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Air France: The Best Place On Earth? (pics)  
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 29414 times:

My Boeing 737-500 smoothly glided down onto runway 4L shortly after noon on a rather warm summer day. As we taxied to our assigned gate located in Terminal 4, a white gleaming Air France 777 caught my eye in the distance. At that moment I realized my latest Trans Atlantic adventure was about to begin and I could not wait to get off this blue and gold baby Boeing and board its bigger red, white and blue brother, the best place on earth according to Air France.



Air France 023
New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG)
Boeing 777-200ER (F-GSPI)
Seat: 4A
Scheduled Departure Time: 17:00
Actual Departure Time: 17:20 (Actual take off 18:50)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 06:00
Actual Arrival Time: 7:10

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Photo © Michael Carter



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Photo © Christopher Liao - Spot This!


Check In: At around 12:50 I exited the Air Train and was greeted by the glass and steel structure that is Terminal 1 at JFK. The terminal looked as immaculate now as it did seven months ago after my arrival from Seoul. After glancing around, I headed to the Air France counters which were still closed. Therefore, I impatiently stood in line of eight people. Then at 1pm, personnel in the classic blue and white uniform of Air France appeared. A gorgeous young woman came over to us in line and said, “Only if you are flying business class can you be in this line.” A loud collective groan was heard and within an instant I became the second person in line. I started talking to the gentleman in front of me who was heading to Greece. This was his first time flying Air France as his normal airline (Delta) was full. I laughed and told him, “Air France is a very different flying experience from Delta.” He laughed and said, “If it is anything like my last KLM experience, I can’t wait.” I almost warned the man but decided to let him make up his own mind about Air France.
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The lone agent proceeded to check the gentleman in first which took a total of three minutes. When it became my turn, I was greeted with a smile and a “bonjour monsieur.” After my passport and e-ticket were handed over I was handed two boarding passes and the standard CDG transfer booklet. “Monsieur, you are checked straight through to Bombay. You will arrive in Terminal 2E and your flight to Bombay leaves from 2E as well. The lounge here is located towards the right hand side behind security, between gates 1 and 2. Boarding begins at 4:15. Thank you for flying Air France, bon voyage.”
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With paperwork in hand, I headed towards security which was rather deserted at this hour. After clearing, I made my way towards the Air France Salon which was located next to gate 1.
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Lounge:Upon entering, I was greeted by a friendly agent
“Welcome sir, please make yourself comfortable.”
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The downstairs part of the lounge looked rather crowded so I rode the escalator to the top floor which seemed deserted. However, just after sitting in front of one of the Mac PC’s, the agent came walking over to me,
“Excuse me sir, Aeromexico passengers do not have access to the top floor.”
I gave her a perplexed look and she gave me an equally perplexed look as I pulled out my Air France boarding pass.
“Oh you’re an Air France passenger! I don’t know why I thought you were Aeromexico. Disregard everything I just said, enjoy your stay.”
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I sat down at the corner with a can of Diet Coke and commenced the traditional good bye phone calls. Around 3:30pm as I was finishing up my last phone call, I felt hungry so I grabbed a bottle of water and turkey sandwich. Sadly, the sandwich turned out to be a little dry and tasteless.
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Shortly after 16:00 I decided to head out to the gate area. The terminal was pretty busy at this point with a Lufthansa 747-400 and an Air China 747-400 boarding. I passed by an Austrian Star Alliance 767 as well as an Olympic A340. The amount of variety JFK offers never ceases to amaze me as it reminds me why I enjoy watching aircraft.
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As boarding was about to commence, I leisurely walked over to Gate 4 where the Boeing 777 was sitting just as it had been hours ago when I landed.
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Boarding: At exactly 16:20, boarding commenced with First and Business Class passengers. Upon entering the aircraft, I was welcomed with a “Bonjour Mousier” and I was pointed left where I was greeted by another female flight attendant. The usual blanket, pillow and coat hangar were awaiting me on the seat. After confirming I had nothing to hang, the coat hangar was taken away. I settled into the seat and found a bottle of water and amenity kit had placed in their respective pockets.
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The seat had a little more padding this time compared to the seats I sat in in December, leading me t believe these are the updated versions. However, they did not make much of a difference. As the cabin started filling up, I noticed there were a number of cabin attendants on hand assisting passengers with bags while hanging coats. Shortly thereafter, a tray of orange juice and champagne was brought around. Not being a fan of champagne, I selected the orange juice.
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By this point, even though 1700 passed, the boarding door was still open. Five minutes later the captain came on the P/A and made the following announcement.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are waiting for some last minute cargo to be loaded before we can begin our push back. However, there is going to be a sufficient delay due to traffic congestion today and we estimate that to be at least an hour.”
The cabin door was closed and we waited till around 5:20pm to be pushed back with the Air France safety demo playing.

