Greetings Flight Report community and welcome to the sixth installment of the "Great Swiss First Coup" series. Please feel free to visit the LAX-HKG segment for more detail on how our own Rewardflying contributor worked his magic and turned Swiss F from a dream into a reality.
Flying with Swiss is a very special experience and the time in the air is delightful. They don't let up on the ground with a stunning First Class Lounge complex. Not only did Mark from rewardflying.com find the unicorn that is F space on Swiss but the routing had a 7 our layover in ZRH to properly experience the facility.
I didn't manage much sleep on BOM-ZRH, mostly intentionally, but I wasn't concerned because I knew Swiss offered day rooms to F passengers and it has been a commercial aviation bucket list item for me to enjoy one. I presented at the podium and asked about availability and the agent immediately accommodated me.
I was escorted to the St. Moritz and much like the alpine resort town it was something to behold.
The first thing to catch my eye was the exceedingly plush queen size bed with luxurious Hastens bedding.
There is a spacious toilet and shower enclosed in glass on one side of the room.
Amenities are beautifully arranged.
Fresh cut flowers, and a reminder that the bath area is visible to those who may peer in from outside.
Bedside amenities and again a reminder that people can see through windows.
Finally the main draw for the avgeek in me, the views.
Plane spotting from bed.
After a refreshing nap and shower I was ready to enjoy the lounge proper and specifically the restaurant. I was greeted by a very serious host and shown to a table.
The views continue when dining. The ramp is in full view as is runway 14/32. My standard order of Champagne and water to start.
The menu consists of the "Taste of Switzerland" experience with wine pairing as well as a la carte selections. Please excuse the poor pictures, I tried every angle to correct but the lighting but paper color and stock made it impossible.
My selection, the tasting menu, also highlighting the canton of Vaud, much like the inflight meal.
The trio of butter is to die for.
The Chef's amuse of the day was salmon and cucumber.
The first dish on the tasting menu was the confit of crayfish with dill froth, tapioca, fennel, and purslane. Rather striking presentation. A lovely assortment of flavors and textures and perfect tasting portion. The pairing was a Swiss Chasselas wine.
The cold nectarine bowl was next paired with a Champagne Blanc de Blancs. Again the plating is so precise.
Cherry on cherry action here with the sorbet paired with the cherry liqueur. Bright and refreshing.
This tender cut of pork was extraordinary. The potatoes were works of art. A beautiful dish in every way paired with a Swiss Merlot.
The finale, a vully cake, was outstanding along side a 2016 Pinot Gris Barrique.
An espresso to complete a most memorable culinary journey. The craftsmanship in the design, cookery, and presentation of this menu was very well received.
After brunch I strolled around the lounge and was looking forward to the observation deck but my plans were foiled.
The 365 degree panoramic windows provide great views.
A trip to the toilet even includes ramp views.
A look at the central bar.
Champagne and other chilled wines.
I left the lounge well before boarding time to stroll around the terminal. I encountered the Swiss Business Class lounge along the route and decided to pop in and have a look. When I encountered this sign, I made a left.
Wow! A beautiful display a la LH F lounges.
The master list.
A friendly young woman was staffing the bar and was very eager to pour some samples.
The terrace accessed from the J lounge was open!
A thoughtful inclusion.
I lost track of time plane gazing so I had to walk a brisk pace to the departure gate. they didn't leave without me although the 1L jet bridge was retracted. I don't know if It was attached at some point.
My pulse rate jumped a little at the excitement of my circumstances. I walked through the small J cabin and into the 8 seat F cabin and took my position at 2A.
As gorgeous as the A330 was the 777 is even more so. The additional space is immediately noticeable as is the additional privacy of the seat.
Reading light and privacy door controls.
The IFE monitor is striking in size and resolution.
The Matterhorn decorates the forward bulkhead. Michelle was somehow surprised, feigned or not, that I knew what the image was.
The crew on this flight were immediately approachable and friendly. Simon and Michelle both welcomed me aboard. The LPGS was already flowing when I arrived so I joined the party.
Amenities were at the seat upon arrival and pajamas were passed out.
I opted to get changed before takeoff as we encountered a slight delay. Taking a peek on the way to the lav.
Comfortable lounge wear.
Simple design but luxurious feel.
La Prairie among the lavatory amenities.
The closed is also the suite door.
Back at 2A the Champagne was topped up regularly as to make our tardy departure a most welcome development. Two bottles of the LPGS were evaporated before push back, my kind of crowd. Nuts and a towel were also passed.
There was only one detail that was regrettable. My seatmate and her pet. I am guilty of stereotyping in this instance but the couple and the dog left a poor taste in my mouth immediately.
I didn't bother noting our departure time as I was in a Champagne fueled bliss that time couldn't intrude upon. We did push back, taxi, and depart from runway 16.
