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Finish with a Bang, Start with a Bang (LX F, OZ F, CA J, CX J, AA F, SQ J, BA F)

Finish with a Bang, Start with a Bang (LX F, OZ F, CA J, CX J, AA F, SQ J, BA F)

Old Jul 12, 12, 1:22 pm
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Finish with a Bang, Start with a Bang (LX F, OZ F, CA J, CX J, AA F, SQ J, BA F)

Introduction

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a trip report. In fact, it’s been close to a year now and crazily, I’ve even done additional RTW trips in 3 Class First without writing about them. As I finish my last year of university, sadly the times have changed and the free time I previously had before in writing TR have been devoted to the undergrad thesis. That being said, I wanted to finish University with a bang and that’s what I intend to do.

To write this trip report is actually quite difficult in fact, I previously haven’t planned to write a TR and everything I write is based on the memory I had and my photo collection spans over 20 albums for starters. Because many of these trips unfortunately are all lumped together makes it all much more difficult to write it. However, without combining all of the sections together, it simply doesn’t display how crazy I’ went, why I did it in such a way, the motivation behind everything, how things progressively got the way they were and why I went with such a title theme for this trip report!

And to make it easier to track how trips were planned and done, I suggest dividing this almanac of a trip report into 10 sections, which I separated below


Route Map



Flights <Combined Dec 2011, Jan and Feb 2012 Flights - 59 Flights, 87654 Miles>
All Flights Flown

December 2011 Flights (7 Flights, 11747 Miles)
Air Canada 412 – Toronto to Montreal Trudeau (Business Class)
Swiss International Airlines 87 – Montreal Trudeau to Zurich (First Class)
Swiss International Airlines 634 – Zurich to Paris Charles De Gaulle (Business Class)
Lufthansa 1035 – Paris Charles De Gaulle to Frankfurt (Business Class)
Asiana Airlines 542 – Frankfurt to Seoul Incheon (First Class)
Air China International 124 – Seoul Incheon to Beijing Capital (Business Class)
Air China International 117 – Beijing Capital to Hong Kong (Business Class)

January 2012 Flights (37 Flights, 52366 Miles)
Cathay Pacific Airways 564 – Hong Kong to Taipei Taoyuan (Business Class)
Cathay Pacific Airways 450 – Taipei Taoyuan to Tokyo Narita (Business Class)
Cathay Pacific Airways 451 – Tokyo Narita to Taipei Taoyuan (Business Class)
Cathay Pacific Airways 451 – Taipei Taoyuan to Hong Kong (Business Class)
Cathay Pacific Airways 880 – Hong Kong to Los Angeles (Business Class)
American Airlines 1974 – Los Angeles to Nashville (First Class)
American Airlines 1307 – Nashville to Los Angeles (First Class)
American Airlines 2404 – Los Angeles to Dallas Ft. Worth (First Class)
American Airlines 1026 – Dallas Ft. Worth to Kansas City (First Class)
American Airlines 1326 – Kansas City to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 889 – Chicago O’Hare to Los Angeles (First Class)
American Airlines 2404 – Los Angeles to Dallas Ft. Worth (First Class)
American Airlines 1020 – Dallas Ft. Worth to Omaha (First Class)
American Airlines 1875 – Omaha to Dallas Ft. Worth (First Class)
American Airlines 2320 – Dallas Ft. Worth to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 4213 – Chicago O’Hare to Buffalo (Economy Class)
American Airlines 4346 – Rochester, NY to Chicago O’Hare (Economy Class)
American Airlines 1561 – Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 1522 – San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 1341 – Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 556 – San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 1561 – Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 554 – San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 3960 – Chicago O’Hare to Rochester, NY (Economy Class)
American Airlines 1601 – Toronto to Dallas Ft. Worth (Business Class)
American Airlines 70 – Dallas Ft. Worth to Frankfurt (Business Class)
Malev Hungarian Airlines 521 – Frankfurt to Budapest (Economy Class)
Lufthansa 1341 – Budapest to Frankfurt (Business Class)
Singapore Airlines 26 – Frankfurt to New York Kennedy (Business Class)
Air Canada 721 – New York Kennedy to Toronto (Business Class)
American Airlines 4247 – Buffalo to Chicago O’Hare (Economy Class)
American Airlines 1561 – Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 2042 – San Francisco to Dallas Ft. Worth (First Class)
American Airlines 1109 – Dallas Ft. Worth to Austin (First Class)
American Airlines 1803 – Austin to Dallas Ft. Worth (First Class)
American Airlines 1415 – Dallas Ft. Worth to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 1522 – San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)

