Hello fellow A.netters,
Time flies when you are having fun. Or is it time of having fun when you are flying? No matter how I look at it from any angle, I have enjoyed all my flying experiences very much during our Egyptian holiday.
Starting with the our outward journey AMS-ZRH and ZRH-CAI with LX. Then being continued by MS on ASW-ABS-ASW and LXR-CAI.
To bring the whole thing to a happy conclusion, we booked Business Class on our return journey.
ON LINE FACILITY
As we did on the outward journey, we have checked us in online the day before. Flying Business Class has definitely its own benefits. Unlike our outward journey for which none of the best seats according to seatguru were available on check in, we managed to secure the first row on the left side for both CAI-ZRH and ZRH-AMS. We decided to collect our boarding passes at the airport this time instead of having it printed out at our hotel in Luxor.
AT THE AIRPORT
Upon our arrival from Luxor, we were met by the local agent who escorted us to the departure level.
Public area of the departure hall
I cannot judge other terminals, but Terminal 3 has a separate Premium security check line before check in. We were the only ones at that time, so in no time we were through.
Our agent insisted on checking us in and proceeded to the check in desk. Again, there was practically still no other passenger around.
LX Business Class check in desk
I could feel the airy feeling of the check in area in Terminal 3.
Our agent returned with our boarding passes and lounge invitation cards.
He beckoned us to take a seat on the chairs nearby while he was completing the custom formalities. IMHO, he did not really have to.
At the end, we were ushered to a separate Premium passport control lane. After wishing us a pleasant flight, he left. The passport control was a swift in comparison with our arrival. Just one person before us and we were soon attended.
Past the security, we found ourselves right in the middle of a big shopping arcade. A fellow a.netter has mentioned earlier that by the time of our departure, more duty free shops would be opened and they were.
Duty free shops
At the end of the corridor you will find the food court.
View at the shops from the food court
Before visiting the lounge, we dropped by at the shops. My partner wanted to buy a fragrance and this was a convenient way to get rid of the Egyptian pounds as we have still got plenty with us. After some smelling and sniffing sessions, we left the shop with a nearly 100 ml bottle of fragrance, wrapped in a transparent sealed bag. Time to visit the lounge.
I must say, it was not easy to find it. An Egyptair attendant directed us eventually to the E concourse. It is located right after the passport control. Just turning left and straight on, you will not miss it.
The lounge, named First Class Lounge, is exploited by Cairo Airport Authority. I do not really understand why LX does not use the MS lounge instead. Moreover I do not get the role of the Airport Authority on running a premium lounge as Terminal 3 is supposed to be a Star Alliance terminal. Anyway, the lounge attendant took our invitations and waived us through. We were the only ones at that time.
The lounge itself consists of one big hall:
As you enter, you will find what more looks like a mini buffet on the left side. The buffet consists of light snacks, soft drinks, juices and no alcoholic drinks.
On the right side, you will find a newspaper stand with the toilets at the end.
We took a seat next to the window which had a view of Terminal 2.
Visible aircraft tails due to difference of the ground level
Lounge view from our seats
We took some snacks and each a big glass of fruit juice.
We found the lounge quite disappointing. I noticed that other LX premium passengers thought the same as they entered the lounge later on. Some of them have even left shortly after sipping on a glass of juice.
At 13.35 a call was made to all LX passengers to proceed to the gate F7. We decided that we would better go as the gate was not really in our neighborhood. Still about less than ten minutes walk.
On our way, I thought that we could have probably visited the MS lounge as I saw this marking.
Maybe next time?
Our assigned gate
When we arrived at the gate, a huge line was forming before the security check. It looked bad at the first impression. But at the end, we were through in less than ten minutes.
Finally, I caught the glimpse of our beauty.
With Lufthansa A342 on the background
From another angle with Lufthansa taking off
Then, I spotted some interesting visitors.
