraft.
Continue reading to see what the flight from Zurich to Tokyo was like and what you can expect when flying in long-haul economy class with Swiss.
Transfer, Lounge & Boarding at Zurich Airport
After arriving from Prague, I made my way to terminal E where my flight to Tokyo was departing from. As I still had an hour or so before my flight would start boarding (12:00PM according to the boarding pass and 12:25PM according to the airport website), I went to the Swiss Senator Lounge.
With a large outdoor observation deck overlooking some of the runways and taxiways, the lounge was about as good as it gets for an aviation enthusiast like me. For a full review of the lounge, check this article.
I left the lounge around 12:20PM since it was right across from the gate that my flight was departing from. When I got to the gate, there was a long document check line formed at standalone counters next to it.
With Swiss for some reason not checking whether transfer passengers meet the requirements for entry into their final destination at the origin but in Zurich, it took quite some time until my documents were checked. This lack of check at the origin also cost two passengers their flight as they were offloaded due to lacking the required documents (they would have had some extra time to try to fix the issue had they been told at their departure airport).
Outside, the aircraft was almost ready for the flight.
Finally, at 12:35PM, I walked down the jetway and settled in my middle section aisle seat, 51D, hoping I would have the entire row to myself. While that did not happen, at least the seat next to me remained empty when boarding finished around 1PM.
Swiss 777-300ER Economy Class Cabin & Seat
Last year, Swiss started retrofitting its 777s with premium economy class seats. Since I was flying on one of the retrofitted aircraft, it was equipped with a total of 320 seats in four classes.
At the very front of the aircraft was a first class cabin with 8 seats in a 1-2-1 layout followed by 62 business class seats in an alternating 1-2-2/2-2-1 layout. Then there was the new premium economy cabin with 24 seats in a 2-4-2 layout. Lastly, there were 226 economy class seats in a 3-4-3 (2-4-2 at the very back) layout.
My seat, 51D was a middle section aisle seat in the very back of the aircraft – the legroom was alright.
The seat was equipped with a decently sized high-resolution in-flight entertainment screen. On the screen’s edge were an audio output and a USB charging port. Under the screen was a document storage compartment with a safety card. The tray table was equipped with a cup holder and the seat pocket had a couple of smaller compartments.
There was no power outlet.
Swiss Long-Haul Economy Class Pre-Flight Service & Departure
Upon boarding, there was a pillow and blanket ready at my seat.
As all of the passengers settled in their seats, the captain welcomed us onboard. He also mentioned that we were waiting for two passengers’ bags to be offloaded before departing (as mentioned earlier). Around the same time, the flight attendants went around the cabin handing out earphones. It was also nice to see a child in a nearby seat get a plush airplane similar to one I got on Swissair’s MD-11 a couple of decades ago.
At 1:23PM, the flight attendants closed the aircraft’s doors and the cabin crew made an announcement mentioning that our flight route would be longer than usual due to the war in Ukraine.
Thirty-two minutes behind schedule, at 1:32PM, we were pushed back and made our way to the departure runway. At 1:49PM, we took off.
Swiss Long-Haul Economy Class Lunch
The seatbelt signs were switched off about an hour after take-off. At that point, the cabin crew made an announcement apologizing for duty-free shopping not being available onboard. I wonder how many people found that to be a problem…
Shortly after that, the meal service started.
First, a bottle of water was handed out.
Then, lunch was served. When the passenger next to me asked whether there was no menu, he was told “no, not in economy, no.” But then he was also told “actually, you are right, we used to have it on the Tokyo route.” In either case, the options were gnocchi and chicken.
By the time it was my turn to choose, however, the crew run out of the chicken dish. That was not an issue, though, as the gnocchi with mushrooms turned out to be excellent – and I would not have chosen the dish had chicken been available. The side dishes which included a salad, a cake with vanilla cream, and a piece of bread were decent too.
I had a cup of Coke Zero with the meal.
Swiss 777-300ER In-Flight Entertainment System
While Swiss’s in-flight entertainment system content selection was not as extensive as on, let’s say Emirates or Turkish Airlines, there were still more than enough options for even the longest flights.
There were dozens of movies of various genres and plenty of TV shows too.
As is common, though, only a couple of episodes of each TV show were available rather than entire seasons.
A variety of music – in the form of albums – was available too.
While audio entertainment also included some audiobooks, those, I believe, were only available in German.
Lastly, there were eight simple games that could be played using the touchscreen.
In addition to the entertainment itself, there was also an in-flight map.
There were plenty of different views to choose from and the map was what was on my screen for the majority of the flight.
Swiss 777-300ER In-Flight Wi-Fi
Wi-fi was available onboard the flight. That said, the prices were outrageously high – especially considering the data caps that each of the plans came with:
- 20MB: 9 CHF (9.5 USD)
- 50MB: 19 CHF (20 USD)
- 120MB: 39 CHF (40 USD)
- 220MB: 59 CHF (62 USD)
Cruising Onboard a Swiss 777-300ER
As I was extremely tired (I didn’t feel too well), I spent most of the time between lunch and pre-landing meal watching Lost in Translation and sleeping.
That said, I did pay a visit to one of the lavatories (which was clean) and stopped by the galley to see if any drinks were available. There were small bottles of water as well as larger bottles of other drinks.
I also woke up a few hours into the flight, when the flight attendants were going through the cabin offering water and Movenpick ice cream. The “panna cotta raspberry” ice cream was great.
There was one more water run that the cabin crew made that I am aware of. Presumably, they were regularly going through the cabin offering water while I was asleep too. In general, the cabin crew was very nice.
Swiss Long-Haul Economy Class Breakfast
Breakfast service started just after 7AM Japan time. At that time, we had about two hours of flight time left until landing and were approaching the Korean Peninsula.
The main dish of the breakfast was an omelet with potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. It came with a wild berries yogurt, some cut fruits, and a piece of bread. About ten minutes into the meal, I was offered an extra piece of bread.
While it would have been nice if there were two options to choose from, the breakfast itself was decent.
Arrival at Tokyo Narita Airport
Just a couple of minutes after the breakfast tray was cleared, we encountered a bit of turbulence and the seatbelt signs were switched on. They were switched off about 25 minutes later, and another ten minutes or so after that – at 8:35AM Japan time – the captain made an announcement.
He said that we would be landing in 40 minutes and that it was 23 degrees with some showers near Narita airport.
The seatbelt signs were switched on again at 8:44AM and at 9:17AM, we landed at Tokyo Narita airport. We came to a full stop at our arrival gate at 9:22AM – almost half an hour behind schedule.
Swiss 777-300ER Economy Class Summary
Overall, Swiss long-haul economy class was good – the meals (especially lunch) were tasty, the seat was fine, the in-flight entertainment offered plenty of choices, and the crew was nice.
That said, it would have been nice if there were two breakfast options and if the in-flight wi-fi was more reasonably priced.