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Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:31 am

Folie1

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GETTING TO THE AIRPORT
Transport:
train, train, bus, train, shuttle train
Departs from: Grand station – red line
Frequency: -
Journey time: one hour and fifty minutes
Fare: USD3

Following the relatively easy journey from O’Hare to the city a couple of days earlier, I figure I might as well take public transport again to get back to the airport. Or perhaps better not…

I walk down the step into the underground station on Grand to find an enormous and growing queue of passengers trying to purchase tickets. Apparently there is some technical glitch. The machines will not accept cards and if you pay in cash, they will not give change. Eventually, fifteen minutes later, I am finally in possession of a train ticket to get me to the airport.

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I take the red line for one stop to Lake, where I transfer to the blue line. The train duly arrives. As the doors shut behind me, an announcement is made that trains will only be running as far as Damen today due to construction on the line. At Damen I will have to change to a relief shuttle bus service which has been put in place. But this will only run three stops to Logan Square, from where I have to change back to the train again. Eventually, three trains and one bus later I arrive at the airport and figure I have finally had it with the public transport. Well, not quite. To reach Terminal 5, you have to pass through Terminal 2. From there follow the signs to the shuttle train station which links Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 5. Terminal 5 is the second stop after Terminal 3.

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CHECK-IN
Location:
Departures concourse Terminal 5
Facilities: web check-in, mobile check-in, dedicated SWISS check-in counters at the airport – there is a separate queue for First Class and Hon passengers.

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There are four queues for security and there is a dedicated queue for First Class passengers. You still have to queue for security, but at least the line is manageable and the whole process take a little less than ten minutes.

LOUNGE
Location:
near gate M10
Type of Lounge:
Swiss International Air Lines First Class lounge
Facilities:
cold snacks, hot and cold drinks; the toilets are in the Business Class section
Internet:
password available at reception

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Chicago is one of only two outstations where SWISS still operates its own lounge. The other one is in New York’s JFK airport. As you enter, the Business Class section is to the right, while the First Class section is on the left. In all honesty I do not think there really is anything much that is First Class about this lounge. First of all, it is not much bigger than my bedroom at home. There are eight single sofas, and three small dining tables for two persons. As such, if the flight is full in First Class and there are a few Hons around too, the place becomes crowded very quickly.

Because of the very limited space, there is absolutely no privacy at all. This also means that unless you have really stupendous earphones with you, you are going to have to listen to the waffling and bravado of some people who have no qualms about blowing their own trumpet at full volume on the phone. I mean goodness, what is wrong with these people? Makes you wonder how short the shortcomings are they are trying to compensate…

The food options are very limited as well. In fact thee are no warm dishes and from what I can tell, all you can have are snacks – small items of sushi for example.

My suggestion if you are a STAR Gold member is to go to the SAS lounge located around about gate M14/M15. It is bigger, it is less crowded, quite frankly I think it is nicer, and Lufthansa’s B747-8 is parked right outside the window, so close you feel you could give her a tender pat on the nose.

BOARDING
Priority Boarding:
separate queue for Business Class and First Class passengers

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Since I arrived at the airport the weather has been deteriorating quickly. Eventually it starts raining cats and dogs, there is thunder and lightning and all movements on the ramp are temporarily halted. Eventually we board with a delay of about thirty minutes.

CABIN
Configuration:
1 + 2 + 1
Seat: There are eight seats. The First Class seat Swiss has installed on its A330-300 fleet is the result of a series of compromises to get more passengers into the aircraft over all. First of all, to gain some space, there is no longer a passage between the two middle row seats on the first row and the bulkhead. As a result, sitting on the right side can be a bit inconvenient because you have to pass through the galley to get to the only toilet in the First Class cabin, which is on the left side. Furthermore, avoid sitting on one of the middle seats on row one. You would be amazed at the frequency with which the cabin crew bang into the middle seats with the trolley as they emerge from behind the curtain, coming from the galley. Other than that, the pneumatic cushion of the seat is quite irritating because it just goes off randomly. The vibration of the pump or motor is quite annoying; it is enough to wake you up!

But all the shortcomings aside, the seat looks very nice and SWISS has taken good care of the cabin.

Pitch: 83 inches
Length as a bed: 83 inches
Width: 22 inches
Recline: 180 degrees
Facilities: power outlet, reading lamp, overhead lamp
Audio and Video: AVOD, touch screen or remote controlled

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SERVICE
I am the first passenger to enter the First Class cabin. Before I even have a chance to sit down, the two flight attendants working the First Class cabin have already come to welcome me aboard and ask me if I would like a paper and what I would like to drink.

