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-   -   LAX to Morocco Via Zurich (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/1990973-lax-morocco-via-zurich.html)

OUTraveling Oct 11, 19 9:51 pm

LAX to Morocco Via Zurich
 
Part I of VI: Swiss International LAX to ZHR
Part II: Zurich (Post Production)
Part III: Edelweiss ZHR to RAK \
Part IV: Marrakesh, Sahara, Essaouira
Part V: British Airways RAK to LGW
Part VI: Virgin Atlantic LHW to LAX via SFO


LAX-Zurich

October 9, 2019

Swiss Air Business Class

Seat: 9A


So this will be my first trip review on flyertalk and like many great reviews this starts off at LAX. My favorite airport is John Wayne as it is compact and efficient but alas, no trans-Atlantic service and I always wanted to visit the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX.

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I arrived at 1400 PST for my 1915 PST flight, plenty early to take full advantage of the many lounges and to get some photos. Being at the airport that early meant I avoided many of the crazy lines LAX is known for. Upon arriving at the Business Class queue, I was promptly assisted by a gate agent manning the first-class desk as no one else was there. She was polite and professional, advising me of the Star Alliance lounge and asked if I wanted my bags checked directly to Marrakech. As I had an overnight layover in Zurich, I declined. TSA Pre-Check was operational and there was only five people in line. (Note, Pre-Check is available at TBIT at the LEFT side of the terminal.)

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TBIT before it gets crowded

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What difference a few hours makes.


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TSA Pre-Check is on your left hand side.


Onward ho to the lounge! Going through the beautiful TBIT I arrived at the Star Alliance Lounge. In addition to the better quality of food, the LAX Star Alliance lounge is known for its terrace where you can people watch. Food-wise, they had the noodle bar, soups, three hot options, some crackers with hummus, a cheese station, desserts, and a large selection of drinks. Now, I will utter Flyertalk heresy and state that I found the fried rice and soggy buffalo wings at the KAL Lounge more filling than options available at Star Alliance though the latter did have much better quality. As to the noodle bar, Little Saigon has pho that is light years ahead of what is offered at the Star Alliance Lounge so if you have more than a few hours at LAX travel down to experience some real pho.

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Something from the noodle bar.


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Some sort of curry, brown rice, olive Mariana pasta, and some green peas.

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Some of the available desserts.


With more that three house to spare, I decided to do a LAX walkabout. First, I went to the aforementioned Priority Pass lounge around 1530 PST. Lounge crowding was not that big of an issue around that time and I got my carb fix in for the day with the fired rice and had some protein with the buffalo chicken. While I was enjoying the food, I took a short time-lapse of the TBIT. After wolfing down the foodstuffs at the KAL lounge, I decided to make the long walk to Terminal 7 to utilize the United Lounge. Unfortunately, the Alaska lounge was closed.

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After visiting the two lounges I managed to get some good shots of planes:

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My ride to Zurich

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After walking to the TBIT lounge in Terminal 7, I headed back to the TBIT Star Alliance Lounge for a shower. The facilities there are well maintained but the hot water consistency is variable in the showers. Afterwards, I had an upper and a downer espresso martini before heading down to board my flight. Unfortunately, the gate lice situation is bad on with Swiss Air with large lines blocking the entire left walkway.

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As previously mentioned, I am flying business class from LAX to Zurich, however I decided to splurge on a throne seat, mine was 9A. With this being my first international long haul, I think the seat was excellent for those wanting privacy. Paralleling what others have written, the seat has a large amount of storage space and is very comfortable except for a somewhat narrow cubbyhole for your feet.

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Moving onto in-flight service, I found the food excellent, but the service was a little slow…for an American. Pre-departure beverages consisted of orange juice, water, or champagne. The flight attendant crew was extremely professional. Approximately, 30 minutes after takeoff, we were served a nice collection of warm nuts. Looking into West Coast to Zurich services by Swiss International, the slower service seemed to be consistent, so I brought along additional snacks from Petrossian Caviar at LAX. Appetizer was smoked salmon with a collection of Swiss cheese. I choose the beef as my main course and it was surprisingly tender and flavorful. The only hiccup in the flight was when my in-seat power shorted out and disabled my IFE sound system. I guess it was my fault trying to plug in a gaming laptop into my seat. That being said, the flight attendants did honor my request for a seat change to an empty business class seat in the same row.

