SandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3428 posts, RR: 50 Posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 18662 times:
First off, this is my first SA Linhas Aereas">TR, so please go easy on me. I have wanted to write a SA Linhas Aereas">TR for a long time, but never came around to do so, until today. Secondly, please apologise for the bad quality of the pics. All i have is a crappy, old 2MP cam. Dirty windows, haze and my non existant photography skills added up to it.
Like every week, i received an e-mail by Swiss on Wednesday, advertising their Weekend specials, which is usually a handful of destinations that can be booked for the upcoming weekend at very competitive prices, and it was no different this week. Upon further investigation on Swiss.com, i saw that they had FRA, CDG and LHR on offer aswell as PRG, LUX and DUS. I have been thinking about another spotting trip for quite some time now, and having a choice between three of Europe's major gateways was exactly what I was looking for. After evaluating the pros and contras of each of the three, i finally settled for LHR and booked a Business Class return trip for sunday, as i wanted to try LX's european biz class for the first time. I found out that the fare was just about half of what a normally booked C class ticket for a one-day return trip would have been, and i would get full miles aswell, so it all looked like a great deal.
Sunday, August 5th
LX 316 Zurich-London
Scheduled Departure: 07:10 / Actual 07:40
Scheduled Arrival: 08:05 / Actual 08:10
Swiss Business Class, Seat 3F
Airbus A321 SA)">HB-IOD
On saturday, I went to bed at 10pm just to wake up two hours later and not being able to get to sleep again, so i got up, and killed some time on my PC. A few hour slater, after the usual morning routine, i headed for the train station at 5:30am to catch a train which brought me to ZRH within 5 minutes. After arrival, i headed for Checkin 1 which was deserted as opposed to Checkin 3, which was a mess. I headed for the Business class checkin, where i didnt have to wait and was checked in by a friendly agent, who assigned me seat 3F. On the counter next to us, there were two ladies arguing with the agent, apparently they were holding economy tickets but didnt want to wait in the economy line. After wasting a couple of minutes they realized that they wouldn't come around it and went to the economy checkin, my agent smiled at me and told me that this wasn't a rare occurance at all.
Boarding pass and my passport
After checkin, i had a look at the fairly new departure board. The new departure board is huge, in the pic, you can only see about a quarter of its real size. No prices for guessing which is the predominant airline at ZRH.
I went straight through passport control where the agent didn't even bother to look at mine, then wandered through the Airside center, where most shops were just about to open.
Morning line-up at Terminal A, the Swiss/Star Alliance Terminal.
Security was a breeze even though the Business/First priority security check wasn't open yet,but i was through without problems within minutes. I bought a coffee as my body was screaming for coffeine and headed down Terminal A to my gate A66. At checkin, I got a lounge invitation, but opted not to go to the lounge in favor of watching some morning arrivals land on runway 34, and i knew i made the right choice when i saw a World Cargo MD11(Arriving for an A-Check at SRT) and an Air Slovakia B757 arrive, among the usual LX A332s/A343s and TG, SQ etc. It was close to impossible to get decent pics from where i was though, as you can see here:
This fella was parked at the gate opposite of mine. It had arrived from MCT via DXB and was next headed to CDG. Please apologise for the reflections.
They unloaded quite a number of these, i wonder what was in there.
Both ours and the CDG gates started to fill up and it was getting really crowded. I decided to head over to the other side of the terminal. Morning traffic at Terminal E: LX A343s, MH B772.
Our machine to LHR being loaded
Before i knew it, boarding had already started, by seatrows, and people were queuing for the usual extra passport control for US and UK bound flights. i kept sitting, listened to my Ipod and was reading the sunday newspaper until most people were on board, like i usually do. queuing for boarding is a waste of time in my opinion, as you have you assigned seat anyway.
Eventually when there were only a handful of people left waiting, i got up and headed for the passport control, where I got a big stamp onto my boarding pass saying "documents verified", then headed down the jetway and boarded our plane where i was greeted by two nice F/As and the Captain. I settled into 3F and had a look out of the window where sistership SA)">HB-IOC, the former Olympic comitee plane, was boarding for a flight to BCN.