February 2012 Flights (15 Flights, 23541 Miles)
American Airlines 4213 – Chicago O’Hare to Buffalo (Economy Class)
American Airlines 4034 – Toronto to Chicago O’Hare (Economy Class)
American Airlines 1521 – Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 1522 – San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 2099 – Chicago O’Hare to Los Angeles (First Class)
American Airlines 2004 – Los Angeles to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 1561 – Chicago O’Hare to San Francisco (First Class)
American Airlines 1522 – San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 2099 – Chicago O’Hare to Los Angeles (First Class)
American Airlines 1372 – Los Angeles to Chicago O’Hare (First Class)
American Airlines 3874 – Chicago O’Hare to Toronto (Economy Class)
American Airlines 3862 – Toronto to New York Kennedy (Economy Class)
American Airlines 64 – New York Kennedy to Zurich (Economy Class)
British Airways 713 – Zurich to London Heathrow (Business Class)
British Airways 99 – London Heathrow to Toronto (First Class)



Trip Parts
Section 1, encompassing Part 1 - 5
The last Aeroplan mini-RTW ticket, Dec 8 – 13 (YYZ-YUL-ZRH-CDG-FRA-ICN-PEK-HKG)

Part 1 - Zooming across the Atlantic, Swiss Airbus 330 First Class (YYZ-YUL-ZRH-CDG)
Part 2 - High speeding through Western Europe, visiting Cologne and Brussels
Part 3 – Always exceeding expectations, Paris, France
Part 4 – Flying Solo, or as close as you can get, Asiana First Class FRA-ICN
Part 5 – Ugh, Seoul Traffic, Air China Business Class ICN-PEK-HKG

Section 2, encompassing Part 6 - 7
The January family vacation, Jan 1 – 4 (HKG-TPE-NRT-TPE-HKG)

Part 6 – A fresh start to 2012, Taipei, Taiwan
Part 7 – Hi Tokyo, I’m not connecting today

Section 3, encompassing Part 8 - 12
The first set of Mileage Runs, Jan 4 - 8 (HKG-LAX-BNA-LAX-DFW-MCI-ORD-LAX-DFW-OMA-DFW-ORD-BUF)

Part 8 – Rectifying a bad mistake Cathay Pacific “Cirrus’ Business Class, HKG-LAX
Part 9 – Where’s the BBQ? Kansas City, Missouri
Part 10 – Who said you need alcohol to black out? AA 889 ORD-LAX
Part 11 – Off to see my Private Line Agent, Omaha, Nebraska
Part 12 – Should I be grateful for this bed?

Section 4, encompassing Part 13 - 14
The second set of Mileage Runs, Jan 9 – 11 (ROC-ORD-SFO-ORD-SFO-ORD-SFO-ORD-ROC)

Part 13 – Who burns a Systemwide Upgrade on a mid-con flight, I do!
Part 14 – Luck, laughter, annoyance…

Section 5, encompassing Part 15 – 17
Chasing the Whalejet, Jan 19 – 22 (YYZ-DFW-FRA-BUD-FRA-JFK/LGA-YYZ)

Part 15 – You’re going to Dallas for a leisure purpose???
Part 16 – What else can go wrong?
Part 17 – As good as advertised, Singapore Airbus 380 Business Class FRA-JFK

Section 6, encompassing Part 18 - 19
The third set of Mileage Runs, Jan 30 – Feb 1 (BUF-ORD-SFO-DFW-AUS-DFW-SFO-ORD-BUF)

Part 18 – Sales, Black Outs, and the Pot Kettle Black?
Part 19 – Austin, Texas, the tiny blue in the giant red

Section 7, encompassing Part 20 – 23
The 1 Million Miler Weekend, Feb 2 – Feb 5 (YYZ-ORD-SFO-ORD-LAX-ORD-SFO-ORD-LAX-ORD-YYZ)

Part 20 – I still feel like a peon, last flight before 1 million miler
Part 21 – AA loves you but we’re still going to make you sweat, the 1 million miler flight
Part 22 – Are you insane, you are CFCing to a flight that is delayed?
Part 23 – We are cutting capacity right? Or are we just going bankrupted?

