Trip Report with Photos by The Travel Scholar (Page 2 of 3)

Boarding and Cabin Accommodations

After having a chance to relax, take some refreshments, and check email on my Apple PowerBook G4, I was invited to proceed to the departure gate boarding area. Flight 9 was served by MD-11 aircraft that day, which was substituted for the scheduled A330. Here are some photos taken of the aircraft from the gate area.


Swiss MD-11

Swiss, in five languages.

Boarding was already in progress when I arrived at the gate. They had one queue for Economy passengers and another for both First and Business passengers. Both of these queues fed into a single jet bridge that led passengers through door 2L, which is situated between the First and Business cabins. For First Class passengers, it is nice that everyone else doesn't need to file past you as they board and take their seats. After boarding, I turned left and took my seat in 3A.


Seat 3A with ottoman.


Seat 3A from the ottoman.

I was immediately greeted after boarding by the lead flight attendant and offered a choice of water, orange juice, or mimosa. I chose a class of orange juice, which was accompanied by a small dish of cashews. My seat had electronic controls, an adjustable headrest, adjustable lumbar support, a laptop power port, a reading light, a telephone, and a movable ottoman. After getting comfortably settled in, I was handed an amenity kit in a nice red bag and a selection of La Prarie hand, face, and eye creams. I was one of only two passengers in the First Class cabin, so the service was extremely personalised and relaxed.


The Swiss First Class Cabin

Meal Service

Dinner service began shortly after our on-time departure. Here is the menu and wine card from my flight:


Dinner

Beef kebab and Mozzarella served with prosciutto, sun-blushed tomatoes and Kalamata olive.

Curried shrimp with artichoke and scallops accompanied by palm heart and fresh dill.

Tricolore vegetable pâté with a sour cream and dill sauce and baby carrots.


Grilled filet of beef with a red wine sauce, accompanied by Yukon potatoes, baby carrots, asparagus spears and button mushrooms.

Frenched veal chop in a Chablis and chive sauce accompanied by a barley and black lentil medley, yellow squash and baby carrots.

Seared halibut with a creamy saffron sauce accompanied by pilaf rice, broccoli, red baby beetroot and white baby turnip.

Tricolore pasta twists in an alfredo sauce with zucchini, yellow squash and sun-blushed tomatoes.


Selection of cheeses.


Vanilla bourbon timbale.

Coffee - espresso - liqueurs
Swiss chocolates.

Served upon request: Seasonal salad and quick meal.

Breakfast

Fresh fruit.

Variety of yoghurts.


Sliced ham and cream cheese with herbs.


Gruyère and spinach omelette.

Assorted breakfast breads.

Coffee - tea - herbal teas


Wine Card

Champagne Brut 1996 - Cuvée Charles Gardet - France

Brilliant, golden yellow with straw reflexes. Open, complex, subtle bouquet with notes of white nuts and yeast. Ripe and expansive to the nose. Charms the palate with wonderfully integrated bubbles, good consistency in the extract, and buttery, limestone and earthy notes.

St. Saphorin 2001 - Les Déserts - Les Fils Rogivue - Lavaux, Switzerland

Delicate lemon yellow with lime green reflexives. A fresh bouquet of sweet limes and grapefruit with a subtle elderberry counterpoint. Supple to the palate with aromas of yellow fruit and gooseberries, leading into a youthful play of acidity, typical minerals of the Lavaux terroir, white flowers and appealing freshness, right to the finish.

Château Cantelys 1999 - Blanc - Pessac-Léognan AC - Bordeaux, France

Mid-yellow with golden reflexes. Seductive, almost perfumed Sauvignon Blanc bouquet with white peaches, gooseberries, lemon zest and sweet limes. Supple to the palate with refreshing acidity, again rich in peach plus notes of nectarine. A complex, fat, sustained finish laced with vanilla. A great Graves from Smith Haut Lafitte.

Chardonnay 1999 - Wine Maker's Reserve - Casablanca Valley, Viña Carmen, Chile

Ripening yellow with a golden shimmer. Burgundian, rich Chardonnay bouquet with oodles of ripe fruit, brioche, coconut macaroons and notes of hazelnut. Ripe extracts, aromatic, mouth-filling palate with ripe melons, honey and toasty notes; holds its balance right to the finish.

Ticinello 2001 - Merlot del Ticino DOC - Zanini Sulmoni - Ticino, Switzerland

Intense garnet with purple reflexes. Open, fruity bouquet of red berries offset by a spicy notes of plum and prune. Appealing, velvety texture to the palate with seductive extract sweetness.