Austrian just arrived with Gulfair on the background
Libyan Arab Airlines
Boarding was started about twenty five minutes before departure. I did not even hear any announcement. Everyone just stood up and started queuing. They did not even bother a priority boarding call.
“Oh well, just join the line then,” I thought. And we went down the aerobridge.
At the door, we were greeted by a cheerful Maitre de Cabine, Daniel Leunbergen. He took at our boarding passes .
“Welcome, your seats are there upfront on the left side,” he waived us to the forward C cabin with a big smile.
4A and B would be our home until ZRH. A fluffy pillow and soft blanket have been placed on each seat.
My seat: 4A
When we got seated, Daniel came to us and said, “We have plenty of spaces on this flight. You can pick a seat anywhere. We can give everyone a window seat,”
We thanked him for the information but decided to keep our seats.
Despite the older interior I liked the seat features. I have got the following:
Seating control unit
Entertainment control unit
[Individual reading light and a laptop plug in
Button to retract the IFE screen
The in seat IFE screen
In the seat pocket, you will find similar things as in Y like Swiss in flight magazine and safety card as I have pictured on my TR of the outward journey. But there are some extra’s:
A hanger provided with the seat number to be hang your cloth at the coat hook
Special magazine for premium travelers
And a magazine rack on the back.
And some views from our seats:
A glimpse of the F cabin
Inside view of the right side
While I was taking photos, a friendly female cabin attendant approached us.
“Good afternoon, Sir. What can I offer you to drink?” She smiled .
“Can we have a glass of champagne?” We replied.
“Certainly, Sir. Do you care for a newspaper?” She continued.
“No, thank you, I am fine,” I replied.
“Yes, please,” My partner said.
A male flight attendant followed and handed out a headset and a goodie bag.
The goodie bag
The content of the goodie bag
Our female flight attendant returned with our champagnes and the today menu. Then she emerged with a selection of newspapers.
The nicely design menu was written in four languages.
In French and English
In German and Arabic
Story of the participating restaurant on the back
The door closed at 14.59. The pushback was done about three minutes later. Our flight had a light load. I counted four F passengers, seven C passengers and noticed a half full economy cabin.
The aerobridges were disconnected
On this flight, we have got FO Dani Kostenaja (I hope I spelled his surname correctly), Captain Holtz and of course Daniel as Maitre de Cabine in charge. The journey would take 3 hours 45 minutes.
Our female flight attendant collected our empty glasses. Soon our Airbus started to move.
The main screen showed the scenes of the nose camera
OS A320 ready for departure
BMI A332 has joined the party
A departing MS A321 while taxiing
We were first to take off, but we had to wait for some aircrafts to vacate the runway.
MS A332 about entering the apron
A military Casa 235 taking off
A landing MS A320
Entering the runway
The four engines spooled up. Once again, our A340 made a powerful takeoff.
We made a sharp turn that we could get the last view of CAI:
DURING THE FLIGHT
After eight minutes, we leveled off and the fasten seat belt signs were switched off.
Sara, another female flight attendant, approached us to take our aperitifs. I ordered champagne, my partner whiskey. My partner got even offered three choices of whiskey, Johnny Walker Black Label, Glenvliet and another one I cannot remember.
At that time we were leaving the Egyptian coast line.
Our aperitifs were soon delivered with a bag of pretzels.
The male flight attendant who brought us the headset and the goodie bag, appeared and took our meal order. I took the fish as the main course, while my partner went for the beef.
We decided to try our lie flat seats. It turned out that despite the lie angled design, the seats were not long enough for us.
My seat in full reclining position
It was time to pay a visit to the other parts of the aircraft.
There was one other passenger in our cabin.
And four others in the second cabin.
The nature called. So I went to the toilet.
I returned to my seat. Then I found out that my IFE screen was not working. Bummer, but never mind. I could keep myself occupied.
At 15.40 Captain Holtz came to the intercom. In two languages, German and English, he told us that we were on the cruising altitude of 30.000 feet or 11.600 meters, heading for Venice.
