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Back To "Old Europe": Swiss JFK-ZRH-STR  
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2901 posts, RR: 23
Posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4575 times:

Having spent two great days in Manhattan - unfortunately without helicopter flight over Manhattan, and we had also missed Bigphilnyc and Rai whom we wanted to meet - Patrick/Sabena332 and I took a taxi to JFK airport/T4 where we arrived at about 14:00.


JFK-ZRH
LX17 (in codeshare with AA6203)
23 June 2003
STD: 18:05 ATD: 18:00
STA: 07:50 ATA: 07:41
Runway JFK: 13R
Runway ZRH: 14
A330-200
HB-IQP
Delivered to Swissair: 23 June 2000 (exactly 3 years before)

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At about 14:10 the first two check-in agents arrived, I asked them when they would start checking in for ZRH, "In twenty minutes", they replied. Stupid me, a moment later I realized that I was just standing right in front of a sign that said "Check-in for Zurich starts at 14:30"... Well the reason why we were there so early was because Patrick would have to check in for his Air France flight at T1, his flight left at ~17:00.
Okay I returned to the check-in at 14:30, there was no queue at all. I only had a carry-on bag, check-in went really quickly, I never saw anybody entering the API (passport) data into the computer so quickly! A moment later I had my boarding pass, having a stand-by ticket I didn't expect to get my seat already at the check-in, but I did, seat 38A, I was very surprised because the flight was fully booked. I was especially surprised to get a window seat, I thought they would first give me a stand-by boarding pass and later at the gate give me a middle seat. But I was really glad, thanked the lady behind the counter, and then I went with Patrick to T1 where he checked in and where we had lunch. Then Patrick had to go to his gate, and I took the bus back to T4.


Passport and security control went really fast as well, I wonder why they make such a big deal about flights from Europe to the US, whereas flights from the US to Europe have less security controls than European short-haul flights. But I appreciated it not having to queue, not having to put my shoes into an x-ray machine, and not having to wait for somebody to put a "document ok" stamp onto my boarding pass (this was already done at the check-in, at the passport control they just compared name in the passport and name on the boarding pass).
I arrived at the gate quite early, the gate area was not very crowded and you have a good view towards the aircraft, I got a seat right in front of HB-IQP, so I just relaxed and watched how the aircraft was prepared for it's flight.

Some facts about this flight:
- In the end, there were 169 passengers aboard, that is F5 C40 Y124 (capacity: F12 C42 Y142). So there were again a lot of no-show passengers.
- Those 169 passengers had 243 bags checked in, with a total weight of 3585kg.
- There were also 10712kg cargo on this flight, most of which was obviously loaded in the front compartment.
- Take-off weight was 203799kg (mtow: 230000kg), take-off fuel was 48800kg.
- Funny, although I got my seat already at the check-in, the computer still made every weight calculation twice, once "INCL JOI PAD" and once "EXCL JOI PAD", which made a difference of 88kg.
- Interesting, they seem to change the aircraft at JFK, HB-IQP had arrived from GVA and left to ZRH, HB-IQE had arrived from ZRH and left to GVA.

When I arrived at the gate, fueling was already in progress and was completed at 17:22. Loading of cargo began at 17:17, loading of baggage a few minutes later. Boarding started at 17:35, with a special lane for first class, business class and Travelclub Circle/Gold/Silver passengers. At the gate, they once again compared name on the ticket with name in the passport. Entering the aircraft, I gave the crew a friendly "Schönen guten Abend!", "Guten Abend!" they replied with a smile, I was one of the few passengers on this flight who spoke German, most passengers were from the US, from Israel, from India or from Pakistan.

I took my seat 38A, although I had a light but huge carry-on, there was no problem to put it into the spacey overhead bin. I sat down, and on the PTV they showed the Swiss boarding video showing the whole Swiss fleet, great pictures of the ERJ, A320, A330 and MD11 flying over the Swiss Alps. A Mexican (I think) family arrived, the father took seat 38C next to mine, the rest of the family were sitting on 38DFG. The father of the family was a strange guy. First of all, he didn't talk to his family at all during the whole flight, strange but I didn't care about that. But, although those LX seats are quite comfortable for Economy Class, this guy also had the bad habit to put his left elbow all over the whole armrest. I thought, well, let's wait until we're airborne. This habit did not change, so I had a heavy discussions with him later during the flight.

Push-back started at 18:00, five minutes ahead of schedule. But there was a long queue of aircraft ahead of us, all waiting to take-off from runway 13R. The cabin crew made their welcome announcement, a few minutes later the cockpit's welcome announcement followed. On the whole flight, each and every single announcement was made first in English, then German, then French - on the flight ZRH-JFK, all announcements were made in German, English, French.