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Coming Up Zurich!

757 Oct 14, 19 6:35 pm

That caviar looks good! Was that bought at LAX?

Looking forward to the continuation of your report. Thanks for sharing!

Madone59 Oct 15, 19 6:35 am


Originally Posted by 757 (Post 31628535)
That caviar looks good! Was that bought at LAX?

I was just thinking the same thing. Caviar in J - wow!

Looking forward to the rest of your TR ^

enviroian Oct 15, 19 9:19 am

Nice report thank you!

JustGo Oct 15, 19 2:50 pm

Looking forward to your "Part IV: Marrakesh, Sahara, Essaouira".
Thanks.

roadwarrier Oct 16, 19 2:48 pm


Originally Posted by JustGo (Post 31631740)
Looking forward to your "Part IV: Marrakesh, Sahara, Essaouira".
Thanks.

Besides Marrakesh, the other destinations are hardly cover in there TR's. Looking forward to the rest.

OUTraveling Nov 3, 19 2:50 am


Originally Posted by 757 (Post 31628535)
That caviar looks good! Was that bought at LAX?

Looking forward to the continuation of your report. Thanks for sharing!

Yes, Petrossian caviar at LAX

OUTraveling Nov 3, 19 3:33 am

Part II: Zurich
 
Part I of VI: Swiss International LAX to ZHR
Part II: Zurich
Part III: Edelweiss ZHR to RAK \
Part IV: Marrakesh, Sahara, Essaouira
Part V: British Airways RAK to LGW
Part VI: Virgin Atlantic LHW to LAX via SFO


October 10, 2019

Zurich, Switzerland

Renaissance Tower Hotel

Sadly, I was only in Zurich for an overnight transfer with my flight departing the in the mid-afternoon on October 11, 2019. I stayed at the Renaissance Tower Hotel. Being that this was just a layover and I was new to the city, I opted for an taxi from the airport ($50 USD) but I suggest the transit system as it is highly efficient and safe even at night. Regarding the Renaissance, it was perfect for the stay and has lovely views of the area. Check in was smooth and efficient, my Titanium status was acknowledged and I was upgraded to a suite. The hard product was great, clean rooms and good facilities. Wish they had a pool but the hotel does have a sauna and gym on the top floor.

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The card did welcome me by name, however I removed it.

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Junior Suite Office

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Renaissance Tower Room

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Did a little bit of gay bar hopping in Zurich. For LGBT Travellers, Cranberry seems to be more of a local establishment than Predigerhof Bistro Bar, which catered to persons seeking (Twink-ish) escorts. My visit to Predigerhof, had a twink come sit by me and order a drink for himself and put it on my tab. (Personally, I would have bought him a drink but I felt him just doing so was rude and imposing.)\

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Renaissance Room Service: Expensive but pretty good after a night drinking.

OUTraveling Nov 3, 19 4:57 am

Being that I had only a few hours left I woke up early to get some shots of the city. The early morning adventure turned out to be lovely, felt perfectly safe walking around with DSLR and a tripod.

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Zurich Train Station Exterior

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Zurich Train Station Interior

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Zurich Opera House

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Zurich Fisherman

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Grossmunster

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Fraumünster Church

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Zurich Musikpavillon Farmers Market

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Musikpavillon Farmers Market Pastry


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Zurich Cafe


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Morning at a Zurich Park





OUTraveling Nov 9, 19 1:08 am

Part I of VI: Swiss International LAX to ZHR
Part II: Zurich
Part III: Edelweiss ZHR to RAK
Part IV: Marrakesh, Sahara, Essaouira
Part V: British Airways RAK to LGW
Part VI: Virgin Atlantic LHW to LAX via SFO


October 11, 2019

Edelweiss First Class

After the morning photo stroll, I was a little sad to leave the wonderful city of Zurich. My current plan is to visit the rest of Europe, including Zurich in 2021. After a nice jog on the treadmill on the top floor of the Renaissance and a shower I left for the airport. The only hiccup at the Renaissance was the luggage service, more on that later, which took 15-20 minutes to arrive. While I am not an invalid, I usually travel with two large Pelican cases and I wanted to take it easy. Check in was fairly straight forward and I was advised that I could use the Swiss Air lounges by the attendant. With that I went to security, which consisted of a priority line that fed into a general check in area. Based on the lack of crowds and a few business class travelers, it was actually faster in the general security line. After a short walk, I arrived at the Swiss Senator Lounge in the main terminal. This was the stronger lounge of the two, the other is located in at the E gates.


