Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
Rushing around Zurich, and LX424 Zürich Airport – Birmingham Airport

Sections:


Hmm. I’m going the wrong direction. First south of Birmingham, now west! Hopefully I should make it home this segment… if the connection gods are with me…


A quick (and I mean quick) transit of Zürich Airport

Sitting near the front of the plane, I managed to make it out quickly. And with the plane docking the far end of the A gates, it was a case of doing it in the musical stylings of Christopher Cross/East Side Beat (take your pick – I prefer the East Side Beat version… but I grew up in the 90′s…) to ride like the wind  and power walk/run/whatever to the transfer gates as soon as, so I could make LX424 to Birmingham.

After clearing initial traffic coming off other places, I bolted down the travelators, and power walked through the A pier, a hard turn for to the B and D Piers rushing through the local traffic, and arriving at the Schengen Border with about 25 minutes to spare.


Thataway!

5 minutes of it was spent queuing to leave Switzerland. A quick diversion to the small room, and I was right next to the boarding gate… which was running late.

What is that about “The more things change?”

Another pit stop to pick up more chocolate for my co-workers, and boarding had begun, with Elites being seen to by a person and non elites having to use the scanner. I was beeped and headed into the boarding pen, where a bus turned up quickly and took a full load of us to the AvroJet/Jumbolino/Fokker apron.


Awaiting Boarding

After a short wait for the thumbs up, the bus doors opened and I boarded this little Fokker for the final flight home

Leg 8 LX424 Zurich International Airport – Birmingham Airport
Operated by OLT Express for Swiss International Air Lines
Fokker 100, Seat 11A
125 Miles Earned + 32 Executive Miles

The Photos: http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/12/20/lx424-zurich-to-birmingham.html

I found my way to my seat, and to my luck, I had lucked out on an exit row. After stuffing my bags in the small overhead lockers, I checked the emergency instructions and waited for the plane to load. Again, this flight left Zurich with a full cabin aboard – seems like Swiss really is packing them in on this route.


In case of emergency – I wonder if the moustache is optional…. I doubt the fuzz on my face would pass…

Late as we were, the plane pushed forward and trundled towards a runway. During this time, the OLT Express crew gave the safety briefing (they did the actions over a pre-recorded announcement). There wasn’t a long wait for take off, allowing us to take off

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5jgKd2IU_w

And the view during climbout…

Even though it’s a little Fokker, those Rolls Royce Tays did a very nice performance, with a nice climb-out into the night.

After settling into the cruise, I took a look around me.


Legroom. I’m not going to say it. Honest.


The seat (post landing)


Overhead panel


Cabin with service commenced.

There was a service and I was in for a shock. I WAS OFFERED A CHOICE OF SANDWICH!!! This is a first for Swiss (or in this case OLT Express) – A Ham Baguette or a Cheese Baguette.


Pictured with a glass of water.

Again, nice and fresh – with a reasonable amount of filling.

This being Swiss of course, they do know about wine, so I had a bottle of their darn nice white wine too.

Meanwhile outside, the final bits of red sunlight sun were fading, marking the end of the day

Cleardown was reasonably quick, and shockingly one Swiss service standard was missed. No handing out of chocolates (nor were they handed out on exiting the plane). It’s a small thing, but Swiss do make a point of saying it – even in their adverts.

Decent soon begun, and we dropped down into the murk of an English evening where rain seemed to be the order of the day as we begun our descent into Birmingham airport, landing towards Birmingham City Centre.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvW34mvN0Uw

From there it was the long taxi back to the terminal, and finally back to Gate 59 where this trip begun. After the bongs went, it was time to grab my trash one more time and head off.

After landing I made my way down the cold jetbridge, and into the warm terminal, following the signs to Immigration. I tried to clear using the ePassport gates, but the system was having none of that, so I had to go to an agent (thankfully the UK queue had 1 person in it). I was cleared quickly, and went down to luggage claim – and through to the baggage claim in the corner as opposed to the big luggage belts.

A short wait (well quicker than the wait times listed in this handy diagram that Birmingham Airport provides), and my little rucksack had made the 45 minute connection at Zurich Airport.


I’ve linked the larger version to this at http://pb-i4.s3.amazonaws.com/photos/6247-1356683600-23-l.jpg… 1 hour for a last bag off a 777/747????

From there, it was through UK Customs and finally out into the “Real World”.  Tracking back to the Airport Air-Rail Link I boarded the next available one which took me to Birmingham International Station.

Upon arriving, a state of chaos seems to be active, with a couple of cancellations causing major trouble – and a full Virgin Pendolino for the 15 minute ride to New Street as the signals were on the blink.

Nothing like a sharp jolt of reality to welcome a person back to the UK.

After the train pulled in, I headed up the escalators, to find the ticket inspectors had gone home for the night, and headed for the taxi rank.


Home and don’t spare the horses. Oh. Birmingham traffic. Save the horses.

After 10 more minutes enjoying Birmingham traffic, and 6 days of travel, I was at my front door, ending this adventure.


15627 miles, eight segments, two airlines and one front door.

And I went in, dropped my luggage off and put my feet up… and begun to make odd noises at the computers when all of them moaned about running out of disk space. Again.

Some things never change.


And finally … Avios… Oh Yes, Oh Yes, OH YEAH!

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