A few minutes, later the captain came on once again to inform us there were “roughly 50 planes ahead of us” so we should sit back and relax.
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As the delay looked long, the flight attendants came around and asked everyone what they would like to drink as an aperitif. A Sprite was delivered to me shortly thereafter by a smiling flight attendant with a packet of “mini crepes filled with cheddar.” My “merci” was met with a smile and a gracious “you are welcome monsieur.”
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Around 1800 our engines were finally turned on and we began a slow and steady crawl towards the runway. During the taxi I was disappointed to find out the 772’s on Air France do not have the nose camera like their 332’s and 77W’s.
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The Flight: Once airborne the IFE was turned on and I settled in on the short features channel which was not on demand but playing the following shows:
The Simpsons
Numb3rs
Friends

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Menus were handed out and as the aperitifs had been served on the ground, the cabin crew started immediately with the dinner service.
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First, hot towels were handed out followed by table cloths which were placed ever so gently on our trays. I settled on the Red Bordeaux and a glass of water. A bread basket was placed in front of me containing a wide selection of rolls.
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After receiving the appetizer, I poured the lemon olive oil over the lobster and, I must say, it was exquisite. The oil was not overpowering and complimented the flavor of the lobster perfectly. The apple fennel salad tasted great as well. Once I had licked my plate clean, I started on the bread and cheese which was up to Air France’s excellent standards.
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Soon my empty plate was exchanged for the beef entrée while my glass of wine was refilled. Unfortunately, this is where disappointment started. The steak was much smaller than on my previous Air France flights. It was also well done rather than medium which made it chewy and dry. While it was not bad, it was a big let down after my near perfect steak six months ago on Air France. Also, the mushroom sauce contained no mushrooms but was still a great addition to the otherwise dry steak. The risotto was a bit tasteless and needed some pepper for flavoring. At least the sugar snap peas were done perfectly.

Annoying as the entrée was, my biggest complaint lay with the dessert. While the cake tasted great, it was a considerable let down compared to the dessert cart Air France normally offers on its long haul flights. In fact, my seat neighbor queried the cabin crew about the lack of choice for dessert and asked where the normal sorbet and cookies were. The response was as this a short flight, it was deemed unnecessary to have a lavish dessert trolley as most passengers prefer to rest rather than eat.
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My tray was collected with a smile and I was asked if I would like some tea or coffee. Once the flight attendant heard my request for tea, she placed a hot cup of water on my tray table along with a box of nine different kinds of tea in front of me to pick from. I selected the classic Ceylon tea.

Once everything had been collected and the cabin lights were dimmed, I finished up watching the last episode of Friends. I then placed my seat in a semi cradle position and tried to nap to the best of my abilities with some “Altitude Jeune” playing on my headsets.
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Sleeping on planes has never been a skill of mine and Air France’s L’Espace seats certainly do not help my case. Somewhere over Iceland I gave up and started to play with the games.
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The Air France quiz kept me entertained for quite some time before I ended up watching a movie. The list for today’s flight was:

Bridge to Terabithia
Michou d’Auber (French Movie)
Zodiac
Ensemble c’est tout (French Movie)
Wild Hogs
Premonition
Shooter
Contre-enquete (French Movie)
Blades of Glory
Love and Other Disasters
Freedom Writers
Finding Nemo
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90 minutes before landing, the cabin lights were turned on and linens were placed on our tray tables. When the breakfast cart rolled around, I selected a cup of coffee along with a croissant and a blueberry muffin from the bread basket which had a number of different choices this morning.
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The coffee was nice and strong, the croissant hot and soft which went perfectly with strawberry jam and butter. The muffin was fresh and moist while the yogurt tasted like it came out of the local grocers refrigerator which is all I can ask for. However, the fruit bowl was a disappointment. It contained chopped up watermelon, strawberry, pineapple and some unidentifiable fruits which ruined it. The fruits did not taste good mixed up with some bits being rather hard and chewy. I could only muster up two bites before giving up.
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Once the trays were collected, steaming hot towels were passed around just as the sun was beginning to rise outside. Descent began shortly after 6:30 with the French countryside looking as green as ever outside my window.
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While we were descending, the maitre de cabin came around to personally thank each of us for flying with him today. “Monsieur, thank you for flying with us today, I hope you enjoyed your experience. Have a pleasant transfer in Paris on to your final destination.”
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Arrival and Transit: After a gentle touchdown we began our quick taxi to the gate. We docked at a hard stand directly in front of Terminal 2C. Many passengers were panicking and trying to run to the exit. When the lady sitting next to me offered to let the gentleman in the aisle closer to the door he politely declined. “Thank you, but don’t worry about it. I missed my connection already; it was supposed to be at 7:30.” However, two gentlemen flying in First Class saw this opportunity and barged their way through with an “excuse me, excuse me, we have a close connection!” We looked at each other and laughed.
“Why are they in such a rush? We are all going to the same bus anyway.”
“I guess they have good seats on the bus now.”
“Some people are just so oblivious.”
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As I exited the aircraft, the crew was on hand at the door with their customary “merci, au-reviour.” As I walked onto the stairs, I was greeted by a rather chilly and windy morning. The dedicated First and Business Class bus was waiting for me a mere five feet from the stairs. I grabbed a last look at the huge Boeing in front of me before we began our 10 minute journey to Terminal 2E.
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After driving around in circles, the bus came to a stop at little doorway with two escalators leading up to the arrivals floor. Following the signs for “Transfer Passengers,” I ended up at an Air France connection center where a gentleman took a look at my boarding pass. “Ah, Mumbai up the escalator and to the left.”

I proceeded up to the next level and looked at the nearest monitor which listed the Mumbai flight as departing from Gate E82. I found a tiny sign tucked away in the corner which listed all E gates through a security line up ahead. I handed my boarding pass to an agent who looked at it while simultaneously scanning a sheet in her hand which had all the gate information for Intercontinental flights departing from Terminal 2E. She said something in French and pointed towards the First and Business Class line.

I emptied my lap top, pockets, liquids, shoes and belt into the x-ray machine as the security agent had requested. I was about to walk off when another agent yelled at me in French while simultaneously pointing to my hand bag. I placed it on the table and he proceeded to furiously look through the side pockets. Two minutes later he pulled out my silver watch, yelled something in French to the girl who had scanned the bags, put it back in the bag and waved me to move on.

