an airplane with rows of seats

Late To The Party: 7 Reasons Why The A220 Is My New Favourite Narrowbody Plane

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Today I flew Swiss’ A220 from London City Airport to Zurich Airport. This was my first time flying out of London City Airport (I’ve flown into it once), my first time flying Swiss in economy, but most remarkably to me, my first time on an A220. I love trying new aircraft types, and the A220 had been on my radar for a while (I had a booking on a Swiss A220 back in 2017 actually, though it got swapped to an A320 around a month before departure).

an airplane on the runway at night
My cute little A220 at London City Airport

This is undoubtedly my favourite narrowbody aircraft – I definitely prefer this aircraft to the A320neo family (I’ve never flown a 737 MAX, though far prefer the A220 to the 737). I’m probably quite late to the party, though I’d seek out the A220 when flying Swiss or another airline that operates this aircraft. Here are a few reasons why.

1. Not many middle seats in a 2-3 configuration

In an era where you have to pay for seat selection on most intra-European flights, the A220 features economy class seats in a 2-3 configuration, so only 20% of the seats are middle seats. In reality some passengers get free seat selection so there’s more than a 20% chance you’ll be assigned a middle seat, though there are certainly more aisles and windows to end up in here. If you’re in intra-European business class (or luck out like I did) and sit on the left hand side of the plane, you’ll even get both seats to yourself!

an airplane with rows of seats
Swiss A220 Economy Class

2. Wide seats

Even if you do end up in a middle seat, I found the A220 seats to be very wide and comfortable. I believe they’re 18″ wide. I did luck out with an empty seat next to me, though I’ve definitely had the same in A320 (especially in intra-European business class!) and not felt it being as wide. Needless to say that this is eons ahead of an economy class seat on the 737.

a row of seats on an airplane
Swiss A220 Economy Class

3. A stunning cabin

Not only that, but I found the A220 cabin to be particularly visually appealing in the nighttime. During takeoff and landing all the lights were dimmed (as per protocol), though the exit lights were Star Trek-style oval lights that worked particularly well with Swiss’ economy seats’ silver finishes. What a sleek looking cabin!

a plane with seats and seats on
Swiss A220 Economy Class Cabin during Takeoff

4. Massive windows

The A220 must have some of the biggest windows I have ever seen on a plane – it rivals the windows seen on an A350! Unfortunately Swiss doesn’t generally tend to keep their windows particularly clean, though still it was nice to have a more panoramic view out of London City Airport than I otherwise would on an E195.

5. A quiet cabin

I also found the Swiss A220 cabin to be very quiet – I’d say the A320neo is comparable in that regard. I don’t have a decibel meter, though I definitely could listen to music on my (non-noise cancelling) AirPods without cranking up to full volume.

6. Safety video screening on the overhead panels…HOW COOL!

This is the bit that got me most excited – the safety video was screened on the overhead panels. Take that, A350! And yes, Swiss has air nozzles on their A220s too!

a overhead panel with a screen and a safety video
Swiss A220 Economy Class Safety Video

7. The sleekest bathrooms I’ve ever seen on a plane

The A220 must have some of the nicest bathrooms I’ve seen on a plane, especially on a narrowbody in economy class. The bathroom was very large, and the lighting was really nice. Compare that to the 737 MAX, where you can’t even stand in the bathroom without being squeezed by both walls.

a bathroom with a sink and toilet
Swiss A220 Economy Class Bathroom

A couple thoughts on Swiss’ economy experience

I knew coming in that Swiss’ A220s wouldn’t have WiFi or power ports (this is also true of their A320s, which I reviewed last year). I also know that the general trend for intra-European airlines is to have buy-on-board catering in economy, so I came in with very low expectations.

When managing my booking I saw the choice to pre-order a poke bowl. I did, and a poke bowl it was! It came with noodles instead of rice, though the fish was fresh and high quality, and the bowl itself was very flavourful. Since I pre-ordered, the poke bowl set me back 7 CHF – I’d also ordered a “Tony mate” carbonated tea drink from the menu, which was a relatively pricier 4 CHF, though it was delicious. I’d be sure I’d end up paying more than 11 CHF (£10.25/HK$102.5) for a meal like this on the ground.

a bowl of food on a tray
Swiss A220 Economy Class Meal

Conclusion: My Favourite Narrowbody Aircraft

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my very first A220 flight as much as I did. Granted, I got an empty seat next to me on an otherwise full flight, though I found the cabin sleek, the seats wide, the windows massive, and the airplane quiet. If I were to choose a flight on a route with many different frequencies, I’d definitely seek out the A220 over other narrowbody aircraft, even if it came at a small premium/required going out of my way to a further airport.

What’s your favourite narrowbody aircraft?

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