Mikebg From Israel, joined Jan 2005, 68 posts, RR: 0 Posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7434 times:
HKG-TLV LY 076 Monday 13th November (20:55-03:10) First Class
No limo this time round, as we were transferring to EL AL at HKG after a Dragonair flight from Shanghai! Checkin was pretty quick, and we were informed that there would only be three passengers in First on our flight (my mother was no longer travelling with us, as she had travelled on to Perth from Shanghai).
EL AL does not have their own lounge in HKG, so we were sent to a commercial lounge (whose name I cannot remember). There was plenty of food available, but it was not kosher - EL AL had taken the trouble to point this out at the lounge, however, considering that they fly once a day from HKG one would think that some arrangement could have been made. Virgin have kosher food available in their lounge at JFK, for example!
On to the aircraft, a 777 in which EL AL has just one 2-2-2 row of First Class seats. As I have written before, the seats may not be state of the art, and they may not be 'private suites', but they do their job eminently well. We were in seats H and K. The other passenger was at the far side in A.
The usual pre-flight drinks were offered (Israeli 'Champagne style' wine, orange juice, water, and the option of a variety of cocktails which neither of us tried, but which are reputed to be very good).
Soon after takeoff we were asked if we wanted to eat now, to which we replied in the affirmative. Tables were laid and menu cards presented. Here is a transcript of the menu:
Aperitif served with
Kalamata Olives, Corn Chips and Spicy Tomato Dip
Duo of Roast Duck & Chicken Salas on a Bed of Crisp Greens
Snow-Pea and Green Bean Salad with Roasted Pumpkin Cubes
Dill-Scented Marinated Salmon
Soup of the Day
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Beef Stew with Vegetables and Sauteed Mushrooms
Stir-Fried Chicken with Szechwan Sauce
Fillet of Salmon in Teriyaki Sauce
All served with wild and basmati rice and vegetables
Lettuce and Assorted Baby Leaves
Sesame-Soy Vinaigrette or Olive Oil & Lemon
Warm Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Marquise with Red Forest Berry Ragout
Regular and Decaffeinated Coffee, Espresso, Assorted Teas
As I have written in past trip reports, EL AL are very liberal with their menu selections in First Class, and always seem to carry ample extras.
I had already decided to 'do the menu', as on many previous occasions! So off with the appetizers, all of which were quite excellent. In fact, my wife (who doesn't usually eat all that much on the plane, even in First) also had more than one starter. Someone who didn't want a hot meal could have really enjoyed just the starters. The soup, however, was a disaster. I was, I admit, rather surprised, as the soups from TLV, NYC and LHR on EL AL's First have always been good, and I was led to believe that the HKG catering was one of EL AL's better ones. What can I say? The soup was tasteless and loaded with cornflour. Never mind, on with the feast! Next we took the fresh salad, and then the main course. Of the three choices, the beef was very tasty but tough. However, the chicken (very spicy) and the salmon were both really excellent. One thing I ought to point out is that reading my trip reports may give one the feeling that EL AL's portions are small. That would be a major mistake, as they are pretty generous. However, I do have a rather large appetite (whose calorific effects I mitigate with a very serious exercise program!) and, knowing that the food on board is likely to be good, I avoid much heavy eating beforehand! By the time dessert came we only had room for one choice, so we took the Chocolate marquise, which was very good.
The wines offered were the same as on the outbound leg, so nothing new to report here, other than to say that one never tires of really good wines!
Next we had our beds made, and settled down to sleep. We both slept pretty well, and next on the list was going to be breakfast! Nothing to add here, as it was pretty much the same as the outgoing journey.
At TLV we were met at the door of the aircraft and escorted to Passport Control and baggage collection. From there we were taken to the limo driver and off home, after almost a month away!
TLVFred From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2004, 156 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 7284 times:
Good to hear you again.
I am going LHR-TLV in First on 22nd and as far as LY Reservations are showing, I am the only one there. Seems strange as its almost immpossible getting F from London in January. Its only on a Monday now.
I have travelled FROM TLV in First where they escort you to the plane but never TO TLV. Didnt know they met you. Do they have a board with your name or do they just pick you up.
What else do they do?
Does it apply also on Bonus tickets (as they don't warrant the limo).
Looking forward to a culinary feast! I know you are a great fan of the LY breakfast but to me its a cop out - so looking forward to a meaty indulgence!
Shame 767 on way back but from what I hear new business seats are better than 777 - any experiences?
Mikebg From Israel, joined Jan 2005, 68 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7254 times:
Quoting TLVFred (Reply 3): I am going LHR-TLV in First on 22nd and as far as LY Reservations are showing, I am the only one there. Seems strange as its almost impossible getting F from London in January. Its only on a Monday now.
Yes, very annoying indeed. I think it's because the route is so quiet at the moment that they don't need anything bigger than a 767. I might be going to LHR that week, returning on Wednesday, and the lack of First is an irritation! I have been the only passenger on First many times from London, but it is often completely full. The capacity is very variable.
Quote: I have travelled FROM TLV in First where they escort you to the plane but never TO TLV. Didn't know they met you. Do they have a board with your name or do they just pick you up.
Any passenger in First will be met at the door by a Shalom service representative, whether or not you are entitled to limo transfer. This also applies to bonus tickets.
Quote: Looking forward to a culinary feast! I know you are a great fan of the LY breakfast but to me its a cop out - so looking forward to a meaty indulgence!
The food in First from London is excellent. I usually 'do the menu', as you will have found from my trip reports. If you make a choice and you don't like it they will give you whatever else takes your fancy. You can have everything if you want! If you like good wines, take advantage of the occasion, and get them to give you Castel 'C' (white, unoaked Chardonnay), Castel Grand Vin (full-bodied Bordeaux style red) and Heightswine with the dessert. Just ask them after takeoff to make sure the white is out of the chiller so it is not too cold, and make sure the red is not chilled. Getting them to open it in advance will help it breathe - the crews are not always 'into' wine handling, but they are very generous and obliging.
Quote: Shame 767 on way back but from what I hear new business seats are better than 777 - any experiences?
Not yet. I have heard the same. I try my best to return to TLV on a flight with First, and whenever I seem to fly out to LHR it seems to be on a 744/777.
JFK69 From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1389 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7250 times:
What a great trip report. A little upsetting that LY dosen't provide kosher food in the lounges that aren't theirs.
How was the kosher tour itself. My wife and I have been pondering them but I am really curious to know how the food on the tour is. I know the Shanghai jewish center is really the only place for kosher....is this where the food on the trip was from?
Mikebg From Israel, joined Jan 2005, 68 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6408 times:
Quoting Semsem (Reply 12): Is Kaifeng worth it? It's not a common stop. Historically it sounds fascinating.
There's not much to see there, but we had the advantage of having Professor Xu Xin, of Nanjing University, who is probably the world's foremost authority on the Jews of China, and he had a great deal to tell us about Kaifeng (and other places). We met with local Chinese of Jewish descent in Kaifeng.
Mikebg From Israel, joined Jan 2005, 68 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 5737 times:
Quoting Tlvfred (Reply 15): I know the F lounge at LHR is like a morgue but to they take you to the plane at LHR like they do at TLV?
To be honest, I never found the F lounge at LHR like a morgue, but I guess that's because I appreciate the quiet there! They will take you to the plane on a buggy if you want, but I always prefer to walk - as a matter of principle I tend to use stairs instead of elevators as well, just my own little keep fit regimen!