The plane was fitted with the new Recaro seats. The cabin looks very modern and feels spacious, and legroom is great. As i weas traveling in J, the middle seat was blocked, which was nice, but it turned out that the seat next to me was the only empty J class seat left, jackpot! Y class seemed to be pretty full, i guess load factor was at about 95%.
While we were served preflight drinks and newspapers, the captain came on the PA and apologised for the delay, as our departure time of 7:10am had already passed.
The Reason given was the late arrival of the incoming aircraft from Thessaloniki, he then introduced the whole(!) crew, gave some details about our routing and weather in LHR, and informed us that we would be on our way shortly, but will have to remain at the gate for another 10 minutes due to heavy traffic leaving ZRH. Some 10 minute slater, we were pushed back and this company A319 took our gate as soon as we were out of it.
We taxied towards runway 28 and were apparently number one for takeoff as we pulled onto the runway and while turning onto it, the engines started to power up and we were already on our way, thundering down the runway. It all happened so quickly that i didnt get around to take any pics and after a lengthy takeoff roll we were climbing out of ZRH. The town of Oberglatt on a very hazy sunday morning.
We then made a couple of left and right turns while climbing to our cruising altitude. Swiss landscape between Zurich and Basel.
Shortly afte rthe seatbelt sign was turned off, the cabin was filled with the smell of freshly baked bread, and minutes later, the captain came on the PA again to inform us that we were flying towards LHR "at maximum speed", that our flying time will be about 1 hour and 20 minutes and that we'd have a nice view over the city of Basel in a couple of minutes. Indeed, soon after, Basel was passing below us in thick haze, with the airport clearly visible.
After passing Basel, breakfast service started and consisted of the following:
I was a bit disappointed about the presentation, but all in all it was filling and the bread rolls and croissants tasted great, warm, fresh, just how it's supposed to be. While eating breakfats, i realized that only ten years ago, you would have gotten the same in Economy class on Swissair intra-European flights. How the time has changed!
The cabin crew came around the cabin with refills throughout the flight and a second bread-round was offered.
When i finished breakfast, we had passed Paris already and were just about to start crossing the channel.
The sirshow was played during the whole flight on the drop-down screens, and for some strange reason, it was only played in French. The sa,e happened on the return flight.
The French channel coast. It sure was a very hazy morning
in the middle of the channel, i felt throttle being reduced and we started our approach. The tray tables were collected and the famous "Thank you for flying Swiss" chocolates were offered, i declined though as i'm not a big fan of chocolate. Again, the captain came on the PA and told us that we would have to fly a few holding patterns over biggin hill due to heavy inbound traffic into LHR. I didn't expect anything else, but i didnt mind as it offered nice views over Central London and Canary wharf with LCY in the distance.
I also made out a few other aircraft holding, particularely an SA B744 which made a nice turn away from us, really closely. Eventually, we turned into finals for runway 27L right over London.
Who can tell me what this is?
The new Wembley
Short finals, BA MRO facilities
The touchdown was a smooth as it gets, and hard braking action followed.
Rolling out. A nice UA morning lineup at T3
We turned off the runway right in front of T3, but i was sitting on the wrong side to get any decent views, instead, I could see BA's morning action at T4 and several arrivals on 27L
This little guy seems a bit lost in the hometown of heavies, heading out for a morning flight to LUX
We turned left into T2 and passed T1
a few seconds later, we turned into our gate. This guy was having a break but didn't seem to be randomly interested in the Airbus that was just passing by him, some people just dont get it
Despite the delay at ZRH, we got into LHR only 5 minutes late. Deboarding was quick as i was sitting up front and immigration was a breeze, which resulted in my being out of the airport within 5 minutes. A new record for me at LHR. I then headed towards the tube station where i had to wait in line to get a ticket to Hatton Cross. Meanwhile, they changed the runways to the 9s, meh, so i watched some 27R takeoffs while waiting for fellow a.net member Kieron747, and onc ehe arrived, we headed to runway 9L by bus, to see some arrivals. Late ron we headed to a nic elittle pub from where there was a nice view on runway 9L arrivals. Here are a couple of shots i took. I'm the king of cutting off wing-edges
SandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3428 posts, RR: 50
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 18644 times:
Since it wouldn't let me post all in one, here's the return flight.
