The Mile-High Club: Swiss Style
A certain kind of traveler's bucket list may include in-flight indiscretions and wayward glances, but the mile-high club that I've been dreaming about involves a flatbed seat and real silverware.
Throw in a Michelin-star chef and I've died and gone to heaven. Well, I haven't died - but I got one step closer to heaven aboard a Swiss business class Airbus A330.
Relatively new to the airline industry, Swiss was established in 1997 and currently serves 72 destinations in 32 countries. As part of the Lufthansa Group and member of Star Alliance, you can accumulate and use points for SWISS upgrades and hopefully find yourself as I did, enjoying the award-winning service concept Swiss Taste of Switzerland.
Each season Swiss highlights the cuisine from a different region. My late summer flight from Zurich to New York City featured the culinary creations of Chef Alexander Kroll of the Widder Hotel in Zurich. Imagine smoked salmon tartare and potato salad spiked with saffron and pink peppercorns.
Swiss Taste of Switzerland
Or how about a classic preparation of Zurich Geschnetzeltes - sliced veal with mushroom cream sauce, butter potato rösti and broccoli with flaked almonds? After several glasses of wine, I was ready to take advantage of my fully horizontal sleep-comfort bed, but a raspberry crème for dessert with biscotti and almonds baited me for a final, triumphant course.
Swiss’s international wine list features the usual suspects from France and South Africa, but in the spirit of national pride, also includes homegrown varieties. Zurich wines were featured with my flight’s regional cuisine including Staatsschreiber Cuvée Blanc Prestige (2010), a crisp white blend of four varieties with strong stone fruit aromas that was the perfect accompaniment for my first course.
The red selection was Schiterberger Himmelsleiterli Blauburgunder (2010), a variety synonymous with Pinot Noir and one of the most popular and oldest grapes grown in Switzerland. A logical pairing for my veal dish, the wine didn’t have the intense terroir of Burgundy reds or the fruit-forward bite of its American counterparts.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed two glasses and woke up several hours later for a "light snack" of meatballs, orechiette, and vegetable salad.
This autumn, Swiss is featuring the canton of Solothurn with exclusive menus designed by chef Reto Lampart, chef de cuisine of Lampart’s restaurant in Hägendorf in central Solothurn. Gravitating toward locak seasonal products, Lampart gravitates toward local, seasonal products.
By the time I arrived at JFK I was convinced that I had exceeded my baggage allowance in-flight by sheer overconsumption. The beverage cart, endlessly rolling back and forth throughout my flight, was better than earplugs or white noise, and the Swiss chocolates distributed with my pick-me-up coffee were the perfect final touch.
With ski season around the corner, Swiss will safely transport you within a scenic drive or affordable train ride to the best slopes in Europe, from Gstaad to St. Moritz.
The airline offers specials on their website, and if you book early, you can secure a round-trip flight for as little as $822.
Also worth considering is utilizing Swiss as your gateway to Europe. Bordering France, Germany, Austria, and Italy, the country can be your central hub - in fact, a flight to Basel will place you at a stone’s throw from three countries.
Whether you’re ready to tackle a double diamond run or make your own cheese (Swiss style, of course), your European getaway is only a Swiss flight away.