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Tesla
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Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

Eurowings A330 MIA-DUS & Swiss A330 ZRH-EWR J

Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:25 pm

Eurowings A330 MIA-DUS & Swiss A330 ZRH-EWR J

Background: With the demise of AirBerlin, Eurowings longhaul expanded in the United States. It initially caught my eye because the Eurowings A340-300 was operating JFK-DUS. The A340 is becoming exceedingly rare, particularly in the US, and I had never flown Eurowings before. A new carrier on a desirable aircraft, my mind was made up to fly Eurowings on my winter European trip. Unfortunately, the A340 stopped being used prior to my flights, replaced instead by the A330. It would still work out nicely, because I could fly Eurowings for the first time, plus I could compare their A330 to that of Swiss for my return flight.

I got a great price in Business Class by booking through Vayama. Since the JFK-DUS A340 was no longer available, I decided to originate in Miami for a nice long segment MIA-DUS. The return trip was ZRH-EWR on the Swiss A330 into my home state. I was looking forward to trying two new longhaul airlines, and to flying the A330 trans-Atlantic for the first time. And I always look forward to a nice long overnight segment to start out a trip.

Please enjoy the reports, and I look forward to your comments.

MIA-DUS
Eurowings EW1185 operated by Brussels Airlines
Departure: 18:40 (actual 21:23)
Arrival: 09:50+1 (actual 11:58+1)
Actual Block Time: 8h35
Actual Flight Time: 8h17
Seat: 4H BIZclass
Airbus A330-300



My Eurowings flight EW1185 had been booked as a United Airlines codeshare with flight number UA9685. Typical with UA codeshares, I was unable to pre-select a seat on the EW flight. Fortunately I was able to complete online check-in 24h in advance. I received aisle seat 4H.

Eurowings' only Miami route is Düsseldorf-Miami-Düsseldorf, so I was easily able to monitor my incoming plane - the only Eurowings plane inbound to Miami. It left Düsseldorf 3h late. Its original scheduled arrival time into Miami was 16:55. My departure was scheduled for 18:40, and arrival into Düsseldorf for 09:50. The delayed inbound was revised to arrive at 19:26. My new schedule was 20:45 to 11:55.

In MIA there are three terminals, and they are all connected landside: the North, Central, and South terminals. Eurowings check-in can be found in the Central terminal. I found a pretty long line for general check-in and bag drop, but there was nobody in the priority line, so I was quickly checked in to Düsseldorf. I went to the security checkpoint for Concourse F, a small checkpoint with only one line. It took about fifteen minutes to clear security. I was airside by 16:25, perfect for my original departure of 18:40, but the airport departures screen was confirming my previously-researched delay, with my departure now at 20:45. I was invited to the lounge for my wait, the Club America lounge, a Priority Pass lounge and the only lounge in Concourse F.

This was going to be my most delayed international flight ever. Most of the time I find that large widebody aircraft on international routes aren't very delayed. As Eurowings' only route out of Miami, using only one aircraft, when the inbound is delayed, it's a certainty that the return will be delayed as well. But I wasn't stressed - I was in no rush. I was still looking forward to a new airline in Eurowings, plus my first trans-Atlantic A330. I was not really sure what to expect onboard, aside from 2-2-2 Business Class seating which uses the same seats as Lufthansa Business Class. Interestingly, all Eurowings longhaul flights aren't actually operated by the airline Eurowings - rather, they have the Eurowings brand name, but are operated by various other airlines. In my case the flight was operated by SN Brussels Airlines, which was printed right on my boarding pass. Having flown and quite enjoyed shorthaul Brussels Airlines earlier in the year AGP-BRU, I'm still looking forward to trying longhaul Brussels Airlines, most likely JFK-BRU on an A330. Even though my Eurowings A330 was operated by Brussels Airlines, it's not counting as my longhaul Brussels Airlines flight. I'm counting it as longhaul Eurowings. So I still want to try longhaul Brussels Airlines, and now, getting to try longhaul Eurowings tonight, I hope to also try shorthaul Eurowings sometime in the future. I left the lounge and headed to Gate F19 in anticipation of my aircraft arriving, but my gate at the end of Concourse F afforded no view of any aircraft.

My Eurowings longhaul aircraft was the Brussels Airlines-operated, Belgian-registered A330-300, OO-SFJ. The aircraft entered service with Lufthansa in 2005, before being transferred to Brussels Airlines in 2018.

