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Geneva... the long way

Geneva... the long way
Geneva... the long way
via Singapore and Emirates First Class
May 2022

Off to Geneva, The Long Way via Singapore and Emirates First Class then home via Air France La Premiere

It’s been three long years since my last Round The World so I’m really excited to be back… today to LAX, then Tokyo and Dubai on my way to Geneva for dinner at L’Atelier Robuchon.  After my short United flight to LAX, it’s great to be back on Singapore Airlines and their fifth freedom 77W nonstop to Tokyo.  Then a double dose of amazing Emirates New First 77W “Game Changer” Suites from Narita to Dubai to Geneva.  And finally another visit with Alain Ducasse at the CDG La Premiere Lounge and then the afternoon 77W to LAX.  
The line-up for the next 86 hours…
• United First Class to LAX
• Star Alliance First Class Lounge at LAX
• Star Alliance Business Class Lounge at LAX
• Singapore Airlines First Class to Tokyo
• Emirates 77W New First Suites to Dubai
• Emirates First Class Lounge at Dubai
• Emirates 77W New First Suites to Geneva
• Hotel President Wilson Geneva
• Geneva
• Dinner at L'Atelier Robuchon Geneva
• Air France/KLM Lounge at GVA
• Air France Business Class to Paris
• Air France La Premiere Lounge at CDG
• Air France La Premiere to LAX
• United First Class to Denver
From Denver to LAX, United is the smart way to fly.  Real (non-regional) planes and hot meals.  Marvelous crew today with PDBs and attentive service for our two hour flight.  With DIA's new PreCheck only North Security, security was very fast.  Eight TSA doc checkers and eight PreCheck screening lanes.  Can’t imagine what the South security looks like now. 
I made such good time this morning that I had plenty of time for the United Club, access compliments of my Lufthansa Senator status.
Looking at my plane and gate from the United Club.
I headed down to the gate at T-45 or 5 minutes before boarding.
Denver DEN to Los Angeles LAX
United UA 1093
May 3, 2022
Almost everyone is Group 1 on United, who board after handicapped, kids, GS, 1K, active military.  It’s amazing I found overhead bin space.
Once on board, excellent service by a delightful and engaging cabin crew.  My pre-ordered Denver Scramble.
Very tasty.
And dessert!
We arrived LAX on time, with nearly 5 hours before my 2:20pm Singapore flight.
For those on Instagram, here is video from my United Flight this morning

5 hours at LAX...

After 45 minutes in the United Club, I headed over the T6 and the Clarity Mobile Covid test lab for a rapid PCR... just in case someone at SQ or EK did not get the message that Switzerland removed all entry  test and vax requirements on May 2nd.

Then the walk thru construction down to TBIT.

Very efficient Avis... three buses at the same time.  

Carts strewn all over the TBIT arrivals sidewalks.

And then there was the doc check and boarding pass stop.  The combination of an NRT connection and the removal of Swiss entry restrictions was too much for my agent.  20 minutes and 4 agents later, they agreed to let me board and issued my boarding passes.

PreCheck lanes with no one except and an ANA flght crew.

Then upstairs to the Star Alliance Lounges.   First stop was the Star Alliance First Class Lounge... one on the most pathetic First Class lounges anywhere.

Even worse when it is packed like today.

Serve yourself food options.  Yeah, that really looks appetizing.  LOL.

After a couple of minutes for the photo ops, I headed out the back door for the much nicer and more attractive Business Class Lounge.


Looks like some of the furniture is past its expiration date. 

My favorite part of the lounge, the terrace overlooking the concourse.

More of the lounge, including showers...

... and cool outdoor terrace.  Better on a nicer days and when T3 construction is completed.

I arrived just before switch from breakfast to lunch.

And now lunch...

LOL.  Yeah I think Frank Lloyd Wright nailed that one.

And for those in Instagram, videos from LAX...

• Star Alliance First Class Lounge

• Star Alliance Business Class Lounge

Singapore Airlines First Class to Tokyo Narita

At T-55 minutes, I headed out for Gate 153.

Los Angeles LAX to Tokyo NRT
Singapore SQ 11
2:20pm-5:35pm +1
May 3, 2022
Suite 1A
Departed 4/4

I arrived at the gate as boarding was about to begin.  I identified myself as SQ First and was immediately escorted to the boarding lane and asked to wait for a few minutes at the top of the jet bridge before the crew was ready.

So nice to be back on board Singapore.   A little dated hard product but a wonderful cabin crew as always.

Oh yeah.

