That's true, the seats do expand a little bit (we are talking an inch or two). But the seat pitch is still the same, and you basically have the guy in front in your face. Most other airlines in Europe, even if they keep the same seats for business as in first, will at least increase the distance between rows a little.
Secondly, for most high-traffic routes (like GVA
), Swiss does not collapse that 6th seat, so it's exactly like economy in seat width and pitch and crowded as hell.
Don't get me wrong - my complaint is not that a business passenger must be in a more comfy chair than the rest of the plebians. The main advantage for business travellers of less dense seating is carry-on luggage.
Business travellers nearly always travel with one rolling bag plus a briefcase/computer case, and rarely check bags in. There is little choice for them. They may be travelling onwards to various destinations with little time in between. They may be carrying important documents or presentation materials, or samples. The cannot take the risk, even if it's only a 1% risk, that they will not have their luggage as soon as they arrive at their destination.
If you dense-pack business passengers 3-3 and economy pitch like they do on Swiss (and Swissair since 1995-96 before them) you will quickly run out of overhead space, and the last few business passengers will be told "sorry, but you must check in your bag". This of course is at the very last minute. It happened to me, and of course my bag was NOT at the destination when I got there. Luckily I was staying for more than a day, and it finally arrived.
But in practically every single GVA
flight that I've taken when the plane was close to full (nearly all the time), I rarely fail to hear some of the last passengers complain about the lack of space, and say something like "I'll never fly Swiss again", when faced with the suddenly increased likelyhood that he will be seperated from his luggage.
I feel that this is one of the reasons why Swissair went into the toilet in the late 90s. Swissair used to have a tremendously successful business class for short range flights. But they pissed off a whole lot of people when they bought the Airbus A320s with small seats (the MD
-80s and Fokkers they replaced had great C class seats), and then tried to force the Geneva traffic to transit via Zurich in these cattle cars. Business travellers faced a possible forced separation from their baggage, and a short connection in ZRH
to go on to, say, Singapore and onwards to Beijing and Tokyo the next day. I faced such choices, and eventually moved to Lufthansa.
They lost two-thirds of Geneva's traffic due to that mistake, and the likes of Easyjet, KLM, Air France and Lufthansa were glad to take up the slack. I am convinced that if Swissair had not turned their GVA
business class into cattle cars, they might have survived a lot longer than they did. They lost a good percentage of their business class traffic because of that mistake, and it is business class that brings in the profits.
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.