LX 327 Zurich-London
Scheduled Departure: 18:35 / Actual 19:40
Scheduled Arrival: 21:20 / Actual 21:45
Swiss Business Class, Seat 4F
Airbus A321, unfortunately, i forgot to write down the reg#
At around 4pm we headed back to the Terminal area. After eating a Sandwich, we headed to the T2 checkin where I was more than happy to hold a Business Class ticket, as Swiss's economy class Checkin was a total mess. Masses of people were waiting in line and the whole thing seemed to be on a total melt-down, while there were only two people waiting at the Business Class checkin. The lady waiting behind me apparently had a ticket for the earlier 5:15pm flight, so i let her take my place. When i got to the counter, I handed my passport to a friendly agent who checke dme in, this time I was assigned seat 4F. We then headed to the Pub in T2 for another drink, before I thanked Kieron747 for the day and headed through security where my bag got an extra search which took ages despite me only having a small backpack, but I eventually made it and headed to HW Smith to get a Coke as our flight wasn't assigned a gate yet. When I got back, Gate 8 popped up on the screen and I followed the signs to gate 8, but not without taking pics on my way.
LH's retro A321 which i personally think looks great, and a TU A319
No, this is not FRA, nor MUC, it's LHR
At LHR, they collect boarding passes as you enter the gate, and not as you enter the jetway like at most airports. While I was walking to the gate, boarding time approached quickly and indeed as soon as i sat down, boarding commenced, but like usual, i kept sitting and waited for most people to board first.
Meanwhile, our A321 was gleaming in the hot LHR sun, and an AF A320 arrived from CDG.
After about 10 minutes i got up and walked down the very dirty Jetway to our plane, where I was again greeted by two cute F/As and the purser. I settled into my seat and looked out of the window when i noticed that the windows of this A321 were particularely dirty, oh well. I had a nice view onto runway 27L which was the active departure runway, as they again changed the runways while i was in the airport. I killed time watching some departures when our departure time passed by. I then took a look into the galley where the captain and the purser had a pretty heated discussion. Apparently, the flight was overbooked because some passengers of the earlier 5:15pm flight came in late from DEL and were rebooked, but there was one mor ethan available seats. In the end, another 5-10 people boarded the plane and one placed himself on the jumpseat in the galley, while one F/A took the cockpit jumpseat for takeoff and landing, lucky bum Departure time had long passed when the Captain came on the PA to explain the situation and to tell us that we couldnt push back for another 30 minutes because we had missed our slot and didnt get a slot earlier than 30 minutes from now. I wasn't too bothered as i had a nice view onto the active runway and the temperature in the plane was nice, not too hot but neither too cold, however, passengers who had a connecting flight in ZRH, who made up a good part of the total passengers, started to worry about their connections, but the Purser assured them that there wasn't anything to worry about. Meanwhile, the F/As again served preflight drinks, newspapers and some chocolate due to the delay, and they played Tom&Jerry on the drop-down screens, which i found a nice touch.
An LH 737 heading out to the active, LH really has a large presence at LHR.
Finally, we pushed back onto one of the two parallel taxiways where we waited for a few minutes to be overtaken by a JL B77W
an IB A320 and and an OA A343 at T2, as seen during pushback
We then gave way to a BA B772 crossing the runway before we finally made our way towards that same runway, 27L.
Meanwhile, the purser came on the PA to welcome us, introduce the crew and give us details about our flight.
