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Hello, and welcome to part 3 of my winter 2018/2019 trip back to New York. In the last installment, I flew a SWISS A220 from Frankfurt to Zürich. Now, I'll be flying to Newark on a SWISS A330-300. I'm glad that you're joining me. Here's a recap of the itinerary:
Shortly after I deplaned, I found myself at the 'center' of the airport, which was decorated very appropriately for the season.
All flights departing to the US leave from the E Gates (I think). To get there, you have to take a Swiss-theme train which plays Alpine music and has images of cows, mountains, and a young women wearing a Dirndl (female Lederhosen). I was going to grab a photo, but by the time I got my camera, it was too late.
The train ride took around 5 minutes, and then I found myself at Pier E.
I walked as fast as I could, not because I was late for my flight, but because I wanted to have some time at the (relatively) new SWISS Senator Lounge.
The Lounge has a very modest entrance.
I was greeted by a very friendly receptionist, who informed me that there would be no announcements, and that I should leave around 10 minutes before boarding. He then wished me a pleasant stay and opened the doors to the Senator Lounge.
As you walk in, on the left is a Whiskey Bar, and on the right is a grand modern hallway with some seating on the side leading to the rest of the lounge.
The wall features the coat of arms of all 26 Swiss Cantons, as well as some info about them. It also illustrates mountains and lakes of Switzerland.
On the other side is the outdoor terrace, which unfortunately was closed due to the rain.
At the end of the hallway are a few phone booths which also overlook the tarmac.
After that is the main part of the lounge.
There is also a Breitling set-up where you can also sit.
Past that is another seating area.
The chairs were super comfortable!
Behind the last seating area is a quiet room for relaxation…
…where there is no shortage of water.
In this room, you can also find a monitor with flight information.
Back in the main space, there are some more chairs, these ones overlooking the tarmac.
In the lounge is also a very nice business center with private cubicles.
Needless to say, the WiFi was flawless in the lounge.
And that brings us to the dining section.
There is a menu from which you can order, or you can just grab something quick from the buffet.
I really enjoyed my brief stay at the lounge and hope to go back again soon. SWISS really did a good job with this lounge. Another great thing about my stay was that it was very empty, but probably because there was only other SWISS flight from Pier E at the time. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and so I headed to the gate.
My flight departed from Gate E18, which is half a floor down from the other gates.
Departing from the gate to our's was a SWISS A340-300 (HB-JMB 'Zürich') off to Boston as LX52.
No good views of my plane, sadly. The A330-300 for the flight was HB-JHF, named Bern. It was delivered to SWISS on April 16th, 2010.
Shortly after I arrived at the gate, boarding commenced.
No separate bridge for First Class today.
A bit of a better view of the aircraft.
First one on board.
Pretty dated cabin.
Decent legroom, but why the IFE box?!?!
Good wingview from my seat.
Let's take a look at the IFE, whose controller is located on the armrest,
The screen is also a touch screen, but is extremely unresponsive. I just ended up using the controller.
The short film that plays when you start the TV.
The home screen (whoops, wrong language).
Not many options for languages.
After I selected English, I had to wait for such a long time, it became dark outside.
Once I finally got the TV to work, I checked out the oldish airshow.
Before boarding was finished, Captain Hans made an announcement saying that our flight time would be around 8:30 and that they still had some paperwork to fill out before we could leave. On behalf of himself and First Officer Andreas, he wished us a pleasant flight. When boarding was finally over, the Purser (or Maître de Cabine, as SWISS calls them) made her welcome announcement and screen the safety video.
Another bad thing about the IFE on SWISS's A330s: these are the only earphones that fit into the audio plug. My Beats didn't fit.
We pushed back at 5:41 PM local and taxied to Runway 16 for takeoff.
The mood lighting in the cabin was nice.
"SWISS 18 Heavy, Runway 16, Cleared for takeoff."
Making the famous left turn on departure.
A blurred Zürich City Center.
Already in the clouds.
Closeup of the winglet.
Decided to (re)watch some episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
Needless to say, it was dark for the whole flight.
Cabin shortly before the meal service.
The service began soon after takeoff, as we were entering French airspace.
The 'appetizer' if you could call it that.
Great view of the moon.
I think it's nice that they give people a bottle of water, instead of just a glass.
Showtime, SWISS Economy style!
Included in the meal were a salmon salad…
…a warm bread roll…
…some delicious dessert (don't know what it was)…
…and the main. A delicious (and spicy!) Thai curry. OMG, this was actually restaurant quality.
On top of that, we were given real cutlery. And it was served in a very stylish way.
A great meal! :D
The dinner service ended around here.
Like all other SWISS A330s, this aircraft was equipped with WiFi…
…as well as a USB port.
A bit of ice formed around the windows.
I decided to watch M.I. Fallout for the second time.
Passed through a little bit of turbulence.
The mood lighting stayed on for the duration of the flight, which I liked.
I napped for a little, which was easy to do because the seat reclines quite a bit. That being said, when the seat in front of you is reclined, there is barely any space to move, which is uncomfortable if you are awake. A blanket was provided for all passengers.
I slept for about 2 hours and woke up around this place, which I think was Quebec City.
The crew started the second service.
A delicious (and messy) pizza twirl with pepperoni.
Around 50 Minutes before landing, the Captain gave us some arrival information, at which time we passed Montreal.
We began our descend over Vermont and flew over the capital of the Empire State at 17,000 feet, at which time the famous SWISS chocolates were passed out.
Delicious as always!
Making a left turn over the NY-NJ state line.
Turning final over Passaic, NJ.
Who needs views of Manhattan when you have an equally impressive view of the beautiful Newark skyline.
Over the long-term parking lot.
And a very smooth landing back on the home turf on Runway 22L.
Very hard braking.
We had to hold here for 15 minutes because our gate was still occupied.
Unitedland the Terminal…
…and our gate.
I'd say the the bulkhead row is definitely the best place to sit in Y on this bird.
Business Class looks pretty nice. I haven't flown LX J since they flew a fifth-freedom from Bangkok to Singapore on the A340-300. Good old times.
Our final routing across the pond.
The lines at the border weren't bad at all and I was on the AirTrain 45 minutes after we landed.
I had to wait 30 Minutes for the NJ Transit train to Penn Station, and was back on the Upper West Side less than 2 hours after landing. Thankd for reading!
A near perfect flight across the pond which had me very impressed.
+ Superb Senator Lounge at ZRH
+ Very polite and chipper crew
+ Restaurant quality dinner, delicious (but not restaurant quality) pre-arrival snack
+ On time
- Dated A330 Economy Cabin with an IFE box under the seat and no space if the seat in front reclines
- Slow and unresponsive TV screen.
I won't hesitate to fly SWISS Economy long-haul again if the price is right, but the A330 would probably be my last choice of aircraft to fly. I'd try to fly on an A340, provided that it's retrofitted. It has the same seat as the 777-300ER (which is great, I flew it to SFO in 2017), but is in a 2-4-2 configuration.