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New Years in Salzburg

New Years in Salzburg
via Lufthansa First Class
January 2012

Ever since she saw the movie Last Holiday with Queen Latifah, Mrs. SFO has decided that winter vacation in a snowy climate is something she wants to do. Also gives her a chance to wear her furs without worrying about Bay Area animal rights wackos throwing paint on her, or more importantly her coats. Three years ago we did Prague, Vienna and Budapest just before Christmas and loved it. So when our good SoCal friends suggested NYE in Salzburg and a couple of days in Munich, we were on board.

Now the challenge of finding AC Aeroplan awards seats without making ridiculous connections. Amazingly, two seats were available on the SFO-MUC nonstop on the day we wanted to leave. Getting home was more difficult. I originally booked MUC-FRA-ORD-SFO but then adding an extra day in Munich let me book MUC-JFK, although I did find MUC-FRA-NRT-SFO including FRA-NRT on the 380 but you can imagine Mrs. SFO's reaction to that idea. UA doesn't normally open JFK-SFO F seats until a few weeks before departure so I figured I'd wait it out and/or hope for MUC-SFO to open up. Meanwhile the good old Aeroplan is history. The old 100K miles for a First award was now 125K when I booked, although they had a December sale that dropped it to 90K for a few weeks. And now they've added fuel surcharges for new LH bookings (and any changes). This added nearly $1,000 in fees when I booked our JFK-SFO UA flight. I considered just flying AA home from JFK, but in the end the J price with the upgrade for Mrs. SFO would have been the same.

In this report...
-United International First Class Lounge SFO
-Lufthansa First Class SFO-Munich
-Hotel Sacher Salzburg
-Mandarin Oriental Munich
-Luthansa First Class Lounge MUC
-Lufthansa First Class Munich-JFK
-United International First Class Lounge JFK
-United p.s. First Class JFK-SFO

And I am excited to play with my new Christmas toy, a Canon EOS 60D with ginormous lens. Just think of all the in flight pics I can take with this sucker. And of course that meant an even earlier departure for the airport to insure plenty of time to enjoy the UA IFL and take pics. We were dropped off at 7PM a full two hours before our 9:05PM departure.

About a 5 minute wait to check in as First Class/HON check-in is now combined with *G. Good news tonight as the same agent we had earlier in the year actual found our Aeroplan award reservation tonight without my having to dig out three sets of AC ticket numbers. And a new feature tonight as the check-in agent told us that a LH representative would escort us from the IFL to the plane.

Security was a 20 minute process tonight with only one station open. Although there were only four of us in the priority lane compared to 30 or so in the commoners line, there was only one ID checker for both sides. Add in a healthy mix of once a year flyers and there was a bottleneck. Once the post ID check line started to move, the friendly ID checker cleared the priority lane before taking any more non-priorities. Past security, the G pier of the International Terminal is quite attractive.

LX38 arriving from ZRH about two hours late.

Our home for the next hour.

Apparently lots of J pax try to crash the party. Go away!


United International First Lounge at SFO
December 29, 2011

Arguably the best domestic lounge offered by any US carrier.
With 9 pax, the lounge was busier than usual tonight as the LX SFO-ZRH flight was running nearly two hours late.

25 days later and still not fixed.

The usual array of left-overs from earlier in the day when UA had a gaggle of international flights.

G&T and some nibbles before our flight...

At T-35, the IFL dragon made an announcement for all LH pax to meet our LH rep upstairs.
Pleasant LH rep escorted the two of us to Gate 99, where unfortunately it was another 5 minutes before the crew was ready to board.


LH 459
A340-600 (New First)
December 29, 2011
9:05P-5:25P +1 (sked)
9:10P-5:05P +1 (actual)
Departed 5/8
Seats 2DG (and 2A)

OK I know the odds are less than 10% but as we turned left down the jet bridge I saw new colors in the galley and thought "No Way".
Still in the jet bridge I peeked thru the windows of the plane and couldn't see a lick of blue. "No Effing Way".

We reached the door of the plane and were greeted by one of our FAs and ever the cool guy, my first words were "Is this the New First?"
"Yes it is" gushed the FA, seemingly equally excited.

Like a kid in a candy store, I pull out my camera as fast as I can to memorialize the new interior, lest I wake up from my dream.

I'm one that didn't mind and indeed still liked the old First, but even without the side bed, the New First in the 346 is a WOW!
What soothing, elegant colors of cream, beige and brown.  Much more visually pleasing than SQ's harsh orange and brown.

