VLC-ZRH-ARN: Stepping up SWISS Economy meals
Off to Sweden in the dead of winter!
With my Star Gold card, I could enter the shared lounge in VLC. There were lots of signs apologizing for the lounge being temporarily upstairs, where I'd never ventured before (too lazy, or it was roped off). I turned out to prefer the upstairs space much more! Views of the tarmac, and more natural light. Same very basic catering, i.e. some yogurt in the fridge, industrial pastries, cellophane-wrapped sandwiches...
We took off on a warm, sunny day in Valencia.
The flight attendants came around offering cheese (quiche) or apple (cake). I like savory things in general, and especially in the morning, so went for the cheese quiche. It was served warm, and was delicious! The pastry was actually kind of like biscuit dough, soft and fluffy, and the cheese was sharp and tangy, with just the right amount of extra acid from the tomatoes.
Then they came around again offering passengers seconds. I totally would have gone for another cheese quiche, but wanted to try out the apple cake. It turned out to be basically the same as the quiche, with the same fluffy base and caramelized egg custard, but with apple slices nestled within. Also delicious (though still prefer the cheese).
These were a welcome upgrade from previous catering. There were years when SWISS would serve the same french bread pizza on all flights, and then there was the era when they served a dry roll with bits of chocolate for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner, a choice of meat of cheese in a mono-layer within a baguette. For all flights.
I really enjoyed this breakfast - in fact, I preferred it over the very boring cereal and milk that was served on a previous SWISS Business flight from Valencia to Zurich.
Landing in Zurich, I took a quick pitstop at the Senator Lounge. It was quite crowded!
For lunch, they always serve a couple huge woks of hot food, along with some sandwiches and salads. This time, the choices were ham and egg fried rice, and a cassoulet with smoked sausages and large white beans. I also took some lentil salad, kohlrabi salad, and a turkey and cream cheese roll. And my favorites from the lounge as always, the Lindt Cresta minis, these walnut cookies, and a bunch of wetnaps.
I rushed to the gate thinking I was late, and "boarded" myself with the automatic gates with no wait since it seemed like everyone was already on board. I came upon a line all the way up the jetway. And it wasn't just inching along, after 5, even 10 minutes, we were at a total standstill. It turns out that they had boarded a passenger in a stretcher in the back of the plane, and were having trouble installing the stretcher. During the wait, the flight attendant came around with the signature SWISS basket of chocolates. A nice Swiss touch!
We finally got moving, and I saw out the back of the plane was one of those elevated trucks like a catering truck, but this one I guess was what transported the passenger in the stretcher. And in the back of the plane, the patient was in a curtained-off section.
Zurich was overcast when we were landing from Valencia, but cleared up as we were taking off. Always nice to see the Alps and the lakes!
So what was on this flight? Only one option: the cheese quiche! It was still good, but I can already see now that we've moved from the SWISS Economy Pizza Epoch, to the SWISS Economy Dry Bread Epoch, and may have now entered into the SWISS Economy Cheese Quiche Epoch where they serve the same on every flight for the next several years.
One thing I'm glad that they don't change, is the offering of SWISS-branded Swiss chocolates at the end of each flight.
Finally, we landed in a grey, snowy/drizzly Stockholm.