Once that ordeal was done, I followed the sign for gates 80-87. I went down what seemed like an endless concrete corridor down some steps followed by another few empty hallways before being greeted by an agent who pointed me towards the bus behind her.
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Another 15 minute ride and we were let off at a dedicated terminal which after riding for so long, could easily have been in the suburbs of Paris. From the outside it looked like a warehouse, however from the inside it looked like any other terminal. Very clean and bright, looking almost new with its own dedicated duty free area and lounge. The signs for the Air France Salon were easy to find and I was in front of the doorway within seconds.
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I was greeted by a young good looking blonde female with a “Bonjour Monsieur, Parle-vous Francais?” After a quick confirmation that English and German were my preferred languages, she wrote out “E82” on my boarding pass.
“Your flight will be boarding from gate E82 at 9:25am. Please make sure you are on time as we do not make announcements in the lounge. Enjoy your stay.”
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The lounge was extremely clean, wide and spacious leaving me impressed. There were plenty of food items including but not limited to cereal, muesli, cookies, chips and pastries. I settled on a cappuccino and a fresh croissant as I was still pretty full from the flight.
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Once my coffee was finished, I strolled over to the bar and decided to have my preferred drink in Europe, Fanta orange. Having grown up with this in Germany, I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to have some as there is nothing like a good old can of European Orange Fanta!

I quickly walked around looking to see if there was a possibility of grabbing a shower, but this lounge was sadly not equipped with shower facilities. Therefore, I decided to see if the lounge had wireless, but as in New York was only accessible by a handful of Mac PC’s placed in the corner. I hope Air France seriously considers adding free wireless to their future enhancements. It may be a small item but it actually makes a world of difference when I am at a lounge.

Shortly after 9am I decided to head out and buy some Duty Free items before heading to the gate. As I walked through the terminal, I was very impressed, Air France really thought about making this terminal comfortable and user friendly for its passengers once they got there. I also liked the fact that the terminal was not crowded due to a limited number of flights operating out of here. It made the whole experience rather pleasant.
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[Edited 2007-07-26 19:50:35]

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 29526 times:


Air France 134
Paris (CDG) - Mumbai
Boeing 777-200ER (F-GSPF)
Seat: 4A
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:20
Actual Departure Time: 10:48
Scheduled Arrival Time: 22:35
Actual Arrival Time: 22:58

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Photo © Mathieu Pouliot
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Photo © Steve Brimley



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Photo © Matthew Lee - Contrails Aviation Photography
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Photo © Daniele Saracco


Boarding:I approached gate 82 close to boarding time. Once there I noticed a separate area for First, Business and Elite passengers which made me smile as this was something missing from my experience in December. Boarding commenced at 9:30 and I was the third passenger in line. We all walked in a single file to the stairs of the 777 that was waiting for us directly behind the open glass door. There was something about boarding via the air stairs that made the moment special. It almost reminded me of my numerous Kai Tak experiences where air stairs were the normal means of entering a wide body jetliner. Sadly, my trip down memory lane came to an abrupt halt as we were stopped short of the aircraft door on the stairs. It seemed the cabin crew was not ready for passengers yet. The lead purser kept picking up the phone and making calls to the back of the aircraft while doing some frantic hand gestures. Meanwhile, the line just became longer and longer as the gate agents continued the boarding process.
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After standing on the stairs for ten minutes, the cabin crew finally welcomed us on board. A very good looking flight attendant in her mid thirties welcomed me onboard with a smile. “Bonjour Monsieur, your seat is 4A to the left here. Merci.” I went to the same seat that I had just spent a couple of hours in and placed my carry on in the overhead bin. As I was sitting down, I picked up the coat hangar that had been placed on my seat, “Nothing to hang up today Monsieur?” I smiled back and said “not needed where I am headed today.” The friendly middle aged male flight attendant promptly collected the hangar and went on to help passengers place their carry on baggage in the overhead bins.
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The cabin began to fill up slowly and it looked like there was not a single empty seat left today, not even in First Class which had all four seats taken today. At exactly 10:20, our scheduled departure time, the captain came on to inform us that we should expect a bit of a delay as they had to offload some bags while fixing an issue with the captains seat today. The cabin crew immediately came around with some hot towels and a tray full of champagne and lychee juice and newspapers.
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The stairs were pulled away at 10:45 and pushback commenced with the same safety demo as before. While pushing back, I noticed an A330-200 sitting in the gate next to us heading for Seattle. Despite the rather plain Air France livery, I was reminded why the A330-200 is one of my all time favorite aircraft as it looked stunning.
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As we were number four for take off today, it did not take long before we began our take off roll and rocketed down the runway.
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The Flight: Once airborne, the cabin crew fired up the IFE and I selected “Bridge to Terabithia.” I recall reading the book back in 5th grade almost 15 years ago, but I really did not remember it being so enjoyable. At the same time, one of the male flight attendants came around and personally informed every Indian passenger in the cabin that “Dhoom 2” was playing on channel two which I thought was a nice touch.
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A few minutes into the movie, the cabin crew came around with a cart. I selected a coke which was put on my armrest accompanied by those delicious mini crepes
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Table linens were laid out soon and the lunch service commenced. A quick glance at the menu was all it took for me to make my decisions.
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For the appetizer I selected the smoked salmon over the foie gras terrine. I was also offered a bread basket which again contained a variety of rolls. The drink of choice this time round was the Red Beaujolais.
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The cut chunks of salmon on top of the vegetable mixture was fine, however, everything else on the plate was rather tasteless and drab. Even the balsamic vinaigrette did not help make the dish taste any better.
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Once my half eaten plate was taken, I was asked as to which main course I would like to have. I selected on the chicken despite the shrimp option looking more attractive. A plate of cheese was also delivered with the chicken plate as my wine was topped off for the second time today. The chicken looked almost identical to the meal I had in December and I can thankfully say was equally delicious. The chicken was soft and tender while the vegetables were full of flavor and cooked to perfection. The cheese plate was once again very nice, but I expect nothing less from Air France. As the movie was done by now, I started searching through the 11 other movies on offer and elected to view a Disney movie.
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Soon my favorite part of the meal came around.
“Monsieur, we have an almond cake, chocolate macaroon, sherbet, cookies, and fresh fruit. What would you like?”
“Can I get the macaroon and sherbet please.”
“Of course, we have a mango and raspberry sherbet, which would you like?”
“The mango please.”
“Of course Monsieur. Would you also care for any after dinner drink?”
“Could I please get a glass of the port wine if possible please.”
“Absolutely Monsieur. How about some tea or coffee?”
“Tea would be great please.”
My merci was greeted with a bon appetite.
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I have always felt that dessert is one of Air France’s strongest points and this was no exception. The chocolate macaroon was just amazing, I could easily have asked for seconds. The mango sorbet was a treat, a perfect change from the mundane ice cream that most airlines serve. The port wine complimented it all very well.
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The cookies were fresh and were an amazing accompaniment to the hot cup of Ceylon tea. I could not be more satisfied with the dessert trolley. It was a shame Air France did not offer this service on my flight out of JFK.
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With the sun setting and the movie winding down, I decided to fiddle with my seat so I could get into a decent enough cradle position. I think all the wine did it for me; I was snoozing in no time.
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I wandered in and out of consciousness before eventually waking up somewhere near the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan to find an immigration form had been placed on my armrest. I sat back up, took a sip of the water and decided to peruse the list of movies Air France had. I settled on “Blades of Glory,” something I had already seen when it was out in theaters a few months ago. I really wish Air France would do something about their lackluster IFE selection.
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The lights were turned on halfway through the movie and refreshing hot towels were passed around. There was a smell emanating from the galley of fresh cooked pasty and I quickly grabbed the menu to see what was on offer for tonight’s snack.
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I was utterly dismayed to find out it was the exact same meal as in December! That was a huge let down for me.
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The bread basket was offered once again and a glass of coke to go along with the meal this evening. The salmon pie was just fine as was the yogurt and fruit. However, it did not taste better the second time around. I think seven months is more than enough time to rotate the menus leaving me sorely disappointed with the snack tonight.