Both of them are truly excellent at their job. Nothing seems too much of an effort for them. They proactively approach passengers to make them more comfortable, but at the same time manage to give them a lot of private space. And all this with a genuinely friendly smile!

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Other than that, the seat has already been set up for me when I arrive. Earphones, slippers and a cushion have been placed at the seat. Shortly after I also receive my pyjamas, the vanity kit and the menu.

While we wait for the last suitcases to be loaded I also receive a hot scented towel to freshen up.

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THE MEAL
Welcome drink on the ground:
orange juice – served with an amuse bouche of smoked breast of duck with watercress, apricot chutney and flutes from Sprüngli
Hot towel before the meal: scented, served while still on the ground
Pre-meal drink:
Passugger – a Swiss brand of mineral water
Type of meal:
dinner
Menu:

  • Balik salmon with crème fraîche and fresh lemon

  • Herb marinated prawns with a lemon cream sauce (I did not try this one)

  • Selection of Swiss cold meats (I did not try any)

  • Goat cheese and golden beet timbale with a lemon vinaigrette

  • Cream of sweet corn soup with polenta croutons

  • Seasonal salad with radish and mixed teardrop tomatoes


For the main dish there are five options to choose from, including one vegetarian dish and one option that is not on the menu.
  • Bratwurst sausage with Rösti, onion sauce, mustard and vegetables

  • Breadbasket

  • Selection of cheese

  • Raspberry tart with crème pâtissière or chocolate ice cream with berries on a mango coulis – I try the latter and it is very good

  • Sprüngli pralines

  • Mint tea

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After such an epic meal I am totally stuffed and need to have a digestive nap. I go to the lavatory to change into my pyjamas and by the time I return, one of the cabin crew has already turned my seat into a bed, drawn the privacy screen and lit the bedside lamp. Good night!

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SECOND SERVICE
I manage a good three hours of sleep. We are two hours out of Zürich. I head for the lavatory to change back into my clothes and when I return to my seat, the bed clothes have been removed and a coffee and an orange juice are already waiting for me!

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With a little less than an hour before we arrive in Zürich, the second service sets in. The cabin crew have noticed that I am taking pictures of all the food and I get the distinct impression they want to make sure I get enough pictures for my trip report. The food just will not stop coming. Meanwhile, the crew also make sure I remain properly hydrated and replenish my glass of orange juice and the coffee regularly.

Menu:
  • Birchermüsli with berries

  • Fresh fruit

  • Breadbasket with a selection of Hero jam

  • Cheese omelette

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Once I have finished, one of the cabin crew comes to check if everything is okay. I tell her the meal was very tasty, to which she replies that there are also three minute eggs available, just in case I want one of those as well…, which if of course very nice of her but I really do not think I could eat anything else.

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The meal is perfectly timed and just as my table is cleared away our A 330 gently dips its nose and we begin our descent into Zürich.

ARRIVAL
We enter into Swiss airspace just east of Basel, my hometown. As it is still early morning, we are approaching the airport from the south for an arrival on runway 34. We are running rather late, and while this may be slightly bothersome for most of the connecting passenger, it is rather convenient for those passengers ending their journey in Zürich because the mad rush is already over by the time we land.

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SWISS ARRIVALS LOUNGE
Location: Terminal 2 arrivals, turn left as you exit customs and you will find glass sliding doors, press the button to enter and then take the lift one floor upFacilities: day rooms, showers, toilets, workstations, wifi, hot and cold dishes as well as beverages

I still have some time before my train leaves to Basel, so I figure I might as well give the SWISS arrivals lounge a try. The lounge is much nicer than I expected. It also happens to be empty this morning.

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After seventeen days of travelling I am finally back home. Over the entire journey I have picked up a delay of seventy minutes by the time I get back home, which really is not bad at all, considering the distance and the number of flights I took on this trip.

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gabrielchew
Posts: 3819
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:43 am

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:03 am

Very nice report William. The food in F looks toip notch as always

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
As such, if the flight is full in First Class and there are a few Hons around too, the place becomes crowded very quickly.

Doesn't sound good. Does LH operate a lounge there? Maybe they should create one big lounge?

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
We are two hours out of Zürich. I head for the lavatory to change back into my clothes and when I return to my seat, the bed clothes have been removed and a coffee and an orange juice are already waiting for me!

