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EWR-CPH-GVA-VIE-BKK-SYD With Star Alliance  
User currently offlineHZ747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 2134 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 10 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5817 times:
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Here is a summary of the trip:

SAS, EWR to CPH, A-330, 16-Jul-05
SAS, CPH to GVA, MD-87, 17-Jul-05

Austrian, GVA to VIE, CRJ, 20-Jul-05
Austrian, VIE to BKK, 763, 20-Jul-05
Thai Airways, BKK to SYD, 744, 21-Jul-05

The first flight was probably the most fun. My fiancé and I were in the last row (46), and we had to seats in the middle of the three. The back of the right hand side of the plane was used for crew rest. The best part for me was the ability to watch the camera views from the seat. The meal was fine, and then I passed out. It is worth mentioning that the service in steerage was outstanding--especially, the older lady who was extremely grandmotherly in her manner.

I remember waking up to lots of turbulence during the flight to Copenhagen, but generally being able to sleep. Once on the ground, clearing immigration was a snap and what a beautiful airport CPH is. However, we only had an hour to get to our flight to Geneva.

Not nearly as nice, the interior even smelled old, and only a pay service on the flight. Fortunately, it was short enough that it was not an issue.

Once on the ground in GVA, and after a two mile walk to the main terminal, we cleared immigration and customs without issue and were quickly on our way to the Hotel Edelweiss. Which is very nice, by the way, designed like a Swiss chalet.

After my training at the Geneva office for my company, we spent the day Wednesday morning and early afternoon playing around town before heading back to the airport. There was officially no one in front of us at the Swissport check-in for Austrian/Lufthansa so that was great.

However, we were traveling coach to Vienna, then business class from VIE to SYD (Austrian to BKK, then Thai to SYD). Since we were moving to Australia, we had 2 full suitcases with us, there was a slight pause and the check in gal made a phone call before she checked us in without a baggage surcharge. She was able to check our bags all the way to SYD even though each segment (GVA to VIE, VIE to BKK, BKK to SYD) was booked individually. God bless alliances I say!

While at the pod for Austrian (operated by Tyrolean), I snapped some photos of the flyBaboo DH-8 before the cleaning man said that the police would smash my camera. Since it is a nice one, I decided to stop, and instead blow my final CHF on a Coca-Cola Light. Where I saw a policeman with his head buried in a newspaper enjoying a coffee.

Once on the flight to VIE, it was another pay-as-you-go flight for service, but I was hungry so I ordered the ham & cheese sandwich. Not bad actually, and this flight seemed longer than I thought it should be, but before you knew it we were getting ready to land in a pasture, and viola, a runway appeared. We taxied to the parking stands and were whisked away by bus to the terminal.

It took a while, but we cleared immigration in VIE, and found our way to real food. Sadly, we learned that all the good stores close in the evening at the Vienna airport, which really limited what we could do. It is not nearly as beautiful as the CPH airport, which has us sad that while we were at a great airport we had no time. Now we had five hours, and the airport is nearly closed.

We were supposed to check-in again at VIE, which we did, and since we were business class, we had access to the Austrian business lounge. Too late for any real service, but we did have lots of finger foods, water, alcohol, and Coca-Cola Light. Free Austrian chocolate though and quite frankly, that’s a treat.

When it was boarding time, we made our way down to the gate, where they had two lines to enter the boarding area, one for steerage and one for people in business, gold star alliance, etc… We sauntered up to the business line, but a stern Austrian hostess in the trademark red stockings shooed us back to the end of the steerage line.

Had to mingle with the classes for a little while, before boarding began and we were soon in our seats in row 2. Service was as expected, outstanding. The food was outrageously good, especially the chocolate cake which was warmed, but the chocolate syrup was chilled. The IFE was okay, but clearly the plane is an older 763. I was able to sleep for about six of the ten hours and peered out the window as we landed in Bangkok. Once there we made our way to the Lufthansa/Austrian lounge, which was just sorry. As nice as the staff was, there was just no way to make up for the condition of the lounge.

Since we were Thai Air business class to Sydney, we moved ourselves over to the Thai Business lounge closest to gate 15. Wow! Immaculate and beautiful with service to match, they even assisted me with my Australian visa which was not yet resolved. Once that was cleared up, they gave us our boarding passes and we had about an hour before boarding. So we left and went to the massage store and each took a 15 minute massage before boarding.

