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Swiss LX, American AA, ZRH Business C-Class W/Pix  
User currently offlineJyatlantic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 12783 times:

Thank you for arriving at the inauguration trip report of a flight that took place nearly eight months ago. Please feel free to leave feedback after you finish reading it, as this is my first trip report and first real attempt at diving into the airliners.net community. I welcome you to sit back, relax, and enjoy.

I was psyched about this winter trip to Switzerland, as it would be my first flight in domestic first and international business class (yup, my parents finally allow me to travel up front after more than a decade of torture), first flight on a wide body Airbus, and my first visit to Europe in more than six years.

Flight 1:

Date: 24 December 2004
Route: SFO-ORD
Flight: AA 1548
Equipment: B738
Departure Time: 6:00
Arrival Time: 12:06
Duration: 4:06 hrs
Seat: 5F

Load: 100%-overbooked

Upon arriving at the American Airlines terminal at SFO an hour before scheduled takeoff, my family and eased our way to the first class desk, expecting our luggage to be expediently checked in and our boarding passes handed to us. However, the agent seemed to have trouble with the computer or our tickets and hence made numerous calls to his colleagues, but to no avail. He ended up toying around with the computer and after approximately 20 minutes, was finally able to check us in, without speaking a word to us other than requesting our passports. We had obstructed one of only two first class check in desks for a third of an hour, so the line had grown considerably long on this busy morning of Christmas eve.

By the time we arrived at the gate, all other first class passengers had made their way on board, but the gate agent had not yet cleared boarding for the main cabin. We then boarded and occupied our seats. My seat, 5F, was a window located in the third row. Drinks were served during main cabin boarding and I had orange juice. Main cabin boarding was rather slow as the cabin was overbooked and five people volunteered to disembark the plane for a later flight and receive AA credit. One woman was also escorted to the main cabin by a F/A after a man reprimanded her for occupying his first class seat.

Our plane finally pushed back and was one of the first flights out of the bay area on this dark morning. As I watched the spectacular sunrise outside my window, our first class flight attendant prepared our tablecloths and began taking orders for breakfast. I forgot the two choices, but I ordered an Egg Quesadilla and received my breakfast twenty minutes after those passengers in the first two rows. A good breakfast indeed, as it also consisted of a bagel and fruit. On an aside note, AA still had coach food when I took this flight; its contents were located in paper bags piled up in a large bin right outside the aircraft door, where passengers could take one each.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00011.jpg

The flight was pretty uneventful and felt longer than four hours. I declined to watch the movie and slept instead. We arrived in Chicago, where many in my family dreaded the five hour layover. Heh, I now got to explore one of the busiest airports in the world.

Ground Staff Grade: C, check in guy lousy, no communication, but boarding agent was exceptionally courteous

Flight GPA: 3.78
Breakdown:
Seat: A, really nice modern Domestic First seat, 21’’ wide with 40’’ pitch
Aircraft Cleanliness: A, modern plane
Flight Crew & Service: A-, service a bit slow, but nice attitude from our F/A
Food: A-, decent
IFE: A, up to standards on domestic four hour flight
On Time: B+


Flight 2:

Date: 24 December 2004
Route: ORD-ZRH
Flight: LX 9
Equipment: A330
Departure Time: 17:05
Arrival Time: 8:35
Duration: 8:30 hrs
Seat: 10A

Load in Business: 20%

My family lingered in the Swiss Business lounge for the next six hours, as our plane was about an hour late from ZRH. After exploring the airport, checking up on registration numbers and calling my friend back home to look these exact a/c up on airliners.net for our entertainment, I thirstily made my way to the lounge and had a pleasant glass of ice water. A few moments later I saw my elegant Swiss plane taxi into the gate, excited about my first transatlantic flight in years. Though the agent promised to inform us when boarding was ready, we saw through the lounge windows that coach class boarding had already commenced and her presence was unfound. Literally everyone in the lounge rushed to the gate in a frenzy, as if the Scream Killer made a special Christmas Eve visit to the ORD Swiss Business lounge. Of course, I joined the fun.

