I know there are many other LX JFK
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.