A few minutes later, while we were still waiting for take-off, the captain made yet another announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen! In my right hand, I have a gun - so let's not have any problems!", oh wait, I was joking, he said: "Ladies and gentlemen, on the right hand side, you can see Air Force One, the aircraft of the President of the United States!", this was the first time I saw Air Force One! But I had to wait until take-off, because I was sitting on the left-hand side of the aircraft.

Finally, 33 minutes after push-back, we finally took off. The "flight information" channel was the only feature of the PTV in-flight entertainment that was already activated. Five minutes after take-off, they showed BBC news on all screens, then the full inflight entertainment was activated:


In-Flight Entertainment:
Once again 7 TV Channels:
- Documentaries
- Evelyn
- The Life of David Gale
- Jungle Book II
- Comedy (Friends, Simpsons, Will&Grace, My Family)
- The Fugitive
- Sports

...the other inflight entertainment was just the same as on my flight ZRH-JFK, see my other trip report. At least this time the handset was working properly, on ZRH-JFK the "curser: left" key didn't work which meant that I could hardly play any video games. I spent most of this night flight playing "Who wants to be a millionaire" (German version, I tried the English version as well but I was not very successful in the English version...). - Unfortunately, about three hours before landing, on the whole plane the headsets became silent, no more sound meant no more audio channels, and of course watching the movies without sound was annoying as well.
One hour before landing, they collected the headsets. 30 minutes before landing, they showed the movie "Welcome to Zurich" which contained information about how to find the gate to the connecting flight, unfortunately we didn't have our headsets any more, but I mean the sound didn't work anyway.


The crew
The crew on my flight ZRH-JFK (daytime flight) was the best crew I had ever had. On the return flight JFK-ZRH (night flight), the crew was friendly as well, but you could somehow feel that they were looking forward to get back home, or at least they would have preferred to sleep this night, I think - but I can understand that. They tried not to show too much that they didn't like this night flight, and they were all still very friendly.


The routing
The routing was exactly the same as on the flight ZRH-JFK: Gulf of Maine, Newfoundland, North Atlantic, passed south of Ireland, over Jersey and Alderney, then France, Paris, Basle, Zurich. ZRH-JFK I was sitting on 40J (window seat on the right), JFK-ZRH I was sitting on 38A (window seat on the left), so I had exactly the same view, including a great view of Jersey, Land's End, the city of Paris and the city of Basle. Flight Level was at first 37,000ft, later 40,000ft.

Somewhere over the North Atlantic, we suddenly turned right and climbed a few 100 feet. A minute later, I could see a United Airlines B767 on the left-hand side below us. The 767 was flying much faster, so obviously our A330 had to clear the main airway in order to let the 767 pass. Then we turned left again. I had to smile and thought of my old motto "If it ain't Boeing, I'm not going!", okay so the B767 is faster than the A330, but the A330 is a great aircraft as well.


The meals
Half an hour after take-off, they served some crackers and a beverage, I had an apple juice. For dinner, they offered a choice between pasta and chicken, I decided to take the pasta and ordered in German: "Könnt ich bitte die Nudeln haben", the flight attendant (who's native language was German) didn't understand and asked "Sorry?", I said "Ich hätte gern die Nudeln, bitte.", he said (in English) "Sorry, sir, but I still didn't understand", I said (in English) "I'd like to have the pasta, please", now he realized that I was a German passenger and apologized in German. In fact there were so few passengers on this flight who spoke German, he was obviously surprised that anybody ordered his meal in German.
The pasta was Tortellini with tomato sauce, it tasted great! But I had to use the salt and pepper, in fact this was the first time that I actually used the salt and pepper on the flight, I normally take it home as a souvenir. In addition to that, there was salad with a Vinegraite sauce, a roll, butter, cheese and a cheesecake. It all tasted delicious.
During the whole flight, they came through the aisle with water bottles, but not as often as on the flight ZRH-JFK, this time only about every 30 minutes, but this was still enough because most passengers were sleeping anyway.
90 minutes before landing, they served breakfast: croissants and rolls, butter, jam, strawberry yoghurt and an orange juice. Due to compression in 40000ft, nearly everybody (including me) made a mess with the yoghurt onto his/her shirt.

Ten minutes before landing, they showed the gate numbers of all connecting flights on the PTV screens. And these were many connecting flights, did anybody stay at ZRH at all?

We landed at 07:35 and arrived at our parking position (A67) at 07:42. When leaving the plane, I thanked the crew for their service. The way to passport control was short, again no queue at all, I went through the customs and then left the terminal building - it was 08:00 and my flight to STR would leave at 09:40, enough time to go to the Operations building and ask for a SWISS neckcord, then I went to the viewing area. At 09:00 I left to the gate.