Once the tray was cleared, the cabin crew prepared for landing just as the movie was wrapping up. The IFE was shut down and the standard air map became the default on every PTV in the cabin.
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Arrival: We arrived a mere 15 minutes behind schedule to a rather quiet airport. As we began our long taxi back to the gate, I saw the bustling domestic terminals which were full of aircraft from a variety of domestic carriers this evening. As we swung by the International terminal, there was not much activity going on at the moment but I did see a handful of A330’s and 777’s standing around.

We taxied and docked at the very last gate in the Air India terminal. “Great” I thought “another long walk ahead of us.” After thanking the crew I was walking towards immigration which was situated somewhere way back in the middle of the terminal. On my way I passed by the Malaysian Airlines cabin crew looking as elegant as ever. I smiled as I started to pass the ladies and once they saw me, they ever so pleasantly returned the gesture. Malaysian really has the best cabin staff in the world, I can not wait for them to join Skyteam; the alliance needs more quality airlines.

Thanks to some improvements made to the airport since my last visit, the long walk was not too bad as the hallways are now carpeted and have air conditioning. Could this be a sign of more good things to come? Immigration was quick and only took a mere ten minutes thanks to the orderly lines. The immigration officer took a total of 30 seconds to stamp my passport and wave me through to baggage claim.
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The baggage carousel was virtually deserted when I arrived. Bags started coming out almost immediately which is rather unusual for Mumbai. A few bags that had been labeled with the “Priority” tags came out first followed by a bunch of non labeled bags. Another 20 minutes passed by when all the bags from connecting flights from North America started to appear and thankfully mine was one of the first.

I proceeded towards customs and was stopped by an officer while in line who asked me where I was coming from. Once I told him, he waved me through bypassing all the x-ray machines. I guess having only one bag helped my case as there seemed to be more bags than people in the terminal at this point. Thanks to that, I was out in no time on my way home with my dad.

Vedict: Overall I felt somewhat disappointed with Air France. The one thing I found great about Air France on my last trip was the food and sadly it was not up to the same standards this time. Also, the in flight entertainment was extremely disappointing as it is not enough to just have AVOD. Choice is an important factor especially when one takes into consideration what the competition offers in their premium cabins these days. The seat was the same it has always been, bearable but not overly comfortable. Finally, Paris Charles De Gaulle is not user friendly and is still far from a stress free experience in my opinion.

The one positive I can mention was the cabin crews. Both sets were friendly and pleasant to interact with. While they did not go above and beyond like some airlines, they certainly made the journey pleasant and comfortable which is all I can ask for.

