Flight-Report

Review of SWISS flight Zurich Los Angeles in Business

Airline SWISS
Flight LX 40
Class Business
Seat 16A
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 12:10
Take-off 12 Sep 17, 13:10
Arrival at 12 Sep 17, 16:20
LX   #30 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 626 reviews
NGO85
By 2740
Published on 13th January 2018
Background:

This series covers a longish trip to Italy from last September with my brothers. This was at the cusp of shoulder season so the one-way ticket to Rome was around $470 with AB for the economy seat with XL upgrade, all other *A and OW carriers were in the $1000+ range for one-way fares. I’ve never flown AB before, so figured why not give them a try. It turns out this was the correct decision since it would be my last chance to ever try the now-defunct German carrier. The return legs were a one-way award ticket on LX using 40k Asiana Club miles.

Part 1 – LAX-DUS [AB 7431, Airbus A330-200, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – DUS-FCO [AB 8718, Airbus A320, Economy] – No report
Part 3 – FCO-ZRH [LX 1727, Airbus A320, Business] – Here
Part 4 – ZRH-LAX [LX 40, Boeing B777-300ER, Business] – You are here

This report will cover the TATL flight from ZRH to LAX on LX.



Pre-flight:

After arriving at ZRH, I didn’t have much time, so I quickly made my way through security and immigration to recirculate into Terminal E. I briefly went into the LX Lounges. The Business Lounge was disgustingly full so I immediately left and went over to the Senator side of the lounge, which was slightly less crowded and had better tarmac views. I grabbed a brief snack before my flight and watched some planes from the windows.

photo 1

UA B764 leaving.

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After 20 minutes in the lounge, I went down to my gate since there was secondary screening for the flights departing to the US. My plane sitting outside.

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Boarding pass for this flight.

photo 5



——————————

SWISS, LX 40
Equipment: Boeing B777-300ER [HB-JNG, delivered February 2017]
Departure: 13:10 (ATD: 13:40)
Arrival: 16:20 (ATA: 16:08)
Flight time: 11:28

Boarding was slightly delayed so the masses took it upon them to completely crowd the gate area.

photo 6

Boarding eventually started and I was able to join the back of the J line. Boarding was done using only L2. I made it onboard and the male FA at the door greeted me in German and directed me down the aisle towards my seat. My throne for this flight. I was originally in 4K per Numero_2’s recommendation, but switched to 16A during OLCI since these seats are blocked for HON Circle status.

photo 7

The view of the huge J cabin from my seat in the second to last row. The load on this flight was ~80% in J.

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Plenty of legroom in the seated position (in bed-mode, it gets a little cramped…).

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The large, bright IFE immediately catches your eye. A small storage compartment is located below the screen.

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On the window side, there is a large side table that has storage compartments under it for shoes and other small items.

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Wedged between the side table and the fuselage is a water bottle from the previous flight from HKG (guess given the Bonaqua brand of water). Pretty poor aircraft cleaning at a LX hub.

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More storage on the side table.

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Amenity kit and blanket were pre-placed on the seat. A lackluster kit based on contents, but the reusable bag feature has been useful thus far as a lunch kit.



Two windows for this seat.

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View of the cabin from this seat, the aisle seats have very little privacy and I can imagine sleeping is not too easy in these seats with the traffic in the aisles.

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Fold out storage compartment and tray table are located in the other side table.

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Reading light, noise-cancelling headphones, hangar, and water bottle were pre-placed on the side. Behind them is the AV jack and charging station.

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Under the armrest is the handheld remote and seat controls (complete with massage).

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Seatback literature is located on the back of the seat in front of me. Inside were the standard contents: LX magazine, safety card, and duty free catalogs.



Some spotting during boarding.

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When the FA was able to get up the aisle after Y boarding was complete, pre-departure drinks were offered from a tray.

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Oshibori were offered after the drinks were handed out.

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The safety video played when we began our pushback.

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Spotting as we go taxi out to the runway: LX A333, TG B777, EK A380.



We were 3rd in line to take off behind this LX A340 and LX B77W.

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We align onto the runway.