Initially I thought "wonderful service", but did you actually as for the bed to be changed, and for the drinks? If not, then what if a pax had wanted to go back to bed for anther hour or two?
http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: AMS-RIX-BUD-VDA,ETH-TLV-FCO-LHR,STN-TXL-LCY,LTN-CPH-LTN,LGW-SZG,MUC-LHR
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:12 am

Hi Gabriel

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Very nice report William. The food in F looks toip notch as always

Thanks. Yes, the food was good - and so much of it!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Doesn't sound good. Does LH operate a lounge there? Maybe they should create one big lounge?

I didn't see a LH lounge. Also, I think LH arrives at the same terminal as LX but leaves from a different one.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Initially I thought "wonderful service", but did you actually as for the bed to be changed, and for the drinks? If not, then what if a pax had wanted to go back to bed for anther hour or two?

No, she did ask. I just wasn't expecting her to have done everything by the time I returned to my seat.

Cheers,
William
 
9w748capt
Posts: 1776
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:27 am

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:51 am

I have to ask - what on earth do you do that allows you such a jet-setting life? My god your TRs make me jealous!

Great report as usual - that is an absolutely insane amount of food - I think I would've been full halfway through dinner and exploded if I tried to eat breakfast. The F suite and product otherwise look fantastic though.

Thanks for sharing!
 
agrflyer
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:36 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:35 am

once again thanks for the wonderful report. Back in May I was flying the same route on the way back from an extended (by a road trip from MIA to LAS) Bachelor party in Las Vegas. However I took the second flight from ORD to ZRH sitting in 2A. Service was lovely and it was good reading a newspaper from home after three weeks.

Nice seeing your pictures from the rwy 34 approach into Zurich. You can even see the place I ilve.
July 2018, A3 C-Class ZRH-ATH-TLV-ATH-VIE
July 2018, OS C-Class VIE-ZRH
September 2018, ZRH-MXP-VIE-YYZ-LGA / JFK-VIE-ZRH on OS, LX and AC in Y and C
 
FlyingRoo82
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:40 am

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:59 am

Great trip report William, I enjoyed reading it!

The onboard F class product looks superb - the quality and quantity of the food is very impressive - that salmon looked especially delicious. The bed looks extremely comfortable too.

But disappointing about the Swiss lounge in Chicago - it looks like the arrivals lounge in Zurich was far superior in all aspects, especially the food and seating.

Thanks again,
Adam
 
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sultanils
Posts: 1931
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:37 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:35 am

Hey William, welcome home I’d say, after what looked like an excellent holiday with a good variety of flights thrown in. Also the closing leg on Swiss looked top notch, well fed and excellent proactive service, I’m sure it was a nice homecoming!

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
so close you feel you could give her a tender pat on the nose.

Some many flight in so little time seems to make you lyrical  

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
adamspotter
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:25 pm

Hi William,

Great conclusion to your RTW series here  
SWISS F once again looks very impressive here. Great crew, nice seat and more than enough food. Although I have to say that the presentation looks a bit "bare" IMHO. The F lounge doesn't sound all too FC either with poor offerings.
Looks like you had a great vacation altogether. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share all of your travels with us  
Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Length as a bed: 83 inches

That's a small bed 

Thanks once again for sharing!

cheers,

Brendan
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1865
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:06 pm

There was a program on Swiss TV last night about bed bugs where they mentioned having found some in an LX aircraft in Business Class. Who knows about other carriers. Pretty scary.
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:54 pm

Hi 9w748capt

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 3):
I have to ask - what on earth do you do that allows you such a jet-setting life? My god your TRs make me jealous!

There's no need to be jealous I don't think. I'm a linguist.

Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 3):
Great report as usual - that is an absolutely insane amount of food - I think I would've been full halfway through dinner and exploded if I tried to eat breakfast. The F suite and product otherwise look fantastic though.

Thanks. And you're right. The amount of food really is outrageous. But it was tasty.

Hi agrflyer

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 4):
once again thanks for the wonderful report.

My pleasure.

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 4):
Back in May I was flying the same route on the way back from an extended (by a road trip from MIA to LAS) Bachelor party in Las Vegas.

Really, I'm sure that would make a really interesting trip report!

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 4):
Nice seeing your pictures from the rwy 34 approach into Zurich. You can even see the place I ilve.

Really, so you can see the planes ladning and taking off from your house? How cool is that.

Hi Adam

Quoting flyingroo82 (Reply 5):
Great trip report William, I enjoyed reading it!

Thanks, glad you enjoyed.

Quoting flyingroo82 (Reply 5):
The onboard F class product looks superb - the quality and quantity of the food is very impressive - that salmon looked especially delicious. The bed looks extremely comfortable too.

Luckily enough, there always seems to be enough salmon left for a second helping...!