Section 8, encompassing Part 24 – 26
As spontaneous as it gets, Feb 9 – 12 (YYZ-JFK-ZRH-LHR-YYZ)

Part 24 – As spontaneous as it gets, AA Economy YYZ-JFK-ZRH
Part 25 – Such a little country, Liechtenstein
Part 26 – Some love for Valentine’s Day weekend, BA new First LHR-YYZ


Disclaimer – This report is long and its not completely written so it will be taking awhile to finish
And for anyone knowing me on FT, my trip reports take ages….. to finish
You have been forewarned

There is a lot of travel to cover and loads of fantastic photos to share with the whole Flyertalk community.


Links to Other Written Trip Reports
Click Here for Other Trip Reports




From Short hair Francis, Enjoy…

Last edited by Short hair Francis; Nov 6, 13 at 9:26 am Reason: Completed after a year!
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Old Jul 12, 12, 1:24 pm
  #2  
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Part 1 – Zooming across the Atlantic, Swiss Airbus 330 First Class (YYZ-YUL-ZRH-CDG)

*Special thanks to SFO777 for proofreading and editing this Western Canadian’s French


The First Section of the trip report covers Part 1 – 5 which is the last Aeroplan mini-RTW ticket, Dec 8 – 13 (YYZ-YUL-ZRH-CDG-FRA-ICN-PEK-HKG)

Oh Aeroplan, you have been so nice for such a long time but it’s time to bid adieu as your prohibitive fuel charge as mandated by the ticketing carrier “Air Canada” have pushed me to warmer waters. It’s one thing to charge fuel surcharge but its another to charge it and not pass it along to the carrier actually flying me, what a cash grab! However, not before I make off on one last First Class trip on their ticket stock

Finally done another term of university, what’s going on? It’s the 2nd week of December and there hasn’t been any snowfall this winter. Whatever, I’m gone for a month and they can have as much snow as they want as long as I’m not the one to be shoveling it. Being a month long trip, I relied on the airport shuttle as usual since its cheaper for longer trips vs. parking my car at Pearson.


Dec 7, 2011 – Thursday
AC 412 YYZ-YUL 1:10pm - 2:15pm (321/J)
LX 87 YUL-ZRH 5:00pm – 6:25am(+1)[Dec 8] (333/F)
Dec 8, 2011 – Friday
LX 634 ZRH-CDG 9:05am – 10:20am (320/J)

Another shuttle time change, today leaving at 8:45am instead of the original 9:30am puts me at Pearson even earlier than ever, such is the inconvenience of the shuttle unfortunately. While waiting to combine our shuttle in Western Niagara, this morning hands me more travel inconveniences. A family of 8 (including 4 under 12 y.o kids) was part of our today shuttle drive, these kids were dying for their Cancun vacation but sadly this also means the other folks including myself had to put up with their sugar or should I say travel high kids! Ugh…

God I wish I could get that hour back of my life, boy was I not liking this start of a trip on short sleep.

Check-in was a snap and off to the Toronto Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge.
Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happen way back in the day if I chose to become an Air Canada frequent flier vs. American Airlines frequent flyer.
Well for one, I wouldn’t be remotely be close to becoming a million miler, all the YYZ AAngels would’ve never have known me and I would be sitting in the back a lot more often.
Nah, I wouldn’t want to give up my college experience for the world

Toronto Pearson Air Canada Domestic Maple Leaf Club








The Maple Leaf Club does offer showers at YYZ and well as better snacks, drinks and food compared to the YYZ Admiral’s Club but its also in T-1 which meant the terminal is bigger, the walk to the gate is longer, the station is bigger and the human interaction seems to few and far between.
Being a big dog (AA EXP) in a small station does have its advantages


Air Canada Airbus 321-200


Air Canada 412
Toronto to Montreal Trudeau
1:00pm – 2:15pm, 1 hr 15 min flight
Business Class, Seat 2C
Food – Light Snack
Equipment – Airbus 321-100



A relatively light seat map at 3 hrs out turned out to be far from the truth, and no wonder AC seems to be in contract dispute all the time lately, you know its really bad when 9 out of 20 J seats are filled by flight attendants or pilots, this isn’t United P.S First you know, aka Employee Class.

