Around the World on 90k Part I: Warsaw and Beijing with Nothing But a Passport and a Dream(liner)
Around the World on 90k Part II: Blowing Through the Horn of Africa
Korean Air Lounge New York JFK
LOT Polish Business Class 787 New York To Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class Lounge Warsaw
LOT Polish Business Class ERJ-170 Warsaw To Zurich
Swiss Panorama Lounge Zurich
Swiss Business Class A330 Zurich To Beijing
Grand Hyatt Beijing
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 787 Beijing To Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud Nine Business Class Lounge Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Airlines Business Class 767 Addis Ababa To Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class Lounge Frankfurt
Lufthansa Business Class 747-8 Frankfurt to Washington
Park Hyatt Washington DC
Upon landing in Zurich, Andrew realized he had never been issued a boarding pass for our flight to Beijing, so we went to the transfer desk, which was just a few minutes walk away from our arrival gate.
While the agent at the transfer desk was friendly, she asked to see his visa. When we explained we were doing a 72 hour transit without visa, she started doing some typing in her computer, and then eventually said that the transit without visa was only valid for up to 24 hours, and not 72 hours.
We stood our ground, and then she made a phone call to some other department, and they confirmed that we could indeed transit for up to 72 hours without a visa.
As far as lounge usage goes, we had two options — we could use the Swiss Business/Senator Lounge, which is Swiss’ main lounge in Zurich (it features the longest airport bar in the world), or we could use the Panorama Lounge, which is located in the E Concourse, where our connecting flight was departing from. Since I had done the Swiss Lounge many times before and it’s nothing special, we figured we’d head over to the Panorama Lounge, so that we’d be closer to our departure gate.
The main terminal in Zurich Airport is gorgeous, though I find the temperatures inside to consistently be hot, which I guess isn’t surprising given the amount of natural light it has. We then cleared passport control and took the train over to the E Concourse. Zurich Airport probably has my favorite airport train system out there, given that there are cow “mooing” noises while the train goes between concourses, and there’s a cool graphics display on the wall of the tunnel.
Here’s a video I found of it on YouTube:
Once in the E Concourse we walked around the terminal once to check out all the planes. This is where all of Swiss’ longhaul flights depart from, so there was tons of fun traffic, including a bunch of A330s and A340s.
We then took the elevator up to the second level, where the Panorama Lounge is located.
The public areas of the second level are rather bare.
The lounge is a very short walk from the elevator, and located on the right side.
We were promptly admitted, and were told to scan our boarding passes to get wifi codes. The ridiculous thing about this lounge is that you only get 60 minutes of free wifi, and once you use it up you can’t get another code. Since it scans your boarding pass, it won’t give you another code if you scan a second time. Rather ridiculous, in my opinion.
Anyway, the lounge itself is okay. It tends to be pretty crowded since it’s where all the longhaul flights depart from.
There are both tables with chairs, as well as couches with coffee tables.
The buffet spread isn’t all that impressive. There’s some snack mix, a few cold options, soup, and then two hot dishes.
The drink selection is probably more impressive than the food spread, with a selection of self serve liquor, wine, beer, soft drinks, etc.
The coffee machine in the lounge is fairly decent, and they even have “proper” latte glasses, which I appreciate.
The only thing that makes this lounge kind of awesome is the outdoor terrace they have, which I guess is why it’s called the “panorama lounge.” It’s awesome to be able to enjoy fresh air in Zurich at an airport in summer, and that’s especially true when you’re looking directly at a Singapore A380.
I was of course most amused by the A380, while Andrew nearly had a heart attack out of excitement when he saw a US Airways 767-200.
Our flight was scheduled to depart Zurich at 1:20PM, so at around 12:30PM we headed down to our departure gate.
There was another passport check at the gate, and once again the agent wanted to see our visas. He was much more familiar with the rules, though, and once we showed him our itinerary with a connection to Ethiopia he stamped our boarding passes (and chuckled at our routing).
At around 12:50PM boarding was called, starting with first and business class.
I’ve never really been impressed by the lounges in Zurich Airport. I find it absolutely ridiculous that they all restrict the amount of free wifi you can get. On the plus side, at least this lounge has nice views of big planes, which is at least a consolation prize.