Château La Lagune 1995 - 3e Cru Classé - Haut-Médoc AOC - Bordeaux, France

Rich garnet with purple reflexes. Extremely full, spicy and nutty to the nose with beguiling, sweetish toast notes and the whole gamut of ripe dried fruits. Appealing maturity continues on the palate, with extract of red berries combining with notes of leather and wood. Well balanced finish: a complex, lingering aroma with a light floral touch.

Rioja DOC 1994 - Gran Reserva - Coto de Imaz - Spain

Ripening garnet in colour with a hint of orange. Open, delicately spicy bouquet with earthy, herby notes and an ample chocolaty touch, backed by notes of prune. Soft to the palate, expansive with almost silky tannins, and more beguilingly ripe Rioja aromas in an elegant, lingering finish.

Wine Maker's Reserve 1998 - Maipo Valley - Viña Carmen - Chile

Very dark in colour with purply-black reflexes. Expansive, complex bouquet of cassis, currants, profound earthy notes and vanilla pods. Robust and intense to the palate with plenty of ripe tannins - very blueberry-like in character, with a long, sustained, full-bodied finish. One of the best red wines in Chile.

Liqueurs

Dry Sherry Tio Pepe, Campari, Martini Rosso, Martini Bianco, Beefeater Dry Gin, Bacardi Rum, Vodka Moskovskaja, Chivas Regal (12 years), Johnnie Walker Black Label, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, The Glenlivet (12 years), Porto Dalva (20 years), Bailey's Irish Cream, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Drambuie, Cognac Hennessy XO, Grande Fine Calvados, VSOP Père Magloire, Vieux Kirsch du Righi Fassbind, Grappa, Fernet-Branca


Here are some photos from the dinner service with comments.


The FA let me sample from three bottles of champagne--the First Class selection, the Business Class selection, and the "welcome champagne". He brought all three bottles to my seat, opened them, and poured them into three different glasses. Very nice. After I made a choice, he brought me the entire bottle in its own stainless bucket chilled on dry ice, shown here.

He prepared this appetiser to go along with my sampling of the champagne. I found it all to be quite good. This is described on the first line of the dinner menu.

This is the place setting. Very nice, I thought, except for the ridiculous plastic picnic knives. I loved the HUGE table, though! An assortment of breads were offered.

The FA then came by with an appetiser and salad cart, from which he served your choice of the appetisers listed on the menu. I chose to try some of everything, but declined the salad.

After commenting that I really enjoyed the curried shrimp, the FA returned with the appetiser cart and prepared me a second plate!

Here's the main course. I chose the beef, as described on the dinner menu above.

The main course was followed by a new cart with a full assortment of about five or six gourmet cheeses, fruits and a nice glass of port.

Already more than satisfied with the amount of food, the desert and espresso were just enough to top off a great meal and put me in the mood for some sleep!

The meal service was very good quality, and the service provided by the flight staff was impeccable. There was every attention to detail made and the timing was very well-paced. It obviously helped that I was one of only two people in First, but I really felt like the flight staff took advantage of this opportunity to go even above and beyond their standard service. This made for a very special flight, indeed!

In-Flight Entertainment

The in-flight entertainment system consisted of personal DVD players and a selection of about fifteen DVD movies. There were also several audio channels available. I didn't use the IFE at all on this flight, mostly because there wasn't anything that interested me more than getting as much rest as possible after the meal service, so I don't remember anything about the specific programme content.

Overnight Service

Part of the extra personalised service included an offer to make our beds in separate seats. The other passenger was seated in 1A, so the flight staff offered to make seat 2A and the adjacent seat into beds during our meal service. That way, we could go directly to sleep afterwards. They also made a point to use the opposite aisle for cabin traffic so that the flight crew wouldn't disturb our rest in the middle of the night whilst performing their duties.


The Swiss sleeper seat.

Breakfast service.

I was able to enjoy a few solid hours of sleep before the breakfast service, which I requested to be as late as possible. The flight staff woke me about 45 minutes before arrival and served breakfast very efficiently, without being too rushed. The food was average for the most part, but the omelette was not so good, in my opinion. The good thing was is that I wasn't at all hungry, having ate so much for dinner. We arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule at Zürich, and because of the great sleeper seats, I felt relatively refreshed! What an altogether great flight experience!!

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