Air Canada Airbus 321-200 Business Class Cabin




Nothing to remember much on this flight, a cheese plate on these flight similar to ones last year to LaGuardia, had a first officer seated next to me which boarded late so carry-on had to be moved around somewhat, but it makes the flight a lot more enjoyable to have familiarity.
I finally understand the lifestyle of George Clooney, or should I say Mr. Ryan Bingham



Zzz, much needed zzz……

Landed into Montreal, its been awhile since I’ve been here
Parlez vous français? Oui, un petit peu …

That’s what happens if you are from the rest of Canada lol, your French is rather dusty.
Outside security to the Swiss Check-in desk, got a nice Swiss boarding pass then straight back in the MLL, j’ai faime… soupe, salade, des biscuits

Montreal Trudeau Air Canada International Maple Leaf Club






Part 1 Continues Below
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Old Jul 12, 12, 1:26 pm
  #3  
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Some soupe aux pommes de terre pour moi, après j’ai téléphoné Monsieur Flyertalker SFO777 about some tips on the AA DEQM offer on SFO-ORD. A heavy sales job trying to convince him to do more MRs failed miserably unfortunately. He is way less of a mileage crunch then I was starting 2012. After conferred some scheduling help for the MRs, he wished me the best on my LX F flight and I did the same for him on his SZG trip.
The biggest thing I noticed in the MLL was that food was fine but it sure gets filled up by people during the evening rush with flights to LHR, CDG, FRA, and ZRH.

Oh well, I did noticed there was a TD lounge near the MLL, might as well give that new CC a try.
To anyone not Canada based, AA and TD had a credit card up onto Nov 15 until that partnership was discontinued. Promptly after, TD gave us a free year on their TD Avion card not that I was really interested in keeping a card I was unwilling to use. So might as well put this new CC to good use, the agent had some problems with English, thankfully my lackluster French did the trick and I was good to go.

Montreal Trudeau TD Lounge




This lounge was close to empty, didn’t have as much offering, no soup, some bites and some wraps. Alcohol selection was surprisingly the same as the MLL, but with a emptier lounge means less noise and foot traffic which was nice. About T-40, I headed to the gate B58

Swiss International Airlines Airbus 330-300




Swiss International Airlines 87
Montreal Trudeau to Zurich
Scheduled - 5:00pm – 6:20am(+1)[Dec 8], 7 hr 20 min flight
Delayed Departure – 5:30pm, Inbound Equipment delay from ZRH
Delayed Arrival – 6:27am(+1)
First Class, Seat 1A
Food – Dinner, Breakfast
Equipment – Airbus 330-300



Get to the gate, flight is showing 30 mins delay to inbound equipment delay and good tail winds across the Atlantic. Then the gate lice problem happened yet again like any delayed flight…
Now parents, its one thing to take a kid as a single mother on a flight, but may I suggest you buy one of the leash things daycare uses!!!
Pour Moi, je déteste les enfants! I get how some people love them but that isn’t me. However, when the child is using the velvet rope as a toy and the plastic end part is hitting people and the mom isn’t doing a thing about it, now we got a huge problem. So while the mom is talking to the gate agent, the kid is playing around and eventually the economy and priority line both starting yelling in english et français at the mom. Watch your damn kid! LOL

The gate was packed and we didn’t board until 5:00pm, au revoir Montréal et bienvenue à SWISS First aux nos passagers de premiere classe.