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The GE90s wind up and we lift up over ZRH before breaking through the low cloud level.

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The IFE is available immediately and can be easily controlled through the touch screen remote since the screen is too far away to easily touch.

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The male FA working my corner of J came and introduced himself and took my aperitif order. My local selection with some nuts.

photo 40

Menu orders were taken back to front after the HON/SEN’s were handled. A quick look at today’s menu highlighting food from the Canton of Thurgau. Since I was at the rear of the J cabin, everything was still available. I opted for the veal starter and the fish main.



The linens were laid and I opted for the Thurgau white.

photo 49

Meals are handed out by cart instead of being walked out of the galley.

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My starter tray, which was placed down at the same time breads were offered. Don’t really like how they use a tray for the meal, and the packaged condiments aren’t too attractive looking (neither is the flyer located below the napkin).

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Cold veal starter. Despite the quantity, the fig mustard was almost tasteless.

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Standard salad.

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The flyer placed on the meal tray, kind of tacky.

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LX cutlery and napkin.

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After I finished, my salad bowl and plate were removed. My hot entrée was placed down and wine glass refilled. So tiny!

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More bread was also offered.

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The main was very small. It was the size of a UA Y meal if you cram it into a small black container. That said, the fish and sauce were good and the potatoes had a nice rosemary taste. The cabbage was quite bland. Not the most exciting of meals.

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Cheese plate and port after the tray was taken away. Some crackers or bread would have been nice…

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More shameless flyers were handed out, this time trying to get me to buy a TAG Heuer watch.

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Even though I’m not a dessert person, this was the highlight of the meal. It was very good without being overly sweet nicely balanced out by the tart pearls.

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Coffee service and the chocolate box were next to follow before meal service concluded as we crossed over Iceland.

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A look at the forward lavatories. Clean, with nice accents. A lifetime supply of toiletries were also inside.



After going to the bathroom, I put the seat in bed mode and fell asleep. The seat was comfortable and private, but the foot well gets exponentially narrower as you cram your feet in there making it very restrictive for taller people.

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I had a nice nap for a couple of hours before waking up in northern Canada.

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The FAs made regular rounds through the cabin and being awake, they offered me drinks. I took a cup of chamomile tea as I watched a movie.

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Somewhere over Canada, the FAs came out of the Y cabin and offered me a snack. Nothing like a cold ham sandwich for a snack. Not a J snack, but at least LX service in Y is decent enough to offer sandwiches mid-flight.

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Instead of giving me another water bottle, the FA returned with a glass of water.

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The mood lighting came back on as we crossed into Idaho.

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Immigration cards were handed out.

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Linens were laid, drinks were offered, and the pre-arrival meal order was taken. I opted for the quiche salad.

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The second meal is also done by tray, and the tray was very sparse other than the generic condiment packages. Hot breads were offered again.

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Two small pieces of quiche and half a hard boiled egg. Very frugal offerings again.

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The fruit was a lot like canned fruit and didn’t seem very fresh.

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When the trays were cleaned up, oshibori were offered.

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Approaching the San Fernando Valley.

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A hazy day in LA with the top of Palos Verdes barely visible.

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We land next to the cargo operations and have a very short taxi to TBIT,

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We pull in next to this AF B77W less than 2 minutes after touching down.

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With Global Entry, I’m quickly through immigration. There was a 15 minute wait for bags, mine was one of the last priority bags and then I was out through customs where Ms. NGO85 was waiting to collect me.
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Verdict

SWISS

7.4/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering6.0

Swiss International Air Lines SWISS Senator Lounge

7.0/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services8.0

Zurich - ZRH

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness9.0

Los Angeles - LAX

6.6/10
Efficiency6.5
Access4.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

LX J has a decent hard product with good IFE, but the catering is very average. The new cabins on the B77Ws are visually nice and the thrones are private, but not all seats are created equal and aisle seats are very exposed. The crew was average on this flight, but the real let down was the catering that was small portion sizes and overall tasteless. I’d fly LX again, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to try, no strong advantages over LH other than the seat.