In the meantime, the first female flight attendant laid down the table cloth first before serving our appetizer.
She then returned with a basket of warm bread. Afterwards, without being asked, she topped up my champagne. What a lovely gesture!
Apparently my partner and I got different garnishes for our appetizers. I have got mints, my partner some basils. Mine was not bad, though. But I preferred basils to mints as accompaniment of tomatoes and mozzarella slices.
We were about finishing our appetizer when she emerged for the second bread round. My partner and I politely declined the offer.
When the appetizer was finished, she soon collected our plates.
“Do you want anything else to drink?” Again she smiled.
“Can I have a glass of red wine, please?” My partner replied.
“Certainly, we have a Swiss red wine or the French one. Which one do you like?”
“I will have the Swiss one, please.”
“Certainly. How about you, Sir?” She turned to me.
“Well, I think I will stick to the champagne,”
“No problem, Sir.”
Sara was in charge this time to serve the main course.
My sea bass with grilled prawns
My partner’s beef fillet
The whole setting with the Swiss red wine
My fish was delicious. It was cooked into perfection. The accompanying herb sauce gave a nice contrast to the buttery flesh which was tender and melting inside my mouth. My partner was visibly enjoying his beef as well.
Our first female flight attendant came along again with the third bread round. The bread was nicely baked and well kept warm. But we simply did not have any space in our stomach for it.
Our dirty plates were cleared up. Then I went to the other side for some window views.
It was bad weather above the Mediterranean
Then it was time for the dessert.
My partner did not even have time to finish his red wine
The apple tart was superb. Moist, not too sweet with a hint of cinnamon. Usually, I am not into desserts. But this one was just great!
While we were munching on our tart, our first female flight attendant came along with a box of chocolates. Usually, we preferred the chocolates to accompany our coffee but we decided take a pick of it.
After finishing our desserts, the first female flight attendant appeared to collect our plates.
“Do you want some coffee or tea?”
“Can we have a cup of coffee with cognac?” We replied.
Our orders were promptly delivered.
The first male flight attendant was in the meantime doing the duty free run. He asked us if we wanted anything from the duty free. Upon our polite “No, thank you,” he carried on.
I was curious about the Y load. So I made my way backwards. It was indeed half full. Some people have got the entire middle row for themselves.
The forward Y cabin
[/i]The rear Y cabin[/i]
While walking back through the galley, I saw the first female flight attendant having her dinner. I wished her, “Bon appetite,” and proceeded to my seat.
Nearly two hours after takeoff, our first female flight attendant has apparently finished her meal and was wondering whether we would like another coffee round. We politely declined her offer.
I went to the galley and had a nice chat with Sara. I told her that Swiss was delivering a brilliant service both in C and Y. She thanked me for that. I was also curious about her working history. Sara has apparently a twelve year working experience. She started with Swissair, before getting hired by its successor, Swiss.
I expressed my surprise to Sara about the light load of our flight. Sara replied that this could happen. Instead, the flight ex ZRH was fully booked.
At the end, I asked her whether I was allowed to have a picture with here. She agreed.
“But, I have got nobody here. Can we wait until my colleague returns? Then I will get back to you.” She continued.
Sara kept her promise. She appeared not long afterwards with Daniel, ready for a photo session.
My partner had in all sudden a greater proposal to take a picture of me together with Sara and Daniel. Daniel has got the most excitement.
“I will take off my glasses as my wife has told me earlier that I look better without. I cannot then see a thing, but I will survive.”
Me, Sara and Daniel
Daniel was deeply impressed that he would come back after gathering couple nice Swiss postcards as our souvenirs. It was not that necessary for me, but surely I appreciated his efforts very much.
About ninety minutes before landing, I approached Sara for two glasses of whiskey for me and my partner.
Me Johnny Walker Black Label, my partner Glenvliet
Our flight was still on progress.
