RTW to Bali: Swiss First Class Zurich – Montreal

TRIP INDEX

ZRH (Zurich) – YUL (Montreal)
LX86
3 SEP 2012
Airbus A330-300
First Class

Seats 2D, 2G

Boarding

After being dropped off by our luxurious Volkswagen van, we walked through the terminal and to our gate. We were called first to board and entered through Door 2L (in the middle of Business Class). The FAs were still prepping everything, pouring orange juice and champagne for the Biz passengers. One smiled at us and took a look at our boarding passes, instructing us to turn left towards the front of the plane, through the mini-Business Class cabin and into First Class.

Our ride to Montreal

Our ride to Montreal

Settling In

We got to our seats and started to put our carry-ons in the overhead bins. There are only bins above the window seats, none in the middle section. It definitely helps when airlines do that; it makes the cabin feel roomier.

Only 2 rows of First Class

Only 2 rows of First Class & No overhead bins in the middle

I chose the two middle seats for us, which are the best for couples in this configuration. Joann was in 2G on the right and I in 2D on the left.

Cabin from in between our seats 2D + 2G

Cabin from in between our seats

The lead FA introduced herself to us and asked if this was our first time in Swiss First. We replied that it was and she was excited for us and assured us that we’d have an amazing time, starting off with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne and a canapé.

Laurent-Perrier champagne

Laurent-Perrier champagne

Salmon cake-like bite + cheesy bread sticks

Salmon cake w/mango salsa + cheesy bread sticks

On the armrests of the suites were unisex amenity kits by Bally’s. The bags themselves were good quality and sturdy. Inside, the best part was probably the La Prairie skin care products.

As far as the amenity kits go on this trip, Thai’s Tumi bag was nicer, but the contents of Swiss’ Bally’s kit were better.

Bally's amenity kit

Bally’s amenity kit

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RTW to Bali: Swiss First Class Lounge in Zurich

TRIP INDEX

So we landed at Zurich Airport in Switzerland. The challenge was to get to the Swiss First Class Lounge which involved taking the train to another terminal. We saw this flight board with some information but, in reality, we were just following the rest of the people on our flight.

Signage

Signage

As I recall, we took a few wrong turns, stopped in one of the many Swiss Business Class lounges to ask where the First lounge was, but eventually we made it there! I’m not sure if we had to go through the security checkpoints that we did, but it wasn’t at all busy and the Swiss workers were pleasant (unlike our good old TSA).

Entrance to the First Class Lounge

Entrance to the First Class Lounge

Actually, before we went upstairs to the lounge, we stopped by the check-in counters nearby to have our boarding passes printed out. Back in Bali, the Thai check-in agent only gave us boarding passes for DPS-BKK and BKK-ZRH. This took a while because there was apparently an issue with our tickets – something about Thai Airways “holding” our ticket so the Swiss agent couldn’t do what she needed to do with it.

After about 10 minutes of phone calls, the Swiss agent printed out our boarding passes without e-ticket numbers. She said that she’d fix the situation and get us our real passes before we left.

No e-ticket, no problem

No e-ticket, no problem

Well we had something; so we went upstairs to the First Class Lounge.

Spiral stairs up to the Lounge

Spiral stairs up to the Lounge

We checked in with an agent at the desk who informed us that we would be shuttled to our gate at 12:15 PM; boarding time was 12:35 PM. I asked her about Wifi and shower suites. She handed us a piece of paper for the Wifi and told us to just ask whenever we needed the shower suites.

As we always do when we get into a lounge, we made a bee-line to the seating area near the food! 😀

Main seating area by the food, of course

Main seating area by the food, of course

Plenty of seating

Plenty of seating

Snacks at every table

Snacks at every table

Power plugs for everyone

Power plugs for everyone

I liked the lounge a lot. Enough seating and space. Great views of the tarmac with huge windows to let lots of natural light in. The decor was simple – muted tones with clean lines. We came to find out that nothing Swiss Air-branded was ostentatious in any way. It really fit the elegant feel of the airline perfectly.

And, most importantly, the food was yummy.

The whole buffet and beverage area

The whole buffet and beverage area

So many small bites

So many small bites

More small bites

More small bites

Must. Have. Coffee

Must. Have. Coffee

Beverage options

Beverage options

Wine and champagne

Wine and champagne

New dishes that were put out around lunch time

New dishes that were put out around lunch time

The variety of food they had was great. They were mostly small bites so it was easy to try everything. Joann and I were really happy with the quality of food. The dish with the roast beef and asparagus was a great bite, so much so that I went back for about four more. 😉

After indulging in plenty of food, we both caught up on emails and such with the free Wifi. I also got one nice shot of a big aircraft from our window seats.

A beer and a view

A Swiss beer and a view

Singapore Air A380

Singapore Air A380

After a few minutes of just resting and digesting, it was definitely time to shower. Another shower in an airport lounge… I could get used to this!

I went first, asking the agent at the front desk to unlock the shower suite door for me. The shower suites were inside the restrooms, but they are well isolated. The men have two suites while the women only have one.

Shower room

Shower room

Another welcomed rainfall shower

Another welcomed rainfall shower

Bulgari amenities

Bulgari amenities

The shower felt amazing after being on a plane for 11 hours and then transiting through the airport. I was definitely spoiled by all the rainfall showerheads we used throughout the entire trip. I want one for our house now!

After a while, I came back out and Joann took her turn in the women’s shower suite. We went separately so we wouldn’t lose our window seats; the lounge was starting to fill up as lunchtime was approaching.