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ZRH-STR
LX1176 (in codeshare with AA6252)
24 June 2003
STD: 09:40 ATD: 09:55
STA: 10:20 ATA: 10:37
Runway ZRH: 16
Runway STR: 25
ERJ 145
HB-JAG
Delivered to Crossair: September 2000

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Gate number was A54, do you know those A5x gates at ZRH? They are very cramped, each gate was in use, and at every gate there were only about 8 seats, so most passengers had to stand. Up to now, I only had a stand-by boarding pass (which I got at JFK), I asked the very friendly gate agent for a seat and got 8A, that's a single seat in front of the wing, very good. At gate A53 (Munich) they made passport controls for every passenger, with "Document ok" stamps just like for flight to the US, which took a lot of time. At gate A55 (Oslo) the flight was overbooked, they searched for voluntary passengers to re-book to the afternoon flight, they offered 200 US$. All in all waiting in this crowded and busy gate area was a little uncomfortable, the best thing I could do was to take a newspaper (Blick) and sit down on the floor.

Boarding started at 09:20, unlike the Munich-flight we didn't have to show our passports again. There were 29 passengers on this flight (C10 Y19) who had 20 bags checked in with a total weight of 370kg. In addition to that, there were 65kg of cargo loaded. The aircraft was HB-JAG which had arrived from CPH at 09:00. Boarding was completed at 09:35, and we were bussed to the aircraft.
I took my seat, doors were closed, and at 09:55 we started rolling towards runway 16. I fell asleep, but woke up when they switched off and on the fasten-seatbelt-signs before take-off (*Bing*-*Bing*).
After take-off, we made a 180° turn to the left, so I had a great view over ZRH. A few minutes later, we passed the Lake Constance, with Konstanz, the Isle of Mainau, and then we flew directly over the airport of Friedrichshafen. Then it became cloudy. Cabin service began, but was interrupted after having completed service in Business Class, because we were flying straight through a thunderstorm. About five minutes later, we already started our descent into STR, where we landed at 10:32. Parking position was 41, I said goodbye to the crew, we were bussed to the terminal building where passport and customs control went very quickly again. Then I took the train back home. The end of a short but great trip to NYC.

I have to say that I really loved the service on Swiss! Everybody was very friendly, the crews were great (especially on my outbound flight ZRH-JFK, but also on the return flight), great inflight entertainment, delicious meals... Really pleasant flights I had! I didn't like the cramped gate area at ZRH, but this will change soon I guess, as soon as they open the new terminal building. But all in all a really great experience to fly Swiss on longhaul.

So this was my report about my return flight, I hope you enjoyed reading it, comments, corrections, additional remarks, ... are welcome.

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGodbless From Sweden, joined Apr 2000, 2753 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4416 times:

GRAA Smokin cool

Really good work done here, how did you get all those facts about the flights and how on earth did you remember them all?

Too bad I was in VCE and HAJ at that time, I would have loved to go to NYC aswell.... Well I'll probably get the chance yet later in my life.

Max


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4349 times:


Nice strategy, writing a report each way. Doubles the replies Big grin . Seems like the four of us communicate more via trip reports than via eMail  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

200 USD as Denied Boarding Compensation for a transatlantic flight? What a joke... Tough look for the passenger neither Norway nor the US are EU members.

Daniel Smile


User currently offlineDALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 25
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4264 times:

once again , a VERY interessting report!!! i am impressed with the facts
about the loading and so on.

take care markus



They loved to fly and it showed..
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4209 times:

An excellent second part to an already very good first report! Thank you for an interesting reading!

Concerning the "change of aircraft" at JFK, IMO it is quite logical that SWISS is rotating its A330's on the GVA route through JFK. This way they don't have to ferry it on an unprofitable short domestic hop between ZRH and GVA when the aircraft is due for maintenance.



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2901 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4175 times:

Thanks for your replies, guys!

200 USD as Denied Boarding Compensation for a transatlantic flight? What a joke...
Nonono, not a transatlantic flight, but for ZRH-OSL. The overbooked flight left at 09:45, and they offered to re-book you to the 15:30 flight. 200$ for six hours spotting at ZRH, a great deal, I'm sure you agree. The passengers thought so as well (well, maybe they didn't spend those six hours with spotting...), so there were more volunteers than they needed.

Concerning the "change of aircraft" at JFK, IMO it is quite logical that SWISS is rotating its A330's on the GVA route through JFK
You're right, at least Swiss always has the possibility to rotate their aircraft at JFK, both flights arrive at JFK and leave from JFK at nearly the same time. However, I have heard that Swiss will use the MD-11 for several flights ZRH-JFK-ZRH (and ZRH-EWR-ZRH as well, btw) during July, so they do not necessarily have to rotate the aircraft every day at JFK.

