Hannah and Je together

Saturday, 5 July 2014

2nd Holy Land Trip – First and half of Second Day – Flight

It is my second time to travel to Israel/Palestine.  There are two major differences: I was in a group, and now I am alone.  I flew Lufthansa, and now SWISS (I will say Swiss Air).  And consequently the comparison of Swiss Air and Lufthansa is inevitable.

Swiss Air

Swiss Air

Before I begin the comparison, I ate lunch at Chicago O’Hare. The restaurant named Big Bowl was expensive, untasty, and little amount.  I would not eat again.

Many people in my last travel group said that we were so spoiled by Lufthansa, and I totally agree, but Swiss Air also runs AirBus and the planes are equally good, or slightly better in a few ways.

Hanger Sign

Hanger Sign

In Lufthansa, I had hard time to figure out what the small button was, which was actually just a hanger.  But Swiss Air has bigger hanger and also has hanger sign on it so that I can know it easily without any hard guess.

Hat on hanger

Hat on hanger

And as the picture above, I hung my big hat on it.  The thing was, people walking in the narrow airplane aisle touched and dropped my hat almost forty times.

Hat in the pocket

Hat in the pocket

And finally, I began to put my hat in the wall pocket. Problem solved.

Swiss Air’s entertainment system was equally good as Lufthansa, but its control was better.  Lufthansa has touch screen which did not function as it should be while Swiss Air has wired remote which is easier to control.

Baby Bassinet

Baby Bassinet

And I think Lufthansa also has this, but I’ve never seen airplane wall hanging baby bassinet before.  In my second flight from Zürich to Tel Aviv, I sat next to twin babies.  They were so cute and adorable, and amazingly they never cried, but pleasantly playing and laughing the whole time!

Enough Legroom

Enough Legroom

The best of the Swiss Air was that I could choose my seat when I booked the flight, and I got the emergency exit seat which comes with more spacious legroom than business seat.  Having enough legroom is so great and amazing, I understood why people pay a lot to buy upper-class flight.  But still, I would not pay the first or business class.

But the flight was not that pleasant, especially the one from Chicago to Zürich.  I checked the option of Automatic Check-in when I booked, and the night before I got an  email from them notifying that the automatic check-in failed.  So I went to the airport a little bit earlier than that I planned.  And I asked the person behind the counter when I checked-in:

Je: I got an email saying such and such.  What does “Automatic Check-in failed” email means.
He: Automatic Check-in failed means that automatic Check-in failed.
Je: Why?
He: We don’t know.
Je: Is there any problem with me?
He: We don’t know.
Je: Is there any problem with your system?
He: We don’t know.
Je: Will this happen again on my flying back?
He: We don’t know.

Wow. Very kind, eh? And our conversation continued:

He: Sir, you can upgrade your seat.
Je: Oh, really!?
He: Yes, with just $500.

I think he should learn how to make them one sentence.  Then a few hours later, I was at the gate, and when people began to form a line, I was actually the first in boarding line.  I know that all airlines let the families with babies and/or people need help board first (mentioning the business or first class is needless).  And then the lines usually moves in, so I tried to go through the gate, and the lady said, “Go back! We will call your seat number.”  And they really called the passengers by the seat numbers in small range such as “seat from 45 to 49.”  And they called my number the very last!  I understand that they are extremely well organised (more than the Germans), but I was very unpleasant.  Well, being well organised is not wrong, and this is not their fault.  Did Jesus once said, “the first shall be the last?”

But that was just the beginning.  I loved my seat with enough legroom, but I was surrounded by some not that normal people.  Right next to me, a huge lady sat, invading my space the whole time.  The other side, a couple (middle-aged man and quite young girl) kissing and touching the whole time.  Their kissings were so loud and watery.  If you have heard them kissing without know what they are doing, you would have thought they were eating Ramen or something.  And behind me, two good friends talking so loud for more than ten hours (I guess).  And the other side of the huge lady, a middle-aged man was drinking wine whole time (which I guess more than thirty or forty cups), and finally he got drunk and could not even hold his cup right and spilt the wine.  The worst is yet to come.  There were several infants and babies crying and screaming hours and hours.  I felt sorry for the babies but it is fact that their crying and screaming is nerve-touching, especially when they are not your babies.  All these spoiled my plan to adopt the local time and minimise the Jetlag, because I was not able to sleep at night on Israel time.