Cabin comfort: Was able to get a throne, which I found to be a good seat. Nice long side table with plenty of storage. Long reach to the windows and the foot well is small for sleeping. Good, but not fantastic.

Crew: LX crew was average on this flight. With a big and full J cabin, service was slow and not very personable. FA spoke to me twice in German despite knowing I was an English speaker.

Meal and catering: Very average catering and the portion sizes were tiny. On paper, the menu looked good, but I didn’t necessarily get all of the flavors promised. Serving Y snacks mid-flight is a bit puzzling. Very small pre-arrival meal on a 11.5-hour flight.

Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The IFE was good with a large screen and crisp display, but the content was average, I only used the moving map.

Information on the route Zurich (ZRH) Los Angeles (LAX)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 5 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Zurich (ZRH) → Los Angeles (LAX).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is SWISS with 7.7/10.

The average flight time is 12 hours and 14 minutes.

  More information

17 Comments

  • Comment 427179 by
    KL651 TEAM 4374 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Well my main gripe after flying LX was the small size of meals, that was in Y, but it seems the problem is the same in J.
    With that and the basic amenity kit, the cost cutting is clearly visible.
    Too bad as visually the cabin is nice and FAs usually above standard.

    • Comment 427630 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Bonjour KL651,

      "the cost cutting is clearly visible."
      - After the investment to revitalize their long-haul fleet with the acquisition of flagship B77Ws and new cabins, they have cut back a lot on the little things. I guess the money to finance these aircraft purchases has to come from somewhere...

  • Comment 427243 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this concluding part with us!

    “UA B764 leaving.“
    - Nice shot, especially with the line-up of solely LX aircraft at the opposing terminal gates.

    Great spotting shots prior to taking off.

    “can be easily controlled through the touch screen remote“
    - I presume that could mean the responsiveness of the remote was satisfactory?

    Did you happen to try out any of the massaging functions of the seat?

    “Even though I’m not a dessert person, this was the highlight of the meal.“
    - That definitely puts perspective on the overall meal experience.

    “other than the generic condiment packages.“
    - The plate for the condiments seems unnecessarily large.

    “Approaching the San Fernando Valley.“
    - Stunning!

    Have a good one, see you later :).

    • Comment 427634 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for all your comments!

      “I presume that could mean the responsiveness of the remote was satisfactory?"
      - It's a really new IFE system on a new plane so it hadn't started to lag yet. It was a very crisp screen and responsive.

      "Did you happen to try out any of the massaging functions of the seat?"
      - Nope, doesn't seem like a totally necessary function for me, but maybe others might find it useful.

      “That definitely puts perspective on the overall meal experience." ==> At least it wasn't ice cream like on the Asian carriers!

      “The plate for the condiments seems unnecessarily large." ==> For the second meal, this was necessary, otherwise the tray would be 75% empty :)

  • Comment 427260 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 8617 Comments

    Thanks Michael !

    You weren't tempted to drink a few whiskies in the SEN lounge ? It's quite a nice experience with a view. :P

    "but switched to 16A during OLCI since these seats are blocked for HON Circle status." -> As well as for Senator members.

    "Pretty poor aircraft cleaning at a LX hub." -> An unopened water bottle is still nicer to find than a red wine wine mark or a chewing gum. ;)

    "The male FA working my corner of J came and introduced himself and took my aperitif order. My local selection with some nuts." -> The same beer is served in Y, but in cans. ^^

    "Don’t really like how they use a tray for the meal" -> LH and OS do it better…

    "The flyer placed on the meal tray, kind of tacky." -> By reading it you could have known there are newspapers available for download before and after your flight. ^^

    The main is quite small. And it's not the best presentation ever.

    "Some crackers or bread would have been nice…" -> Just feel free to ask. ;)

    The second meal is disappointing, it remembers me what I got on a PVG-ZRH last August.

    "but not all seats are created equal and aisle seats are very exposed." -> Like this solo business travelers and couples flying for leisure can find their seat of choice in the same cabin. ;)

    • Comment 427640 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Bonjour Clement, merci pour vos commentaires^^

      "You weren't tempted to drink a few whiskies in the SEN lounge ? It's quite a nice experience with a view. :P"
      - Deck was closed to rain that day. I saw the whisky bar, but was in too much of a rush between flights to savor the LX Lounge. I only spent 20 minutes in the Senator Lounge.