Approaching Italian coast line
Daniel did return. He then addressed me personally.
“You are Suryo, aren’t you?”
“Yes, that is me,”
“I was confused in the beginning because you have swept seats. Anyway, I have got some postcards here for you. I have tried to ask the permission of the captain to take a seat in the cockpit, but it was not allowed. Thanks to Nine Eleven. But as a compensation, I would like to give you these postcards. Do you see this one? I have asked all of my colleagues to put their signatures as a remembrance of this flight.”
I was mesmerized and have got barely anything else to say then, “Thank you! Thank you so much!”
The signed postcard
At 18.15 Captain Holtz announced through the intercom that we left Venice behind us and would start our descent to ZRH within forty minutes. He mentioned further that we would get cloudy weather in ZRH at nineteen degrees Celcius.
About twenty minutes before scheduled arrival time, an announcement was made that the descent was just started and the IFE would be switched off. Then, they put away the magazines and switched on the nose camera.
Sara then distributed hot towels.
The main screen than displayed the passenger information of the ZRH. A pre recorded announcement in Arabic was in the meantime broadcasted. Daniel appeared to personally say goodbye to each Premium passengers and thanked for flying with LX.
When it was our turn, once again he expressed his appreciation of us being fond of LX. He asked whether we would need a further assistance on transit.
“Do not worry. We have got our onward boarding passes already,”
“Well, then have an another pleasant flight with us. Please take your time to visit our lounge in ZRH,”
“We would love to. Thank you very much.”
At that time, I could capture the moments before landing out of my window clearly.
A moment before touchdown
And finally the touchdown.
AT THE AIRPORT
We vacated the runway towards the satellite terminal.
I have captured some shots on the way:
The main terminal
Parked next to sistership HB-JMI
Thank you, LX! You are the best!
Last glimpse of the F class
Daniel was standing at the door. Again we said goodbye and thanked each other for the enjoyable flight experience.
Thank you Captain Holtz and FO Dani
We made our way to the main terminal.
We proceeded downstairs to catch the Skytrain.
The train ride was an exciting one, as we would hear piped birdsong and cow noises upon entering the main terminal.
Upstairs to go through the passport control
We did have plenty transit time. As we wanted to sample the lounge, we followed the sign.
Swiss Business Lounge
We arrived around 19.30 at the lounge. After getting our boarding passes scanned, we were waived through.
The main lounge are
On the right corner, there were massaging seats. I decided to sample one.
The main area was crowded. I could secure a pair of couches, while my partner was getting us orange juice. When he returned, I went upstairs for an obligatory visit to the famous Swiss longest attended bar. I found out that it was a smoke bar, so I got my partner to follow me upstairs. He smokes.
View of the longest bar
I then ordered two Bloody Mary’s.
“Spicy?” The bartender asked.
“Yes, please,” I replied.
The spiciest Bloody Mary ever according to my partner
At 07.50, we left the lounge to proceed to the gate. First, we had to go through the security. I must say, it was busy in that Friday evening. Despite our assigned gate being located couple meters away, we were there ten minutes later.
Our assigned gate
Shopping arcade beyond
Date: 25 September 2009
ETD/ATD: 20.30 / 20.53
ETA/ATA: 22.05 / 22.07
Flight number: LX 736
Plane: Airbus 319-112
Delivered: First delivered 25 April 1996 to Swissair
Photo © Jonas Bodell
Photo © Tomislav Muic - CroSpotterTeam
There were lines forming at the gate despite no boarding call. I was guessing what happened. The departure time was readjusted. So there must be something going on.
Soon, it became evident that our flight was overbooked. The LX gate agent made a call for a volunteer to fly the next day on compensation of 380 CHF and an overnight stay in a hotel. It did not take long before someone stepped forward.
The boarding commenced at 20.35. But this time, LX followed an unusual procedure. Economy class passengers sitting in the row 14 until 26 were invited to board first. All other passengers including Business Class were requested to wait for the special call.
