Last spring, I enjoyed a great holiday in Miami & Costa Rica. You can read my trip reports here:
- Review: Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 Business Class from Frankfurt to Miami
- Review: Acqualina Resort on the Beach, Miami, USA
- Review: Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Nayara Springs & Garden, Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Lapa Rios Lodge, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Andaz Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
- Review: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
- Review: Los Altos Resort, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
- Review: Edelweiss Air Airbus A340 Business Class from Liberia to Zurich (today)
Today: Review of Edelweiss Air’s Airbus A340 Business Class (Liberia to Zürich)
Last April, I flew in Business Class onboard one of Edelweiss Air‘s Airbus A340 aircraft from Guanacaste Airport (near the Costa Rican city of Liberia) to Zürich in Switzerland. Edelweiss Air is a Swiss leisure & charter airline, and a sister company of Swiss International Air Lines. The carrier, which has its hub at Zürich Airport, was founded in 1995 and has been part of the Lufthansa Group since 2008. The company’s name is derived from the Swiss national flower, the Edelweiss, which is also painted on its aircraft. Edelweiss Air serves dozens of leisure destinations in more than 30 countries worldwide with a fleet of twelve Airbus A320 and four Airbus A340 aircraft. The carrier’s A340s feature a Business Class cabin & seats which are similar to the one offered by Swiss (albeit styled in a less impressive design). Overall, my flight experience with Edelweiss Air was good but not memorable. Unfortunately, the food service was mediocre at best (with tiny portions) and onboard WiFi was not available.
Have you ever flown with Edelweiss Air? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
- Trip: Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR) to Zürich, Switzerkand (ZRH)
- Airline: Edelweiss Air
- Aircraft type: Airbus A340-300
- Aircraft registration number: HB-JMG (built in 2003)
- On time departure: yes (8:30 pm)
- On time arrival: yes (3 pm; + 1 day)
- Miles: 5870 miles (9450 km)
- Flight time: 10 hours and 30 minutes
- Seat: 14A
- Class: Business Class
In this review (more information & photos below my YoTtube video):
- Cost of my ticket
- Guanacaste Airport & Lounge
- Business Class cabin
- Business Class seat (+ best & worst seats)
- Amenities & bedding
- Onboard internet
- Other inflight experiences
- My verdict (score)
1. COST OF MY TICKET
I paid this one-way Edelweiss Air Business Class ticket from Liberia to Zürich with miles via Lufthansa’s frequent flyer program Miles & More (which I have reviewed here). The total cost of my ticket was 215 euro + 63,500 Miles & More miles.
2. GUANACASTE AIRPORT & LOUNGE
Guanacaste Airport – the small airport located near the city of Liberia – serves as a tourism hub for travelers who visit Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The airport receives dozens of daily flights from major cities in the United States and Canada. In addition, two European airlines also fly (seasonally) to Guanacaste Airport: Edelweiss Air and KLM operate direct flights from Guanacaste to Zürich and Amsterdam respectively.
Guanacaste Airport’s single terminal opened in 2012 and was further expanded in 2017. The airport has one Business Class lounge – called VIP lounge – which is located across from gate 1, behind the passport control and security checkpoint. The modern lounge is a bright and clean space, and offers a fair amount of comfortable seating considering the small airport size. At the center of the lounge is a small buffet station, which offers a limited selection of hot and cold snacks. Wi-Fi, satellite TV, newspapers and magazines are available inside the lounge.
3. BUSINESS CLASS CABIN
In a somewhat unusual configuration, Edelweiss Air’s A340 Business Class cabin is located in the middle of the plane, over the wings (and not in the front of the plane, which is mostly the case with the Business Class cabins of other airlines). The Business Class cabin features 27 flatbed seats, spreads over 6 rows and arranged in an alternate 1-2-1 and 2-2-1 layout (a so called staggered configuration or Sogerma Solstys layout). This layout feels rather dense as the foot compartment for each seat is located between and under the seats in front. The center seats come in pairs, while the seats on the left and right side of the plane alternate from 1 to 2 per row.
The same staggered Business Class layout is also installed on Brussels Airlines’ A330, Finnair’s A330/A340, Swiss’ A340/A330, Delta’s B767, and American’s B767 aircrafts. This configuration offers some degree of privacy as none of the seat rows quite line up, so nobody is directly looking into the seat across the aisle. But nonetheless, the privacy in this type of Business Class cabin is inferior compared to the fully enclosed Business Class suites that you find on other airlines, such as Qatar’s A350s or Delta’s A350s (and which seem to become the standard in the industry).
