AC773 From Canada, joined Nov 2005, 1730 posts, RR: 2 Posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 15789 times:
I know there are many other LX JFK-ZRH trip reports out there, but it's been a while since a new one was written, so I thought I'd do one myself. It does indeed come with pictures, but because my trusty 10D is far too bulky to be used discreetly in an aircraft, I had to use my crappy Canon A620. The quality is quite poor, hence the asterisk.
I began my trip by driving four hours north of home, but the extra trip saved me $250 on the ticket and allowed me to fly with Swiss. The drive wasn't difficult, so I didn't mind too much. After a brief tour through the unrelenting craphole that is Queens, New York; I arrived at JFK to a helpful collection of signs. Parking was easily found, and as long as you're okay schlepping your luggage for a little while, access to the check-in area via the SkyTrain (or whatever it's called) is pretty easy.
I arrived at the terminal at 2:00 PM, 30 minutes before it was supposed to open. After taking the above picture, I sat down on a surprisingly comfortable metal bench. BTW the actual Swiss check-in counter is around the left corner of where the picture was taken, but the real one wasn't really that interesting - they didn't even have any Swiss signs on the back wall! After 30 minutes of waiting, LX employees were just trickling in to the LX counter and setting up. I walked up near the entrance of the roped-off area for economy check-in, but I was told to sit back down because they wouldn't be ready until 3:30, apparently because of the early change to daylight savings time. What a poor excuse! Not very Swiss if you ask me...
The check-in itself went fine, aside from the fact that they wouldn't allow me to take my camera bag as a carry-on; I had to check it. Although I would have preferred to take it myself due to the fragility of my camera & laptop, I thought the bag would be sturdy enough to protect them in the hands of even the toughest ramp-rats. Here's a picture of it, with my iPod for comparison:
Security was a breeze, and I was soon in the (surprisingly low-rent) terminal 1.
Some of the more interesting ramp movements:
I had heard a while ago that Olympic had gone belly-up, so imagine my surprise when one of their 343s rolled into the gate!
Aside from a bar and a panini shop, there are no places to eat in Terminal 1. If anybody knows the idea behind that, please let me know. Every other airport I've ever been to has had at least 3 or 4 choices.
Please note that this is not the actual aircraft for the flight - this one was going to Geneva. The one I did fly on was tucked behind a wall with no windows, so all I could see of it was the tail.
I boarded around 6:40 PM, and with that the flight began.
The flight appeared to be almost full, and the first thing I noticed was that about 30% of those passengers were Orthodox Jews, dressed in traditional clothing.
We pushed back at 7:20, and the Captain begun by telling us about the wingspan, weight, and power of the A330. Some people find that annoying, but I love to see anyone take that much pride and enjoyment in their work. As usual at JFK there was a line for the runway, but it only took us about 20-30 minutes from pushback to takeoff.
About an hour into the flight, drinks were served, followed by dinner with a choice of beef or pasta. I completely forgot to snap a picture of my pasta dish before eating it, but it was basically a limp tricolor pasta with tomato sauce on one side and alfredo on the other. It was topped with chopped green peppers and a few rubbery mushroom slices that looked as though they'd come from a can. The whole thing was a pretty tasteless affair, but it was served with a warm bun that really wasn't bad. Oh, and on the side was a completely inedible brownie and a side salad. I apologize for not taking a picture, but I only remembered after they had collected the trays. Go to airlinemeals.net if you really need to know what it looks like.
You must be wondering what sets this meal apart with the kind of thing you'd get on Delta or American, and to be honest, I'd be hard pressed to find a difference. Compared with the decent meals and complimentary Movenpick ice cream of just a few years ago, I was rather disappointed with Swiss. That said, the meals were served with the kind of care and grace that I've yet to see on any American air carrier.
The A330s operated by Swiss have individual screens in the seatback, but they lack a full AVOD system. You can choose your entertainment from a selection of movies, TV shows, and music; but you're not in control of when it comes on. The new A340s have this feature, so I'd expect the system to be upgraded next time the 330 interiors are redone. Also, the screens suffer from miniscule size and low resolution. Pictured below, you can see for yourself.