At 20:40, Rows 1 to 14 were invited to board - priority boarding for Business Class and Best Class (that's Eurowings Premium Economy). I boarded my waiting A330 and found five rows of 2-2-2 Business Class. As expected, the seats were the same as those used in Lufthansa Business Class. The pairs of seats adjacent to the window are parallel to each other, facing away from the aisle. The central pair of seats is angled towards each other. This is the most recent iteration of the Lufthansa Business Class seats, where the unusual "angled towards each other" seating arrangement isn't used for 100% of seats. My seat, aisle seat 4H, was in pair of seats by the window, and thus was arranged parallel to 4K. At check-in, it had been the last remaining seat in the parallel seat arrangement.

Seats 4HK:

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My seat had a pillow and blanket, a water bottle in a compartment under the screen, and headphones in a compartment under the armrest. My seat mate arrived shortly.

A flight attendant stopped by to welcome my seat mate and me onboard, and to offer water, orange juice or sekt, German sparkling wine. One sekt for me, to toast a new airline and to celebrate finally boarding this delayed flight.

Settling in, I was happy to be onboard Eurowings longhaul today. I had a nice, comfortable seat. True, it's not a class-leading seat, as all seats don't offer aisle access, and these seats have pretty minimal privacy, with no privacy dividers or anything, but nevertheless it was a comfortable seat with plenty of legroom, and on the aisle seat, I had aisle access without playing footsie with my seat mate like in the central seats which are angled towards each other. The flight attendants quickly returned to offer drink refills, which was pretty nice pre-departure service.

Pre-departure beverages and seat controls:

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Safety Card:

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Legroom Shot:

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Footwells and IFE screens:

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Welcome screen:

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Announcements were in German followed by English. The captain's announcement began with apologies for the delay, explaining that the incoming plane was late from Düsseldorf. The flight time will be 8h30. The weather at arrival will be quite nice at 10 degrees or 50 Fahrenheit. Next the purser's announcement, again in German followed by English, welcomed us onboard, introduced himself and repeated the 8h30 flight time.

I was becoming more excited for this flight. The great pre-departure service had increased expectations for service once underway. The stress of the delay was already being forgotten. The load in Business Class was 30/30. A manual safety demo was conducted, dual-language to narration provided by the purser. The baby in Row 1 seemed quite upset. We'll see if my good luck with babies on planes holds once the flight is underway.

The view from 4H:

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Pushback came at 21:23. Takeoff was at 21:35 with a rolling start, but it wasn't very loud, and there was only moderate pushback into the seat. We flew east over downtown Miami, all lit up in the night. The IFE was showing 8h30 remaining.

When we crossed 10,000 ft, the found attendants set up a baby bassinet on the bulkhead wall. There was an announcement about inflight service and entertainment. I checked out the IFE. It had a nice screen, but a minimal offering of only 36 movies. I reclined to relax mode and decided to watch a German film, The Collini Case (Der Fall Collini), in German with English subtitles. I deployed the screen to make it easier to view. The movie seemed ok, but when the first round of drinks was served, my seat mate and I began having a nice conversation, so I only watched about fifteen minutes.

My choice of starter was roasted chateaubriand with grilled pineapple, roasted sesame, sweet hoisin glaze and baby greens. It was served on a tray along with the cheese plate and dessert. The bread basket was offered, and to drink, Warsteiner, their only beer. Actually on this trip I'm planning to go to the Warsteiner brewery! The starter was very good.

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Starter (along with cheese plate and dessert):

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My main course choice was the pan-roasted cod loin with wild rice pilaf, sautéed rocket with leeks, and lemon dill butter. A refill of drinks was offered, so I asked for a fresh beer.

Main:

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The main was ok. The rice was good, but the fish was pretty bland and boring. Another round of the drink cart followed. To go with dessert, I asked for a glass of cognac. Dessert was a strawberry-mousse tart with toasted meringue, and it was actually quite good. The cognac was Baron Otard VSOP. Overall the meal was only decent, not as good as Lufthansa Business Class, but the service was really great, with good pacing and so many drink runs. Dinner finished at 23:00 with about 7h left to go.

It was time to go to sleep with 6h30 to go. It was 23:30 Eastern time, 05:30 European time.