Y passengers boarding
Finally, the rest of the passengers were allowed to proceed.
Waiting in the aerobridge
At this moment, I started getting confused with the registration of our Airbus. I was quite sure that I have noticed HB-IJO outside, but later on during the flight I saw HB-IPV instead.
We were greeted by Maitre de Cabine Eveline Bodeman at the door.
Our seats 1A and C
The cabin was hot. The second time I experienced it. The first time was on our outward flight to CAI. I did not understand why.
It became obvious that there were just two C rows on this flight! It means 8 passengers and the rest were Y passengers.
These convertible Recaro seats do not have as many features as the long haul C seat. But it was still sufficient for short haul:
Reclining control button
In the seat pocket, there were as usual the Swiss in flight magazine and a safety card. It was the A319 one!
I wondered, “Could it be misplaced?”
I looked back and noticed one over wing emergency exit door. We were definitely on board of an A319! But, how come I got the idea of HB-IJO?....
View of the right side
Our neighbor HB-IJU
Another female flight attendant distributed refreshing towel and a bottle of water. She was then in charge of Business Class.
Then an announcement was made that we would be experiencing some delay to the Air Traffic Control . I overheard something like a strike was going on. This situation forced us to fly along the eastern of Frankfurt and not a chance to leave earlier than 21.02!
I thought, “OMG, how can we possibly catch the last train back from Schiphol?”
In the meantime, the main screen started broadcasting “Just for Laughs”. I had never realized this program could be such successful with the airlines.
In the meantime, HB-IJU was leaving the gate, revealing this beautiful Avro in the Star Alliance scheme.
Another announcement came that we would still have a shorter flight time anyway as we were allocated another route across Luxemburg and Belgium.
We eventually left the gate at 20.53.
Entering the runway
The engines spooled up and we rocketed into the air.
I stopped taking outside pictures as it got too dark.
DURING THE FLIGHT
About eight minutes after takeoff, we leveled off. I had to leak so I paid a visit to the toilet.
Today we have got salad with Parma ham and walnuts. There was apple tart as dessert as well. The tart was likely similar to the one we got on our previous flight. But it was still enjoyable.
To drink we would like to have a glass of red wine. We have got a choice between two reds, the French one and the…other one. I was trying to read the label but I could not figure out which language was written. So I took the French one.
The flight attendant did some bread basket offerings which we politely declined. She tried a second round but we were completely stuffed. But I took the opportunity to verify the registration. She surprisingly nodded when I pointed at HB-IJO on my notebook. “Now, I am lost,” I thought.
At 21.25 we were flying above Brussel. The captain announced that we would start our descent and the weather in AMS was twelve degrees Celcius.
There was a coffee or tea run. But we left it out. Before landing, a “Mr. Bean” episode was broadcasted.
About twenty minutes before landing, we were asked whether we wanted anything from the duty free. Again we politely said, “No, thank you,” So as other C passengers anyway. Soon after, the fasten seatbelt sign was switched on.
On the last minutes, Eveline distributed the Swiss chocolates.
A pre recorded announcement in Dutch was made during our approach. In the meantime, I tried to capture some outside views.
A moment before touchdown
And finally the touchdown. Luckily it was not the Polderbaan.
AT THE AIRPORT
We vacated the runway towards the Schengen terminal.
To our pleasant surprise, the priority tag on our luggage was working this time. Ours was among the first to get loaded on the conveyor belt. These crucial actions allowed us to catch the last train from Schiphol to our home.
What can I say? Swiss, you are the best! I have encountered the friendliest crew ever who definitely made my return flight the most memorable one. They were efficient, service minded and hospitable. Would I fly LX again in the future? ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY YES!
With this chapter, I put an end to my Egyptian holiday trip report. I truly hope you have enjoyed my covering so far. Please feel free to leave some comments and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.