If the cabin wall look nice, there is a reason. They are covered entirely in luxurious suede.

OK I usually don't do front to rear shots when other pax are in the cabin, but I decided to bend that rule on nights like this. No close ups though.

I'm going to cut this crew some slack because it could have been their first flight on the refurbished plane, but this was far from the usual polished LH crew. Our two FAs were very pleasant but not firing on all service cylinders today. While one FA took immediately took Mrs. SFO's fur, she forgot my coat for 10 minutes until I asked. PDB Champagne (Louis de Sacy Grand Cru Brut) was poured at the front of the cabin not at the seat. But the usual PDB mac nuts were replaced by smoked almonds. No champagne top up.

At 9:10P "Boarding completed" was announced and we pushed back, and started the normal taxi near the terminal toward 26R. Heavy fog tonight at SFO was restricting arrivals and departures as well. Did a U-turn and taxied to the north end of the airport then crossed over and taxied on the east taxiway all the way to the south end, where we held for 20 minutes for flow control.

More cabin pics and you can see the foggy haze outside.

Once cleared at around 9:50P, the captain wasted no time accelerating before we were even lined up at the top of 26R. At about 300 feet, we were completely in the fog.

The lighting during take-off was very nice.

Service started pretty slowly. Lots of activity up front but T+40 and no drink service. But how about a hot towel?

No drink order yet, but here comes the amuse bouche and our lead FA takes drink orders.
Tonight was a rather strange pumpkin sour cream combo on a skewer.
Not sure why the fork, but what do I know? 

Glass of champagne, please. The bottle is open at the front of the cabin and it still takes another 5 minutes?

Now the first negative about the new First seats. The drink tray is simply too far from the seat. One cannot sit and reach your drink. You have to lean waayy forward to reach your glass. The seat divider is too narrow to hold a glass without risk of knocking it over. Only one amuse bouche can sit on this divider. The old First seats had much closer drink table and the wide armrest could easily hold the amuse bouche plate. My arm is fully extended in this pic and I'm not even close to being able to reach the drink tray.

On the other hand, one of the cool features of the New First is an elegant pocket door solid curtain cabin class divider. 

Perhaps the seating arrangement tonight confused the crew. With 1G apparently malfunctioning, the five of us were a couple in 1A and 1D, us in 2DG and a woman in 2K (with hubbie sitting in J). FA and 1A in lengthy discussion... seemed 1A was having trouble understanding the menu.

Even though Mrs. SFO (and the woman in 2K) were on the right aisle, our FA stayed in the left aisle and asked me first for my dinner order (the works, caviar, starters, salad and Lamb) and then she asked Mrs. SFO who chimed in with "I'll have the same thing." Champagne refills and then the dinner set up.

The tray table in the suite is one of the best designs in the sky. At the push of a button, a huge tray table pops up at the front of the suite. Then you simply manually slide it to any position you want including all the back to your stomach. And this is no flimsy tray. This sucker is sturdy and solid.

LH has one of the most elegant setups in the sky.

And the LH rose is a timeless touch.

Another glass of champagne and a few minutes later, we enter the twilight zone as our FA walks down the right aisle carrying two salads. She places the first one on Mrs. SFO's tray then tries to hand me the other plate. 

OK, first of all I am sure LH First protocol is to never hand a plate to a pax, never over another pax, and never when that other pax is sitting on the other aisle. AA or UA? No biggie. But LH? I don't think so.

In any event, since our FA has apparently forgotten both the caviar and the starters, I refused the plate and politely told her that I would prefer to start with the caviar and follow the menu: caviar, starters and then the salad. She apologized and took the salad back to the galley. Mrs. SFO kept the salad, figuring she had waited long enough for anything to eat that she'd just go with the flow, wherever our FA was taking it.

A few minutes later, the starter cart appears for the first time tonight coming down the left (my) aisle. From the left aisle, FA asks Mrs. SFO which starter she would like. She goes with the crab and the FA reaches over me and hands the plate to Mrs. SFO.

I'm going with the works tonight which to our FA means all at once including the triple stack.

A double scoop for me tonight. More champagne, but not even a hint of normally offered chilled vodka.

According to the menu, the feature chef is somebody named Josh Becker who apparently works at the DiLido Beach Club at the Ritz-Carlton in South Beach, the place where the NBA's biggest clutch-time choker Lebron James took his talents. Yeah I'm from Cleveland and I'm still pissed off. Did you know that Monday is Lebron James Day? Yeah, everyone gets to quit work 12 minutes early. Sorry about that, but I'm reading Scott Raab's hilarious and painful "Whore of Akron" and I got carried away knowing I will not live long enough to ever see a Cleveland sports team win a championship. Break a leg Lebron, maybe two.