I woke up to the sound of breakfast service starting at 04:30 Eastern time, or 10:30 European time. That's pretty great! 5h of sleep. I had slept pretty well. The bed was long enough for me, and comfortable. The cabin had been very warm, and there were no personal vents, but it was a smooth ride and you just can't complain about 5h of sleep trans-Atlantic. And the baby hardly cried during the night. We now had 1.5h to go, and were south of Ireland.

For breakfast, freshly-cut fruits with bread rolls and croissants, as well as spreads and jams, was offered. It was a light continental breakfast, with no hot meal option available, again a lower standard than Lufthansa, even on a longer flight than my LH B747 DTW-FRA. But I was happy with it, as I wasn't too hungry.

Breakfast:

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With only one lavatory for Business Class at the front of the cabin, it was tough to get in during morning rush hour. The "no waiting or congregating" rule for US flights was strictly enforced, so no one was able to form a line. I didn't actually make it to the lav before the seatbelt sign went on for descent. An announcement was made about connecting flight gates.

We landed at 05:52 Eastern time, and parked at jetbridge gate A80 at 05:58. That is, 11:58 European time. "Auf wiedersehen! Vielen Dank, dass Sie mit uns geflogen sind."

I found a small passport control just inside the terminal. I was one of the first, so it was quick and easy.

At the gate in DUS:

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This had been a good flight. The food was only ok, but service had been very good. The seat wasn't bad, comfortable and afforded a good night's sleep. Only one restroom was not ideal for 30 Business Class passengers. All in all, not a bad flight. I was glad I got to try Eurowings longhaul.
 
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Tesla
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Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:53 pm

Re: Eurowings A330 MIA-DUS & Swiss A330 ZRH-EWR J

Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:26 pm

ZRH-EWR
SWISS LX18
Departure: 17:15 (actual 17:24)
Arrival: 20:25 (actual 20:20)
Actual Block Time: 8h56
Actual Flight Time: 8h35
Seat: 4A Business Class
Airbus A330-300



My return itinerary was originally booked as LUG-ZRH-EWR, with LUG-ZRH operated by ADRIA. But ADRIA went out of business, a very unfortunate and rare occurrence. Especially when it resulted in the cancellation of a very anticipated flight from Lugano to Zürich over the Alps. I had planned my trip to conclude in Lugano so I could take that flight, expecting it to be very scenic to fly over the Alps. Rather than find a new partner airline, Swiss decided to not continue offering the Lugano flights, instead partnering with Swiss rail to offer a train connection. I was rebooked to QDL-ZRH, Lugano Station to Zürich Airport (with one change required at Zürich HB). It was nice to get my train travel free of charge, but a journey of almost 3h, not available as one single through train, is perhaps not as good as a short scenic flight. The Swiss rail codeshare allows one to take any train that day, and flying Swiss Business or First Class permits one to ride the train in First Class.

And so my ride to ZRH began in Lugano. My train had actually originated in Milan, so despite being able to ride with a Swiss ticket, the train was actually an Italian train by Trenitalia. We departed Lugano Station track 3 at 08:34 and arrived Zürich HB track 8 at 10:54. After a break in the train station, I connected to my next train, a Swiss IC train, on track 34. We departed at 12:05, arriving ZRH at 12:15. I really missed the experience of flying over the Alps, but the train connection had worked very well, everything on-time and very comfortable.

Trenitalia First Class

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For comparison, Swiss Rail First Class

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I was at the airport exactly five hours before scheduled departure, probably the earliest I've ever gone to the airport. I found a Swiss check-in area directly above the train platform, and I was the only one checking in. I headed to all gates security, once again I was the only one there. I passed through the duty free shops and headed to passport control for E gates - again the only one there. Finally I rode a shuttle train to the E Concourse. I found the Swiss Business and Senator Lounges, and I was invited to the Senator Lounge as United Star Gold. It was a very large lounge, with an outdoor terrace overlooking the planes, and again, hardly anyone there at the time. I was in the lounge at roughly 12:50. Boarding was set for 16:30 and departure for 17:15, with the gate not yet announced. ZRH was a great airport, very easy and quick to navigate, and this was an excellent lounge.

I was very much looking forward to Swiss longhaul. I was able to reserve 4A, a Business Class seat right behind First Class in the business mini-cabin, and one of the solo throne seats. I had had a great trip through Switzerland, and had previously enjoyed a few different intra-Europe flights with Swiss and Helvetic, and now I'd get to try Swiss international longhaul for the first time. And it was on a convenient nonstop flight into Newark.

