Swiss (Edelweiss Air) Business Class Flight 17 New York-Zurich – Review
Edelweiss Air isn’t a well-known airline in the United States but perhaps it should be. In early April, Edelweiss, which is a small airline based in Switzerland and part of the Swiss family, took over the operation of one daily flight between Zürich and New York in order to provide vacation relief for Swiss crews that had accumulated a backlog of vacation time.
The Edelweiss crews currently operate flights between Zürich and John F. Kennedy International Airport every day but Fridays when Edelweiss operates flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and Zürich. While the flights are operated by Edelweiss , they use Swiss flight numbers and the onboard service is pure Swiss (as is the aircraft), featuring the airline’s traditional Taste of Switzerland in-flight meals.
Swiss and Edelweiss flights depart from John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4, which serves 40 airlines and almost 10 million passengers a year. Much has changed at Terminal 4 since my last Swiss flight over a year ago. Most importantly, the security checkpoint was relocated from its lower-level location to a larger and more airy space one level higher. This is significant for two reasons: one, there are more security lines and they are far better organized, and two, the move of the checkpoint now places the terminal’s airline lounges after security (i.e. airside) so passengers who previously had to leave the lounge well before boarding no longer need to do so.
There was a short wait to clear security and, because the redesign of Terminal 4 had not yet been completed, there was no priority line available for first- or business-class passengers (a priority line has since opened). Because the lounge was now airside, however, it was therefore possible to enjoy Swiss’ elegant lounge with its stone walls and comfortable seats until the very last minute. The lounge offered a choice of warm and cold foods and a comfortable place to relax, do some work, or dine, so I had a light bite and caught up on some reading while waiting to board.
Once boarding had started, a Swiss staff member came to the lounge and escorted me and another passenger to the gate, a nice touch.
I proceeded to the gate, where boarding had not yet started (I was apparently early for everything on this particular day) and I was the first to board the aircraft.