- Newly-renovated, modern space
- Well-designed dining hall
- Multiple areas suited to working
- Limited hot food
- No chocolate!
- Although this is a 'Schengen' lounge, its location allows you to stop by when flying to any destination
Welcoming SWISS and Star Alliance business class passengers jetting from Zurich Airport to both Schengen and non-Schengen destinations, the SWISS Business Lounge A is the newest addition to the airline's portfolio, spread across three levels with almost everything you'd expect of a modern airport retreat.
Recently opened in July 2018 as part of a broader revamp of the airport's Lounge Centre A – incorporating a new SWISS Senator Lounge next door as well – here's what the recently-revamped SWISS Business Lounge A has to offer.
Location & Impressions
Being located in Zurich Airport's Schengen section, you'll find this SWISS Business Lounge after clearing security at the central checkpoint and following the signs to "SWISS Lounges"...
... until you spot this entrance, shared between the SWISS Business and Senator Lounges, with the Business entrance to the left:
With a couple of large groups crowded around the lounge's reception desks trying to sort out their access, I was pleased that automated entry gates were positioned nearby – so with a SWISS business class boarding pass to London, I was able to scan myself in and walk straight into the lounge without waiting, emerging at this corridor:
While there are some seats in this area, they're perhaps better for shorter stays than longer visits...
... as everything else, including all food and drink, is located upstairs – the only exception being bottled water, which is available on the lower level:
Centre to this new lounge is a market hall-style food area, where guests can dine, work and relax...
... with other space dedicated to working on laptops and the like, joined by an outdoor section for smokers...
... and plenty of Swiss influence in the remaining design, including Breitling clocks beside the digital flight information screens:
This lounge is open from 5:30am until 10:30pm daily.
With no less than nine lounges at its Zurich hub, this SWISS Business Lounge caters for:
- Business class passengers flying with SWISS and its Star Alliance partners Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Austrian Airlines, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United from Zurich Airport, who don't also hold Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status.
- Miles & More Frequent Traveller (Star Alliance Silver) members booked to fly with the Star Alliance airlines above or on an eligible codeshare flight, although this perk does not extend to other Star Alliance Silver cardholders such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Silver.
- SWISS, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Edelweiss Air economy passengers who purchase and print a lounge pass via the SWISS website prior to travel for 49CHF (A$66.40) per person.
- United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club Worldwide members prior to Star Alliance flights.
Passengers holding Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer status with any member airline, along with Star Alliance first class passengers, can instead access the higher-tier SWISS Senator Lounge next door, while Miles & More HON Circle frequent flyers, along with passengers connecting to or from first class flights with SWISS or Lufthansa, can access the SWISS First Lounge in the same terminal.
While these guests can also visit the SWISS Business Lounge if they particularly desire, we'd expect they'd head straight for the Senator or First lounges, as available.
However, while SWISS also operates lounges in the 'non-Schengen' areas of Zurich Airport, the convenient location of this SWISS Business Lounge – being not far beyond the airport's central security checkpoint for all departing passengers at the 'Airside Centre' – puts it in a convenient location regardless of where you're heading: but just leave a little extra time for passport control before reaching your boarding gate, if venturing beyond the Schengen Area.
Also note that while SWISS welcomes Priority Pass cardholders into its Business Lounge near the D gates at Zurich Airport (primarily used for short non-Schengen flights, such as Zurich-London), Priority Pass members have no access to this lounge in pier A.
On the dining front, step into the lounge's food hall and pick a table...
... before wandering over to the live cooking station to see what's on the menu. On this visit, it was a simple fish and chips...
... which couldn't be resisted, although being a lounge primarily catering to business class flyers, something more 'premium' wouldn't have been out of place:
Otherwise, the nearby buffet was serving up pasta...
... a selection of breads...
... basic salad and soups...
... fruit and desserts...
... and as is a staple of all SWISS lounges, a freezer filled with Movenpick ice cream:
Joining that were sweet treats from the candy bar (you won't regret the gummy bears)...
... and on the beverage side, there's machine-made espresso coffee (and hot chocolate)...
... the usual rounds of soft drinks and juices...
... an endless supply of still and sparkling water...
... a range of spirits and red wines...
... along with beer, white wine and an Italian sparkling (Morra Brut Spumante), which sells for about A$12/bottle locally – not in the same league as Champagne, but drinkable enough before a short flight.
Disappointingly absent was chocolate, this being Switzerland and all – but if the SWISS lounge is anything like the Hilton Zurich's Executive Lounge, where all of the Swiss chocolate would 'magically vanish' into the take-away coffee cups of a few select guests mere moments after appearing on the counter, I can understand SWISS's restraint here.
While there's nothing stopping you from setting up your laptop in the dining area, for a quieter and more productive environment you might instead prefer to wander further inside the lounge to uncover this circle of working benches, with natural light flowing in from above – and views, but no open door, into the nearby Senator Lounge...
... where there's a solid line-up of AC and USB power outlets at the ready, including small European (such as for iPhone chargers), larger European (more often suited to laptop bricks and bigger travel adaptors), UK-style pins, a US-compatible outlet and USB chargers too. However, without a standard multi-pin international-style outlet as are common on aircraft, Australian travellers are going to need an adaptor for any of these AC plugs:
For more serious work, there's a boardroom-style space at the back of the lounge which again has these power strips, along with wireless charging points for compatible devices...
... with several closed-off "work areas" as well, again with desktop power and a working bench, but with a closing door to keep noise (and people) out of your way:
The lounge doesn't feature its own wireless network, with guests instead directed to connect to the airport's public WiFi hotspot, by scanning their boarding pass and requesting an access code at reception, or confirming their mobile number via the access point.
However, with both upload and download speeds measuring around 35Mbps via this public network, there's clearly no 'need' for SWISS to operate its own network, when the airport's free WiFi is speedy enough.
Nestled between the dining and working areas are plenty of seats, all with convenient access to power...
... with a selection of reading material available nearby:
However, if there's plenty of time to kill before heading to your boarding gate, wander upstairs one level again, to the lounge's "silent area":
Looking over the dining hall from one side and the airfield from the other, this is where you'll find a line-up of TV suites – which, perhaps, aren't so silent after all...
... a few window-facing solo chairs, if you're in need of some natural light...
... along with seating for groups – which, again, isn't going to make the space particularly quiet when they're in use, but nonetheless:
Shower suites are available by request as they're shared with the neighbouring Senator Lounge, which you can also stare straight into from the "silent area": whether this is to save space, or encourage you to reach a higher frequent flyer tier, we're not sure!
Being SWISS' newest airport lounge, there's plenty to like in this modern atmosphere, but with business class passengers in mind, a wider and more upmarket variety of hot food beyond vegetarian pasta, soup and fried fish and chips would be appreciated, as would some local chocolate, even the simplest of milk squares.
That said, this lounge is leaps and bounds ahead of the older SWISS Business Lounge D that's closest to the non-Schengen gates, particularly for London flyers: and given Business Lounge A's location straight past security screening, coming here first is a no-brainer if you've arrived early for a flight departing from the D pier, even if you're bound for a non-Schengen destination.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Zurich as a guest of Star Alliance and SWISS.