We hit some extremely light turbulence as we came into the longitudinal domain of Greenland, but it died down in about 20 minutes. I watched "Stranger than Fiction" (bad movie, BTW) then tried to catch some sleep.
After I woke up, I turned on the flight information in the seatback screen and saw that we were at FL 380, which I assumed was our cruising altitude for the trip. We hit a bit of turbulence again as we approached the coast of Ireland, but again, it died down in about 20-30 minutes. I kept the airshow on to track our progress, and during the turbulence, we had climbed to FL 410, probably due to much lighter fuel tanks.
Breakfast was served as we crossed into France, and the drinks followed as soon as the breakfast cart was put away. This time, my marbles were immediately located and I remembered to snap a picture for you people. The only caveat to that is my camera's meter got confused and the picture came out all dark. Since I don't like to use flash in planes, I had to brighten up the picture in Photoshop.
The meal consisted of a warm Croissant, some yogurt, and a little plastic container of orange juice located in the picture under the Croissant. Although it was warm, the Croissant was understandably pretty bad - you really can't keep one for more than a few hours and expect it to maintain its texture. I don't eat yogurt so I can't comment on that, but the orange juice was just awful. I was pretty happy to see that the FAs carried a decent version in their cart, and suffice to say I wasn't surprised to see how popular it was.
The trash from Breakfast was collected, and moist hot towels were passed out. And in case you were wondering, these were real cotton towels - not any paper nonsense.
We started our descent at around 7:30 local Zurich time, and we touched down at 7:52. Yes, that's a full 28 minutes before our scheduled arrival time of 8:20! Guess it kind of makes up for the check-in crew.
After we arrived at the gate and people were leaving the plane, I asked if I could go to the flight deck to take a couple of pictures. The crew was happy to oblige. The captain was a very nice guy, and he started off with a joke. I asked for the registration as I was leaving, and probably because the cpt. had figured me for an aviation geek, he handed me the load sheet! I thanked him and I was on my way.
Well, that's a wrap! Hope you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to some ZRH spotting excitement and all the Rivella, Gipfeli, and chocolate I can handle.
P.S. - As luck would have it, my room right now gives me a nice view of the Dubendorf airbase! Too bad it's not active anymore.
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
Mir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 22567 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 15752 times:
Quoting AC773 (Thread starter): Aside from a bar and a panini shop, there are no places to eat in Terminal 1.
There are, but they are on the upper level above the security checkpoint (before going through it). The intent was for people to not go through security before it's time to go to their gate (T1 being an O&D terminal, there wouldn't be connecting passengers remaining airside), but 9/11 screwed up that kind of thinking.
Even the selection there, however, is not very good - only about three fast food options and a sit-down place. T1 is a major disappointment as far as food goes.
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
CV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 15588 times:
Very nice report and SWISS crew just like they "used to be"....I also remember ( well before those cockpit visit restrictions.... ) that way back to the 80's I asked one day to visit the cockpit, we were flying from ZRH to LIS in HB-IPD a SR A310-200, and the pilot invited me to seat in the middle seat they had between the pilot's and 1st. officer seat, we chat for around 30 minutes, I asked questions, the crew answered, we passed BELLOW" an LTE 757 and we kept talking, nice people the SR crew, and I think that crew you got identifies the way they are, nice guys and I don't think any other crew would give you that load sheet but I wouldn't be surprised to see these guys doing that!!! That's a great souvenir for you to show to your "grand-children" many years from now!
DALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 15198 times:
AC773 you have posted a great TR!!! It seems that the guys from the Flight-Deck love their jobs.
I was kinda surprised that LX is serving the same missrable breakfast as most other Airlines on the transatlantic sector do.
N864DA From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 259 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 15064 times:
Great report. I agree about the food having gone down to what you would find on US carriers. However, the service is still very good and nice to see they are still handing out the towels. I hope they are still serving the Movenpick ice cream. I don't ever remember them serving it on the redeye flights to Switzerland but always on the outbounds.
