SWISS INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES, ZURICH AIRPORT (LOUNGES)

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SWISS International Air Lines has recently re-opened  the revamped Business Lounge and a new Senator Lounge at Zurich Airport. The new lounges are in addition to the recently opened Business Lounge and Senator Lounge at Terminal/Dock E serving Intercontinental flights.

A new First Class check-in experience and a lounge has also been recently been introduced. First Class passengers can now also enjoy the long awaited Meet and Greet pick-up service from long haul flights. Passengers will be escorted to a separate passport and security control if they have connecting flights, or to the baggage claim area if Zurich is their final destination.

I am featuring these photos courtesy of Mr. Tim Eb of Frankfurtflyer.de. You can see his reviews on the links below. (german language only)

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https://www.frankfurtflyer.de/vorstellung-swiss-business-class-lounge-in-zuerich-terminal-a/

https://www.frankfurtflyer.de/vorstellung-die-neue-swiss-senator-lounge-zuerich-terminal-a/

https://www.swiss.com/CH/EN/fly/airport/lounges-zurich.html

 

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PRIVATE JET EXPERIENCE

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This review is about the growing private aviation industry. There are numerous private airlines operating all over the world, from the smallest 4 to 6 seater aircraft to the larger up to 12 passengers aircraft which can fly long-haul.

I recently tried a German carrier called Hahn Air. They operate a fleet of aircraft which are available for hire on a charter basis. They can be chartered for short flights as well as longer trips. Some of these private airlines also operate scheduled flights on a seasonal basis. Hahn Air offers flights from Düsseldorf to Palma de Mallorca once a week and some scheduled flights from Düsseldorf to Luxembourg and return.

On my flight there were only 2 passengers and the captain gave us a safety briefing before take-off. The aircraft was a six seater Cessna Citation and there was a small monitor on which flight information was displayed. The cockpit door remained open and some pre-recorded  announcements were played before take-off and landing.

There is no flight attendant on board but there is a catering box which has soft drinks, coffee and small snacks for self-service.

The flight was short and the large windows offered a nice view. It was a unique experience for me as I am used to commercial aviation only. I liked the comfort and exclusivity as well as the ambiance and the feeling of being a VIP.

Private aviation is a costly business so careful planning is necessary. According to the company’s website, they offer nice deals for smaller groups or regular customers.

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https://www.hahnair.com/en

HUGO JUNKERS LOUNGE, DUSSELDORF, GERMANY

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I visited the Hugo Junkers Lounge at Düsseldorf Airport in the early morning. It is located next to the security check point “B” upstairs. (Since the closure of Air Berlin,the security check point “B” is not very busy at all. My tip, use this check point instead of the busy “A” checkpoint. All checkpoints lead to all gates at this airport)

The Hugo Junkers Lounge is a themed lounge dedicated to Hugo Junkers, an aviation pioneer and his aircraft. The Lounge is spacious with a large seating area as well as some tables to work or eat. The food and beverage on offer is the usual, nothing special, and rather on the simpler side. All standard beverages are available, including wine and spirits.

The best asset of this lounge is the view. There is a tarmac view and part of the C and B terminals are visible and that makes it a nice place to wait, particularly for aviation lovers. Priority pass holders as well as some airline’s business class passengers may use the lounge for free. Access for a fee of roughly 30 Euros is also possible.

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https://www.dus.com/en/services/lounges/hugo-junkers-lounge

MIRACLE FIRST CLASS LOUNGE, SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT BANGKOK, THAILAND

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There have been some serious changes at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport during the last few months. Bangkok Airways have recently opened their new international departure lounge and now two new, large Miracle Lounges have just opened their doors. The dated Thai Royal Silk lounges remain open near gate D2 and in each C and E piers and will be hopefully refurbished and refreshed in the near future. The new Miracle Lounges are located near gates D6-D4.

Several airlines which do not have their own lounges at Suvarnabhumi Airport use the new Miracle Lounges. They are open 24 hours and the Business Class Lounge is also available for public use for a fee which offers 2 hours of usage.

I visited the First Class Lounge and it is divided into a food and beverage section and a relaxation area. The food section offers bar-style tables as well as dining tables which are more suitable for eating. They have a fully stocked bar available for self-service and soft drinks and coffee/tea are available as well. The food offering is changed during the day. I visited late morning and a selection of breakfast items, salads, snacks, cakes and ice cream was available. There is also a station with different food savouries and an open kitchen where a chef prepares fresh noodles according to the guest’s wishes.