Interesting amenity kit but... a candle?  on a plane?  And just in case anyone was tempted to light it on board, they include a "Do Not Use in Aircraft" note.

Champagne taste comparison.

Showtime, Singapore Style.  But oddly, NO MENU... supposedly "due to Covid".  Say what??  Fortunately I had printed the menu at home before leaving but this was pretty lame.

Singapore has tapped a variety of great chefs from around the world to create a portion on their First Class menu.  At LAX, Singapore uses Suzanne Goin of LA's restos Lucques, A.O.C and Tavern.  I started with one of her dishes, Scallop Aquachile... quick grilled scallop in Mexican style mild spicy lime dressing with cucumber, mizuna leaves and herbs.  It was pretty bland.  Perhaps a less "mild spicy" dressing would have worked better.

Next up was the caviar which Ai forgot to serve first, realizing that as she presented the scallop dish.  Not to worry.

In additon to no menu, there was no wine list.  But I also printed that out at home so I knew what was advertised.  While the Krug and Taittenger were catered, the 2014 Domaine Faiveley Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru was not.  Ai felt bad so insisted that I try all the wines on board.  OMG.

And by that time, it took everything I had just to remember which was which.   Suzanne's Faro and Spinach soup was really, really, good.

And her Spiced Lamb with Tapenade was spectacular.

Come on Singapore, this looks like a bad American or United Business Class cheese plate.

On the other, Suzanne's Warmed California Date Cake was fabulous.

After dinner, Ai made my bed and I slept for a solid 5 hours, waking up with just 3 hours from Narita.   The Dim Sum was excellent... radish cake, pork dumpling, prawn dressing and vegetable dumpling.

Almost there.  Nice scenery on our approach to Narita.

This was my first Singapore flight since Covid.  While the crew was lovely and attentive, and the food excellent for the most part, there was just something off.  The Covid-excuse lack on menus was inexcusable.  And eliminating the advertised $250 Burgundy was disappointing.  Also, despite the cabin showing only 2 of us, two off duty pilots were sitting in the empty middle pair when I boarded.  Hopefully, SQ gets past using Covid as an excuse for cutting costs.

And the Instagram video of my Singapore First LAX-NRT flight. 


Twilight Zone:  Narita edition

From my Singapore arrival to Emirates departures, this was one of the strangest connection experiences ever. Since Japan is still closed to the world, Narita has become a virtual ghost town with only a handful of flights. Yet all the lights are on and there are way more workers than passengers. Since my Singapore flight arrived in Terminal 3, I had to take a shuttle bus to Terminal 2 where Emirates operates.  

Apparently, SQ LAX wanted to make damn sure that they got rid of me at Narita.  As I walked off the plane, there was a large sign board with my name and an agent standing next to it.  She gave me directions to Gate 28A and the bus gate.  On my 10 minute walk from Gate 35 to the bus gates and 28A, I only saw a handful of passengers.

When I got to Gate 28A, there was a single bus gate agent, who pointed me to the waiting bus.  30 seconds later, a bus driver came on board and we departed for Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Whoa, color and sensory overload much??

Once in Terminal 3, I got my exercise going right following the Transit Counter sign, only to find out that I should have just turned left.  The nice agent at the JAL Transit desk told me that they don't print Emirates boarding pass, and to just go the Emirates gate.   I knew that the Emirates Lounge was not open, but decided to take the elevator up to check it out.

Seriously?  I guess this sounded like a good excuse to use a couple of years ago.  And certainly better than telling the truth... we only have one flight a day and so few passengers that no we are not going to spend any money on staffing and operating our lounge.

And next door.  Good luck on ever seeing this one open anytime soon, if ever.

I arrived at Emirates Gate 73 some 3 hours before boarding.   Although just prior to getting there, a pleasant Emirates agent walked towards me stopped me and asked "are you connecting from Los Angeles?"  SQ LAX really wanted to get rid of me as they had contacted Emimates to be on the lookout for some crazy gaijen.  She escorted me down the elevator to the gate area and did the doc check thing and issued my boarding passes and First Class baggage tags.

In the meantime, fortunately there were work stations counters where I could do some work while I passed the time.

I used to lav a couple of time only to discover that Japanese Covid rules prevent you from drying your hands after washing them.   No paper towels of course, but also no hand dryer... "to prevent the infection fo Covid-19, the hand dryer is out of service".  Fortunately, there was still toilet paper in the stalls.   

As departure time approached, agents arrived and set up... behind a hermetically sealed counter.  LOL.

My Instagram video of my visit to and transit thru Narita.

OK, so it's not New First as promised... but Emirates Old First is still damn good!

