It was quite the chaotic morning. We awoke in Lucerne and headed to the train station for our scheduled 7:05am train ride from Lucern to the Zurich Airport. I was going to be simple and easy… in theory.
That was until our train broke down.
We had spent the previous week taking trains all over central Europe without incident. But there we were at 7:30am — stranded on a disabled train — somewhere in between Lucerne and Zurich.
Eventually, we backtracked to the closest station and had to hop the next train to Zurich hbf where we had to catch another train out to the airport. Long story short, we arrived at ZRH at around 8:50am for a 10:00am flight.
As we approached the American ticket counters, they were about to shut down for the day, but we were able to successfully check in, proceed through immigration / security and take the train ride out to the satellite International terminal at ZRH. By the time we got to the gate, boarding was underway.
- Lufthansa Business Class Washington-Dulles to Munich
- Oktoberfest… and Three Days in Munich
- The Tyrolean and Austrian Alps
- The Bernina Express Scenic Railroad from St. Moritz to Tirano
- Three Days on Lake Como
- Lucerne and Mt. Pilatus
- American Business Class Zurich to New York – JFK
American Airlines (AA) 65
Zurich (ZRH) – New York (JFK)
Seat: 6D (Business)
Sunday, October 11
10:00AM – 1:05PM
The three of us boarded the aircraft and made a beeline for row six – the fifth row in business class on this newly reconfigured American Airlines B767-300 aircraft. My fiancé and I had the middle pair of row 6 (seats 6D and 6G), while my good friend took the window seat (seat 6A).
The newly refurbished business class cabin on American’s B767-300 is a massive improvement over the older product. This cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, providing direct aisle access for all passengers. When traveling alone, I would recommend a window seat (A or K) in an even row. These would be the most private seats onboard. While traveling with a companion, the middle two seats are perfect.
Of this particular pair, my fiancé’s seat (6G) was a “throne”-style seat with massive armrest space on each side. It was recessed from the aisle on both side. My seat (6D) had less armrest seat, and was open to the aisle.
I noticed that while in flat bed mode, the “throne” seat seemed to have a little more limited space in the footwell, while my seat against the aisle had considerable more footwell space. For that reason, I was fine with this seat. This particular flight was setup great since she was to my right, and one of my best friends was across the aisle to my left.
Good times were ahead!
One of the more disappointing aspects of this new remodeled business class was that there was not a seat back IFE system wired in. Instead, we were provided Samsung tablets that were preloaded with content. They fit somewhat awkwardly into the seatback console in front of us, so that wasn’t the most appealing looking IFE system in the world. There were also some power issues, as these tablets would periodically come unplugged due to turbulence, and power down immediately. That was pretty annoying.
The content; however, was first rate as it usually is on American. There was a huge selection of movies and television shows — plenty of content to keep my entertained for a long daytime flight back home across the Atlantic!
As we waited for the plane to fill up, we were set-up with pre-departure champagne by our extremely friendly and attentive flight attendant.
We pushed back more-or-less on-time on a crisp and clear morning in Zurich. The ascent over the Alps was beautiful, but I couldn’t get any good pictures since I was not in the window seat.
Drinks were offered, along with warm nuts after menus were presented. The westbound transatlantic flights feature two meals – a heavy lunch about an hour after takeoff, and a light meal about 90 minutes prior to landing. There were an assortment of mid-flight snacks available between the meals – very similar to the snack basket available in American’s domestic first class.
I was presented with my appetizer and salad not he same plate. The appetizer was an herbed chicken with tzatziki sauce, and it was delicious. I also enjoyed the relish in the lettuce wrap and the cheese-stuffed pepper. It was a winning appetizer all around! The salad was good enough, though a bit on the small side. On the carb front, I let the flight attendant know my affinity for pretzel rolls, so she kept those coming!
I selected the filet for my entree. While it was pretty thoroughly overcooked, the bulgogi was delicious, and really salvaged a sub-par piece of beef. The entree was supposed to come with basmati rice, but I ended up with mashed potatoes.
For dessert, I requested a fully loaded ice cream sundae — and it was delicious as per usual.
All in all, the lunch was perfectly fine. I enjoyed the appetizer a lot, and the entree was tasty enough. Service throughout lunch (and the entire flight) was fantastic. Our flight attendant was truly spectacular, and was one of the very best flight attendants that I’ve had on any US airline.
After lunch, I had some drinks and watched movies most of the trip across the Atlantic. I did take a quick nap for an hour or so, but wasn’t that tired. As such, I spent most of the flight watching movies while my fiancé slept, and my buddy tried to drink a B767 out of whiskey — and he did a pretty good job of it.
About 90 minutes prior to landing, the flight attendants came through with our light snack. This consisted of a Croque Monsieur and potato salad. The Croque was pretty good — but was pretty much just your standard melted ham and cheese sandwich. Hard to screw that one up. The potato salad though was delicious! I really enjoyed it. This little snack filled me up enough to where I didn’t eat at all in the Flagship Lounge at JFK during my layover.
The meal service finished up, and we landed at JFK without incident. And just like that, another trip to Europe was over.
Again, the new business class seat on the B767-300 is a massive improvement over the older version. I was able to relax and sleep very comfortably. There was plenty of legroom while the seat was in the bed position – though I think my particular seat probably has a more generous footwell than others. Though a little ghetto, the IFE is fully loaded and acceptable. Food was quite good.
The thing that stood out about this flight was the service. US airlines tend to take a beating as far as their reputation for service is concerned. Many times this reputation is warranted. In my experience, many times it is not. This particular fight attendant though who took care of us in business class that day – was just fantastic.
How I Booked It…
This flight was the first segment of a roundtrip I purchased from Europe to Argentina. I booked multi-month stopovers each way back home in DC. It was my own little masterpiece of a ticket. It looks something like this:
September: Zurich (ZRH) – New York (JFK) – Washington (DCA) <stopover>
December: DCA – Miami (MIA) – Buenos Aires (EZE) <destination> Mendoza (MDZ) – Santiago (SCL) – MIA – DCA <stopover>
February: DCA – MIA – Milan (MXP)
This was essentially priced as a round-trip from Europe to South America, which was priced extremely reasonable last year. I did have to pay a bit for the stopovers back home at DC, but even with the stopovers, this itinerary was several hundred dollars less than a round trip between the US and Europe. So, in my mind – I got a return from Europe, a trip to South America, and another flight to Europe — all for less than a standard round trip to Europe would have otherwise cost.
My American eVIP Systemwide Upgrade (SWU) cleared about three days prior to this flight, putting us in business class. American Executive Platinum customers receive eight SWUs per year for achieving top status (but only four as of 2017).