I was the first to be onboard the plane, the check-in agent remembered me outside security and I was pulled ahead first. Haha lady with the AC elite card sitting in Y lol

Swiss International Airlines Airbus 330-300 First Class Cabin









Champagne, please? Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle


Chicken Skewer? Sure


Boarding finished in 15 mins which was good considering loads were sub-par for this flight, it was 6/8 in First with a non-too happy couple in 2A/2D which seem to gave me the awful glare at every moment on this flight, flying time was a crazy 6 hours 20 mins across the Atlantic. No, one of the harder F products to redeem and its so short



About a 25 min wait and taxi time and au revoir Montréal

LX 87 Dinner

First Course
Fillet of Balik Salmon with blinis and sour cream
Lobster Cocktail, sweet chili sauce and sesame chicken
Selection of air-dried meat specialties
Agnolotti pasta mushroom cream sauce, parmesan
(Can also be enjoyed as a main course)
Red pepper soup with shiitake mushrooms
Seasonal Salad with artichokes and cherry tomatoes

Main Course
Sauteed Fillet of beef with juse lie
Baked Potato with Sour Cream
Roasted parsnip with maple syrup and butternut squash

Seared Corn-fed Chicken, ginger butter
Sauteed spatzle, green beans, scorched grape tomato

Pan-Fried halibut with olive and caper puttanesca sauce
Wild Rice and buttered broccoli

Cheese
Selection of Artisan Cheese

Dessert
Chocolate Cake with vanilla Ice Cream
Sticky Toffee Cheesecake with strawberries and coulis

Sprungli Pralines
Espresso and a selection of coffees and teas


Very quick start by the flight crew with the quick flight, of course service would be slower for me considering my usual consumption

Amuse Borche – Flavored Bread Stick, with some more champagne, and grey goose


Table Set-Up


Part 1 Continues Below

Last edited by Short hair Francis; Oct 29, 13 at 11:58 am
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Old Jul 12, 12, 1:28 pm
  #4  
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Bread Basket


The Balik Salmon and Lobster Cocktail

I simply love this appetizer, very fresh seafood

Selection of air-dried meat specialties

The meats, maybe its me but it left much to be desired, thank god for that chili sauce from the last photo lol

Seasonal Salad with artichokes and cherry tomatoes


Red pepper soup with shiitake mushrooms


Went with the beef for main course and tried to make the best of it considering all those appetizers, turned out closer to baseball glove unfortunately


Cheese Slate, not cart, for speediness, the FAs simply cut the cheese at the galley and bring it out


I love the chocolate cake, so warm and melting


And finally some Inniskillin icewine, considering my group thesis is on the wine industry, its even funnier as they are made 20 mins away from where I am.


Yum, Swiss Chocolate


After about a 90 min dinner service, bedding was set up for the rest of the flight


And I’m giving Mr. Pillows a run for his money


“Now here’s the worse part about me, duvet and full flat seats on a plane doesn’t always work for me, I always get waken up by body heat”
#First World Problem

Again, this problems happens yet again, sometimes my best sleeps are on AA slanted-lie flat J or CX J, weirdly but true, so sadly, only 2 hours of sleep on the flight

Maybe I should borrow this blanket


About 1 hour of music then breakfast started, more champagne, nah, I already have the hangover headache

LX 87 Breakfast
Starters
Assortment of breakfast bread, preserves and honey

Fresh fruits, yogurts, muesli, and cereals, Cold Cuts

Main dish
Egg dish consisting of sausage, ham and spinach on the side

Coffee, tea and juices.

Breakfast Tray Service


Breakfast Bread


Cold Cuts with Balik Salmon


Egg Dish

I had this egg dish on another LX F flight from before and somehow never have like it, just taste so processed for some reason.

Another 45 mins and we were landing into Zurich, dead on, 6 o’clock for the curfew.
Gate was at the new non-Schengen D gate which was nice so there wasn’t any train shuttle to take.

Awww, my head kills from all those booze, head up to the Swiss First Lounge, no day-rooms, all given out and even a wait for the shower, ugh….

Ended up crashing at the far corner of the lounge, until the agent flagged me for the shower, pop some advil for the headache, another hour of sleep in the sleep and down to the far end of A for the flight to Paris.

Swiss International Airline 634
Zurich to Paris Charles de Gaulle
9:05am – 10:20am, 1 hr 15 min flight
Business Class, Seat 1C
Food – Continental Breakfast
Equipment – Airbus 320-200




A similar Swiss International Airlines Airbus 320 at the next gate over


Part 1 Continues Below
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Old Jul 12, 12, 1:29 pm
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Bad seat choice, the bulkhead on Swiss was a lot tighter than similar seats on BA or LH, at least it was a short flight. Time to fly back to rainy France





Always love a winter departure from ZRH, its so beautiful. I remember seeing a thread about the lack of breakfast on LX short haul flight, did have a couple bites for the team.