I waited for my slow family to finally arrive at the gate and we boarded through the First/Business section of the gangway. When the F/A viewed our boarding passes, she said “those are very nice seats, here they are,” are directed us to the old-style Business seats which would be our dwelling for the night. On the seats were a pillow, a blanket, and a nice amenity kit. I recognized the man seated behind me from the AA flight; I later learned he was flying all the way to India! Leg room was plentiful; for the first time in my life I could stretch out my legs and barely touch the seat in front of me. The load was extremely light this Christmas Eve evening, and the doors were quickly closed and we were soon in the air after a short roll.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Christian Galliker
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Christian Galliker



Table cloths were soon laid out and dinner service began. After we finished our appetizers, a F/A informed us that in addition to the courses listed on the menu, tonight there would be a special Christmas turkey entrée. My mom ordered that, but I chose to stick with the conventional veal medallions. I also ordered the grilled shrimp for the first course and fruit & chocolate cake for dessert.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00016.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00018.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00019.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00020.jpg

Service was absolutely phenomenal this evening. My parents claim it was the best they have ever experienced. My mom was offered three servings of the tomato bisque; I tried it and it tasted excellent.

During and after dinner, I enjoyed the moving map on the PTV. None of the movies tonight interested me as I saw them all before. Cabin lights were dimmed, and passengers went to sleep, looking forward to waking up on Christmas day. One thing I found interesting was that as I returned from the lavatory after brushing my teeth, I saw a couple sleeping in the last row who were not seated there during dinner service. They also didn’t have blankets, so I suspect they snuck in from the main cabin.

I had trouble sleeping, as the seat did not recline fully flat, but I guess I managed to log about an hour. By the time I regained consciousness the cabin lights were on and F/As were beginning to serve breakfast. Again, the fruits, breads, and yoghurt were of excellent quality. My nice breakfast was accompanied again by a spectacular sunrise over the North Atlantic!

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00021.jpg

Our decent into Zurich was standard, but then we had to circle around the area for about 20 minutes before landing because of air traffic. This delayed our flight even more and we were sure we missed our train on the ground. No problem, we could always take the next one.

The touchdown was extremely smooth, the taxi efficient, and after a farewell and Merry Christmas from the flight crew, we were on our way to Interlaken.

Ground Staff Grade: B; failed to uphold promise of informing us when boarding commenced

Flight GPA: 3.72—a superb flight, only hindered by delay,

Breakdown:
Seat: B+, old electronic Swiss seat, wide but not much decline
Aircraft Cleanliness: A+, modern plane, very clean lavatories
Flight Crew & Service: A+, exceptional
Food: A+, one of the best in business class
IFE: A-, up to par
On Time: C+, very delayed, missed our train

Flight 3:

Date: 1 January 2005
Route: ZRH-DFW
Flight: AA 37
Equipment: B736
Departure Time: 10:10
Arrival Time: 2:45
Duration: 11:35 hrs
Seat: 4J

Load in Business: 75%
After a very eventful New Year/New Year’s Eve, we made our way to ZRH on January 1st and checked in to a very strict procedure. We were questioned, along with other passengers, for about five minutes and then made our way to the business class check in desks.

The terminal was quite crowded this Saturday, and we were the first on the plane after priority boarding. Taking our seats, mine being 4J, third row window again, we found a pillow, blanket, and amenity kit located on them and menu in the front pocket.

The legroom was phenomenal!!! 62 inches; not even the tall fellow seated in front of me could reach the first row with his legs extended. The seat also reclined to a very generous 160 degrees, much more than the old Swiss ones. The only downside was the width of the seat; a measly 18.5 inches.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Timothy Hannan



The F/As served pre-departure drinks and we were soon on our way back to the states.

After takeoff, personal DVD players were handed out along with an album of movies; I popped in the Planet of the Apes DVD for my viewing pleasure.

The highlight of the flight would have to be the lunch service. I was looking forward to experiencing AA’s first/business class hybrid, referred to as Flagship Service , and I new everything would be enhanced. My expectations were met with delicious food and professional service, though I was bummed about the plastic utensils. After an appetizer of fresh vegetables & cucumber dressing and warm nuts, I chose to have the seafood appetizer, salad, and Filet Mignon. I must say, not complaints except that the beef was a bit overcooked; no problem though, mad cow can get me later.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00138.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00140.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00141.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00143.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00144.jpg


I regret having ordered the ice-cream sundae for desert; I felt sick at the end of the service and began to feel heavy and drowsy. That’s where the nicely reclining seats came into use. I alternated between sleeping and watching movies for the next nine hours of the dimmed cabin. The Evian water bottle that was handed out after meal service definitely came in handy.