Coal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2345 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 14589 times:
Thanks for sharing. I've only flown LX twice, once in Business to Bangkok (from SIN) and the return in Economy. I thought the Business experience is not worth the money (albeit I got a great deal!), but the Economy was OK. Are the seats in the 330 also in that kind of tan color with brown checkered lines? I really like their seats, especially the fabric.
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2904 posts, RR: 21
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 14497 times:
Hi AC and thanks for posting this report. Though I didn't fly LX any more since they went to LH, it's nice to see that their product is apparently still quite good. Good old HB-IQP, I flew it on the same route four years ago, and again ZRH-GVA last year. The thing with the loadsheet was very nice, though...
Quoting CV990 (Reply 3): That's a great souvenir for you to show to your "grand-children" many years from now!
...it's printed on thermal paper, so the printing will disappear after a few years, I guess. Better make a copy of it if you want to keep it as a souvenir.
Fca767 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 1786 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 14482 times:
Great Report. It's nice to see a load sheet. Whenever i fly as a pax i like to know everything that is going on in terms of weights and fuel and things. I dont really like being just a passenger not knowing what runway or what the weather is like.
I left JFK on December 26th and it was the first time i had a wireless laptop so i hooked up to an executive clubs wireless and checked the weather.
Alphafloor From Chile, joined Jun 2004, 1277 posts, RR: 37
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 14392 times:
Very good report AC773! Nice to hear some technical specs given by the cpt before take-off, I can't understand how people are annoyed by this talkning though. Thanks for sharing your experience with us !
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 14113 times:
Thanks for your interesting report. The food on Swiss was always really bad and it seems to have gotten even worse in the past year. Continental is just as bad and they compete with them to Geneva from NYC. I avoid both if I can.
ThereAndBack From Turkey, joined Aug 2005, 699 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 13954 times:
Nice report thanks for posting. I know what you mean about there being not many food options at T1 I went hungry for about two hours. I also hate that gate that blocks the view of the plane usually TK or OA and sometimes AF have that gate.
AC773 From Canada, joined Nov 2005, 1730 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 13847 times:
Thanks for the kind comments everyone!
Quoting OA260 (Reply 4): Hi thanks for the nice report with the photos. Shame their were no cabin shots.
Yes, I'm sorry about that. I thought about taking one, but it's near impossible to take one when all the cabin lights are turned out. I could have taken one near the beginning or end of the flight when the lights were on, but that would have meant getting in the way of the crew or any passengers that were in line for the restroom. It's a very bland-looking cabin (If I didn't know better, I'd have no clue it was LX), and there are plenty of shots of it in the A.net database.
Quoting Stylo777 (Reply 16): great report! very interesting what the belly load is like on regular pax flights
Yeah, I enjoyed that myself. I joke that it seems they're importing the mice and the specimen to kill them with.
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
SandroZRH From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 13192 times:
Great TR, it's always nice to see TR's featuring LX, but that goes without saying
Quoting DALelite (Reply 5): I was kinda surprised that LX is serving the same missrable breakfast as most other Airlines on the transatlantic sector do.
That's because catering for the return leg is done in JFK, they don't bring their catering for the return flight themselves (hence no Ice Cream etc.). I've always experienced that, on the outbound flights, the food is excellent, while it is bad on the return flight. A real shame but there's not much LX can do about it.
Quoting ZRH (Reply 20): The A 330 are not yet updated. But as I heard they will begin this year with the new business class and new IFE (with AVOD). Probably SandroZRH can tell us more as his father works for SRTechnics.
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 13173 times:
It is wrong to blame JFK catering on the lousy food SWISS serve from the USA. The reason for this is cost cutting. I flew last week on Iberia from JFK to Madrid and the food was fantastic for both dinner and breakfast.
As to the lousy breakfast on SWISS even that has been cut. They used to serve a croissant and a roll and would immediately offer seconds. The roll has gone and it seems the second helpings have also gone. They also now copy the US airlines by offering lettuce as a starter. They also used to serve from the USA a decent cake, though it was tiny. To save money they now serve their traditional chocolate brownie catered from the USA as they can save a few more pennies.
Then i wonder why their food on the outbound flights has always been excellent. Well, whatever, if yo uwant to bash LX, fine. Everybody else seems to love swiss judging form the numerous TR's on this website.