I hate to sound overly negative, but Air France is an average airline in my opinion. If I had to pay for Business Class Trans Atlantic, fellow Skyteam carriers KLM, Continental and Northwest would be ranked higher on my list. Next time I use my miles for a ticket to India, I am going to try and make sure it is on Korean, Malaysian, KL/NW or Continental (Mumbai starts first week of October). However, I will say that Air France is a reliable carrier and I would have no hesitation flying them again if I needed to. They have a long way to go before they can become an airline I go out of my way to fly.

Score:
Air France 023
Check In: 7 (Efficient but not very friendly)
Lounge: 8 (Wide and spacious but lacking free wireless access and hot food)
Boarding: 10 (Separate line for First and Business Class with priority boarding)
Seat: 7 (Needs some work, especially in sleep mode but I think I am getting used to it now)
Aircraft: 9 (Looking good but not immaculate anymore, crumbs and dust all over)
Crew: 7 (Not bad at all but not great either. Friendly service with a smile nothing more)
Meal: 7 (Abbreviated dinner service out of JFK pales in comparison to my last dinner out of Houston)
Entertainment: 7.5 (AVOD but we need more choice! 12 movies is absolutely pathetic)

CDG L’Espace Lounge Gates E80-87: 7 (Needs showers, free wireless and maybe some hot food options, otherwise it was a very well decorated lounge with good snacks)

Air France134
Boarding: 8 (Dedicated line for F/C with pre boarding but the 10 min wait on the stairs ruined a perfect score)
Seat: 7 (Same as the last flight)
Aircraft: 10 (This aircraft was immaculate inside and out)
Crew: 8 (A friendly and caring bunch of crew that really made the flight pleasant)
Meal: 7 (Quality was good but almost the exact same meal as in December)
Entertainment: 7.5 (Really Air France, what are you thinking?)
Arrival: 8 (Surprise, surprise, it was actually bearable by Mumbai standards)

Total: 125/160 = .781
Air France scored an 78%

SR 103


User currently offlineMk777 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 1195 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 29344 times:

Yet another impeccable TR. Its always a pleasure to read your in depth thorough reports.

Secondly, I love the number of pics that you take and their quality. Which camera do you use, btw??

Having traveled in AF Dec-Jan, though in Y class, i understand your predicament with the food. But its rather surprising since you're traveling business class.

btw, was it fun connecting in CDG??? Haven't they started their trains that will connect the terminals??

I hope we can see a return TR as well  Smile

A pleasure read!!



come fly with me
User currently offlineBuck3y3nut From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 880 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 29048 times:

great trip report Anosh...
Really enjoyed the pictures...
Thank you for sharing this trip...


User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5088 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 28956 times:

As usual, an excellent TR. I really like reading your reports, and they do serve as an inspiration for mine. I have a lot of AF J class flights coming up ... and I am eager to see if they have changed since my last few (mostly horrible) flights with them.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I emptied my lap top, pockets, liquids, shoes and belt into the x-ray machine as the security agent had requested. I was about to walk off when another agent yelled at me in French while simultaneously pointing to my hand bag. I placed it on the table and he proceeded to furiously look through the side pockets. Two minutes later he pulled out my silver watch, yelled something in French to the girl who had scanned the bags, put it back in the bag and waved me to move on.

= Guess CDG will never change. The personnel there are probably hands down the worst I have encountered in my life. I think Libreville, Gabon comes a distant second. CDG is a disgrace.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 2):
As the movie was done by now, I started searching through the 11 other movies on offer and elected to view a Disney movie.

= 12 movies ... thats it?!

Cheers,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineTUNisia From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1844 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 28910 times:

Great TR!! It was a pleasure to read.


Someday the sun will shine down on me in some faraway place - Mahalia Jackson
User currently offlineRogerbcn From Andorra, joined Sep 2006, 1209 posts, RR: 20
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 28892 times:

Hola SR 103!

Another great TR.

Thanks for sharing and keep them coming.

I am really surprised to see how terrible CDG is. I have never connected through it but after what I read in your TR and others I think I will never do it. The fact is: never in CDG, long time since I went through LHR so I am really tired of always seeing the same sights in AMS and FRA. Sometimes it brightens up and I go through ZRH, my favorite so far. MAD only when travelling to South America, which is really good when you fly from BCN as the 6xxxx IB flights are already considered international and you have dealt with passport control in BCN itself so you just jump from one plane to the other.

Salut!

Roger



"At reise er at leve" H.C. Andersen (Travelling is Living)
User currently offlinePHLstudent From United States of America, joined May 2006, 498 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 28563 times:

it sure looks like the best place on Earth... Next time I go to Europe, I will definitly be looking into flying AF. I've taken them Y both domectically and Internationally, but C looks like a whole new world.

Thanks for the great report and awesome pictures, I hope you have more coming.


User currently offlineChristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 940 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 28374 times:

Very nice report. I appreciate all the details and really hope to try Air France one of these days.

The cheese plate on the second flight is quite generous! That could be a meal in itself.



Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineATLFlyer323 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 614 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 28348 times:

I loved everything about your trip report.

The thing that most cracked me up was your fruit analysis. When I looked at the picture of your fruit bowl it looked just like the nasty, all tastes the same, fruit they served at my elementary school. When I read on my suspicion was confirmed.

Now I am wondering because of some comments, do you not enjoy Delta longhaul?

Can't wait to read more...

~Brandon



Everyday, the fluffy temptation of wheat!
User currently offlineUN_B732 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 4289 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 27994 times:

Another excellent trip report Anosh - I'm surprised (and pleased) to hear about friendly AF crew is
-A



What now?
User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 27715 times:

Hi!