At 14:45 my gate was announced as E57 at the end of the E Concourse. I had had a nice time in the quiet Swiss Senator Lounge; the whole time hardly anyone was there, with plenty of fresh food including food prepared on demand. And with great airport views and even an outdoor terrace! I headed to the gate at 16:00, ahead of the stated 16:30 boarding time. At the next gate was the evening Swiss flight to Boston, operated by A340-300. I hope to catch that one before Swiss retires the A340. For my flight, though, it's an A330-300. The plane tonight was HB-JHE, dating to 2010.

At the gate in ZRH:

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Shortly after my arrival to the gate, passengers were invited to approach the podiums for the usual pre-departure questioning for US-bound flights. Boarding began at 16:45 with First Class, Business Class, HON, Senator and Star Gold. I was among the first to board my waiting Swiss A330. One jetbridge was connected to L2, so I made a left turn to head forward to the Business Class mini-cabin. At the front of the plane is First Class: two rows of 1-2-1 seating. Immediately behind is the Business Class mini-cabin, two rows of alternating 1-2-1, 2-2-1. The rest of Business and Economy are aft of Door 2. This was a very exclusive small cabin, and I was happy to discover my great solo throne seat. The throne seats on the left-hand side had been available for reservation for $149. The other solo seats on the right-hand side window had been blocked for Swiss elites. The solo aisle seats, and all paired seats, were free to reserve. Left-side solo throne seats like mine have side tables on both sides of the seat. Plus in the bulkhead there is a large footwell. All seats have individual IFE, and with so few seats in the cabin, I even had my own overhead compartment. The seats already had a pillow and blanket, headphones and a bottled water. A flight attendant arrived shortly to present an amenity kit and menu. And my carry-on easily fit into my personal overhead compartment.

The Business Class mini-cabin:

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Seat 4A:

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Seats 5AB:

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Settling in, it was really nice to have no one seated next to me. I can't say it's really a factor in my flight purchasing decisions, but it's nice to have. The seat was finished with a nice woodgrain by the seatback. The large side table to my left contained the tray table, and also had the headphone jack, electrical outlet, a personal lamp, and under the armrest, the IFE remote. To my right, a second side table. Under the screen was a pretty large and deep recessed shelf. Overhead, two personal lights, but no vents. And I had two windows. The seat was very comfortable, spacious and private. It was really nice to have a solo seat tonight. Overall, a great seat for my trans-Atlantic crossing.

Legroom & Footwell:

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Safety Card:

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Welcome Screen:

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A tray of pre-departure still water, orange juice or sparkling wine was presented. The man across the aisle in 4D asked for sparkling water, and the flight attendant left to get it for him. I took champagne to toast my longhaul Swiss flight. Hot towels followed the beverages, and passengers' coats were hung in the closet.

I checked out the IFE to find some movies for my flight. I also checked out the First Class cabin just ahead of my seat. I observed very personal attention from the flight attendants to the First Class passengers. The First Class screens looked to be double the size of Business Class. And there were no center overhead compartments there, just cool lighting instead.

Pre-departure beverage, menu, and seat controls:

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Looking over to 4DG and 4K:

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Looking into First Class:

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The pilot's announcement, in German followed by English, welcomed us onboard this Airbus three-thirty with destination New York. We were waiting for the last six passengers, and then we'd push back the aircraft. The flight time tonight was to be 8h25, so we were still expecting an on-time arrival.

Soon an announcement was made that boarding was completed, and the passenger count was correct. And then I heard the L2 door close. The load in the mini-cabin was 8/9, with 5B vacant. The jetbridge was pulled back, and then the aircraft pushed back at 17:24.

The purser's welcome message was followed by the safety video, in English with English subtitles. Takeoff was from Runway 16 at 17:38. We had slowly increasing speed, to go along with the slowly increasing engine noise. It was a pretty long takeoff roll, typical of a longhaul twin jet. After takeoff we had 8h25 and 6313 km to go. First movie: The Game, from 1997 with Michael Douglas.

As soon as an announcement was made that cabin crew were released, the curtain in front of my seat, between Business and First, was immediately shut.

A very friendly flight attendant arrived to offer nuts and an aperitif. I asked for the first of the two Swiss beers, Appenzeller Bier Hell Quöllfrisch - Ein Schluck Appenzeller Lebensqualität. Unser "Quöllfrisch", gebraut mit auserlesenen Zutaten und Wasser aus dem Alpstein, frisch ab Quelle. I was also offered a water. The nuts were delicious, specially seasoned, and I found the beer to be a nice refreshing helles lager.

