Swiss upgrades Airbus A340s with new first, business class

By David Flynn, March 7 2019
Swiss upgrades Airbus A340s with new first, business class

It's out with the old and in with the new for Swiss' Airbus A340s as the first of the big four-engine jets takes wing proudly brandishing new first class suites and business class seats.

All five of the Star Alliance member's long-range A340s are being upgraded to largely bring them up to the same spec as Swiss' flagship Boeing 777-300ER jets, and Swiss says they'll all be flying by mid-year.

That's pleasing news for premium passengers who regularly traverse the A340 routes to Tokyo (which gets the first refreshed A340 starting this week), Shanghai, Johannesburg, Boston and Tel Aviv.

So what's in store? You can wave goodbye to the A340's rather retro first class suites...

... and step into one of eight more private and far better-appointed suites.

It's not a perfect mirror-image copy of the Boeing 777's first class cabin (below), but you can see how the new A340 cribs share that same DNA.

Likewise, business class will see the exact same seats as on the Boeing 777, which means a shift from this...

... to more like this.

And this...

... to this.

And as you can see, the A340’s 47-seat business class cabin still includes some 'throne' seats.

The crinkly old inflight entertainment system is also being ripped out and replaced by that of the Boeing 777, with satellite inflight Internet being installed in the process. 


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 78

Just how long do they plan on keeping these planes?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 106

Good job Swiss. I’d actually prefer to fly the A340 over the 777 now that they have upgraded the economy and the fact that it’s 2-4-2.


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

MUCH nicer plane to fly in than the horrible noise on a 777 despite it being an old aircraft.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Dec 2016

Total posts 42

Reminds me of Qantas' Business suite, but better


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 65

I am here to tell you that the Qantas Business suite leaves the Swiss offering for dead. Sad to say as a long time Swiss fan, we have pretty much abandoned them now, not a competitive product, especially with the update. On A330/340, Swiss is 5 across in some rows, and there is not aisle access for all pax.

If you look closely at the the before and after pic of the centre seats, in the old arrangement, each centre seat has an equal sized ‘sideboard’ (where feet of pax behind go under). In the new arrangement, one seat has a full sideboard PLUS half of the other sideboard leaving only a sliver for one of the seats. The new seats looks better, but leaves one of each of the centre pair with virtual no surface space. Look carefully and you can see one seat has MUCH more space than the other, width-wise.

The throne seats (singles) are spacious; but the side pairs are very, very cramped. Swiss have managed to make several different seating types, with very different amounts of space and storage. It’s pretty, but useless!

The Qantas Biz suite is pretty much the same space for all seats, 4 across on the A330, all with aisle access. Having abandoned Swiss, we now use Finnair as our Euro connector with Qantas, which has reverse herringbone 1-2-1 in the A350

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 126

I agree that the all aisle access isn’t there yet but Swiss has very few competitors in the market they serve. Especially when trans Atlantic is in question. Although end to end for the J class is great. *A lounges, one of the largest networks (LH, OS, SN, EW) and all the inter EU options available. Their fares are reasonable (<6K AU-EU) and you have multiple connection points, plus for another 1K come back via the US/Canada. I think their overall offering is quite reasonable.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Sep 2017

Total posts 165

Saying goodbye to the A340 is way overdue. They should be in the boneyard already.

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