The flight was really nice, and by that time sheer exhaustion had set in and we were running on fumes—I could feel the strain on my body as we made our way up to the second deck. The service was great, and the food was great, and the flight was smooth right up until landing in Sydney. These Thai 744 seats were better than the Austrian 763 seats for business class anyways. I was only able to sleep for a few hours on this flight and was really feeling it when we had landed in Sydney.

The customs in Sydney is quite the process even if you have nothing to declare. Once cleared we were looking for an ATM and a bag fell off the cart, my fiancé snapped at me for bad stacking to which a older lady sitting down said, you too have clearly been traveling together too long. She was right, it was near hour 30 at that point since entering the Geneva airport.

All-in-all, the flights were good. The trip was looooong. There may have been more direct ways, but I was looking to save my employer money since they were willing to pay for both of us to fly business class.


A couple of notes:

• I was disappointed that the Swiss did not stamp my passport. I pride myself on stamps in my passport and worse on the way out of Geneva, he looked down at my fiancé reaching out with our passports and just waved us through before she could set them on the counter.
• On the Austrian flight from VIE to BKK an older gentleman took a picture of the business class cabin during the flight (during sleepy time) while the lights were dim. It may end up on Airliners.Net was my first thought!

Keep on truckin'...
6 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineCV990A From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 1479 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 5481 times:

Nice report- I lived in Geneva for a few months several years ago and loved it. As for the passport stamp- the way it was explained to me is that they don't stamp, as it could be a violation of your banking privacy- a way to avoid questions like "What were you doing in Switzerland?" upon arriving home after visiting your numbered account in Zurich. Hopefully I'm close on this, but if not, I'm sure one of the Swiss members here will correct me. Good luck in Australia.

Kittens Give Morbo Gas
User currently offlineCambrian From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 620 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 5405 times:

Nice report!

Sounds like a tiring trip.
I was leaving ZRH last week with my mother and she asked the immigration officer to stamp her passport- she was only too happy to oblige and was so friendly. Maybe next time you could just ask for a stamp.

Quoting HZ747300 (Thread starter):
re getting ready to land in a pasture, and viola, a runway appeared

I know that the hills are alive with the sound of music in Austria, but I am rather concerned at musical instruments being left on the runway! LOL!  Smile

User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5601 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5191 times:

Quoting CV990A (Reply 1):
Nice report- I lived in Geneva for a few months several years ago and loved it. As for the passport stamp- the way it was explained to me is that they don't stamp, as it could be a violation of your banking privacy- a way to avoid questions like "What were you doing in Switzerland?"

I don't think that it has to do with the so called banking privacy. Actually there are many fairy tales about it. The only thing is that the Swiss banks may not give information unless a crime is suspected. BTW the banking privacy in UK and Luxemburg is the same or even stronger. I think our immigration officer usually don't stamp because there is no reason for it. You should have asked for a stamp.

User currently offlineTeahan From Ireland, joined Nov 1999, 5446 posts, RR: 58
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5050 times:

Nice report.

Quoting HZ747300 (Thread starter):
I snapped some photos of the flyBaboo DH-8 before the cleaning man said that the police would smash my camera.

The cleaner was talking trash, the GVA airport police are decent to spotters and photographers.

Goodbye SR-LX MD-11 / 6th of March 1991 to the 31st of October 2004
User currently offlineNYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1388 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4979 times:

Great report! How long are you in Australia? Two suitcases doesn't sound like much for two people moving halfway around the world!

The trip sounds tiring for sure, but I got jealous reading about those Star Alliance business class lounges. It is my dream to sit upstairs on a 747. Hopefully that dream will come true before 747s are fully retired.

User currently offlineHZ747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 2134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4937 times:
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NYCFlyer, I'm on an open-ended work visa, but realistically we'll be here 18-24 months.

Cambrian & ZRH, I thought about asking, but the immigrations officer was engrossed in a conversation with his co-worker. I did not ask on the way because last in Frankfurt, they waved us in after inspecting the passport, but stamped it on our exit.

Teahan, it was a new Nikon 8800 so I did not want to risk it. You can never tell, nowadays--better safe than sorry, I say. Probably goes back to when I was little, and I watched the Saudi police smash cameras and film when our friends were taking pictures of the ancient city of Uhkdud (spelling--it's just outside of Nejran) without permission from the Department of Antiquities.

Keep on truckin'...
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