Previous Trip Reports in the series: Europe 2007 Part 1 - Air NZ Flagship/ NZ 2 (by CXB744 Jul 13 2007 in Trip Reports) , Europe 2007 Part 2 - AF & Eurostar (by CXB744 Jul 26 2007 in Trip Reports)
At the end of part 2 I had just arrived in the UK after a pleasant trip from Paris on the Eurostar and had met my mom coming from LAX at Heathrow.
After 4 days visiting my Godparents, who live between Bristol and Bath, it was time for my mom and me to depart to separate points in Europe. She was going to Geneva, and I back to Paris. We both found very good fares to both our destinations from Bristol Airport on Easyjet, and having flown them many times in the past the choice was simple (plus we wouldn't have to drive 2 ½ hours back to London).
I checked us in the night before with Easyjet's New Online check-in (bit behind the times ). So the next morning, June 19, we left at 9:30 and began our cross country trek to the airport. My godparents live Northeast of Bristol and the airport sits on the southwest side, so there is no easy way to get there. After getting lost twice we finally arrived at the airport and dropped our rental car. I really like the design of the terminal at BRS open and spacious and with plenty of seating, once through security.
We get inside the terminal looking for a bag drop, since we had checked-in online. None to be seen, just a very long general line. Since we were checking baggage we joined the line. I was getting worried because my mom's flight to GVA was leaving in 50 mins and check-in cuts off at 30 min prior to departure. However, I must say Easyjet moved that line fast! In 15 mins we were at the counter and checking our bags in. Paid the overweight charges and proceeded upstairs to security.
Prior to security you're inspected to make sure you only had ONE carry-on. Not a carry-on and a purse, or even a money pouch; ONE carry on. So after I crammed my money pouch in my main carry on, I made my way through to the security line. 20 mins later I was through security with my mom we went to find something to eat. We were able to do this because mom's flight to GVA was delayed by 15 min. There was a line there that was taking longer than security. We eventually cut in line because they were calling my mom's flight.
We had both purchased Eastjet's Priority Boarding when we bought our tickets. So both my mom and I should have had priority at the gate, which we did, and getting to the aircraft. We did not get this. At BRS you have to go by bus to most of the aircraft stands. So Easyjet, not wanting to waste buses, puts as many people as possible on each bus. This practice totally voids buying the Priority Boarding because unless you are close to the doors when they open, you don't get first crack at getting to the aircraft and thereby the seats since it is open seating. A little piece of advise, don't waste your money on it, especially now that they have online check-in.
Any way, after seeing my mother off on her flight I waited around for my Easyjet flight #6223 to Paris CDG. Boarding started at 1:40 pm for a 2:00 pm departure. We were driven out to our A319 which was parked quite far from the terminal. The bus came to a stop, the doors, and the semi-handicap lady next to them almost got trampled . Up the front steps and into the first seat inside the door. Too late to figure out that it didn't recline, oh well, easy exit at the other end. The cabin crew was very helpful storing my bags for me.
At the appointed hour, 2 pm, the air stairs were pulled away and we powered up. Of all the Airbus fleets I have flown, Easyjet is the only one to have touch screens for the FA's. Every speech of the flight (Welcome, safety briefing, etc. . .) is on there plus much more! This helped with the French Speakers on the flight as the entire crew was Bristol based. As we taxied towards runway 27, the captain welcomed us aboard and gave us the weather in Paris as well as the flight time, which I cannot remember.
Waited for one departure and then we were roaring down the runway and out of Bristol. A turn North took us over Bristol and then another to head east roughly along the M4. Passing south of Heathrow and Gatwick we headed the Channel. During this time, the flight attendants were at working selling snacks. I just had water since and was still full from lunch. In what seemed like no time we were beginning our descent in CDG.
This time we approached from the East and landed on Runway 9L (Northern most). I was on the wrong side on the aircraft and missed the great view Paris you get landing from the East on the right side. We taxied clear and waited for an AF B777 to depart before we crossed and taxied to Terminal 3. This is a terminal that is easily missed. It sits opposite Terminal 1 on the North Side of CDG. It's a low profile building that has no jet ways, and the aircraft parked there could be thought to be at remote stands for other terminals.
So we pull into our stand, and once stopped the cabin crew were nice enough to retrieve my stuff and I am first off the place, through the front door. I'm over dressed. I left 65-70 F degree temps in the UK and hit 75-80 F here in Paris. Into another bus and off to the terminal. Get inside the terminal, in the great French tradition, only two Immigration stations were open. It took 20 min to get through Immigration. Bags were already waiting in the baggage hall. Walked out of the terminal, down to the RER station, and on my way into Paris for the Airshow.
Easyjet never fails to impress me with their service. For what you are paying, the service is top notch and seats comfortable, the pitch is lacking but oh well, get an exit row! The flight was on time and they have improved the time its takes for the bags to arrive in Baggage Claim. I routinely recommend them to friends from the US traveling in Europe.
Epilogue: I went to the Airshow on Friday and got completely washed out.
Part 4 to come . . .