An afternoon meal was served about two hours before landing, consisting of various cheeses for an appetizer, a creamy tomato soup, a choice between chicken pizza and a turkey sandwich, and fresh fruit with cookies. I chose to taste the soup and the pizza, and much to my dismay, the creamy soup worsened my eight hour headache and the alternative pizza pushed my stomach overboard. I made my way to the lavatory, where I urged myself to not vomit (the last time this happened was on a short flight to LAS in early ‘97; nervousness and major turbulence were the contributing factors). The wind shear on approach to DFW did not help my situation; scenes from The Exorcist that for some reason kept flashing in my mind fueled the gradual flow of digested food up my…ok w/e, I didn’t barf but I still felt mad sick…

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00146.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00147.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00148.jpg

We experienced quite a bit of turbulent on our approach into DFW, but landed safely without incident.

Ground Staff Grade: A; nice

Flight GPA: 3.67—good experience


Breakdown:
Seat: A-, very good recline, but too narrow
Aircraft Cleanliness: A-, satisfactory, plane a bit old
Flight Crew & Service: A, very professional
Food: B+, main lunch excellent but afternoon meal repulsive
IFE: A-, no PTV, personal DVD player quite inconvenient when dining
On Time: A-, slightly delayed

Flight 4:

Date: 1 January 2005
Route: DFW-SFO
Flight: AA 327
Equipment: B736
Departure Time: 16:16
Arrival Time: 18:03
Duration: 3:47 hrs
Seat: 4J

Load: 100%

After clearing customs and immigration, we made our way to the gate for the last flight of the trip. My condition worsened by this time and I felt so nauseous that I chose to stay and lie down at the gate rather walk the extra hundred yards to the elegance of the Admirals club.

Somehow I managed to board the plane, another 763, on my own, and took my seat 4J, where I immediately reclined and fell asleep. I was awakened for takeoff and then requested an ice bag for my sizzling forehead. One of the F/A this evening had a pretty cheesy but cute looking “Happy New Year” headband on her head, and she promptly handed me the ice after I provided her with the bag.

Meal service followed the conventional AA FEBO practice, and since I was seated in the middle of the cabin, I received my first choice, a chicken plate with rice. Accompanying this course were warm nuts and a salad, but I don’t remember finishing it as I really felt dead—desert was out of question. I slept through the three hours and by the time I awoke, night had fallen and we were on approach into SFO. The captain informed us that a parallel landing would be taking place and this was a normal procedure for this airport. We touched down with a thump, taxied to the gate, and doors were then disarmed, concluding my superb Swiss vacation.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00149.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00150.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/DVC00151.jpg

Ground Staff Grade: A; nice

Flight GPA: 3.61

Breakdown:
Seat: A-, very good recline, but too narrow
Aircraft Cleanliness: A-, satisfactory, plane a bit old
Flight Crew & Service: A-, decent
Food: B+, rubber chicken, but satisfactory for three hour flight
IFE: A-, satisfactory for three hour flight
On Time: A-, slightly delayed

Final Overview:

First three flights were awesome, final flight was tolerable. It’s a shame I got sick at the end. The Swiss trip was RAD!!! I got to ski, snowboard, visit cousins and relatives in Geneva, wow. Finally, writing this trip report was a blast; it took a lot of effort but was well worth it.

Upcoming reviews:

Stay tuned for June/July 2005 BA Economy class review of my summer camp, and then August 2005 LH Business class family trip to Italy.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJyatlantic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 12728 times:

Somehow I can't edit this trip report, even though 30 mins have not passed. I've spotted some things that need to be changed but oh well...Still hope you guys enjoy it.

User currently offlinePpostro From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 12710 times:

Awesome report dude and great pics! LX is a great carrier and I am glad you enjoyed your visit to Swizterland, my home country, I was born in Zurich. I flew LX domestic last summer, ZRH-LHR in J Class and even on the short flight I could see the LX difference to service quality when compared with LH on the same distant in intra-europe . What did you think of AA service on the ground at DFW? Great report, keep them coming!