Anyway, back to the show. The Chilled Crab with Jicama Salad and Avocado was sensational.

The Smoked Duck with Marinated Cabbage looked weird and tasted worse.

The Asparagus Potato Torta and marinated Manchego was bland and forgettable, with way too much Torta and too little asparagus and manchego.

Next up was the Seasonal Salad with dried yellow tomatoes and Green Bell Peppers with a Balsamic Dressing. Fifteen minutes after the first delivery attempt, I'm wondering is this the same salad, or a new one? In any event, the salad was tasty.

By now, you might be wondering how Mrs. SFO was enjoying her meal? She had her salad before my caviar arrived and then only had the crab starter while I continued to stuff my face. Although I might have asked for our preference, our FA apparently decided that we would eat our main at the same time.

For our main, we both went for the Dreamer's Delight hot specialty, the Braised Lamb Cazuela, Almond Pesto, Lamb Sausage and Apricots. This tasted even better than it sounds. Wow, it was one delicious taste treat. Even better paired with '04 Château Belgrave Cru Classé Haut-Medoc. The service no-nos continued, as our FA handed the warm plate to me over Mrs. SFO from the opposite (right) aisle. 

Next up: Course six I think. I picked at the cheese plate and downed a glass of the '06 Callabriga Douro, Sogrape, Vila Nova de Gaia.

But devoured the OMG fabulous Apple Cinnamon Cobbler Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream, and a glass of the '08 Huxelreben und Ortega Beerenauslese, Weingut Bischel.

Now I may have missed it but I rather doubt that... No after dinner drink offerings either from the cart or the galley. Just a box of chocolates which apparently signified end of the dinner service. Just as well, as I was totally stuffed and had the beginnings of an unhealthy buzz.

Mrs. SFO decides to pack it in a little after midnight. While she heads to the lav to change into her LH PJ's, one of our FAs converts her seat into a bed complete with mattress and lovely duvet.

While I head over to "my office" to download and edit the nights pics before I fade.

But first a pit stop.

How many folks are going to leave the evidence in the ashtray vs. flushing it away?

About an hour later, I changed into my PJs as our FA had converted 2D to my bed just before Mrs. SFO turned in for the night.

I sleep poorly for the better part of three and a half hours, as a lingering hangover and consistently warm cabin temps conspired against me. Got up, took more Tylenol and went back my pics. As dawn broke and window shades were opened, I took a few more seat pics so I can go into more detail about the suites.

The suite has a lot more privacy should one wish. Here is the basic seat.

And at the touch of a button, a privacy wall rises to block views from the aisle or other seats. There is also a full privacy wall that can be raised between the two middle seats.

One side of the seat contains the IFE controls. IFE is much better than before but limited selection of movies still annoys, as does the poor quality of the video. By comparison, both CX and SQ offer 100s of movies with far superior video quality.

Controls in the other arm are for seat functions including recline, raise, bed/sleep, etc...

Other seat controls on the seat arms themselves provide an almost overwhelming choice of controls which leave the newbie a little confused and hoping the electronics can handle all the seat controls.

Another really nice feature about the suite is the ottoman, which is the major storage container for the suite. It moves forward and back at the touch of a button to adjust for leg length.

Although the ottoman storage space is great, it is not particularly convenient when your feet are on it and/or your tray is in use. For convenient arm's length storage space, the Old First is superior to the New First. Old First's super-wide arm rest provided ample storage space right at your seat. Unfortunately, the New First seats have two much smaller and potential useless bins. They are simply too small for storing larger personal items. Some with large hands will find it near impossible to retrieve items from the bottom of the bin. And Mrs. SFO's kept popping open seemingly every time you looked at them. And in a glaring oversight, gone is the shallow storage compartment for smaller items like glasses or iphones/pods.

Nevertheless, in spite of these minor annoyances and deficiencies, IMO the New First seat/suites are indeed a major step up.

About 90 minutes out, our crew starts preparing breakfast and I change out of my PJs. I stayed in 2A so as not to disturb Mrs. SFO, who decided to sleep all the way until about 20 minutes to landing. Hot towel, followed by menu and drink order.

The breakfast setup. Since the new table is bigger than the old one, not all linen place-mats have been replaced.
Seam could have been placed face down. 

