LX1831 ATH-ZRH 19/JUN A321, 4D, Business

With the delay, I had plenty of time to spend at ATH airport before heading back to Switzerland, and so I bought some Greek honey and some postcards from the Olympic Games store. In true Greek fashion, that store does sell tons of souvenirs, but no stamps. I was directed to the post office on the arrivals level. After returning to the departures floor, I checked in with Swiss and was handed an invitation for the Swissport lounge, which was nice and offered a good selection of snacks, including hot food.

When it was finally time to board, the agent at the lounge front desk agreed to mail my postcards, and I walked to the gate. While clearing security I noticed that my two tins of honey looked quite dangerous IMHO on that X-ray screen. Since they were in a plastic bag, the screeners could only have guessed that the tins really contained honey. What if it were something more dangerous?

I skipped the boarding queue (one TravelClub Gold benefit I really like) and settled into my seat which was no more comfortable than the seats on the way down to Athens. The seat next to me remained free, and after the pre-departure drinks were served (the usual choice of OJ, water, champagne) we taxied out to the runway to take off exactly an hour behind schedule. (Side note: LX really seems to have a major problem with on-time performance as I can’t remember a LX flight I was on that was really on time. Wasn’t that a Swiss virtue not so long ago?)

I must admit that when I read about the “re-improvement” of the short-haul Business service in the LX magazine in May, I considered the report to be the usual PR spin. But this flight did truly impress me with a very elaborate service including some mixed nuts (prepackaged though) for starters, a huge salad course, a choice of fish or pasta as a main meal, a nice little cheese course and Mövenpick ice cream for desert. All was presented very nicely, but my fish tasted like cardboard. The accompanying wild rice somewhat made up for it. Both the bread basket and the beverage cart made numerous appearances, and coffee & chocolate cubes were served after the ice cream. LX serves “Nicolas Feuillatte” champagne in both long- and shorthaul C, and I don’t like it too much. I still volunteered for a glass though, giving in to the Maître de Cabine’s insistence.

Service in general was much less efficient than with LH (the entire meal service took almost 2 hours), but very friendly. And here’s one example of “going the extra mile”: A man in the row in front of me liked neither the fish nor the pasta main course. The Maître de Cabine offered him a cheese sandwich from Y, and when the passenger agreed she went and got it, but presented it nicely sliced and on Business class china. Impressive IMHO.

After touchdown in Zurich we docked at the E gates, and I figured that my train was leaving in 12 minutes. Much to my surprise I made it without too much running since the SkyMetro had become much faster and more reliable since I last rode it.

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