At around T-55, I headed downstairs and found a seat near the gate podium.  
Ten minutes later, a gate agent approached me and asked if I'd like to board.  So that's why Emirates tags F passengers carry-ons with bright red Emirates First Class tags.  
Tokyo NRT to Dubai DXB
Emirates AK 319
777-300ER (Old First) 
10:30pm-4:45am +1
May 4, 2022
Suite 2A
Departed 4/8

I was the first to board and warmly welcomed by tonight's wonderful cabin crew.  Welcome to Air Bling.  LOL.

My home for the next 11 hours.... Suite 2A

Why not?  LOL.

Now here's a worthwhile amenity kit!

Up in the air, wonderful service.

I started with the sushi sampler.  Delicious.

The 2015 Y d'Yquem was sensational.

And the 2013 Olivier Leflaive Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru was spectacular.

For my main, the Japanese-style curry chicken was very good.

OMG, the pastry plate to die for.

Starry starry night on the ceiling is a cool feature.

At this point, I was exhausted and head across the aisle to 2E where our flight attendant had made my bed.

Really comfy and I got 5 solid hours of sleep.

After a great sleep, I moved back to my 2A.

And time for... breakfast?  lunch?  dinner?  Where am I?

Since catering was ex-Tokyo, I tried the kaiseki bento.  Gorgeous presentation.

These was really good.

Almost to Dubai.

We landed on time and pulled into a proper gate, B11.  Despite the equipement substition, this was a great flight with another wonderful Emirates crew.

Couple more Instagram videos...

• Emirates pull a fast one and sends Old First Class

• Fantastic Emirates First Class flight and service

Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai in the A Gate concourse

Our flight from Narita arrived DXB on time at 4:45am and we were at Gate B11 a few minutes later.  As is now the norm, Emirates First Class representatives were waiting at the gate for First Class passengers.

Our rep escorted the three of us who were connecting by golf cart.

And then by foot through the vast DXB terminal.

To the A gate complex and the First Class Lounge.

This massive lounge spans the upper level of the entire mile long A Gate concourse.

Checking out today's wine offerings to see if there are any gems today.   Meh, not so much.

Solid but no wows today.

Time to head for the Emirates First Class Lounge Fine Dining restaurant.  

Although the menu was largely breakfast, Emirates recognizes that it's passengers are from all over the globe and to some of us, it's dinner time to our bodies.

The current Emirates First Class Lounge menu...

Since my body thinks it is dinner time, dinner it is... the Wagyu beef tenderloin with steak fries and hollandaise as they did not have bearnaise today.

OMG, this was fabulous.

At around T-60, I headed out to the far end of the lounge and Gate A7...

Instagram video of the Emirates First Class Lounge in the A gates.

Emirates New First Class to Geneva

Dubai DXB to Geneva GVA
Emirates EK 89
May 5, 2022
New First Suite 2A
Although this was an amazing flight, we started off on a sour note with a bus ride to our tarmac position.  But unlike other airlines, Emirates has a First Class only bus so First Class passengers can ride to the bus in comfort... and not have to be mix with Business and, god forbid, Economy passengers.

One positive of a bus gate is an up close view of our gorgeous 77W.

What a gorgeous cabin.  Some pics from emirates.com.

My Suite 2A.

Today's excellent wine list.  And OMG, 2007 Haut-Brion that retails for $400 a bottle.

Once in the air, flawless service continues from an excellent cabin crew.

Today's menu...

Showtime, Emirates style...

The Roasted tomato and thyme soup was delicious.

Oh yeah!

Yummy duck foie gras.


For my main, the Prawn Biryani was sensational.

In addition to individual suite temperature control, so cool to be able to change the lighting colors.

We arrived on time and taxied past this interesting training facility.

What a fabulous Emirates First Class flight.  Emirates New First is the best First Class in the world.

Some additional Instagram videos...

• Emirates Spectacular New First Class Suites

• Morning rush hour at DXB

• Emirates New First Class to Geneva


My Day in Geneva

Today, I opted to for a Bonvoy points stay at Hotel President Wilson Geneva.  Excellent location across from Lake Geneva.

Very nice mid-century hotel.

Since Marriott bought Starwood, Platinum status isn't worth anywhere near what it used to be.  So I was pleasantly surprise, actually shocked to get an amazing uprade from a basic city view room to a huge lakeview suite with my own private elevator.  Whoa!

Color me surprised.  Very nice gesture.  I just hope they don't get in trouble with Bonvoy for being so generous.

After a short power nap, I headed out explore Geneva and Lake Geneva.