I opted for the fruit plate, and the scrambled eggs.

Service follies continued at breakfast as our FA delivered the scrambled eggs before I had finished the fruit plate and before removing the fruit plate. The new table is certainly big enough to accommodate both plates, but I doubt that this is in the service manual.

The scrambled eggs and bacon were delicious as always.

With the window shades up, my first day-time look at the cabin interior. 

We touched down in wet snow flurries some 20 minutes early, just after 5PM. Apparently only one GA was working tonight and he/she decided that 2L was the only door were would be using... so we all made the U-turn back thru J while the Y pax were held for F and J.

Our bags were among the first few on the carousel and we exited baggage claim at about 5:15P. Thanks to oliver2002, we found a reliable yet inexpensive limo company and great driver who navigated the snow and country roads south of Munich, avoiding a big back-up on the main MUC-SZG highway, and got us to our Salzburg hotel at 8:15P, as promised when we left MUC.


Hotel Sacher Salzburg
Salzburg, Austria
December 30, 2011 to January 3, 2012

What a charming old world hotel, beautifully modernized and maintained, with an ideal location on the River Salzach by the pedestrian bridge for easy access to historic Old Town. We booked and received a Superior Junior Suite. Since it was New Years weekend, I was not surprised that no Virtuoso upgrades were available especially since we arrived at about 8:15pm. Superior JS means renovated, Deluxe JS means not yet renovated... about a 125 euros a night price difference. Our renovated room was beautiful both with sofa/living area and bay window dining area. Hardwood floors, lovely area carpet in the main room, and radiant heat tile floors in the bathroom.

Wonderful views from out riverfront suite. At first I was a little bummed that we were on the 1st floor but we found it so convenient as the staircase to the main floor was much more convenient than waiting for an elevator.

Main floor had the look and feel from another era.

Heading home after a wonderful meal.

What an absolute delight to stay at this beautiful property, where the staff is so efficient and friendly. Love the key security from a bygone era. You drop your key off of the desk and pick it up on your return. It is amazing to see how quickly the staff remembers faces and room numbers.


Salzburg, Austria

Day 1

Wet Snow

Our first full was a half day walking tour of old town, the perfect introduction to Salzburg. Our guide Anna (that would be the one volume-high-Anna) met us in the lobby at 12:30p and we headed out across the Salzach River just as the snow started to fall. Our walk included the main shopping street, Getreidegasse, the outdoor market...

... St. Peter Church and Cemetery,

To the funicular and the ride up to the Fortress Hohensalzburg...

back down, thru Residenz and Mozart squares...

... to Mozart's Birthplace...

... and back across the bridge to the Hotel for our first of many Wiener schnizels, and a pre-NYE nap.

We opted to celebrate New Years Eve at the hotel. The set meal, wines and service were outstanding.

Duet of Goose Liver with Quince, Cacao Brittle and Spiced Brioche...

Light Veloute of Muscat-Pumpkin with Roasted Scallop St-Jacques and Imperial Caviar...

Mosaic of Dover Sole and Alp Salmon with Thai asparagus, Bouillabasse Cream and Lobster Raviolini...

Crepinette of Quail on Parsley Puree, Sauces Duxelles with White Truffle Foam...

Filet of Mile Fed Veal with Barolo Sauce and Polenta Strudel...

And an amazing dessert...

Dinner was served in two very different rooms.

The eye candy in the loud group of Russians at the next table. Check out the cell phone charger. 

As midnight approaches, we head out in the light rain for the fireworks...

After midnight, the chef and his staff parades the honored guest...

And the view from our room at the end of the night...

Day 2
Light Rain

Our driver/guide Peter picked us up at noon for the short 20 minute drive to the beautiful nearby Lake District.

In spite of the light rain, we really enjoyed the sleigh ride through the picturesque countryside.

For lunch, we stopped at the spectacular Schloss Fuschl.

And a nice sunset as the weather clears on our drive back to Salzburg...

Special thanks to SZG-based sentom for his outstanding suggestions for great Salzburg restaurants. Our first dinner was at trendy Magazin, a complex of buildings including wine bar, wine shop and floral decoration shop. But the star is the amazing contemporary restaurant located in an beautifully decorated old bunker.

With limited January 1st openings, we relied on tripadvisor.com's rankings and had a great meal at Gasthof Schloss Aigen.

Foamy sun choke-chili soup with pastry wrapped prawns...

Grilled venison...

