Does the Swiss CS100 live up to the hype?


That Swiss livery looks great on the CS100
That Swiss livery looks great on the CS100

This was not my first time on board a CSeries. It was not even my first flight on one; that happened last July at the Farnborough International Airshow. But a couple weeks ago I was finally on a regularly scheduled commercial service for the CSeries, my first “real” test of the product under normal conditions. My flight was on Swiss CS100 from Geneva to Barcelona, roughly an hour in the air. Plenty of time to get a feel for the aircraft and what it is like in flight.

Shortly before landing at Barcelona in the Swiss CS100
Shortly before landing at Barcelona in the Swiss CS100

Things did not start off great. I don’t mind a hard stand (i.e. bus gate) for boarding but we were in a remote area of Geneva airport with a second flight in the same area. To say it was a mess would be an understatement. Eventually the lot of us piled on the bus and headed across the apron to our plane.

Boarding the CS100 from the Apron at Geneva
Boarding the CS100 from the Apron at Geneva

Boarding was quick at this point. The flight was less than half full (we all fit easily on a single bus) and we were able to settle in without too much trouble. With the light loads (and generally smaller/fewer bags that come with European travel) we didn’t really put the larger overhead bins to the test, but my bag did fit easily, as expected. And then I settled in to the wide window seat (all the seats are wider than average, though Swiss chose to not go with the extra wider middle seat, an option Bombardier touts) for the quick hop.



Space & Comfort on board the Swiss CS100

The ZIM seats won a Crystal Cabin Award in 2014 and are now flying in the CSeries for Swiss. The center column for the tray support is unique and has advantages (mostly on the maintenance side) and disadvantages (mostly on the how to store stuff in the seat back pocket side). I got a water bottle in but that’s about all. Still, it is a comfortable seat with good padding and, thanks to the CSeries design, plenty of width. Added bonus was an empty middle seat due to light loads but that’s less significant on this aircraft than a 10-abreast 777.

ZIM seats on a Swiss CS100. Unique design that works well.
ZIM seats on a Swiss CS100. Unique design that works well.

There’s also an adorably tiny screen in the overhead panel that is used to show the safety video and a moving map during the flight. I’m not entirely sure how it qualifies as large enough to be visible for all passengers on the safety side of things but the fixed position (rather than flip down) makes it lighter, cheaper and more reliable than traditional, larger screens to be sure.

Yeah, the safety demo is on the tiny overhead screen. That's silly.
Yeah, the safety demo is on the tiny overhead screen. That’s silly.

Other “outsized” components of the aircraft include the wide aisle and the massive lav at the rear. It is the largest single-aisle lav I can recall being in. Seriously a ton of space in there.

Aisles so wide I was moving too quick for the photo to be in focus. Still got my bag through no problem.
Aisles so wide I was moving too quick for the photo to be in focus. Still got my bag through no problem.
Largest single-aisle lav I've ever been in. HUGE.
Largest single-aisle lav I’ve ever been in. HUGE.

Everyone gets a small snack and free drinks still on Swiss which was nice. Not life-changing by any stretch but on a long travel day and trying to adjust across six time zones the extra nourishment was welcome. Tasty, too.

Everyone gets a snack on board this short Swiss CS100 hop
Everyone gets a snack on board this short Swiss CS100 hop


Noise “challenges” on the Swiss CS100

One of the big draws for the CSeries type is the reduced noise. Indeed, the engines are ridiculously quiet compared to prior generations of aircraft. At the same time, however, the interior noise levels aren’t quite as low as some expected or hoped for.

It seems that’s an issue of the ventilation system (i.e. interior noise) versus the engines (exterior noise) but it all adds up in the end. It will be interesting to see how that situation evolves.

The view from the back of the CS100
The view from the back of the CS100

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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, LinkedIn and .

9 Comments

  1. Flew it on LX VCE ZRH over the summer – it definitely lives up to expectation. Spacious airy cabin with ample shoulder room in 2-3 config. Very large overhead bins (relative to fuselage size). I rarely get so giddy onboard a plane this size.

    if you think the E-175 is all that amazing you haven’t seen nothing yet.

    I applaud all airlines that have made the wise choice of the C-Series purchase.

  2. A year ago I booked an Avro 100 leg from GVA to ZRH as part of a ten leg UA award,ticket.
    Later schedule change was switched to the CS100. Bu,med about a last opportunity to fly the great BA 146 derivative, but excited to fly the new, great single aisle CS100.
    Another schedule change a month before the trip was to an A319….
    Not cool…

  3. I would like to see JetBlue retire their E190s and replace them with CSeries planes. With the new Airbus connection and JetBlue’s history with Airbus, maybe?

  4. Flew it last night LUX-ZRH. Nice overhead bin space, good windows, and nice to have the maps to look at. Ventilation system was shockingly loud.

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