Introduction: London to Zurich via Hong Kong

Introduction
Virgin Atlantic 207 787-9 Economy Class Hong Kong to London Heathrow
Swissport Lounge London Heathrow
Virgin Atlantic 206 787-9 Premium Economy Class London Heathrow to Hong Kong
Plaza Premium Lounge Hong Kong
United Club Hong Kong
Swiss 139 777-300ER Business Class Hong Kong to Zurich
Swiss Arrivals Lounge Zurich
Glacier Express 902 Zermatt to Andermatt
Hotel Victoria Jungfraujoch
Touring the Hotel Schynige Platte
Hotel Baur au Lac Zurich
Swiss Senator Lounge Terminal A
Swiss Panorama Business Class Lounge Terminal E
Swiss 138 777-300ER Business Class Zurich to Hong Kong


When I knew that my mother wanted to visit Switzerland, she already had plans for me to be dorming at Oxford for a couple of weeks, so I was looking at two separate trips, with a few days apart, with no way to lace them together. Of course, I don’t mind flying, so I was looking at a month of pure fun.

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Gornergrat, Switzerland

Booking the Flights

Now, the motivation to not choose Cathay Pacific was based on a post I wrote last year, talking about why I regretted choosing Cathay Pacific as the airline I flew to London (not that it was bad at all, but still).

Obviously, I had to choose another airline, and eventually decided on Virgin Atlantic. While their economy fares are average at ~HK$11,000, I got one of their economy+premium economy promotions, where you can sit in premium economy on one way for ~HK$14,000. It was also my first time in longhaul economy since my time in Air New Zealand economy in 2014, and my first time in a cost-cutting economy seat (in the sense that there are nine seats, on the 787, instead of the expected eight). I saw a fare for premium economy both ways for ~HK$15,000 after I confirmed, but I’m not feeling that bad as a. I was travelling with my friend Chareese on a discount economy ticket both ways and b. I would get to review their economy product.

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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Economy Class

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Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 Premium Economy Class

While I initially thought the latter option and another £60 would pay me into the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, I’m a year short of the single-entry age limit of 16 (I was travelling alone on this trip), so I ended up using the Swissport Lounge for all of my stay, courtesy of my friend Emile, his lounge card, and a generous (and mostly well spent) £20 from my mom.

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Swissport Lounge London Heathrow

For the second half of the trip, I made bookings on Finnair, Qatar, Korean Air, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Swiss in business class. I immediately ruled out Etihad and Qatar, as we didn’t really have time for seven-hour transits, which was all that was left at that point (unless I was interested in paying HK$35,000, which I wasn’t).

I soon ruled out Cathay Pacific, as they didn’t seem to be releasing any award space anytime soon, and I don’t think you guys need another review of Cathay Pacific’s reverse herringbone seats (don’t worry, if you do, there’s still more to come). For some reason Finnair wouldn’t let me book because of a phantom double booking, and I crossed out Korean Air as well as, as much as I love their soft product, their hard product on the A330 kind of sucks as far as longhaul flights go. Between Swiss and Singapore Airlines, we decided that the reasonable option was to go direct with Swiss at ~HK$30,000, which my parents were fine with. That would allow me to be one of the first to sample their new 777-300ER in business class.

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Swiss Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

The entire itinerary was as follows:

Virgin Atlantic 207 Hong Kong to London 787-9 [Economy]
Virgin Atlantic 206 London to Hong Kong 787-9 [Premium Economy]
Swiss 139 Hong Kong to Zurich 777-300ER [Business]
Swiss 138 Zurich to Hong Kong 777-300ER [Business]

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Booking Other Transport

While everything in Oxford was arranged courtesy of Oxford Royale Academy (to all of my friends from Oxford reading this, I still miss you, by the way), we had to look at the Switzerland trip ourselves in terms of the destinations (though a friend from Bucher Travel Services managed to find us a little discount on the final package). The only thing I’ll be reviewing is the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Andermatt, which I originally wasn’t keen on, but lived with. For a small premium all seven of us managed to grab first class tickets.

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Glacier Express First Class Cabin

Apart from that, we were also arranged separate travel from Zermatt to Gornergrat, from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch through Kleine Scheidegg, and from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte. I won’t be reviewing those as I don’t really find much value in that (it’s not like you have any other options of getting up to Jungfraujoch).

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Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch Train

Booking the Hotels

While in Oxford accommodation was arranged at St. Peter’s College, in Zermatt, Interlaken and Zurich accommodation was recommended and arranged by Bucher Travel Services. I won’t be reviewing the chalet experience in Zermatt due to lack of pictures, but in Interlaken, we went for a superior duplex suite at the Hotel Victoria Jungfraujoch

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Hotel Victoria Jungfraujoch Deluxe Duplex Suite

…and in Zurich, we were arranged a junior suite at the Hotel Baur au Lac, which is widely considered one of the best in the region.

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Hotel Baur au Lac Zurich Junior Suite

Furthermore, when in Schynige Platte, our phenomenal guide Beat arranged us a tour of the Hotel Schynige Platte, which I will be reviewing.

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Hotel Schynige Platte Room 6

Bottom Line

While I’ve had a few crazy trips during the course of the blog, I don’t think anything beats this. I’m grateful to be back in Hong Kong for a while, even if it’s soon going to be, again, loaded by schoolwork, but stay tuned!

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