Shower facilities and restrooms are conveniently located in the lounge. The relaxation section of the lounge was deserted and was a great place to unwind after the airport procedures which can be rather stressful and time consuming at Suvarnabhumi airport. I really enjoyed having a quiet moment for myself before boarding my flight.

The lounge has a beautiful modern decor and is a perfect spot to have a rest and chill out. I really enjoyed my stay and I did not miss the lack of sleep/resting rooms, although the lighting in the lounge was a bit too bright for my preference.

 

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http://suvarnabhumiairport.com

AIR KBZ, MYANMAR (BURMA)

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YANGON-HEHO-YANGON

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Air KBZ is a privately owned airline based in Yangon. Air Kanbawza, known as Air KBZ, was established in June 2010. The airline is owned by Myanmar’s Kanbawza Bank and operates 4 ATR 72-500 and 5 ATR 72-600 aircraft, seating is 74-78 seats.

I checked in at Yangon’s new domestic airport terminal for an early morning departure to Heho. Baggage check-in and security check were fast and efficient and there was still plenty of time for a coffee at the terminal before boarding 15 min before departure. The flight departed on time and a small snack was served. The cabin was clean and tidy and I enjoyed having a good view from a window seat. Baggage was delivered quickly once all passengers walked to the small terminal building. The return flight went smoothly and departed on time. I enjoyed both flights and I think Air KBZ is a good choice for domestic travel in Myanmar. I have used Myanma Airlines (not existing anymore) and Yangon Airways previously. My preference would clearly be for Air KBZ.

 

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http://www.airkbz.com

EUROWINGS, GERMANY

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ZURICH-COLOGNE-ZURICH

Configuation : 168 seats > 3 fare categories: Best, Smart and Basic

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Eurowings is the low cost subsidairy airline of the Lufthansa group. Eurowings operates flights within Germany, intra-Europe and a few long haul flights out of Cologne (long haul flights will be transferred to Düsseldorf airport from Summer 2018).

The Cologne flights are mostly operated by “Germanwings”. Germanwings is now fully integrated into Eurowings and will soon fly in Eurowings colours only.

Eurowings sells 3 ticket categories. “Best” which are seats in the first 3 rows of each aircraft and gives you free drinks and a little snack which you can choose for the buy-on-board menu. “Smart” gives you more flexibility in your ticket and offers you a free drink and a pre-packed snack. “Basic” offers you very low fares, no flexibility and no inflight meal or refreshment service. (not even a glass of water)

My outbound flight was delayed by 2 hours due to weather so the crew offered free drinks and snacks to all passengers. They worked efficiently on this 50 minute flight and it was an ok experience.

On the inbound flight there was a another delay, this time no proper announcement was made and a rather grumpy crew with an unmotivated attitude were on duty. Since Eurowings flights are operated as Star Alliance codeshare flights, with Lufthansa and SWISS, it is difficult for some passengers to understand why different levels of service are offered to various passengers onboard. For example, some passengers were getting served with snacks and drinks whilst others were left out or had to pay for a simple glass of water. (You don’t even get a small bottle or a can for yourself if you buy a drink).

I am not a fan of no-frills airlines and I did not particularly enjoy my experience on Eurowings. (Especially when the flight is sold under full service airlines code-shares). Little information was given about flight delays (except SMS) and passengers were treated more like cattle than human beings. Despite the fact that Cologne Airport has many jet-bridge gates, most Eurowings flights are operated via bus-gates which makes a time consuming and uncomfortable travel experience.

https://www.eurowings.com/en.html

 

KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES

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Zurich-Amsterdam, B-737-800 Configuration 20-144 Economy Class

I checked-in online for this flight but due to a electronic glitch mobile boarding passes were not available. However, I passed through airport security with the printed version and was issued another boarding pass at the gate. The flight was booked very light and there was plenty of room for everyone to feel at ease. The airplane was a Boeing 737-800 and looked a bit tired inside. Some seats were a bit dirty and there were many seat pockets which were missing the safety card and/or the Inflight Magazine/Duty Free Shopping List. The flight departed on time and a snack was served, including a choice of coffee and tea. The flight attendants were friendly and pleasant. Verdict: a solid product within the European Market.

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https://www.klm.com