      "As well as for Senator members." ==> I'll update it, either way I was not going to pay the 300+ EUR for the seat selection without LX status^^

      "An unopened water bottle is still nicer to find than a red wine wine mark or a chewing gum. ;)" ==> Is this a reference to US? ;) I agree, not so egregious, but still poor cleaning to not notice a large item like a water bottle.

      "The same beer is served in Y, but in cans. ^^" ==> No Warsteiner or Franziskaner, Heineken does not tempt me :(

      "By reading it you could have known there are newspapers available for download before and after your flight. ^^"" ==> As you found out on UA, BYOE is not an attractive function. My main need for a newspaper is for the crossword puzzles, the electronic form of the newspaper does not appeal to me as much.

      "The main is quite small. And it's not the best presentation ever." ==> Your previous LX J meals looked better even on that ZRH-EWR with the charred grey meat.

      "Like this solo business travelers and couples flying for leisure can find their seat of choice in the same cabin. ;)"
      - Yes, but the aisle seats are really exposed. Some more thought could have been give to increase the separation of the seat from the aisle.

  • Comment 427269 by
    OH-LWE 32 Comments

    Great report, as always. What camera/photo enhancing software do you use to take/edit your photos, such as the picture of your UA 767-400ER? I really need to improve the quality of my photo reports lol.

    • Comment 427639 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for reading my FR!

      "What camera/photo enhancing software do you use to take/edit your photos" ==> No photo enhancement done, I have some settings on my camera to increase how vivid the colors, but I don't alter the photos with software. They were taken with Nikon D7500, 18-300mm lens for spotting, and a basic 35mm lens for in the cabin.

  • Comment 427281 by
    757Fan 501 Comments

    Great report, Michael. Looks like a nice flight to conclude your trip. Sorry to hear the food wasn't better, it does appear that a lot of space was taken up on the trays with other things than food! The quiche salad also sounds like a strange combination - but perhaps that's just me.

    The seats and the cabin look great though. Thank you for sharing!

    • Comment 427638 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by Matthew!

      "The quiche salad also sounds like a strange combination - but perhaps that's just me." ==> It felt like two things combined. The quiche should have been served warm and on its own next to the salad. Quiche plus egg is kind of redundant.

  • Comment 427309 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4726 Comments

    A visually beautiful report--I would expect nothing less from you, of course! I always love how the colors pop, especially with the planespotting.

    "I grabbed a brief snack before my flight and watched some planes from the windows."
    - Doesn't the SEN lounge at ZRH have a deck? or is that only the F lounge?

    "I was originally in 4K per Numero_2’s recommendation, but switched to 16A during OLCI since these seats are blocked for HON Circle status."
    - I'm confused. Both being throne seats, 4K seems like a better seat than 16A being in the forward mini-cabin behind F. I would think it would be more pleasant to be in a smaller cabin than the huge cabin behind 2L, or am I missing something? I would also think that 4A being in a bulkhead row probably has less restrictive foot space.

    The catering looks fine, though based on the size, clearly the meals were intended for the Lollipop Guild. I agree that the use of a tray on a day flight is disappointing. LX are behind the times compared to fellow Euro-neighbors. AF moved away from trays last year and even BA are rolling out a more upscale meal experience where courses are served by the plate. LX could at least cover up the tray with a cloth.

    "More shameless flyers were handed out, this time trying to get me to buy a TAG Heuer watch."
    - Tacky. They must really be hurting for money. All this marketing is always pretty awkward for cabin crew. I always feel bad when I see FAs having to hock credit cards on board. You can just tell they hate every second of it, but have to push it.

    Overall a decent inflight experience, but LX is clearly starting to lag behind its competitors. For an airline with such a premium reputation, they really need to get on the ball and start moving back upmarket before their reputation takes a permanent hit like BA has experienced in recent years.

