Tuesday, July 17, 2007
A Swiss miss
Swiss get the award for honesty. Their new angled lie flat seat may be an instrument of torture, but at least they recognize that it is not as good as a flat bed.

After all, what else can justify the instructions on page 166 of their in-flight magazine about how to adjust the seat to actually sleep.

For instance it advises tall people (me) to extend the seat to “minimise pressure on your thighs…” You can say that again. I could barely move after a half hour snooze on this machine.

For those who sleep on their back it suggests extending the seat and using the “foot rest position to fine tune the setting.” Sleep on your side and you should jog the seat back with the take-off setting to flatten the seat. If you sleep on your stomach, then extend all the way.

What a palaver! I don’t remember BA, Virgin or any other carrier that has a proper flat bed having to give passengers such advice about how to get a good night’s sleep. With flat beds the instructions are simple. Push the button. Pull the duvet. Go to sleep on your back, front, side or all three.

Every airline which has invested in these miserable seats is going to regret it once the Open Skies agreement comes along and other carriers offering a flat product come onto the market. Swiss is only able to offer such a shoddy product because it doesn’t have a system-wide competitor at its hubs (it competes against various different carriers on individual routes). And its main competitor Lufthansa also owns it (incidentally the Lufthansa first class seat is wonderful for red eye sleep!)

Nope, Swiss goes to the top of my list for the most uncomfortable, miserable new business class seat that is guaranteed to give a pretty pathetic night’s sleep. Well done Swiss.

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