One thing I forgot to mention: All Swiss aircraft carry names of mountains - although the name is not written on the aircraft. HB-IQP is "Lagginhorn" (4010m), HB-JAG is "Furkahorn" (3169m).


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4156 times:

Hi Alex,

excellent second part of your trip report, I enjoyed reading as always. I really like the facts about the passenger and cargo load, very interesting. The joke with the gun was also not bad.

Seems that you had also an unpleasant seat neighbor, I had a medicine student from Tunisia next to me on my flight back to CDG, he was very friendly but in front of us where two older women from Hungary, one of them was butt ugly and they reclined their seats during the whole flight, it was annoying, we went to the self service bar after one hour flying time because it was impossible to sit comfortable.

I enjoyed the weekend in New York very much and I am looking forward to meet you again in London on July 12!

Patrick


User currently offlineAirsicknessbag From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 4723 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4104 times:

>>>Nonono, not a transatlantic flight, but for ZRH-OSL. The overbooked flight left at 09:45, and they offered to re-book you to the 15:30 flight. 200$ for six hours spotting at ZRH, a great deal, I'm sure you agree. The passengers thought so as well (well, maybe they didn't spend those six hours with spotting...), so there were more volunteers than they needed.

Ah OK, I had thought we were talking about JFK-OSL.

When I was on an overbooked flight FRA-BIO, three volunteers were needed. Me, another person and a couple volunteered, in that order. It was a very funny situation, with neither me nor the other single budging and the crew gettinmg really nervous about missing their slot. In the end, the plane left with an empty seat, all four got their 600 DM vouchers and I got my only ride on a 737-200, my only ride on Sabena, my only flight to BRU. Not bad at all for four hours delay.

>>>in front of us where two older women from Hungary, one of them was butt ugly and they reclined their seats during the whole flight, it was annoying, we went to the self service bar after one hour flying time because it was impossible to sit comfortable.

Good luck when you´re sitting behind me, my seat is always fully reclined, except during the meals.
A self service bar? What a great idea, I´d love that on long hauls!!! I´m afraid SQ don´t offer that, do they?

>>>I am looking forward to meet you again in London on July 12!

You´re flying again? Tsk, tsk, tell me more!

Daniel Smile




User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 4096 times:

Good luck when you´re sitting behind me, my seat is always fully reclined, except during the meals.

At least you bring it in an upright position during the meals, those two ladies had it reclined from boarding until disembark (except for take off and landing because the F/A`s told them to bring it in an upright position). In my opinion should all airlines ban adjustable seats in Economy Class, especially on planes which are flying on short routes only, I saw very often that some idiots reclined their seats on a 30 minutes flight from DUS to FRA, I always ask them if it is possible to bring their seat back in an upright position because we are not on a flight to Buenos Aires. Now you know why I always prefer the bulkhead row.

A self service bar? What a great idea, I´d love that on long hauls!!! I´m afraid SQ don´t offer that, do they?

These self service bars on AF long haul flights are very nice, you get soft drinks and snacks like peanuts or pretzels there, for alcoholic drinks you have to ask the F/A`s but no problem because the bars are located next to the galley and at least one F/A is always there. I like it to stay there for a while to have a drink and a chat with some other passengers. I don`t know if SQ also offers self service bars.

You´re flying again? Tsk, tsk, tell me more!

There is a quite big a.net meeting on July 12 at LHR. I found a cheap flight on LH and a "cheap" room in the famous Renaissance hotel with a perfect view on the runways. I couldn`t resist to book.

Patrick


User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4076 times:

Ahhh... those morons reclining their seats on short domestic or continental flights! One of my pet hates. IMO airlines should configur their short- and medium haul aircraft with non-reclinable seats, this would save both passengers and crews a lot of fuss. And it would probably also be beneficial because the seat construction is less complicated and therefore doesn't have to be repaired as frequently.


Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineNdebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2901 posts, RR: 23
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4066 times:

I saw very often that some idiots reclined their seats on a 30 minutes flight from DUS to FRA, I always ask them if it is possible to bring their seat back in an upright position because we are not on a flight to Buenos Aires.
Some people are simply too far from reality  Big grin


User currently offlineContact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4005 times:

Hi Ndebele,

congratulations also to your return report (part two)!!

Due to compression in 40000ft, nearly everybody (including me) made a mess with the yoghurt onto his/her shirt.

I remember the same phenomenon on two flights I did with DE last year. I wonder why they always serve yoghurt in these packages in the air. Wouldn't there be an other possibility to serve yoghurt? (Maybe in a dish without top)?


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