    • Comment 427637 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      "I always love how the colors pop" ==> Anything to brighten your day Kevin, thanks for stopping by^^

      "Doesn't the SEN lounge at ZRH have a deck? or is that only the F lounge?" ==> There was a deck, but it was closed due to the weather. Pouring rain for most of my stay in ZRH with brief breaks in the clouds.

      "Both being throne seats, 4K seems like a better seat than 16A being in the forward mini-cabin behind F." ==> I was in 4K orginally, which is a pair of seats, not a throne (https://www.swiss.com/US/EN/fly/fleet/boeing.html). I would have had bulkhead, but had a seatmate. I opted for the throne over the wing, which was quite loud.

      "The catering looks fine, though based on the size, clearly the meals were intended for the Lollipop Guild."
      - Where is Marathon's tape measure when I need it. Everything was shrunken in size and wasn't even that fantastic in quality to justify the skimpiness. A bowl of canned fruit in J, come on now...

      "They must really be hurting for money." ==> Well, they need to figure out how to get their acts together quickly, they definitely seem to be one of the weaker *A operators in Europe. Even SK has a stronger J product these days. At least ex-LAX, there is no shortage of *A options to Europe, and LX cannot rely on a good hard product to lure customers from other carriers. We have had several people from work travel to ZRH and they were forced to take LX for being non-stop, but all have also complained about the food.

  • Comment 427350 by
    jeffy 2 Comments

    Thanks for this report. Being swiss, I should support our "national" airline (which is not anymore, as totally controlled by LH). On such a long flight as ZRH-LAX, the main course looks ridiculous. The quantity of food you got is equal to the one I get on Oman Air ZRH-MCT flight on a 6 hours flight. i'm totally speechless now.. Why should I ever fly LX on a longhaul ?

    • Comment 427636 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by!

      "The quantity of food you got is equal to the one I get on Oman Air ZRH-MCT flight on a 6 hours flight. i'm totally speechless now.."
      - The complete lack of distinction between 7 hour East Coast TATLs and 11 hour West Coast TATLs is where most carriers fall apart. Even on a East Coast TATL, this catering would be disappointing as well. Transcos often have better meals than this.

      "Why should I ever fly LX on a longhaul ?"
      - Need for a direct flight, that'd be the only reason I'd take LX again in J for long-haul unless they have some very attractive fares.

  • Comment 427359 by
    dreamweaver888 68 Comments

    Lovely trip report, great photos, great detail. I'm quite surprised at the miniscule portions for the catering!

  • Comment 427796 by
    Razza_Pr 205 Comments

    Hi, NGO85!

    Hope you had a great time in Italy with your brothers. Maybe next time you’ll pop over to Zurich? I promise we make better chocolate & smoked salmon :P

    “Boarding was slightly delayed so the masses took it upon them to completely crowd the gate area.”
    - One needn’t the letter “Q” to spell Swiss/Switzerland. Sadly that has transcended to the general situation of the public.

    “A quick look at today’s menu highlighting food from the Canton of Thurgau.”
    - My great grandpa used to take my brother and I to a fishing village in Thurgau. Perch was, in fact, the first fish I ever caught! I think it’s rather common in the canton, too.

    “Cold veal starter. Despite the quantity, the fig mustard was almost tasteless.”
    - It looks sad. Really, really sad.

    “The main was very small. It was the size of a UA Y meal if you cram it into a small black container. That said, the fish and sauce were good and the potatoes had a nice rosemary taste.”
    - Y i k e s. Take that as an encouragement to order more meals, yeah?

    “More shameless flyers were handed out, this time trying to get me to buy a TAG Heuer watch.”
    - Cue facepalm on my part. For an airline that has seemingly chosen to be simplistic over all-out, this all-out promotion is shameless and tacky indeed.

    “Not a J snack, but at least LX service in Y is decent enough to offer sandwiches mid-flight.”
    - Whatever happened to the quality bread offered with the main meals I wonder?

    The catering is just.. tragic for J class. Maybe it’s about time to ditch LSG and jump over to DO&CO? Surely HON/SEN elites would appreciate that..

    Thanks again for this FR. Cheers!

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