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The flight attendant returned to offer a drink refill, which was happily accepted. It was good service so far on Swiss. My table was set.

My first course was served, the fish along with a salad and offer of bread: Smoked char with barley salad, apple, pickled carrot and spicy mayonnaise. French or Italian dressing was offered, along with a choice of butter or olive oil for the bread. The fish was very good, as was the salad, and I liked the olive oil for the rolls.

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My appetizer dish, salad dish and silverware were removed, leaving the entree silverware along with the remainder of the olive oil. The main was served: Chicken breast with port wine jus, mashed potato and pumpkin, and Savoy cabbage. The chicken was excellent, well-cooked with a great sauce, and the pumpkin mashed potatoes were also great. The bread and olive oil continued to be very good. So far an excellent meal service.

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After the dinner dishes were cleared, Swiss cheese was offered. Then dessert was offered: sweet chestnut mascarpone mousse on a white chocolate and pear slice. An after dinner drink was offered, so I asked for the other beer, a bock beer, Appenzeller Alpstein Bock. Unser Bier "Alpstein Bock" erhält sein unvergleichliches vollmundiges Aroma durch Kalthopfung mit den edlen Sorten Cascade und Aurora. To conclude service, a choice of Swiss chocolates was offered. Everything had been very good. And both beers had been very good, too. I was happy to get two different Swiss beers on Swiss.

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When my movie finished, it was time for a restroom break. The woodgrain accents from my seat continued in the lav. We had flown 3h so far, with 5h30 to go. My next movie was Heat from 1995 with Al Pacino, Robert de Niro and Val Kilmer. I set my seat to relax mode with a full recline.

Mood lighting had been on most of the flight, but I didn't even notice it transition into a dark cabin at around 21:15.

With about 4h to go, a mid-flight snack basket was brought out to each passenger. It contained such items as chips, popcorn, two varieties of ice cream, etc. I took a mango ice cream, very surprised with the presentation of a mid-flight snack.

The movie ended with 2h45, or 1000 miles to go.

After 3h with lights off, the mood lighting switched back on to simulate a sunrise. Most people had slept during the flight.

With 1h45 to go, our tables were set again for the pre-arrival light meal service. Poke bowl with quinoa, avocado, cucumber, spring onion, radish and Asian dressing, with smoked teriyaki chicken, served with a fruit salad. Hot teriyaki chicken was added to the salad. It was a very good pre-arrival meal. All the food on Swiss had really been quite good, with good service to match.

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With under an hour left, coats were returned, and then a big basket of fresh fruit was brought out. With only 40 minutes left, in the vicinity of Albany, the first officer announced that we'd begun descent. Newark weather was 32 degrees with light wind.

We flew west of EWR, south of the airport, and then made a u-turn to land to the north, on runway 4R at 02:13. We parked at the gate in EWR Terminal B at 02:20 European time or 20:20 Eastern time.

At the gate in EWR:

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I really liked flying Swiss. I have previously enjoyed their short regional flights in Europe, and now I can say that their longhaul is excellent as well. My solo seat, food, and service had all been great. Even the Zürich Airport was great. I would be happy to fly with Swiss again. I hope to do so soon, to catch the A340.
 
debonair
Posts: 3590
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 10:50 pm

Re: Eurowings A330 MIA-DUS & Swiss A330 ZRH-EWR J

Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:09 pm

Nice TR, as always...

1. Eurowings op. by SN is actually AirBerlin reloaded, as most of the crew based in DUS are former AB staff...
2. Due to the cancellation of your ADRIA flight you might be entitled for full compensation of up to 250€
3. You paid extra for the throne seat, despite being *A Gold customer?! Oh boy!
4. You look forward to fly swiss A340 soon? NOOOOOOO! You have to fly A340 in style and grace with EDELWEISS!
 
gjunnar
Posts: 171
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:23 am

Re: Eurowings A330 MIA-DUS & Swiss A330 ZRH-EWR J

Fri Jan 17, 2020 9:32 am

Very nice TR. I am surprised how well EW performed on your flight considering they are low cost. Way to go.
SWISS did a very good job here, as I find them to be very consistent in their service quality. A340s are currently set on the routes to BOS, PVG, JNB and KIX (starting Feb). As debonair says, EDW also has 4 of them and I am sure you would like their product as well.

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