After takeoff The IFMS Lara came by to welcome the F passengers aboard and offer a wifi voucher. She was full of energy and very pleasant. I mentioned to her that 1K was open and shot a glance at the dog and she immediately understood and asked if she could help carry anything. Up in the galley before making the turn to 1K she mentioned that this is only on flights to the US and they are legally bound to US law regarding support animals. "this doesn't happen on other flights."
My new mountain view from 1K.
Our climb featured, what I can only assume was a noise abatement procedure, a corkscrew type pattern where we gained altitude directly above the airfield.
The electric window shade in dimmed position.
Much better company in 1K.
The basic seat controls were in the armrest with more specific controls revealed when opening the storage compartment.
A touch screen IFE controller was also under the armrest.
A higher quality headset when compared to the A330.
Storage and closet in 1K.
The meal service started with an amuse of salmon and burrata along side some breadsticks. The LPGS was also reintroduced. I heard the 3rd bottle pop shortly thereafter. It felt like a competition.
The three headed bread monster made an appearance.
I lowered the darker shade in an effort to combat glare.
Not totally successful.
The meal service started from the trolley where the first courses were beautifully laid out for review. The Balik with a lobster, yuzu gelee and citrus salad. Sublime flavors from land and sea.
The charcuterie is always a highlight for me. Again the selection is fromt eh canton of Vaud and included Edelweiss and Fete des Vignerons sausage, Limousin dried meat, chateau smoked ham. The fats of the saucisson sec melt effortlessly in your mouth. The Quinoa and egg mimosa on rye bread with courgetti and olive oil drops a beautiful canapé and exciting bite.
I opted to pass on the salad Nicoise as it was simply too much already. I also had my eye on the courgette vichyssoise with Forel goat's cheese and croutons.
Simon was providing most of the service in the aisle and Michelle in the kitchen. They were a great team with impeccable pacing and attention to the passenger and the plating. Having requested the veal tenderloin for a main course Simon checked in on wine preferences. Sensing my indecision, and in true LX/LH grand fashion, he brought them all to sample and enjoy. To my surprise my preferred wine in this group, at this time was the Australian.
The veal is presented with truffle sauce, fava beans, chanterelles, and carrot puree with brown butter. The Roasted vegetable is passed from a tray and the diner may select their preferences. I thought that was a nice touch.
The veal is sensually tender and cooked to a very gentle medium. The rich truffle sauce and brown butter carrots had a decadent note to the otherwise lean and tender protein. It's a very pleasing experience.
The show must go on with the parade of cheese from Vaud.
I ask Simon for a taste of each as well as the chutney and pear bread.
The Sauternes to accompany.
It's all rather lovely.
Lingering on the cheese and enjoying an interesting documentary on Rhone wines. I do eventually gather the inertia to press on to a sweet finish. The Mirliton, an apricot and almond tart with peach and apricot sorbet is superb.
An encore of praline and espresso finishes the grand feast. The Sauternes, LPGS, and Shriaz all give a standing ovation.
Simon and Michelle made the entire journey fun and memorable. Personal pacing, generous wine presentation, and precise service all flowed seemingly effortlessly. Of course the effort was all theirs. Unfortunately the long travel day and feasting with wine throughout the day caught up with me and I was going to have to rest. Michelle setup a comfortable bed.
Simon presented a menu for anytime dining.
The potato and leek quiche with L'Etivaz cheese and a glass of Swiss white wine.
An Americano to finish.
It was a bright clear day at ORD and despite the late departure we touched down more or less on time. The taxi was interminable, easily 20+ minutes to the stand.
Parked next to a 74M Combi.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, hopefully there will be a next time to be sweet on.
The Ground Service: My arrival in ZRH was greeted by a sign with my name on it, as were the other F passengers, however we docked at E and I was departing from E so the representative just informed me how to reach the lounge. On departure I buggered out of the lounge well before boarding so I don't know if there was someone to collect me a la LH at the FCT.
The Lounge: It is my all around favorite lounge among those I have had the privilege to visit. The nap room, the fine dining, the panoramic ramp and runway views, outside terrace and well stocked bar all make for a fantastic and lavish layover. The service was fine other than a frumpy initial contact in the dining room.
The Cabin: The minimalist aesthetics and clean lines appeal to me. The seats have ample storage, suite privacy, and a fantastic IFE monitor. I found the seat very comfortable in a variety of sitting and lounging positions as well as a spacious and perfectly rectangular bed. The bedding was also plush and luxurious.
The Crew: Simon and Michelle were professional and generous in their service with an air of playfulness that suited me fine. 5 of 8 seats in the cabin were occupied so perhaps that allowed for more time with each individual guest. Truth be told sitting in 1K I felt like the only person on the airplane.
The Food and Beverage: Blending innovation with Swiss traditions is a fantastic approach tot he food and beverage program.
Overall: I am very fortunate to have experienced the Swiss First Class tradition. This trip is likely a once in a lifetime experience so that makes the conclusion bittersweet. Thank you for reading and happy flying.