The pricey Woodward Hotel, home of L'Atelier Robuchon where I'll be heading for dinner in a few hours.

After another power nap and a shower, I headed downstairs for a drink before dinner.

My €34 G&T.  LOL.  Who do think they are, Georges V??

For dinner, what a treat to be back at L'Atelier Robuchon.  We love his two Paris locations so I'm excited to try Geneva.   And what a treat this was.  Wonderful staff, excellent wines and fabulous food.


La Langoustine.  Delicious.

OMG.  Le Burger avec seared foie gras!  


And the spectacular lamb... L'agneau du lait.

Pre-dessert amuse-bouche.

And my decadent main course.

And of course parting dessert.

What a fabulous meal... one of the best of the year.

My Day with Air France La Première back to LAX

My long started with a 7am taxi to Geneva Airport, a short 15 minute ride.

A few minutes later I was at the Air France counter in the French Sector of GVA.  After my doc check, the AF agent asked me to wait off to the side for a La Première personal assistant to come down from the lounge, to escort me up to the lounge. 

With no at security, we were in the newly renovated Air France/KLM Lounge.

The lounge has a small but comfortable area for La Première passengers which I had to myself today.

Geneve GVA to Paris CDG
Air France AF 1543
May 5, 2022
Seat 1F

As I had requested to be the last to board, we headed out for our gate around 20 minutes before departure.   As normal, my personal La Première assistant introduced me to the cabin crew and bid adieu.  Very pleasant purser offered the option of strapping in my backpack in the adjacent seat instead of stowing in the overhead.  AF domestic J is the usual crappy euro-fraud Business Class, Economy seat with an open middle.  Fortunately, I have the bulkhead with no seat mate and the flight was only 45 minutes. 

Since I was not going to waste calories with Alain Ducasee waiting for me in Paris, I took the meal for the photo op.

As we deplaned, my personal La Première assistant Julien was waiting at the door of the plane, to escort me to the La Première Lounge.

And a Tesla for my inbound ride.,

The back door to the best First Class Lounge in the world.

Time for lunch, chez Alain Ducasse.

Fabulous wines in the lounge... unlike in flight.  

To start, my go to must have dish... Les Coquillettes Jambon/Truffe Noir.  Best mac and cheese on the planet.

Fabulous polaiile fermière, or chicken.

And the decadent rhum baba for finish.

At T-40, Julien retrieved me for the drive my LAX flight.  Interest scenery on the way.

Paris CDG to Los Angeles LAX
Air France AF 72
May 5, 2022
Suite 1A
Departed 4/4


Our beautiful 77W..

As other passengers had boarded, a pic of the the gorgeous cabin from a previous flight.

And a lovely way to start the evening.

Nice amenity kit...

... but not sure about the utility of a white eye shade.

Interesting movie, about Gustav Eiffel and his quest to build what was considered an eye sore at the time.  LOL.

Today's lovely menu...

But simply dreadful wine list.  Other than the Comtes and perhaps the Pomerol, embarrassing.  WTF Air France, you are French afterall.  Emirates wines are so much better.

Since I had eaten in the lounge, I waited 3 hours to eat.

Showtime, La Première style.

Comfy bed and I got 5 solid hours of sleep.

From bed to seat. 

On approach to LAX.

On all my landings here, I've never seen this before...

What a great day with Air France.  Sadly, I move on to United for my flight home to Denver.

And some Instagram videos from today...

• Geneva Airport Check-in and Air France Lounge

• Air France "Business Class" to Paris

• Air France La Première Lounge Paris CDG

• Air France La Première to Los Angeles

And United First Class LAX to Denver


And like an old shoe, it's my usual United 739 from LAX back to Denver.

Los Angeles to Denver
United UA 1929
May 5, 2022

At T-5 to boarding, this is first time I've ever been #1 in the Group 1 lane.

As we accelerated down runway 25R, this was so cool to have a Kalitta 747 landing beside us on 25L.

I had no idea it was landing and was fortunate to have my iPhone taking a video.  Here is my Instagram video of the cool sequence.

Those of us on the left side got a great view of a gorgeous sunet.

On tonight's flght, United offered pre-select options.  I chose the BBQ Burger.

Despite how gross it looked inside, the BBQ burger was really good.

And the best part of United catering, Eli's chocolate Pie in the Sky.

And back home only 86 hours, 22,000 miles and one hotel room later.   

And one more final Instagram video of my United flight home

What a fun trip.  Thanks very much for following along.


Stay tuned for my next adventure in two weeks.  Weekend in Cape Town via Swiss and Lufthansa First Class.