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The pasta was a bit watery but the cream of pea soup was excellent along with their spicy cheesy bread! The rice and Indian lentils was just okay.


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Standard hummus and salad station

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My good ole friend, carbs!


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A la carte beverage station.

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Coffee, the breakfast of champions.

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Swiss Senator Lounge Fresh Cooking

OUTraveling Nov 9, 19 1:24 am

After the Senator Lounge in the main terminal, I cleared passport control and ended up at the E gates. The passport control officer was pretty friendly and we have a short discussion about photography. A much smaller Swiss First and Senator Lounge exists but is much smaller and has no restroom. Food options are on the level of a domestic US lounge except with good liquor. No matter where, I cannot seem to avoid gate lice.

On this flight, the in flight dining options were excellent. I believe it was beef stroganoff.

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Holy Gate Lice, Batman!

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The circular black thing is not part of the lunch but my lens cap.

bawm Nov 10, 19 2:56 am


Originally Posted by OUTraveling (Post 31717933)
After the Senator Lounge in the main terminal, I cleared passport control and ended up at the E gates. The passport control officer was pretty friendly and we have a short discussion about photography. A much smaller Swiss First and Senator Lounge exists but is much smaller and has no restroom. Food options are on the level of a domestic US lounge except with good liquor.

Nice report; however, you are definitely not in the E gates here, but rather the D gates. There is both a Business and a Senator lounge here, but no First. The SEN lounge in the actual E gates is quite large and is the best of all the current SEN lounges (getting to the E gates involves a train ride or a transfer from the F lounge). A bit more nitpick-y, but WK doesn't offer F (only C) and the IATA code for Zürich is ZRH (not ZHR).

Glad you enjoyed your time in Zürich!
bawm

dkc192 Nov 10, 19 3:37 am

Thanks for the report. I did LAX-ZRH in J a couple months ago and didn't find the service to be annoyingly slow, though I was seated in the mini cabin (row 5). Couple additional pointers:

1. For future reference, you were entitled to use the UA Polaris lounge at LAX, which is far superior to the UA Club. Polaris lounge access is granted to UA Polaris customers at any point along their itinerary, or *A long-haul F/J customers at the departure airport of their long-haul flight.
2. Could you clarify whether you accessed the Senator lounge or the Business lounge in ZRH? Based on your profile (UA Silver) and class of service (J), you should not have had Senator lounge access, only Business lounge access.

OUTraveling Nov 12, 19 6:22 pm


Originally Posted by bawm (Post 31720970)
Nice report; however, you are definitely not in the E gates here, but rather the D gates. There is both a Business and a Senator lounge here, but no First. The SEN lounge in the actual E gates is quite large and is the best of all the current SEN lounges (getting to the E gates involves a train ride or a transfer from the F lounge). A bit more nitpick-y, but WK doesn't offer F (only C) and the IATA code for Zürich is ZRH (not ZHR).

Glad you enjoyed your time in Zürich!
bawm

Thanks for the info, I must have mistaken what gate I departed out off. Zurich was great.

OUTraveling Nov 12, 19 6:26 pm


Originally Posted by dkc192 (Post 31721049)
Thanks for the report. I did LAX-ZRH in J a couple months ago and didn't find the service to be annoyingly slow, though I was seated in the mini cabin (row 5). Couple additional pointers:

1. For future reference, you were entitled to use the UA Polaris lounge at LAX, which is far superior to the UA Club. Polaris lounge access is granted to UA Polaris customers at any point along their itinerary, or *A long-haul F/J customers at the departure airport of their long-haul flight.
2. Could you clarify whether you accessed the Senator lounge or the Business lounge in ZRH? Based on your profile (UA Silver) and class of service (J), you should not have had Senator lounge access, only Business lounge access.

I. Thanks, I will have to check out the Polaris Lounge next year.
II. I got confused to the difference between Senator, First, and Business.


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