Hello everyone…please accept my apologies for the delay in posting this trip report. I just could not find time…but I’m looking forward to share my experience with you….hope everyone likes it..
3rd July , Wednesday:
With my packing all complete, my last day I just had to run a few errands before I took off for the entire summer. LX 53 departs Boston at 1835 or 635pm, and at this time of increased security I would have liked to get there atleast 2 hours in advance. I was ready in time but my friend, careless as he is, didn’t arrive to pick me up until 450pm!!!It took another few minutes to load my luggage into his cramped CLK (Mercedes Coupe). I was quite literally panicking, as I was quite certain by now that I would miss my flight. Traffic at this time is bad and airport isn’t very close to where I live. When we arrived at the airport at 535pm, one hour before my international flight, I just rushed in with my ticket and asked my friend to bring in the luggage. I was VERY relived when I saw a huge family standing and arguing over luggage at the counter. When I arrived at the scene, the first thing they said that sir we just closed our counter a few minutes ago…..I somehow managed to talk myself into it and I was helped greatly by the fact that the conveyer belt behind the counter was not operating so all the luggage had to be taken manually to the plane. This meant that the flight was going to be delayed anyways….Gosh that was close…I felt so relieved once I had my boarding pass to Zurich with a window seat. I was told that I could not check my baggage all the way to Karachi since I was staying in Zurich for a day. Even though it was undesirable to collect my bags in ZRH and then keep them with me for the one-day that I was there, there wasn’t much time for me to argue. None the less I headed towards gate 21, same gate Swiss almost always has at Terminal C in Boston. There I ran into a friend of mine who was also travelling on this flight. Boarding commenced soon and I made my way into seat 37K. The person next to me was a Brazilian guy who travelling to Paris. At Boston, other then the boring domestic narrow bodies, I saw an Air France A343 and a B767 (one very dirty plane), two British Airways B744s, Lufthansa A343, Alitalia B767-300, Virgin B744, Northwest DC10 and a few AA, United and Delta 767’s. Our plane was ofcourse the A330-200 but It was still in the interim or the half-Swiss livery. As I said earlier, the belts were not working so it quite a while for the plane to be loaded…. Our push back was not until 7pm. It wasn’t until another 20 minutes that we would be roaring down with full power on a hot but clear Boston evening. The flight was very full in economy class, and according to my friend who was sitting in Business, that section was full too. Drinks were rolled out which was followed by a full meal service. There was a choice between Chicken or Pasta, and I choose the former. The meal, even though it was absolutely tasteless as always, was very much welcomed, as I didn’t eat anything all day. Our flying time of close to 7 hours was slowly ticking away. I chatted with the guy next to me, played video games and saw some movies. I must say the movies on the entertainment system were rather disappointing. Taking this flight in the summer is interesting because you take off in day light and then in the next couple of hours you gradually see the sky get dark and then in a few hours you see the sun rise! Breakfast was served before landing. As usual it was nothing but yogurt, fruits and bread. We landed a few minutes behind time on a beautiful Zurich day. I got out of the plane and met up with my friend. His flight to Karachi was leaving in a couple of hours but I was going to take the one the next day. We had a few smokes together after which I headed towards immigration and he headed towards the duty free. By the time I arrived at the baggage claim, everyone had claimed their bags and my stuff was lying with some other unclaimed bags. I went through customs and I asked them where I could store the bags in the airport for one day. It would have been extremely difficult for me had there not been such a facility at the airport, and once I had successfully stored my 2 pieces of luggage I went to the train counter to buy a pass through to Zurich City. I was quite impressed how the trains operate at such military precision in terms of time. I was really tired by now and I was looking forward to check into my Hotel. I got off at Zurich City station and St.Gotthard Hotel was a short walk from there. I must say that I was a little disappointed with the hotel. It is supposed to be one of the most exclusive hotels in Zurich and I was expecting a little more.
My stay in Zurich was great. I did more for one day then I had anticipated……I even made friends there……it was the 5th of July now and my flight to Karachi had a departure time of 1005. After breakfast at the hotel, I checked out and took the train to the airport. I retrieved my luggage from the storage and I headed towards the counters in terminal A. Thanks to my Travel Club membership, I could go to the travel Club counters which had 20 times less people then the normal counters. I requested a window seat and in that conversation I found out that the flight was very full. About 6 empty seats in economy class and 5 empty in Business class. Now I made my way to the TravelClub lounge, a place I have been looking forward to see for a while. When I traveled Swiss in April I had yet to receive my travel club membership. None the less I spent about half an hour on the very comfortable leather seats at the lounge. Before boarding I just wanted to spend all the francs I had left so I went down to the duty free and bought a few packs of cigarettes
……boarding was already underway when I arrived at the gate. I walked to seat 34K and once the boarding was complete I realised that one of the 6 empty seats was the one next to me. Our take off roll took 40 seconds and we were underway on the first leg of this flight to Dubai. Utilizing the two seats and some four pillows, I made a very comfortable seat for myself! The view of the Alps was amazing since it was a very clear day. Food this time was again Chicken but it was better then my previous flight. After the meal and everything I was relaxing in my space watching a movie when one of the flight attendants came up and asked if someone was sitting next to me! My worst fears were confirmed, she brought over this guy who was having some problems sitting where he was. I no longer had the two seats to myself and I felt like punching him on the face. We flew on past Europe onto Turkey then the Caspian sea. We entered Iran and we flew past the entire country diagnoly including the city of Isphahan. What amazing landscape Iran has! We made an uncomfortably rough landing in Dubai at around 6pm local time. For the first time I noticed the PIA A300 that has been stranded there after crashing a few months ago….the plane is turning yellow with the dust. Even though this is not the busiest time of the day at Dubai, it was very lively there. There were many Russian planes belonging to various CIS airlines and cargo companies. At the mail terminal there was an Aeroflot IL-86, Kuwait A300-600, Qatar Airways A320, Gulf Air A320, Ethiopian B757, CargoLux B747 but the biggest surprise was a Saudia B747-400 going to Riyadh. This flight is normally a MD90 or B777 but on that day SV sent the B744 which looked beautiful actually. Another SV MD90, Singapore B777-300 and an Indian A300 joined later on but this is all in addition to the many Emirates B777’s and A330’s present there. We could leave the plane for 20 minutes. I stepped out and went to the smokers room after which I walked around for a while. About 40% of the pax in Y class and 75% in J class disembarked in Dubai. More people joined in from DXB but were not as much. The crew changed as well and soon we were underway for the short flight to KHI. We entered the Arabian sea and then the southern coast of Pakistan. A full meal was also served on this flight. It was chicken with rice. We made the northerly approach again….we fly in from south, fly past the entire city and then make a U-turn approaching the runway. Normally winds are very favorable when flying from Dubai to Karachi and speeds of 1000km/h are common…..this time we didn’t fly past 860km/h. We landed ontime on an overcast Karachi night after 1 hour and 40 minutes of flying. I saw atleast 6 PK B747’s near the hangars. There were a few PIA A300’s and A310’s, a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11, Cathay Pacific A330-300, Emirates B777-200 and an Ethiopian B757. Our Swiss Plane looked beautiful in the full livery…I wish I remembered the registration number.
Anyhow so that was it…I just shared with you what were my 13th and 14th Swissair and now Swiss flights in the past one year. This time the trip was better then usual because I took that break in Zurich…..it didn’t get as tiring as always. Inshallah I will be making my return trip to Boston at the end of August. Im just relaxing here in Karachi till then….i hope you liked the report….any comments and questions very much welcomed.