Day 3

Light Rain/Fog

Peter picked us up at 9:30a and we head out for our day long visit to the Wachau Danube Valley, home to vineyards and historic villages. Unfortunately, clouds and at times dense fog blocked a lot of the spectacular vistas.

Our destination today was Lower Austria and the historical Stift Melk (Abbey Melk), one of the world's oldest Benedictine abbeys. The abbey is located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube in Lower Austria.

We visited the museum...

The marble room...

The library...

And the church...

Our final Salzburg dinner was the culinary highlight of our stay, at amazing Pan e Vin. Our incredible meal was perhaps the best meal I have enjoyed anywhere in the past year.

Amuse bouche...

Grilled foie gras...

One of the most amazing dishes ever. Home made pasta with lobster and truffles...

And other mains around the table...

The next morning was sunny and +6 as we headed north to Munich.   Lovely scenery on the hour and a half drive from Salzburg.


Mandarin Oriental Munich

What a lovely and elegant hotel located only a block from Maximilianstrasse with a wonderful MO staff, including concierge Dario.

We had booked and paid for a Deluxe King, but were upgraded (not volunteered but after I requested at check-in) to a Junior Suite under the Virtuoso complimentary upgrade at check-in based on availability program. Sorry, forgot the take room pics until the last morning, so it's a little "lived in."

One of the really creative ideas and additions to the hotel in the wintertime is a rooftop Winter Chalet "Die Alm" bar and restaurant.
One look and you are instantly transported to a mountain chalet.

Munich, Germany
Day 1

After check-in, we headed out for lunch to concierge Dario's suggestion of the nearby Spatenhaus.

Pretzels and beer...

And my delicious Crispy Suckling Pig...

After lunch, we headed out to explore the shops and sights on and near Maximilianstrasse.

Seriously?? Because San Francisco is such a coffee growing mecca.

Fortunately, we moved on and didn't go inside.

We had a drink in the bar of the Kempinski and then, on our way back to the MO, we stopped in to see the Hofbrauhaus, which concierge Dario had fortunately steered us from after we suggested that we wanted to go here for lunch.

A little rest and then we headed out for dinner at Kafer, a wonderful restaurant just a 5 minute taxi ride in Prinzregentenstrasse. In addition to the main dining rooms, Kafer has 12 private theme rooms, each decorated completely differently. One is the Ice Room, in which windows are left open and temps have to be no more than +10C.

Day 2

What a difference a day makes... from beautiful sunshine to an ugly overcast and rainy day. Our final full day has two stops today, Nymphenburg and Dachau. Our wonderful driver Marc picked us up in the luxurious MO Mercedes van at around 10am. BTW, if any is looking for a first class driver in MUC, PM me for his info. In all of our travels, he is probably the best.

On the other hand, our Nymphenburg tour guide just might have been the worst. Oh well, c'est la vie. The grounds are lovely (even nicer in better weather) but palace itself is pretty much forgettable compared to St. Petersburg.

The highlight was the carriage museum, with an incredible number of elaborate horse drawn carriages from the 19th century.

From the carriage museum, we walked thru the lovely grounds to lunch at the Palace cafe.

After lunch, we headed out for the 20 minute drive to Dachau. The gloomy weather and rain seemed appropriate.

After a couple of hours, Marc was waiting for is in the reception center and drove us back to the MO, past the BMW complex including the futuristic museum and delivery center.

MUC First Class Lounge
January 5, 2012

Unlike FRA, First Class check-in is the main T-2 terminal. It is a separate area, well inside the terminal just beside security. Check-in was easy and there was no one in the First Class security line.

Although we could have entered the FCL from the lower G concourse, we took the escalator upstairs, cleared passport control and entered the FCL from the H concourse about two hours before our 11:45 departure. With three families of children, this was the most day-care like we've ever seen the FCL. Nevertheless, the FCL is always a great way to spend time pre-flight.

Since we had not eaten at the hotel, we decided to have breakfast.

At about T-40, we headed over to H-14 to board. There used to be a secondary security check for US-bound flights. It wasn't being used today, although the FCL dragon seem rather clueless about it when I asked. "There may or may not be security" was the helpful response.

LH 410
January 5, 2012
11:45A-3:00P (sked)
11:45A-3:10P (actual)
Departed 5/8 including 1 FFNR
Seats 2DG (and 2A)


Boarding had already commenced by the time we reached H-14. Fortunately, there was no one in the Priority Lane so we were able to breeze right through and by-pass the crowds. Only 2L was in use today, so there was a bit of a line as the pax were backed up in the jet bridge. Once on board, a left turn thru the mini J cabin and we were back home. We were the first F pax to board so we were immediately greeted by our attractive lead F FA. While the New First is wonderful, I can be quite happy in the old blue First.