BA T4 evening line-up
A HEL bound A321 accelerating down 27L
Soon thereafter, we stopped again and the Captain came on the PA to tell us that it would be another few minutes as we were number 6 for takeoff. FIne with me, more time to spot What's that guy doing there? He was just sitting there all the time, watching takeoffs. Fire departement? Whatever it is, i sure wouldn't mind to do his job for a couple of days.
A few minutes later, the JL 77W that overtook us earlier pulled onto the runway and the famous "Cabin crew, takeoff in two minutes" was heard on the PA.
As the 77W was on its way, we lined up.
Some nice traffic waiting for us to clear the runway.
Seconds later, the engines were pushed to full throttle and we were on our way down the runway, this time, I was prepared
Terminal 2: LH, IB, AZ, TP, OA, OS
Terminal 3, SQ, VS, AI, KE, among many more
After another long takeoff run, we climbed out of LHR. Bye, cya in september!
Three A340s and a part of the T5 construction site.
Terminal 5 is taking shape. It will really be one fine piece of art when finished.
We then made a sharp left turn and headed towards LGW, which was soon gleaming through the haze clounds in the low evening sun
We then turned east and followed the English coast line for some time.
Eventually, we made a right turn and crossed the channel. Meanwhile, the seatbelt sign ha dbeen turned off and meal service commenced. We didn't get a warm meal, but nevertheless, the meal they served was great and i completely ate it up. I don't really know how to explain what it consisted of, so just have a look by yourself. The meat seemed to be cold roast beef, which was really good. Again, they offered multiple drink services and bread-rounds. There was metal cuttlery on both flights.
While i was having dinner, the sun was setting in a most dramatic way
Again, the airshow was played throughout the flight, again only in french, which i found odd.
After we had followed the coast, we crossed over Dover and then Calais, passed south of Brussels and were heading straight towards Basel. By the time i finished dinner, it was dark outside and they offered coffee or tea, I had another coffee, as i was really tired, having been away for about 22 hours now with only 2 hours of sleep before that.
We passed straight over Basel and I could see the nicely illuminated Airport, however it was too dark to get any decent pics. The F/O came on the PA several times to inform us about our position, weathe rin ZRH, time of arrival etc, which i found very nice. We then headed straight towards Zurich, crossed over the city and made a right turn for a runway 28 approach. The cabin lights were dimmed, right after the F/As collected the trays and handed two "Thank you for flying Swiss" chocolates over to each passenger.
Another left turn followed and we were on our final approach into ZRH, passed over my hometown of Bassersdorf, and again had a very smooth touchdown. Hard breaking action followed and we vacated to the right into runway 16. During approach, taxi and landing, several informations for connecting passengers were shown on the screens, such as the gates of their flights, times, and an airport map.
The purser then said goodbye to us and thankes us for flying Swiss on the PA while we turned onto the ramp.
We passed the still closed and soon to be refurbished Terminal B
and a few seconds later, we turned into our gate next to a deserted airside center where i walked through some 16 hours earlier. I was again one of the first to get off the plane and was greeted by long lines at immigration. However, they moved very quickly and within 10 minutes i was out of the airport, headed for the train station to catch a train for the 5 minutes journey home where i arrived soon after, totally knackered but happy.
Again, LX offered their constantly good service, nothing outstanding, but good. It was nice to try their Business class intra-european product after having tried their intercontinental biz class several times. They don't stand out, but they have never disappointed me. The way they handled the delays was spotless, the crews were happy and seemed to enjoy their job and i like dthe way the cockpit crew kept us informed about flight details throughout both flights. So, again, thumbs up for Swiss.
However, I wouldn't fly intra-European biz class on a regular basis, it's just not worth it. It was a good opportunity to try it for once, but the usual fares you pay isn't worth it on such short flights. It really is designed for Business travellers who don't usually pay their tickets by themselves, hence it's called Business class
So, if you made it until here, I hope you enjoyed reading my TR as much as i enjoyed writing it. I'm sorry about any typos that might turn up, as I was too lazy to read through it again. COmments, Questions and Critizism are welcomed.
