SWISSbuckling to Europe Pt II – Chance encounter on LX 179

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While my girlfriend had the afternoon off, I needed to put in a full day of work on the day of departure. Fortunately the late departure at 11pm enabled us to have dinner at my place before my dad dropped us off at Changi T2 at around 9pm.

Destination: Zurich

There was already a line at SWISS’s counter.

The family in line would be on our flights back as well

Checking in our bags

Customary shot

After getting our boarding passes, we went through the immigration and headed for the air-side. I had a receipt from my previous trip which qualified me to take part in the Changi Millionaire competition and we spent some time looking for the Instant Game kiosks. Not unexpectedly, I won nothing from my three chances.

Standard passport and boarding pass photo

Tried to do some spotting but the reflections turned the pictures quite useless. Only managed to take a few of an NH 767 and a KE 777.

East Asian rivals

Decided to go into the holding area early to get a picture of the plane that would be bringing us to Europe but no luck either. My colleague had tracked the incoming flight on his app earlier and told me that the registration of my plane was HB-JMD.

E22

While waiting for boarding, an unexpected name came up on my phone and I picked it up. WS asked me where I was heading and got me to look out of the holding area.

He was standing outside, on the phone telling me that he would be on the same flight. It turned out that he would be sitting a few rows behind me. What a coincidence!

Got him to come in to chat

Caught up a bit with him before boarding. He and his girlfriend would be heading to Munich for Oktoberfest before moving on to other cities. Although both of us would be visiting Berlin and Prague, our schedule didn’t manage to overlap. He would return to Singapore one day earlier as well.

Flight: Swiss International Airlines LX 179
Depart: Singapore (SIN) – 23:00
Arrive: Zurich (ZRH) – 6:10 (+1)
Duration: 13h10m
Distance: 6409 miles (10314 km)
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300
Registration: HB-JMD (Liestal)
Seat: 38 K

The screen welcomed me to 38K.

Five languages: English, German, French, Italian and Romansh

Unlike the budget airlines that I usually take, there were many stuff on the seat: blanket, pillow and earphones.

View from 38 K

The seat pitch was okay but the IFE box impeded some of my foot space.

IFE box

As usual, I checked out the seat pocket content.

Safety card, magazine and Duty-free catalog

Earphones

Safety video was demonstrated by animated characters.

Resolution on the 9″ screen didn’t seem too sharp

Pushback was 10 minutes late but I couldn’t recall if any reason was given. The captain welcomed us on board in German, English and French and reported the flight path to be:-

South of Kolkata -> South of Delhi -> Afghanistan -> North of Caspian Sea -> North of Black Sea -> Zurich

Swiss precision indeed.

Bye SIN. See you in two weeks

Take-off:-

That must be the longest take off ever.

The IFE was available soon after the plane reached cruising altitude.

IFE control

Menu

Adele it is

The IFE was clearly a generation behind SQ’s long-haul Y offering. I couldn’t even listen to music while following the flight map. Otherwise the movie selection was quite decent.

The crew also started the supper service.

Row by row

Choice was between chicken and rice and vegetarian flour dumplings.

My dumplings

Her ‘Thai curry’ chicken

I must be too tired when I poured the vinaigrette onto the salad without removing the cling wrap. Fortunately there wasn’t too much mess but I had to eat my salad without dressing. Girlfriend was very amused.

Food turned out to be quite good and I had picture to prove. Didn’t care so much for the dessert though.

Burp

The meal service finished about 1.5 hours after departure and I needed to go to the loo.

Just as when I stepped into the just-vacated lavatory, a cabin crew asked if she could wash her hands.

Obviously I obliged but it was weird with me holding the lavatory door while she leaned in to wash her hands at the sink. Crew on Asian airlines would probably let the passengers use the washroom first.

No amenity such as toothbrush or mouthwash in the toilet. Seemed that Swiss was not as premium as I thought it would be.

Back to the seat and decided to watch a movie. Chose Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani by Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone but I was too sleepy to finish it. Couldn’t figure out how to switch off the screen and had to sleep with the screen switched on.

Somewhere over Afghanistan

While I still got several hours of decent rest, sleep wasn’t as good as I hoped for with the lightly padded seat. Girlfriend made the same comment about the thin seat cushion too and my butt ached from the many hours in the seat.

With less than two hours to go, the cabin lights were switched on and the crew went around distributing hot towels.

Hot towel service

Breakfast was omelet with bacon and potato wedges. The yogurt was a pleasant surprise.

Breakfast

Flipped through the in-flight magazine and was quite surprised to find tobacco advertisement in it.

Didn’t expect it

Something less controversial:-

Map of Switzerland

Girlfriend kept laughing while watching the Arabic movie Aala Gosety (Over my dead body). She didn’t manage to finish it and promised to on the return flight.

Almost there:-

European cities’ names in French

Some info

Chocolates at the end of flight was a nice touch.

Thank you for flying Swiss

The arrival information was updated on the IFE so that the passengers knew exactly which gate we would be at.

Arrival at E46

Map of gates at ZRH

Connecting flight information for transit passengers

Our plane made a smooth landing right onto the wet ZRH runway after around twelve hours in the air. The cabin chief thanked the passengers for flying with Swiss in German, English and French over the PA.

Wet Zurich morning

Goodbye in five languages

Arriving passengers at ZRH Terminal 2 needed to take the Skymetro to the immigration at Airside Center and one had to take a descending escalator to reach the station.

While standing on the escalator, I thought that it was a good idea to take a picture of the station. The early hours clearly had an impact on me; I accidentally fling-ed my camera lens cap and I witnessed it slid down the steep slope beside escalator.

The Swiss guy standing in front of me turned behind and smiled at me after witnessing what happened. Girlfriend found the whole incident hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing. The airport staff who was stationed at the end of the escalator noticed my stranded lens cap and hoisted it high and asked around who had lost it. I sheepishly claimed it when I came to the end of the escalator and thanked her with a danke schon.

I was certainly awake by then.

Something strange happened on the Skymetro ride; we kept hearing the cows mooing and bells ringing and we were definitely not the only ones. Turned out that it was Zurich’s way to welcome the locals home and the tourists to Switzerland. The sounds came with a ‘movie’ which actually consisted of 160 static images placed along 100 meters of tunnel wall. Pretty cool.

Immigration was easy; I was stamped into Switzerland by a female officer with a Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian surname. Had to wait a while before our bags came out.

Luggage belt

My friend’s train for Munich wouldn’t leave in two hours and we decided to get a photograph together since it wasn’t everyday that we ran into each other (in Zurich especially).

WS & I

Not too bad a photo for two people who just stepped off a 12-hour flight…

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