4. BUSINESS CLASS SEAT (+ BEST & WORST SEATS)
All Business Class seats onboard Edelweiss’ Airbus A340 aircraft feature the same dimensions: they have 152 cm (60 inches) in pitch, a width of 50 cm (19,5 inch), and a 180 degree recline. All seats have at least one large work surface on the side (where you can set up your laptop), with all single seats and some paired seats featuring this work space on both sides (a so-called ‘throne seat’). One side of the seat features a power port with international adapters, a reading lamp (at eye level), a panel for the seat controls, and a standard wired handset (located below a flap in the armrest). The console on this side of the seat also holds the fold-out tray table, which is released at the push of a button. In front of the seat is a HD entertainment screen (more on that below) with a foot compartment underneath.
The seat can be transformed in a Lantal air-cushion bed with a length of 2 m (6.5 ft). Although it’s a 180 degree recline, the seat and your lower legs descend into a space carved out for it in the seat(s) in front, below the entertainment screen. This foot compartment is quite narrow, making it hard to switch position during your sleep while not waking up, as your legs will constantly hit the walls. The seats that do not have the ‘throne’ feature have more space for the feet, hence making them a little more comfortable for sleeping. In its lie flat position, the Business Class seat is just 45 cm (17 inch) above the floor, making it feel like you are resting on the ground or in a coffin (because of the high seat walls), and making it very uncomfortable getting in and out to go to the restroom.
What are the best Business Class seats on Edelweiss Air’s A340s?
- The single best seats for solo travelers are the single seats on the left side of the plane, which feature a large work space on each side of the seat (so called ‘throne seats’): 11A, 14A, and 16A.
- The single seats on the right side of the plane are a great option as well for solo travelers, but they feel less private since they only feature one instead of two work spaces on the side. These seats have the largest foot compartment and are best for sleep comfort.
- Travel companions should go for the paired, middle seats, which all have direct aisle access. There are also paired window seats in rows 12, 15 and 17 on the left side of the plane, but here the passenger in the window seat will have to jump over his/her neighbor’s feet to get access to aisle.
What are the worst Business Class seats
- I suggest to avoid the seats in the first row (row 11) of the Business Class cabin since the proximity to the galley may be bothersome.
- I also suggest to avoid the seats in the last row (row 17), since these seats are directly in front of the Economy Class bassinet seats (so you may end up being close to young children).
- The window seats in row 15 are missing a window and thus best avoided.
Click here for a seat map of Edelweiss Air’s A340.
5. AMENITIES & BEDDING
Edelweiss Air provides the following amenities to its Business Class passengers:
- Edelweiss Air’s Business Class amenity kit is presented as a small metal box. It contains only basic amenities, such as socks, sleeping mask, shoehorn, toothbrush, toothpaste, earplug (toiletries are not provided).
- A decently sized pillow
- A comfortable, warm blanket
- Noise cancelling headphones (you cannot keep them as the crew collects them before landing)
On this flight, a three course dinner (after takeoff) and breakfast (prior to landing) were served. Overall, the food service was disappointing and a disgrace for a Business Class product. Not only were the portions tiny (I also heard other passengers complain they were still hungry after dinner) but the dishes themselves were unappealing, looked cheap, and had a mediocre taste. It definitely felt more like an Economy Class meal than Business Class.
Dinner service started with a drink (nuts or an amuse bouche were not served). Next, I had the following selection from the menu for dinner:
- Starter: roast beef served with rocket, parmesan and cherry tomatoes
- Main course: grilled salmon fillet with a mango sauce, rice, spinach and cherry tomatoes
- Dessert: lemon bavarois
An underwhelming continental breakfast was served 90 minutes prior to landing; it was comprised of two slices of ham, one slice of cheese, Danish pastries, fruits, yoghurt, and scrambled eggs. Saving the best for last, Edelweiss-adorned Biberli biscuits were distributed shortly before landing. Every year, more than 800,000 Bärli-Biberli biscuits are distributed on Edelweiss flights. These popular treats are produced in the canton of Appenzell.
Each Business Class seat comes with a private 15 inches HD TV screen. The inflight entertainment (IFE) is selected by directly touching the TV but can also be navigated by using a handheld and wired remote control. The IFE features 90 movies & 170 TV shows, including the latest blockbusters, award-winning documentaries & popular TV series. There’s also a wide range of music channels and over 400 different CDs to choose from.
8. ONBOARD INTERNET
There is no Inflight Wifi (Paid or Free) in any of Edelweiss Air flights.
9. OTHER INFLIGHT EXPERIENCES
# CREW: The crew on this flight was young, friendly and attentive.
# LAVATORY: There are two lavatories for Business Class passengers. The lavatories are located in a galley shared with the Economy class cabin in the plane’s nose section
10. MY VERDICT
- Seat comfort (upright): 7/10
- Seat comfort (bed position): 5/10
- Food (quality): 5/10
- Food (quantity): 2/10
- Inflight entertainment : 8/10
- WiFi: 0/10 (not available)
- Service: 9/10
- Cabin design: 7/10
- Overall experience: mediocre 6/10