nabashedly, I write of this most enjoyable first class experience on SWISS International Airlines from San Francisco to Zurich earlier this week.
Friends who knew me well way back in the 70’s when I was living in New York were somewhat envious at my good fortune to be travelling in Seat 1A so often on overseas flights. Now that I’m approaching 70, I think it’s time to take advantage of the more recent innovation of frequent flyer points and fly First Class again.
In the mid-Eighties, once a month, on a Saturday morning . . . I ‘d look forward to stepping out onto the tarmac at Karachi Airport in Pakistan to board my flight home to Hong Kong. But I’ll come back to that interesting time in my working life at the end of this blog post.
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ow do I know I’m in for a treat this evening?
It’s not that the SWISS International Concierge came looking for me in the United Global Lounge at San Francisco International Airport to escort me to the aircraft; or the smiling welcome on board as I’m shown to the spacious seat in my own corner of a quietly elegant cabin in tones of chocolate, light tan and charcoal.
No. Along with my first glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne I’m offered an amuse bouche of cold poached salmon with dill and cucumber, and warm cheese sticks of the lightest pastry, presented on a white porcelain dish. And blanched salted roasted almonds!
The door hasn’t closed yet, and I haven’t even had a chance to read the SWISS FIRST MENU booklet, but I sense this evening’s eleven-hour flight from San Francisco to Zurich will be a cut above.
Click to read what I wrote about my SWISS experience from Zurich to Bangkok
In the mid-Eighties, once a month, on a Saturday morning . . . I ‘d look forward to stepping out onto the tarmac at Karachi Airport in Pakistan to board my flight home to Hong Kong. (On alternate months, it was Lufthansa from Delhi that I loved.)
A white plane; red cross on the tail; and thin stripes of chocolate, caramel and black running the length of the fuselage gleamed like a welcoming beacon in the early morning light. Swissair! And I ‘m fortunate to be travelling in First Class.
Not that I didn’t love my ten days at a stretch working in Pakistan, but I loved the thought of going home, on Swissair, even more.
I didn’t care that I was boarding a cabin of bedraggled, half-asleep passengers, who remained on board for the Karachi stopover on their long flight from Zurich to Hong Kong, while they waited for me.
The crew were more than flight attendants in the general sense. They were proud catering professionals, pleased to serve. I still remember being offered water, ‘wiss or wissout bubbles’, and then that wonderful Swiss breakfast of the best muesli, yoghurt, cold meats, freshly cooked eggs, and of course, Swiss white veal sausages.
After all that, I’d lay back with my head buried in the crisp oversize pillows all the way to Hong Kong. (It was not a 747. I don’t know what the aircraft was in those days – maybe a DC10?)
Memories of those frequent flying days, albeit on business, of nearly thirty years ago have never left me. And I’ve had a desire to re-live the SWISS experience ever since.
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