Excelent report regarding AF!!! I experienced the same last June from LIS to FIH...I flew coach, but the service was excelent and the crew was great too!!! I think AF is doing great in their long-haul product and everytime I can I'll certainly opt for them. By the way, I enjoyed to see a photo of that AF A330-200 on the first half of your report - F-GZCE - I flew that same airplane from CDG to FIH!!!
Regards


User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4755 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 27655 times:

Why did they single you out in JFK's lounge? And was there any difference from the section where non-AM's pax were allowed to mingle? I don't like this arrangement one bit. If you want to allow any passengers into a lounge, they should have access to all parts of it.

Whatever it is, i love your entire report. Trust the French to carry out service with such finesse and flair. Geez, I felt under-dressed while reading your report in my shorts only. Hahahaha...



Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1660 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 27564 times:

Hey Anosh!

To my surprise, i found your TR this morning as i routinely logged on for my daily read!

Another excellent report from you! Thanks!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The amount of variety JFK offers never ceases to amaze me as it reminds me why I enjoy watching aircraft.

You are so right. The JFK experience is unbelievable. It always has been ever since i was a kid!

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
“Excuse me sir, Aeromexico passengers do not have access to the top floor.”

LOL ..That's rather odd. Maybe she thought u looked Mexican? But still, i dont think she should 'assume' before asking.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
As boarding was about to commence, I leisurely walked over to Gate 4 where the Boeing 777 was sitting just as it had been hours ago when I landed.

Actually, in that picture, i was watching the exact same view over a year ago, but from behind the aircraft from the window accross as i was waiting for my DL flight to MCO. Memories!

I do love the AF tail. It looks so elegant.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Not being a fan of champagne, I selected the orange juice.

Again, Why no Champagne flutes or wine glasses? If this is a cost issue, how would such a measure reduce costs?

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
Air France safety demo

Interestingly, this safety demo seems like a standard that can be used for all their widebody types. The emergency exit 'map' shows all possible exits for 777's, 747's (including upper deck exits), and Airbuses. That is very interesting as i have never noticed this before.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
The lounge was extremely clean, wide and spacious leaving me impressed

I was mostly impressed with their lounges. I have to say that they look so fresh, especially the one at CDG. Looks spotless and the presentation is immaculate.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
There was something about boarding via the air stairs that made the moment special.

Couldn't agree with you any more. I prefer boarding by stairs as well.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
was utterly dismayed to find out it was the exact same meal as in December! That was a huge let down for me.

Well at least they didn't hand out the wrong menus as they did with me on my EY flight (which they did AGAIN to my friend who flew them a week after i did).

I was surpriseed though to see only one choice on offer for the light meal.

Quoting SR 103 (Thread starter):
I am going to try and make sure it is on Korean, Malaysian

MALAYSIAN! .. no questions about it! .. or else, subscribe to Oneworld and fly CX  Wink

However, i think that from your TR, AF seemed like an enjoyable experience. In fact, i saw it to be ahead of many of its European competitors. Personally, i thought maybe even better than KLM.

Perhaps you may have compared your AF experience against KE? or any other Asian carrier? Thats like comparing apples to oranges. However, i still believe AF has its own 'style' of elegance that stands out amongst other European carriers.

Thanks for a fantastic TR and i am very eager to see your verdict on EY next. Your attention to detail is extremely realistic.

Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineMayhem From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 27193 times:

Fantastic trip report, a joy to read! Thanks!

User currently offlineBigTom From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2006, 597 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 27113 times:

Great trip report as usual, fantastic detail and loads of pics. Keep them coming.

Cheers


User currently offlineRICARIZA From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2391 posts, RR: 26
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 27080 times:

What a great report... thank you for posting so many pictures... I really want to try Air France again....!!

Thank you!!



I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 26978 times:

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 2):
Yet another impeccable TR. Its always a pleasure to read your in depth thorough reports.

Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 2):
Which camera do you use, btw??

Sony DSC-V1

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 2):
btw, was it fun connecting in CDG??? Haven't they started their trains that will connect the terminals??

As I was in the same terminal this time round, I have no idea if they had trains. However if they do, it would have to make the whole CDG transit experience a million times better.

Quoting Mk777 (Reply 2):
I hope we can see a return TR as well

Yes, I am planning on writing two reports within the next month. However I will not flying Air France back to the US so expect something different.

Quoting Buck3y3nut (Reply 3):
great trip report Anosh...
Really enjoyed the pictures...

Glad to hear you had fun reading it.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 4):
As usual, an excellent TR. I really like reading your reports, and they do serve as an inspiration for mine.

Thank you for that compliment, I have been a big fan of your trip reports as well. In fact next week I am flying Kingfisher and Jet and your previous trip reports will definitely be on my mind.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 4):
and I am eager to see if they have changed since my last few (mostly horrible) flights with them.

AF L’Espace is far from horrible in my opinion. I do think they are a very changed airline from the 1990’s. They have some work to do but they are certainly a very nice airline to fly, especially up front.

Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 4):
= 12 movies ... thats it?!

One of my biggest complaints, especially for such a modern product.

Quoting TUNisia (Reply 5):
Great TR!! It was a pleasure to read.

Thank you, I appreciate the compliment.

Quoting Rogerbcn (Reply 6):
Another great TR.
Thanks for sharing and keep them coming.

Thanks, glad to hear I have maintained my quality standards.

Quoting PHLstudent (Reply 7):
Thanks for the great report and awesome pictures, I hope you have more coming.

I am planning on having another two reports written within the next month.

Quoting Christao17 (Reply 8):
The cheese plate on the second flight is quite generous! That could be a meal in itself.

