wandering amphibia

Trip Report – RTW – Part 1: LX Transatlantic Business

So it’s time for another trip report. Inconveniently, this one follows the HNL one back to back so it’s hard to keep up with the posting rhythm, but I will try what I can.

This trip will take us to Europe and Asia and feature a few stops on the way. It cost 120,000 Aeroplan points and a somewhat indeterminate number of dollars, since a number of changes have been made; somewhere in the neighbourhood of $600 per person when all the change fees have been factored in, but I am guessing around $300 in taxes only. The routing is transatlantic to ZRH-MUC-BLQ, stop for a week and a half (during which a separate Avios trip is taken to LHR – 25 quid of taxes and 12,000 points round trip); then BLQ-IST-SIN with a stop for two days, then SIN-KIX, stop for 10 days, then KIX-ICN-SFO, stop for 26 hours thanks to an agent who either missed it or didn’t care, then SFO-home. Some interesting things will be discussed along the way – such as my first ever visit to a dream hotel that I have wanted to visit for many years now, and a few other cool tidbits. So read on!

We start with a flight on LX taking us to ZRH, onwards to MUC and BLQ, where a brief stop will be in order carrying us onwards.

First, the checkin. Last year when we flew LX F, it took us a good half an hour to get an agent to acknowledge we were both there and entitled to it, while Y happily moved along through. This time it was far quicker, fortunately.

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The pathetic AC MLL lounge never fails to disappoint. I cannot understand how AC can get away with this.

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Classic Maple Leaf Lounge food – irrespective of time of day – bread and Guinness. Like, seriously.

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So once enough time has gone by and I consumed a Guinness (I decided to go light on it because I knew more would come on the LX flight), off we went to the flight itself.

The seat was surprisingly spacious. In fact, spacious enough that I did not feel much of a difference with the F seat – clearly, you do not have the two-person dining arrangement, nor do you have AS much storage space and so on, but there is such an enormous amount of space that it feels fairly excessive and hard to imagine needing any more (though to be fair, just as living in a house, the more space you have, the more you will end up using – when we flew the new F configuration on the LH 747, we ended up using 5 suites for 2 people and a toddler). Anyway, I also later realised that the seat I had, 4A, is a special one: unlike 5AC, which are two, 4A is a single seat that takes up two seats’ worth of space – hence why it feels SO spacious. So if you are flying alone, or with a non-needy partner, I *highly* recommend this seat – or pretty much any seat in row 4 or 5 on the 333 in the mini-cabin on LX.

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On to the most important aspect: the food. Food usually makes or breaks the experience. Since I have never flown LX J, but I have flown LX F, all I can compare is apples to oranges, but I definitely got spoiled with multi-course all-you-can-eat premium meals. Business class meals are, in a way, like glorified economy meals: they still arrive all on one tray for convenience, you still run out of stock on some choices, and it is still beef or chicken, pretty much. Just far, far better, of course, but nothing like the extravaganza that happens in first class. Also interesting to note that the champagne that Swiss serves in First is equivalent to the one served in Business.

Food menu:

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And this is what the end result ends up looking like:

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One of the things that I really hate about this flight, to be honest, is the timing. Granted – it is a great airline, it is a great flight, and the service is generally excellent (not in my specific case, because for some reason this time, the glasses went unfilled for quite some time, and the service was rather haphasard – but this is more of an exception than the rule). But the main problem is it departs at 5pm, and lands at what is essentially midnight: and when you add the eating, the climbing and the descending, you are looking at about 3 hours of sleep betwen 7pm and 10pm, which is hardly good. In this sense, the 9pm LH flight is a better option. But LX has no fuel surcharges, and until recently, the better hard product (lie-flat seats, as opposed to the awkward, horrid, hideous angled LH seats – but with the new J retrofit in MUC this has been fixed).

Anyway, the other funny thing is that considering the tailwind we had, we left half an hour late and arrived early, and because ZRH does not allow landings before 6am, this had to happen:

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Well, that’s about it for this LX flight. In the next post, the onward connection!