Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
Barcelona Switchover, Lounge, LX1955 Barcelona – Zürich Airport
- Memo to Self: Stop looking at Booking Engines Late at Night
- Leaving Birmingham, Servisair Lounge, To Zürich with Swiss and OLT Express on LX425
- Zürich Night Stop – “Zürich Dayrooms”, Senator Lounge
- LX1952 Barcelona to Zurich
- A Free Tour of Barcelona
- Back to El Prat, Lounge, BA0475 Barcelona – London
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge
- BA027 London Heathrow – Hong Kong
- Holiday Inn Express Soho, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
- One Time Exception: Macau with TurboJet
- GhettoIFE Special: Images of a Fragrant Harbour
- Lounging Around Hong Kong Airport
- BA026 Hong Kong to London Heathrow
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge, BA484 London Heathrow – Barcelona El Prat
- Barcelona Switch, Lounge, LX1955 Barcelona – Zürich Airport (THIS SECTION)
- Run like the wind, LX424 Zürich – Birmingham Airport, Homeward bound
- Avios? Oh Yes, Oh Yes, OH YEAH!
Right. Barcelona is further away from home from London. What was I thinking? Anyway, onto the next flight…
Exiting the plane I cleared immigration in the most stupid way possible thanks to the immigration checkpoint – I went to the EU queue, handed my passport over at the passport page. Now whilst I normally see lots of typing and a swipe of the information bit of the passport, the agent looked at the passport, looked at me, said thank you and let me through.
It’s quick, but that’s a bit of a security snooze there methinks.
Meanwhile baggage was being unloaded, and it was taking time coming out. I think my bag came in the last lot of bags to be ferried from the plane, but it arrived, with everything seemly intact. I cleared customs quickly as they were switching off half of the lights in the baggage claim hall.
After entering the public area, I quickly re-packed a few bags so some stuff I had picked up on route was stored safely (and wasn’t bulging out my main bag too much), then headed back upstairs to the check in area.
After a bit of hunting, I found the Swiss check-in desks. I was seen to quickly as a SEN and the boarding passes issued for both the ZRH-BCN flights and the ZRH-BHX flights. With the 45 minute cutover between flights, the computer system seemed confident I could make it.
I still wasn’t sure.
With the formalities completed and the luggage taken away, I was off through security, and going through the same security check point I went through on the way out. Within minutes, I was clear (with my bag unmolested), this time heading down to the main terminal area. I tried to buy a coat there (not easy or cheap… I’d address that deficiency once I was at home) and get gin for those who wanted it in the office. Once purchased, I was off to the common lounge
Lounge Stop – Barcelona Schengen Lounge
I was welcomed into the lounge which in all respects, is a mirror to the Non-Schengen lounge (See Back to El Prat, Lounge, BA0475 Barcelona – London)- the big difference is that this lounge was a lot more busier. Still it allowed me a good 30 minutes or so to unwind before the next set of flights.
One thing that was of interest however was the new Lufthansa Business Class Seat that was being demoed. And of course, I had to review it quickly. Why? Because I love you all.
The seat itself does go flat – that’s the good news. As I noted in my initial analysis some time ago, I was worried about the angling of the seat in regards to feet intermingling, and I saw they put a divider up so feet from one seat won’t touch the other person.Put it like this: You’d need to put effort into it if you want to play footsie with the person in the seat next to you.
The IFE controller and screen were nice to handle, but as usual with IFE – its the content that counts…. and sadly there was little content hooked up in the demo system.
It was reasonably spacious but honestly…. nothing overly special. For those who don’t like Lufthansa’s current wedgie seat, this is one hell of an improvement though.
Eventually I headed off as the computer screen said that a gate had been called. However, I was in for a shock. 1) The gate was at the far end of the C Gates at C75 and 2) When I arrived at the gate… there was no plane there. Now I was clock watching, as every minute wasted on the ground would add up to less time to run across Zurich Airport.
The plane pulled in about 10 minutes late, with a full unload of passengers, as well as crew who were swapping over at Barcelona.
I guess “Swiss Punctuality” and “On-Time” don’t apply at Barcelona…
Boarding begun (with separate boarding for Business/SEN/Star Gold and Economy), and I made my way onto this A320 that was taking back to Zurich.
Leg 7 LX1955 Barcelona El Prat – Zurich International Airport
Swiss International Air Lines, Airbus A320, Seat 7F
125 Miles Earned + 32 Executive Miles
I was welcomed aboard, and headed to my window Seat of 7F for this leg towards Zurich – 1 row behind the business class. This isn’t a bad thing as you don’t get a face-full of curtain when you get up later during the flight, or when you’re getting off the plane a rush.
Cabin during boarding
I stowed my baggage in the overhead lockers, and I found myself in a familiar comfortable Swiss short haul environment. Thankfully boarding seemed to move at some speed as there were a lot of people on connections beyond Zurich for this flight, and the plane was buttoned up to go. However, the point where we took off, we were 20 minutes down already.
This, was going to be tighter than I would had liked by any stretch of the imagination. Deciding not to worry about this for a bit (and rather worry at the other end), I settled back into the climb.
After the plane settled at its flight level, the food and drink service began
The usual drinks.
And an Apricot Tart.
Well… this is different. No baguettes with Turkey meat inside? Am I *sure* I’m flying Swiss here? Nonetheless it was a reasonably different thing to have as an inflight snack. I wasn’t overly hungry, so I popped it in a bag for later (and considering the expiry date on it, later would be a longgggg time).
The seat? Well I think we all know the answer to that:
Do I need to say it even?
And the seat even supports a GhettoIFE system (yes, it FINALLY makes an appearance on this trip ;))
Mono…. D’oh! (Marge Vs The Monorail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marge_vs._the_Monorail )
There was also IFE on the TV screens too (Classic Tom and Jerry).
Again, the seat next to me was free, creating a very pleasant in flight experience.
Clear down and duty free were done, with very few takers for Duty Free. Of course, there was one important thing that happened near the end of the flight:
Ah yes. I’m DEFINITELY on Swiss.
Soon, we were beginning to turn and descend, and the seatbelt signs went on indicating we were closing in on Zurich Airport.
Looking at the clock we had pulled in at about 16:20. 5 minutes late on the ground, so that pilot had made up some serious time in the air. Some of that was lost during the taxi to the terminal, but I was mentally preparing myself for the great run that was ahead of me.
And Goodbye to you too… lets hope I make the next flight!!!
Unfortunately for me the plane pulled up at the far end of the A Pier at Zurich Airport. Knowing that the clock ticking on my connection, I pulled my bags from the overhead bin, thanked the crew… and rushed off the plane.
Overall: A slightly different service, but delivered in the usual Swiss style that I’ve come to enjoy on these shorthaul legs offered by this airline. Great crew, good seating that is appropriate for the flight.
Next: Ride Like The Wind (To be Free again)… and homeward bound (Hopefully…)