Trust Air France to have great cheese with some equally decent wine to go with it.

Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 9):
I loved everything about your trip report.

Thank you, glad to see you enjoyed the trip report so much.

Quoting ATLFlyer323 (Reply 9):
do you not enjoy Delta longhaul?

Lets not open up a whole can of worms here as there are a number of DL fans on this website that would have a go at me if I stated my true feelings about Delta. All I can say is I have flown BusinessElite a few times and was not overly impressed. I have the worst luck in the world when it comes to Delta. I still fly them on occasion domestically and nothing is enticing me to do a long Ocean crossing with them.

Quoting UN_B732 (Reply 10):
I'm surprised (and pleased) to hear about friendly AF crew is

I was surprised as well, they were very pleasant.

Quoting CV990 (Reply 11):
I think AF is doing great in their long-haul product

They certainly are trying and can easily rank up there as one of the better European airlines.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 12):
Why did they single you out in JFK's lounge?

I have been mistaken for Mexican and Greek more times than anything else. I guess I just don’t look Indian at all.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 12):
And was there any difference from the section where non-AM's pax were allowed to mingle?

Not that I could tell, the upstairs was smaller and more private.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 12):
I don't like this arrangement one bit. If you want to allow any passengers into a lounge, they should have access to all parts of it.

Its odd, I have no idea how they could control it. Someone could easily take the elevator and sneak upstairs, it was odd.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 12):
Whatever it is, i love your entire report. Trust the French to carry out service with such finesse and flair.

Thanks, the French really know how to do it in style.

Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 12):
Geez, I felt under-dressed while reading your report in my shorts only.

Don’t worry, I was wearing sneakers and jeans on my trip! I prefer to be comfortable than look “sophisticated.”

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
Another excellent report from you! Thanks!

Good to see you enjoyed it, thanks.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
LOL ..That's rather odd. Maybe she thought u looked Mexican? But still, i dont think she should 'assume' before asking.

She saw my AF boarding pass when I entered, guess she just thought I looked Spanish.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
Actually, in that picture, i was watching the exact same view over a year ago, but from behind the aircraft from the window accross as i was waiting for my DL flight to MCO. Memories!

I will be in that terminal right after my Etihad flight. The pain of flying into Daytona leads me to Terminal 2!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
Again, Why no Champagne flutes or wine glasses? If this is a cost issue, how would such a measure reduce costs?

I always wondered the same thing, AZ is the only other airline I know that does this.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
I was mostly impressed with their lounges. I have to say that they look so fresh, especially the one at CDG. Looks spotless and the presentation is immaculate.

The lounges were great, the CDG one is new though; built within the last six months I believe.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
MALAYSIAN! .. no questions about it! .. or else, subscribe to Oneworld and fly CX

Oh Malaysian wins hands down! However KE is Elite miles due to Skyteam. Sadly my second alliance is Star, not oneworld otherwise I would jump at the opportunity to fly CX.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
However, i think that from your TR, AF seemed like an enjoyable experience. In fact, i saw it to be ahead of many of its European competitors. Personally, i thought maybe even better than KLM.

In my opinion, AF has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to KL! The only thing AF is better at when compared to KL is catering. Otherwise KL wins, especially their staff; amazing cabin crew!

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
Perhaps you may have compared your AF experience against KE? or any other Asian carrier? Thats like comparing apples to oranges. However, i still believe AF has its own 'style' of elegance that stands out amongst other European carriers.

I have always tried to keep Asian airlines separate from the rest. However after these last few flights on Air France, I can easily name three European airlines who I think are better in my honest opinion. I was actually comparing this trip to my last AF trip in December where I was bit more pleased with Air France.

Quoting Ronerone (Reply 13):
Your attention to detail is extremely realistic.

Wow, thank you. To hear a great compliment like that from a trip report guru such as yourself is amazing.

Quoting Mayhem (Reply 14):
Fantastic trip report, a joy to read! Thanks!

Thanks, glad to see you enjoyed reading it.

Quoting BigTom (Reply 15):
Great trip report as usual, fantastic detail and loads of pics. Keep them coming.

I will definitely try.

Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 16):
What a great report... thank you for posting so many pictures

I am glad you enjoyed the pictures, I sometimes wonder if I posted too much.

SR 103


User currently offlineRICARIZA From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2391 posts, RR: 26
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 26931 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
I am glad you enjoyed the pictures, I sometimes wonder if I posted too much.

Nahh, but I understand, I think the same thing all the time, believe me:


MIA - MEX - MIA ~ AA & Admirals (by RICARIZA Jul 26 2007 in Trip Reports)

Avianca BOG-MIA On J (Many Pics) (by RICARIZA Jan 5 2007 in Trip Reports)

American: MIA-BOG-MIA & Admiral Clubs (Many Pics) (by RICARIZA Mar 7 2007 in Trip Reports)

Avianca MIA-BOG On J (Pics) (by RICARIZA Dec 21 2006 in Trip Reports)



I miss ACES, I am proud of AVIANCA & I am loyal to AMERICAN
User currently offlineN751PR From Japan, joined May 2002, 1249 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 26625 times:

Kudos on another excellent report, SR 103! Always a pleasure reading your TRs.  bigthumbsup 


"Ladies and Gentlemen it's happy hour. You will get two approaches for the price of one."
User currently offlineJouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 26287 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
As I was in the same terminal this time round, I have no idea if they had trains. However if they do, it would have to make the whole CDG transit experience a million times better.