The über airline nerd
User currently offlineJyatlantic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 12704 times:

Quoting Ppostro (Reply 2):
Awesome report dude

thanks man

Quoting Ppostro (Reply 2):
I could see the LX difference to service quality when compared with LH on the same distant in intra-europe

Definitely . the august 2005 LH transatlantic business flight i took was not as good as LX.

Quoting Ppostro (Reply 2):
What did you think of AA service on the ground at DFW?

I don't remember lol i was feeling really sick...i do remember the customs official giving me some tissues after a sudden bloody nose, but thats not AA. Yes, the transfer at DFW was miserable for me.

Quoting Ppostro (Reply 2):
Great report, keep them coming!

You bet.

[Edited 2005-09-23 09:49:52]

User currently offlineLX001 From Austria, joined Jun 2004, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 months 22 hours ago) and read 12525 times:

Nice Report. Swiss I great! I love watching meals-pic´s...
Bruno


User currently offlineLu From China, joined Aug 1999, 175 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 22 hours ago) and read 12495 times:

Hi, Dude. I have to leave for now because my stomach is calling me ,Emergency,hungry.

User currently offlineAirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4518 posts, RR: 53
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 18 hours ago) and read 12324 times:

Very good report and excellent pictures, esp of the food.

So if you had the choice would you have come back the same way, with LX to ORD and AA to SFO or were you happy to fly on AA internationally?

Incidentally, I didn't know that AA had 736s and at that, that they could fly ZRH-DFW!  Wink (I'm guessing that is one of the things you wanted to change, hehe)



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineJyatlantic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 16 hours ago) and read 12265 times:

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 6):
So if you had the choice would you have come back the same way, with LX to ORD and AA to SFO or were you happy to fly on AA internationally?

I wanted to try AA internationally, and was not disappointed. But, I would take LX from now on.

Quoting AirxLiban (Reply 6):
Incidentally, I didn't know that AA had 736s and at that, that they could fly ZRH-DFW!

Lol, just the consequences of writing past midnight!


User currently offlineN751PR From Japan, joined May 2002, 1249 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 8 hours ago) and read 12051 times:

Great for a first report! Hope to hear more from you in the future!  bigthumbsup 


"Ladies and Gentlemen it's happy hour. You will get two approaches for the price of one."
User currently offlineTsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 4 hours ago) and read 11981 times:

that food looks soooooooo good!
great report! its a small world when u work at an airport. i work in t5 at ord and was off on christmas eve. glad you had a nice time.


User currently offlineEddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7633 posts, RR: 42
Reply 10, posted (9 years 2 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 11615 times:

James, that was a great trip report. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I had already read some great things about LX and now, with your report, I am really looking forward to an opportunity to try LX!

I also look forward to your other promised trip reports.



Next flights: MEX-GRU (AM 77E), GRU-GIG (JJ A320), SDU-CGH (G3 73H), GRU-MEX (JJ A332).
User currently onlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5569 posts, RR: 36
Reply 11, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 11238 times:

I absolutly agree that Swiss business service is great. In the old business class (you experienced) seats are ok but not excellent because of the lacking recline. In the new business class in the A 343 there are angled lie flat seats, they are really good, I slept very well.

User currently offlineLACA773 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 4064 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 10987 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great trip report. Very thorough and you know you're stuff. I was happy that you had a good experience with AA as mine have not been any better than mediocre at best.

I look forward to reading your other trip reports.

LACA773


User currently offlineJyatlantic From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10234 times:

Hey everyone. Here are the menus from the international flights that I finally scanned and uploaded!


Swiss Menu




http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/swissbusiness3.jpg


AA Menu


http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/aa1.jpg


I<br />
<p><br />
<a href=http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b17/jyatlantic/aa3.jpg


User currently offlineGVWOW From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 168 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (9 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9968 times:

SWISS is a great airline. The food is great, the cabin crews are great, the seats are great, and the planes are great. I flew BOS-ZRH and ZRH-BOS and both flights where on time and well managed. The flight attendants, although they seem brisk and almost unpleasant, where actually immensely helpful and skilled. I also had the privilege of flying on their last MD-11, which was a wonderful experience. It was silky smooth, cool, quiet, and was overall a beautiful airplane.
That was a great report by the way!  Wink


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