Swiss and Business Class – it isn’t pretty

Two different stories in the news today about Swiss and Business Class seating have me laughing a bit. Each in their own right is a bit entertaining. Combined, however, they are pure comedic genius.

First up, Swiss CEO Henry Hohmeister was giving an interview to travel blogger Cranky Flier. In the interview Hohmeister comments on Star Alliance partner United Airlines and their premium cabin connecting options. Specifically the dig is against United’s now retired Ted product, an all-coach offering. Despite that product being retired, the CEO still brings up the issue of all-coach connections thusly:

But, business class has an important value with hub connecting itineraries. You can’t fly someone in business class from San Francisco to Zurich in business class and then within Europe in coach.

OK, but when was the last time Hohmeister flew on an intra-Europe Business Class product? With the exception of some Aeroflot offerings, there really is not much to recommend them. The seat pitch is the same as the regular seats in the back. The food offering is slightly better, but with most flights under two hours that isn’t a tremendous benefit. Oh, and a blocked middle seat. So you can be wider, or turn sortof sideways, and you can eat more, but otherwise not much benefit. Compared to a JetBlue Airbus A320 product – an all-coach offering in the USA – the European Biz Class offering is actually pretty awful.

OK, so the guy is apparently a bit out of touch and beating a horse so dead that United actually killed it. On to story number two.

A model from Russia has filed a lawsuit against Swiss claiming that the lack of sufficient pitch in their business class cabin actually resulted in her suffering injuries during a recent flight. Irene Ferrari was flying from Moscow to Zurich when the plane experienced turbulence and she struck the seat in front of her. So why is this actually news?

Irene FerrariIt turns out that Ferrari holds the title of owner of the largest silicone breast implants in Russia – a title won “in a respective competition” – and that the implants actually functioned to help keep her from breaking a rib when crashing into the seat in front of her. But the pain caused by the bruising and pain from the impact made her ill and ruined her vacation.

It was a strong blow and I hit my left breast. I was in pain. When I went to see a surgeon in Russia I was told I have problems with my breast.

She said she always flies business class because the distance between the seats is larger and she can fit her breast well. It turned out that on that particular flight business class seat was no different than the economy seat. She is seeking compensation of €100,000 for her troubles.

Apparently Hohmeister needs to look into the seating in the carrier’s business class product. It isn’t big enough to handle the Russians who need the space for their fake boobs.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Thank you for that informative post and photo. Please give us a follow-up, and than a follow-up to the follow-up, and than…..well, keep ’em coming! 😉

  2. The pitch is actually better in the front of Swiss and Lufthansa’s aircraft. Also, the service is significantly better. And it’s huge not to have anyone in the middle.

    How you figure sitting next to a guy in the middle, having Terra chips for 5 hours and paying 5 bucks for a beer is better than 33″ pitch, middle seat blocked, Champagne and a 3 course meal is a little puzzling to me. I’ll take intra European C any day over lousy domestic US F, cheap booze 36 pitch no food F on flights less than 2 hours.

  3. @tommy777 – given that LH’s Euro business cabin is “resizable” (at least on the aircraft I have seen) by virtue of moving that tiny curtain, how do they give those seats more pitch?

    I am with Seth here. It’s at best worth the name Premium Economy (of course, US domestic F is at best worth the name business class).

    Oh that Russian model… Well, at least those “boob bags” helped her. Without them she might have hit with her air bag, eh, head.

  4. @tommy777 agaIn – so I looked at Seatguru, and taking the Swiss A319 configuration for example, it appears they have 15 rows of “business class” pitch (34″) and 8 rows with “economy” pitch (31″). Assuming they use the curtain approach to resize the actual business section, it seems mere mortals flying economy have a pretty good chance getting business class seat pitch (maybe with a neighbor in the middle seat).

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