There are now two automated train connections in CDG:
- landside, between CDG 1 and CDG2 (as well as the RER 1 station and the long distance parkings), duration : 8mn, frequency: on average, every 4mn
- airside, between the main 2E building and the brand new AF satellite S3 (gates E51-E76), duration : 45s, frequency : every 2mn

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
Not that I could tell, the upstairs was smaller and more private.

The upstairs section used to be the P lounge, and the ground floor section, the J lounge. They were merged at the same time the P and J lounges in CDG and NRT were merged. Hopefully, with the re-opening of a P lounge in 2E and the renovation of the NRT lounge (completed) and the JNB lounge (under way), there will be improvements to the lounge in JFK.


User currently offlineBigTom From United Arab Emirates, joined Dec 2006, 597 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 25770 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
Oh Malaysian wins hands down! However KE is Elite miles due to Skyteam. Sadly my second alliance is Star, not oneworld otherwise I would jump at the opportunity to fly CX.

Malaysian is top notch, but though I had great flights on CX their regional offering is slipping quite a bit of late.

Cheers


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1740 posts, RR: 39
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 25716 times:

Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 18):
Nahh, but I understand, I think the same thing all the time, believe me:

I know what you mean. Your trip reports have always been amazing with some fantastic pictures.

Quoting N751PR (Reply 19):
Kudos on another excellent report, SR 103! Always a pleasure reading your TRs.

Thank you very much. Good to know you enjoyed reading it.

Quoting Jouy31 (Reply 20):
Hopefully, with the re-opening of a P lounge in 2E and the renovation of the NRT lounge (completed) and the JNB lounge (under way), there will be improvements to the lounge in JFK.

I was reading about the two new lounges in the Air France Magazine. They definately sound great, I can't wait to try them out soon.

Quoting BigTom (Reply 21):
Malaysian is top notch

No question about it, Malaysian is one of the best airlines out there. From my experience they are almost unbeatable.

Quoting BigTom (Reply 21):
but though I had great flights on CX their regional offering is slipping quite a bit of late.

I have heard that CX's regional product is leaving a lot to be desired these days. While they still remain my favorite airline of all time, I have yet to experience their new products. I might change my mind soon enough but they set the bar very high after my last couple of flights with them.

SR 103


User currently offlineRonerone From Jordan, joined Aug 2004, 1660 posts, RR: 53
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 25592 times:

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
The pain of flying into Daytona leads me to Terminal 2!

Will you be flying to MCO? or to DAY via ATL? unless recently DL started a non-stop between JFK and DAY?

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
Oh Malaysian wins hands down!

No doubt about that. As a matter of fact, MH are offering an extremely attractive C fare from DXB to HKG in September (my next vacation hopefully). Would love to experience them in Business as i've experienced one of the best Y class offering from them (CX being the 1st).

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
Otherwise KL wins, especially their staff; amazing cabin crew!

I have to agree on this one. During my undergrad at ERAU, KL was my choice of travel and their cabin crew were always good.

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
I can easily name three European airlines who I think are better in my honest opinion

Do share with us. I'd like to know  Smile

Quoting SR 103 (Reply 17):
Wow, thank you. To hear a great compliment like that from a trip report guru such as yourself is amazing.

It's true though. If you dislike an airline for certain reasons, chances are, that airline really is bad.


Regards,
Roni



A Stop Away From One-Stop, Is Non-Stop : Airbus A340-500
User currently offlineBofredrik From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 25592 times:

A 5 star report! It is better than sex...  Smile

25 Post contains images Karan69 : Awesome report as usual Anoosh, nice presentation, did you miss rescheduling any flight out of JFk on the 332/77W, instead of having a 772 both ways.
26 HB-IWC : Great report, as usual, Anosh! The catering standards, even in premium classes, are ever declining. A mere ten years ago, an Eastcoast to Europe overn
27 Post contains images Trent1000 : Wow! The range and quality of your pics are great! Aren't you concerned about showing your boarding pass with name etc on it? I know your airline memb
28 Post contains images 9MMAR : Good day Mr. Tamboowala, This kind of trip report is really a treasure in the whole Trip Report forum. You simply have the midas touch in writing up t
29 LACA773 : Anosh, Thankyou for another wonderful TR! I enjoyed it greatly. You're photos are wonderful. In fact, I was going to suggest you post your JFK termin
30 Post contains images SASDC8 : Thanks for great TR with nice pics I must say that I really like the way AF premium cabin looks, love the blue/grey/cream colours. AF foodservice shou
31 757co777 : Excellent trip report, videos, and photos. Brings back fond memories of when I flew AF023 out of JFK. (Although, I must say that my CDG experience was
32 KhunRyeroam : Sorry to hear that your experience with AF was a disappointing one. I didn't know that they served lychee juice these days. That's a nice change from
33 Lfutia : hey Anosh, great TR! Interesting there's Dutch on your Connecting in Paris folder. Leo
34 Post contains links and images SR 103 : JFK-ATL-DAB If the price is right, go for it! I can think of no better way to fly in style. KLM was my airline of choice when I used to fly to Kuwait
35 Post contains links and images Karan69 : i assume one is the IT flight you took to COK right, which is the other one? I am planning to fly IT to BLR in 2 weeks, would it be worth the extra c
36 SIN7 : Very detailed report - awesome! Just wondering could AF transfer the yogurt to a bowl instead of serving in the plastic cup especially in slightly pre
37 SR 103 : Yes, one is the Kingfisher flight to Kochi. The second is Jet Airways from Kochi. I have no idea to be honest with you. I asked a friend we have in c
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