This is the first LH metal I've been on with WiFi, or at least advertising WiFi.

And confirmation that all is well in the world as the mac nuts are indeed SOP and that the almonds on our outbound flight were a one-off substitution. Only still water for us today or at least at the moment. Gotta start drying out.

At this point, our wonderful purser stopped by to chat, the first of many pleasant conversations we had today. He reminded us that we are the masters of our own time, and can dine whenever we wished. Just let them know. A German couple settled in to 1DG and just before we departed, a Friends and Family non-rev settled into 1A. "Boarding completed" and once again we had the entire row 2 to ourselves. With no one behind us or beside us, 2DG are very private seats. Our lead FA today...

Once in the air, our wonderful crew promptly began service, although to be more precise, the most flawless in flight service I can recall in years of flying. Perfectly paced and timed with attention to every detail. We were both addressed by name all the time. And our FA would only ask preferences and serve from the aisle where we were sitting. Since we had breakfast a couple of hours earlier in the FCL, we requested that we eat later. No problem at all. Lunch service started with the full treatment for the three pax in row 1 including the chilled glasses for ice vodka to accompany the caviar, something that was completely AWOL on our SFO-MUC flight.

About an hour later, Mrs. SFO and I decided to have lunch. Although the January menu looked wonderful and offered a number of interesting new dishes from Thomas & Mathias Suhring of Bangkok's Restaurant Mezzaluna, we decided to go light today.

The Leaf Lettuce with Fennel and Carrot Juliennes, Brown Mushrooms and Cocktail Tomatoes with Ginger and Lime Vinaigrette dressing was excellent. We wound up sampling all the white wines today, rejecting the German '10 Keltic Terre Pinot Blanc and Austrian '10 Domane Wachau Gruner Veltliner Samragd before settling on Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay from the Columbia Valley (WA). Although on the menu, the 07 Chateau de Rully Premier Cru was not on board today.

And the LH Classic: Fried Filet of Salmon with Sauce Hollandaise, Almond Broccoli and Parsley Potatoes.

The cheese cart looked so wonderful that I couldn't resist.

Everything but the Bleu. Le Coutances, Banon Goat wrapped in Chestnut Leaf, Reblochon and Rahmberg, toasted Pecan Nuts and Fig Mustard Sauce.

And for dessert, the delicious and lighter Coconut and Sago Soup with Mango and green Tea Biscuit.

We passed on the after dinner drink cart.

But not on the chocolates.

Mrs. SFO reclined her seat and promptly slept for the next 5 hours, while I moved over to my office in 2A to read and work on my photos. Frequent water top ups from our attentive crew. WiFi was apparently inoperative today, our Purser and I comically joked about "in 5 minutes" numerous times. At exactly T-90, our crew began the prep for our Snack.

One more German beer.

And the delicious Pichelsteiner Eintopf, Beef Stew (Soup) with Savoy Cabbage, Carrots, Celery and Potatoes

We touched down at 3:10P and after a marathon taxi and tow arrived at the gate at around 3:30P. Amazingly, there was no one in C&I and we were thru in no time. After only a couple minute wait, the carousel started and our bags were #1 and #2. Wow, talk about Priority Service. Using a $5 SmartCarte, we dropped the bags at connecting counter and headed for the inter-terminal Train for the short ride over to UA and T-7.

Next up:
From the high of LH to the low of UA.


United JFK International First Lounge

Not many people at T-7 security and we were thru in less than 5 minutes. Located inside the United Club, the FCL is a depressing, worn out excuse for lounge. It's been 5-6 years since our last visit, and not much has changed. Just 5-6 more years of use. Other than the plant that hasn't been watered in months, the UC entrance and lobby area is reasonably attractive.

The UC is actually pretty attractive with multiple seating areas, an active bar and windows with a view of the tarmac.
Then there is the First Class Lounge, dark and windowless with furniture from the 70's.

Although there are premium liquors...

The food offerings are your basic 7-11 snack counter.

Come to think of it, does UA even have an international flights from JFK?
Or is this just for the three class F pax on p.s. SFO/LAX flights. I suspect that this lounge will die sometime this year as UA moves all its JFK-SFO/LAX transcons to two class. It won't be soon enough.