Quoting flyingroo82 (Reply 5):
But disappointing about the Swiss lounge in Chicago - it looks like the arrivals lounge in Zurich was far superior in all aspects, especially the food and seating.

I think they should just make it one big Business Class lounge and use something else for First Class passengers.

Hi Nils

Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
Hey William, welcome home I’d say,

Thank you!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
after what looked like an excellent holiday with a good variety of flights thrown in.

And how. When I close my eyes I can still see the sea around Bora Bora...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 6):
Some many flight in so little time seems to make you lyrical

No, actually it's more the sight of such a beauty!

Hi Brendan

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 7):
Great conclusion to your RTW series here

Thanks!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 7):
Although I have to say that the presentation looks a bit "bare" IMHO.

That's true. Not really much you can do I guess with a sausage...

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 7):
Looks like you had a great vacation altogether. Thanks a lot for taking the time to share all of your travels with us

My pleasure. Thanks for enduring until the very end! It truly was a fun holiday.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 7):
That's a small bed

Yes, but it serves its purpose.

Hi Lychemsa

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 8):
There was a program on Swiss TV last night about bed bugs where they mentioned having found some in an LX aircraft in Business Class. Who knows about other carriers. Pretty scary.

Ew! Fortunately I got off the plane and haven't had any itching or irritation so I guess I was lucky.

Thanks for takingthe time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
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gbrazil
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:00 am

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:09 pm

Quoting knightsofmalta (Thread starter):
Nothing seems too much of an effort for them. They proactively approach passengers to make them more comfortable, but at the same time manage to give them a lot of private space. And all this with a genuinely friendly smile!

Truly SWISS... In my opinion, this is what makes First Class worth all the extra money!

Excellent report, my friend! Keep them coming! 
A318 A319 A320 A321 A330 ATR 72 737 767 777 E-175 E-190 E-195 F-100
 
agrflyer
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:36 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:06 am

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 9):
Really, I'm sure that would make a really interesting trip report!

it was indeed a wonderful trip, a typcal road trip so to say. I was travelling with one of my best friends. (I know him since Kindergarden). We had a lot of fun especially in the Southern States. One highlight was being quested by US border patrol around El Paso....

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Really, so you can see the planes ladning and taking off from your house? How cool is that.

Mainly landings during the landing ban over Germany. I like seing plans turing final towards the runway especially the big ones arriving from overseas in the morning.
July 2018, A3 C-Class ZRH-ATH-TLV-ATH-VIE
July 2018, OS C-Class VIE-ZRH
September 2018, ZRH-MXP-VIE-YYZ-LGA / JFK-VIE-ZRH on OS, LX and AC in Y and C
 
Knightsofmalta
Topic Author
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:31 am

Hi gbrazil

Quoting gbrazil (Reply 10):
Truly SWISS... In my opinion, this is what makes First Class worth all the extra money!

The service was brilliant. Although I think all in all for me its the extra space that tips the scale in favour of First Class.

Quoting gbrazil (Reply 10):
Excellent report, my friend! Keep them coming!

Thank you, I'll do my best.

Hi agrflyer

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 11):
it was indeed a wonderful trip, a typcal road trip so to say. I was travelling with one of my best friends. (I know him since Kindergarden). We had a lot of fun especially in the Southern States. One highlight was being quested by US border patrol around El Paso....

Sounds like you had a good time on your trip. Although I'm not quite sure from your response if you thought it was entertaining to have the US border patrol searching for you!

Quoting agrflyer (Reply 11):
Mainly landings during the landing ban over Germany. I like seing plans turing final towards the runway especially the big ones arriving from overseas in the morning.

Cool! From where I live I can see the aircraft coming in over Basel when they're landing from the south. But obviously we lack variety and size...

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cheers,
William
 
agrflyer
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 3:36 pm

RE: Swiss First Class A 330-300 Chicago-Zürich

Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:42 am

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 12):
Sounds like you had a good time on your trip. Although I'm not quite sure from your response if you thought it was entertaining to have the US border patrol searching for you!

while being questioned it was not that funny however when everything was over it was funny.... - The issue was they did not find my entry stamp in my passport. In addition to this they wondered about my various visa from Russia and several entry / exit stamps from Tel Aviv. Last but not least we definetley looked suspicous because we were driving an old RV with a temporary NY state dealer plate that close to the Mexican border...
July 2018, A3 C-Class ZRH-ATH-TLV-ATH-VIE
July 2018, OS C-Class VIE-ZRH
September 2018, ZRH-MXP-VIE-YYZ-LGA / JFK-VIE-ZRH on OS, LX and AC in Y and C

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