PS: I hope the bandwith of the pics won't exceed, if it does, i apologise in advance.
SandroZRH From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 3428 posts, RR: 50
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 18354 times:
Thanks for the nice comments guys!
Quoting Pilot320 (Reply 5):
I´ve found some good fares from Venice to their European (and world) destinations, so hope to be soon in some of their planes
Nice, make sure to write trip reports
Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 6): Good that you didn't do it... Mr. Abramovic had probably hired some gentelman who had invited you for lunch in a Japanese restaurant in London... Polonium-210 had been the dessert.
Quoting Legoguy (Reply 7): Don't you dare post a trip report on the Europe trip!
Sure we will
Quoting Legoguy (Reply 7): By the way, I believe the Chelsea and United match was on in Wembley on Sunday.
Quoting SandroZRH (Reply 1): What's that guy doing there? He was just sitting there all the time, watching takeoffs. Fire departement? Whatever it is, i sure wouldn't mind to do his job for a couple of days.
You know... I can do that as well at the airport here
LXA340 From Switzerland, joined Nov 2006, 2122 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 17958 times:
Really nice trip report. A few years ago LX used to serve hot meals on those routes nevertheless the food they serve now tastes really good as well. Looked like an awsome day will try to join you at some point on one of those trips as well.
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 17858 times:
Very interesting that Swiss in C give a "cold meal." When it was still Swissair I flew this route in C and they gave a delicious Filet Mignon with potato croquettes. How things have changed.
I am amused that you were able to take so many pictures at Heathrow. I took a picture and I was told to delete it. Very interesting report. Thanks for all the pictures.
A mighty supply of "Thank you for flying Swiss" chocolates?!
Quoting SandroZRH (Thread starter): queuing for boarding is a waste of time in my opinion, as you have you assigned seat anyway.
Quoting SandroZRH (Thread starter): Thank you for flying Swiss" chocolates were offered, i declined though as i'm not a big fan of chocolate.
Quoting SandroZRH (Thread starter): During approach, taxi and landing, several informations for connecting passengers were shown on the screens, such as the gates of their flights, times, and an airport map.
But certain ones will still show up here and ask if I'm the transfer desk........Do I look like a desk?????
Seriously though, good, detailed report and nice to read about C class on LX European flights. And I don't know why you're apologising about the photos, I think they're great.
[Edited 2007-08-07 13:33:40]
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
Kieron747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 17334 times:
It was good to see your day other than those hours that we were at Heathrow!
It was a great day, but bloody hot! Remind me next time to not wear a black jumper in the LHR furnace!
Anyway, thanks for posting the pictures. Those we took at the same time differ in one major respect. The ones you took look like pictures of aeroplanes. The ones I took look like shots taken of constipated pigeons viewed from the Hubble Telescope!
Fantastic day Sandro. Next time you're here, let me know!
Oldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 32
Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 17275 times:
Very nice report and pics Sandro; you have nothing to feel bad about. I don't think even first class in US gets such nice meals on flights lasting only an hour or so. That meat looked awefully pale for Roast Beef;maybe it was Turkey lol. That would be more appropriate for you Seriously great report.
too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
Depends, I was so tired towards the evening that i would have loved to go to a hotel and sink into a bed
Quoting RJ100 (Reply 16): So, looking forward to see another report soon.
Wait for September, massive trips comign up
Quoting Kieron747 (Reply 17): Fantastic day Sandro. Next time you're here, let me know!
Yes it was, and i sure will!
Quoting Kieron747 (Reply 17): Anyway, thanks for posting the pictures. Those we took at the same time differ in one major respect. The ones you took look like pictures of aeroplanes. The ones I took look like shots taken of constipated pigeons viewed from the Hubble Telescope!
Quoting Kieron747 (Reply 18): Thats batch 4 of 18 in the special delivery of KROC's personality.
I'm told it may take some time.
Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 19): hat meat looked awefully pale for Roast Beef;maybe it was Turkey lol. That would be more appropriate for you