Don’t forget some Swiss Chocolate


And off to my first trip to Belgium

Next Part
Part 2 – High speeding through Western Europe, visiting Cologne and Brussels
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Old Jul 12, 12, 1:35 pm
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Looks great ^

The Purser on NRT-ZRH gave us plenty of Balik Salmon (helps when you've only got 5/8 seats taken, and two of the pax don't like salmon!!)

If only LX would release some F space on their west cost>ZRH routes. I'd love to fly SFO-ZRH, but the best I could find was C.
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Old Jul 12, 12, 2:00 pm
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OMG. Two SHF trip reports in two consecutive days!
Great report Francis. Too bad that YUL-ZRH is such a short flight.
The AC J cabin full of employees is bizarre. I sawvthat a few years ago on a YUL-YYZ flight.

And what's with the hangover at your age?
We'll have to do a Krug CX challenge.

Last edited by SFO777; Jul 12, 12 at 2:05 pm
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Old Jul 12, 12, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by FriendlySkies View Post
Looks great ^

The Purser on NRT-ZRH gave us plenty of Balik Salmon (helps when you've only got 5/8 seats taken, and two of the pax don't like salmon!!)

If only LX would release some F space on their west cost>ZRH routes. I'd love to fly SFO-ZRH, but the best I could find was C.
That Balik Salmon and Shrimp Cocktail was fantastic, doubt that can be beaten, maybe SQ F?

LX F on SFO-ZRH, i doubt that would happen anytime soon

Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
OMG. Two SHF trip reports in two consecutive days!
Great report Francis. Too bad that YUL-ZRH is such a short flight.
The AC J cabin full of employees is bizarre. I sawvthat a few years ago on a YUL-YYZ flight.

And what's with the hangover at your age?
We'll have to do a Krug CX challenge.
Don't expect that pace to be kept very long,
apparently it takes 30-45 mins to do the writing, 1-2 hrs for the images plus another 15 mins for last minute editing.

YYZ-YUL is just a gongshow, employee fly up front, elites in the back.
No wonder everyone back in the Home Country hates our National Carrier

I can't drink, i admit it, a couple drinks i could but more than that and that leads to trouble.

Krug CX challenge? how is that going to be possible with all the positioning problems now?
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Old Jul 12, 12, 5:29 pm
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Well you are indeed off to a bang. Thanks for linking me from your other report, I have enjoyed this so far and I'm sure I'll enjoy the rest!
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Old Jul 12, 12, 7:51 pm
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
OMG. Two SHF trip reports in two consecutive days!
Great report Francis. Too bad that YUL-ZRH is such a short flight.
The AC J cabin full of employees is bizarre. I sawvthat a few years ago on a YUL-YYZ flight.

And what's with the hangover at your age?
We'll have to do a Krug CX challenge.
+1. Count me in on the Krug CX challenge!
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Old Jul 13, 12, 5:56 am
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
We'll have to do a Krug CX challenge.
Originally Posted by TheAAdmiral View Post
+1. Count me in on the Krug CX challenge!
I guess that can be arranged if FTers want to have a "in-the-air CX Krug challenge", don't forget to invite Macabus@:-)

I propose doing that on JFK-YVR since that tends to have more seats available!
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Old Jul 13, 12, 5:57 am
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Originally Posted by SFO777 View Post
OMG. Two SHF trip reports in two consecutive days!
Who saids I can't do 3 posting in 3 days, posting another RIGHT NOW!
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Old Jul 13, 12, 5:58 am
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Part 2 – High speeding through Western Europe, visiting Cologne and Brussels

The short LX flight was an easy breeze, Paris will have to wait as I planned a 3 day trip first to Cologne, Brussels and finally Paris. Landing into rainy Paris but thankfully I’ll be dried since my trip is all under cover to Cologne, Germany this afternoon.
Getting out of CDG T1 took about 5 mins since it was such a maze, more on that later in the TR

As Canadians, it will always be a love/hate things all things French, that being said, why would someone designed a ticket machine that doesn’t accept bills. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for most people to use a 10 Euro bill for a 9.10 Euro fare to Paris Gare Du Nord?