And another thing I found is the flight crews are prettier than those of Lufthansa, but they do not really smile.  I prefer smiling normal face to unsmiling pretty face.

Donation Globe

Donation Globe

The painful flight was over and I landed on Zürich for the first time.  The airport was very impressive.

Design!

Design!

Switzerland is famous for the unique design.  And I could feel it even in the airport.

Even Payphone is cuter!

Even Payphone is cuter!

The Zürich airport is much smaller but cuter than Frankfurt airport.

Kids' Playground in the airport

Kids’ Playground in the airport

The playground was impressive.  There was only one kid in the picture because it was 6am local time, but I saw more kids playing later.

Charging Station

Charging Station

Free cellphine charging stations are easily found here and there, and was impressive because many people have hard time with their cellphone battery in Chicago airport.

Buy Buy Buy our watch!

Buy Buy Buy our watch!

Switzerland is very famous for the watch and clock industry.  Even I am wearing one.  And there are so many watch commercial and advertisements.

Standing Tram

Standing Tram

I had to use the tram to go to another gate (not terminal), and there was no bench in the tram (actually there were small ones at the both ends of the car).

Sky? Really?

Sky? Really?

You can see the tram’s name in the above picture.  And I don’t quite get that name.  The tram runs underground the whole time (it has only two stations), and the name is SKY-Metro.  Is it some joke that I don’t get?

Carmel Smoking Lounge

Camel Smoking Lounge

I saw Camel Smoking Lounge in Frankfurt, and now I saw the same thing again in Zürich.  Is this brand common across Europe?

The international travellers these days are desperate for the WiFi since we do not have network connection out of country or continent.  Chicago O’Hare airport has 20 minutes free internet which I also used for my laptop.  Frankfurt has one (I don’t remember any time restrict), and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport also has unlimited free WiFi.  And guess what, I found 60 minutes free WiFi in Zürich airport!  But you cannot use it, well, least I could not.  To gain the free WiFi access, you need personal code which they send you through cellphone text (SMS).  And my phone is not working being out of the country.  I looked around and saw so many faces changing from “Yay!” to confusion and finally to anger.  What the heck is this?  If I have cellphone connection, why do I need WiFi so desperately?

Because there are so many people having this problem even that one morning, thousands of people would have the same problem, and I guess, in that case, there must be some solution for this.  So I decided to ask for help.  I walked to the information desk and asked.  As soon as the guide in the desk figured out that my question was about the free WiFi, he cut me while I was still speaking and said with so cold voice, “There is nothing I can do for you about that.”

I was so shocked.  Wow, people in this country have so awesome attitudes, even the people working in the service industry.  So disappointing, and I guess this airline, this city and this country will never be in my favourite list.

The WiFi is so stupid.  The first sixty minutes is free, and you need to buy to use more.  But because you cannot get the first free connection, you cannot purchase it.  Because they send you the code through cellphone text message or email.  But how can you check your email without connection?  They are so dumb.  I do not care that John Calvin was working in this country.  I judge by my own experience, and I had very bad experience even from Chicago, and in the air, and in the city.  Swiss Air is like a Air Canada, and Lufthansa is like a WestJet.  Canadians would understand what I am talking about.

In Frankfurt, a gate was assigned only for the flights to Israel, and the security check was literally extreme.  But in Zürich, there was no specific gate.  Actually the gate was not assigned until one hour before the flight departure which I think stupid because I had no idea where to wait.  But the security check was just normal.  But after the gate for the Tel Aviv flight was assigned, two Swiss policepersons came to the gate with machine guns!  And I thought, “now it looks normal to me.”

Frankfurt airport has two languages for signs.  I understand because it’s Germany speaking German, and English is international language.  Zürich airport also has two languages – German and English, which I do not understand because Switzerland has four official languages, then they must have five languages for signs.

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