Not shortly after Joann’s shower, we went over to the sit-down dining area. We weren’t particularly hungry and we would be getting a full meal on our upcoming flight, but we wanted to sample as much as we could!

There was only one waiter serving the whole area so initially it did take a while, but we placed our order and hoped it would come soon as our 12:15 PM shuttle time was almost upon us.

Simple pasta dish

Simple pasta dish

BLT

BLT

The meal was good, but nothing creative like the little bites they put out in the buffet area. However, you can’t really go wrong with pasta and a BLT so we were happy we tried it.

Before we knew it, the agent from the front desk was standing over us telling us that it was time to go! She looked pretty ticked that we weren’t at the front desk on time. The Swiss must not mess around with their time and it was probably because there were other passengers to be shuttled.

We scurried to gather our things and head towards the elevator to the ground floor where the van was waiting on the tarmac. We had three other First Class passengers with us so it was a tight fit. Joann and I could definitely feel their stares as they were all older business men and we were just a young couple on a joyride.

VW van for First Class passengers

VW van for First Class passengers

Nonetheless, we enjoyed a nice shuttle to the Swiss and Lufthansa departure gates. It was really cool driving almost underneath the Swiss widebody jets. Not often can you say that you’ve been driven on the tarmac of an airport!

Once we got to Terminal E, the driver wished us farewell and we took the elevator upstairs to the main area of the terminal.

Elevator up to the main floor of the terminal

Elevator up to the main floor of the terminal

It was time for the best flight of our lives…

RTW to Bali: Thai Airways First Class Bangkok – Zurich

TRIP INDEX

BKK (Bangkok) – ZRH (Zurich)
TG970
3 SEP 2012
Airbus A340-600
Royal First Class

Seats 2A, 2E

As we boarding through our own First Class jet bridge and boarding door, the agent who escorted us wished us a pleasant trip and, immediately, the purser introduced himself to us and showed us to our seats in 2A and 2E.

I chose these seats because, after asking around on Flyer Talk, I learned that these would be better for having access to your travel companion. It’s a simple step across the aisle versus going through and around the forward galley if we both had the middle seats.

We were two of the last passengers to board First Class so I didn’t want to disturb the cabin by taking too many photos. Here is a picture of the entire cabin unoccupied courtesy of Airliners.net.

The Seat 

Seat 2A

Seat 2A

Seat 2A Ottoman

Seat 2E Ottoman

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RTW to Bali: Cathay Pacific Lounges in Hong Kong – The Wing & The Pier

TRIP INDEX

We were the first to disembark the plane and it was early (around 5am local time) so Joann and I had a leisurely walk in a quiet Hong Kong International Airport to the our first destination – The Wing, one of Cathay Pacific’s 4 lounges at HKG.

The Wing

hong kong cathay pacific lounges

Front entrance of The Wing

Upon entering, the Cathay lounge attendants took our lounge invitations that were printed in JFK and welcomed us with smiles. I immediately asked about a shower and they directed us to the end of the long hallway where another attendant would assist us.

hong kong cathay pacific lounges

The long hallway leading to the shower rooms

Luckily, there were two shower rooms available so we both went right in. Showering in an airport; who would’ve thought? It was perfectly refreshing and just what we needed after a 15 hour flight, especially with the elegant facilities and amenities.

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RTW to Bali: JFK-HKG Cathay Pacific First Class

TRIP INDEX

Our first ever long-haul flight in an international premium cabin… Cathay Pacific First Class. Pure ecstasy in the air.

This is going to be a LONG post with LOTS of pictures… and it’s all worth it.

After walking through the throngs of people hovering around the gate, we were among the first to board. As I handed my 1A boarding pass to the flight attendant at the door to the aircraft, he directed me to the left and all the way up. We were finally here!

JFK (New York) – HKG (Hong Kong)
CX845
25 AUG 2012
Boeing 777-300ER
First Class

Seats 1A, 2A

The Suite

The first thing that went through my head as I walked to the very front of the plane was “WOW.” I’d seen plenty of pictures prior to this but being here in person was actually a surreal feeling. Right then, I knew all the planning, credit card churning, and overall points hustling had all been worth it.

Right away, we both got to exploring our own suites and taking pictures with every device imaginable – iPhone, Canon 300 HS (our point & shoot of choice), and my Canon 40D digital SLR.

Easily, the best parts about the suite are the privacy (only a step below completely enclosed suites) and the seat width. The seat is 3 feet wide; Joann and I even watched a movie together sharing it.

This command center of an airplane seat also had plenty of storage compartments for your small travel gear, a closet,  and a dual-purpose ottoman – 1) to extend the bed when fully flat and 2) to act as a seat for a visitor.

One thing to note if you have a chance to fly this plane (and you should try your hardest to) is that the left side of the cabin will be the most private.

Check out the seating chart. Each row has 3 seats, but both the D & K seats access the aisle on the right. Therefore, only 1A and 2A access the left aisle so it’ll feel a bit more private.

I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves, but I assure you, they don’t do the suites any justice.

cathay pacific first class jfk hkg hong kong bali

First Class Suite… private!

cathay pacific first class jfk hkg hong kong bali

From the reverse angle…

cathay pacific first class jfk hkg hong kong bali

The behemoth of an airplane seat… 3 feet wide

cathay pacific first class jfk hkg hong kong bali

Ottoman that doubles as a visitor seat for couples dining

cathay pacific first class jfk hkg hong kong bali

Noise cancelling headphones

cathay pacific first class jfk hkg hong kong bali

Everyone else settling in; our side was most private b/c of this wall. And there’s Mama ‘Just Another Points Traveler‘ on the left!

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