The RER B train took approx.. 1 hr going through some rather shady parts of Paris, didn’t take me too long to figure out how to get from the underground to above rail lines at Gare du Nord. Ah France, you have all these shady immigrant ladies selling train tickets. Again using my broken French and English, bought a 2nd class ticket to Cologne, not the cheapest ride I’m afraid, but better to pay a premium in case the flights run late rather than buying a whole new ticket.

You know you’re spoiled when you haven’t sat in a coach seat (2 hrs +) for over 2 years, unfortunately, I caught a rather full train as a Friday mid-day train. Seat assignment was a window with dual seats facing each other. All squeeze in, thank god for jet lag! Zzz……..
1 1/4 hours into Brussels, the person next to me left, yippee, some elbow room for 5 mins lol. The Thalys train continuing to Lille and Cologne was still packed, had a mid-20s girl sit next to me for the rest of the trip to Cologne. Zzz…….., somehow we ended up using each other shoulders for over 45 min. The train finally started to empty out at Lille.
And about 3pm, finally in Cologne, Germany, with some Hyatt points, I did 1 night redeeming it here.

Hyatt Regency Cologne





Like any other North America to Europe trip, I always seems to be dead by late afternoon, went to Concierge to have the Brussels and Paris train ticket set up for tomorrow and then off to bed
Woke up around 3am, and started planning out the rest of the day, the walk between the hotel to across the Rhine River to the train station and Cathedral took about 7 mins. I guess a Burger King back at the Hauptbahnhof would suffice at 5:30am in the morning.

Since it was just about the time when the Cathedral opened up (6am), I waited a couple of minutes.

Cologne Cathedral





It sure was great to have a more authentic experience than having all the tourists around during the day, just something completely different.

After that, went back to the hotel room to rest and clean up then down for some club breakfast.




Finally before taking the 11:45 ICE train back to Bruxelles-Midi, I did the Cologne Cathedral climb.


It personally take myself 30 mins to go up and down and that’s if you are rather speedy, it took me about two 30 sec breaks to get to the top. I’ll advise to the climb as early as you can, I had a lot of traffic on the way down the climb as loads of elementary school kids showed.







Oh well, its 11 o’clock, time to run back to the hotel, grab my stuff and go, last look at Cologne



Part 2 Continues Below
Short hair Francis is offline  
Old Jul 13, 12, 5:59 am
  #14  
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I pick ICE train 16 as that gave me a nice break during lunch time and gave me a bit of time to cover both Cologne and Brussels in 1 day.




With the disasterous ride I had with Thalys on the way to Cologne where I was stuffed like a thanksgiving turkey, I went with 1st class ticket for the 2 hour train ride.

The investment paid off pretty well considering I got my own private mini-cabin

Where’s the German efficiency, we’re 20 mins late


I was surprised to have some audio entertainment onboard the ICE train, except it must have been satellite based, therefore, every tunnel the train went through, the audio cuts out 10 sec later, D’Oh
Due to my severe lack of research, I really kind of struggle to get out of Brussels South this afternoon, and my dumb luck in figuring out rail station lockers were no better.

At least it was a good test to using some of my lackluster French, the metro did the trick and I did get a number of Brussels hotspot covered

Palais du Roi, Royal Palace


I surprisingly found this ski lane in the central Brussels, at the time, Europe had a winter problem, lack of cold weather and snow and my buddy in Innsbruck didn’t have enough snow for skiing




Grand Place



Hotel De Ville, City Hall


Manneken Pis



What’s a trip to Belgium without buying some Chocolates back for the folks, it was the tiny boxes since it needed to fit in my carry-on


A bit of Christmas Lighting on Avenue Louise


The shopping on this street is way outside my price range

I finally picked a TGV train to Paris CDG at 7:30pm as my overnights was at the Hyatt Regency CDG in Paris





I was so dead at the long day that I completely passed out for the 1 hr 30 min ride to CDG, hopefully I didn’t snore too much to bug everyone else.

1 day vacation day done, the next awaits in Paris!


Next Part
Part 3 – Always exceeding expectations, Paris, France
Short hair Francis is offline  
Old Jul 13, 12, 9:41 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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Good report. I don´t hate children so I´ll pass the next instalments.
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