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Air France A330-200 DTW-CDG In J W/Pix  
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

This TR will be the first out of several involving my journey to, around, and from Africa. The reason for the somewhat unusual routing is due to the fact that this is an award ticket using DL miles. Also, please note that I am not sitting in the same seat as my boarding pass states as I switched around with my family. This TR includes the following flights:

NW491 TPA-DTW (Boeing 757-200)
AF373 DTW-CDG (Airbus A330-200)

Check-in at TPA took a good 15 minutes once we were at the counter. The NW agent was having trouble accessing AF’s system so that she could check our bags to CDG. Once that was sorted out, we made our way to gate A8.


An F9 A320 pushing back for DEN. I really hope things improve for them as they are a great airline.


Our B757



Date: July 13th 2008
Flight: NW491
Departure: TPA
Arrival: DTW
Scheduled Departure: 09:42
Actual Departure: 09:38
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Estimated Load Factor: 100% in both F and Y

We boarded on time at about 09:05 and we were greeted by an unsmiling cabin crew member. Oh well, it’s only a 2 ½ hour flight.

Boarding pass








We pushed back a few minutes early and the captain welcomed us on board giving us some information about our flight today.


Rotate!




The climb was a little bumpy as there were quite a lot of clouds.

Meal service consisted of a drink. Impressive, I know. They had other snacks that you can buy but I wasn’t all that hungry. Once they completed the drink service, they disappeared for the rest of the flight until they came back and picked up our trash. The attitude of this crew just made me look forward to my AF flight more. Definitely not the happiest bunch.


The rest of the flight was smooth and uneventful.


The pilot came over the P/A informing us of our descent into DTW and mentioned that winds were at about 18 knots. I was hoping for a nice crosswind landing!

Landing video


Ground scene at DTW




7 Hour Transit in DTW
Unfortunately, there are only 3 and sometimes 4 flights a day from TPA to DTW depending on the day of the week. If we took the later flight, we would have about a 50 minute connection in DTW, which is possible to make. However, this trip was too big to take any risks. Plus, the NW flight was booked separately so we would not be insured if we missed our AF flight. Oh well, plenty of time to take pictures!

As we were flying in Affaires on AF, we made our way to the NW lounge. As we did not receive our AF boarding pass in TPA, we asked the friendly NW agents if they could print it for us. They replied by telling us that they cannot do it and we have to go to the AF ticket counter to get it.

Huh, I thought SkyTeam carriers had access to each other’s system. Oh well just a minor inconvenience as we were already in the secure area. More on this later though.


I left my family to go explore the DTW terminal, which is very nice.


NW A330-300 to some European destination


A flight to NRT was being boarded


The tram


An LH A333 to MUC or FRA


Everyone was taking pictures of this 744 from this angle so I thought it would be a cool picture.










After I got bored of walking the full length of the DTW terminal and riding the tram at least 6 times each, I figured I would return to the lounge to ask what time the AF ticket counters opened. Their reply was:

“You don’t need to go down there, we can print your boarding pass right here. We just need your passports”

I was happy to hear this but either the previous NW agents lied because it’s a pain to print AF boarding passes or they didn’t know they could do it.

After more sitting around and doing nothing, we made our way to the gate.








AF information board


As I’m curious as to how flights perform in terms of loads and yields, I decided to ask the gate agent how full the flight was today.

He replied by saying: “May I ask why you want to know?”
My reply: “I’m just curious”

Apparently that answer was acceptable and he went on to explain the exact amount of people in both J and Y.

To assure him that I wasn’t a 15 year old terrorist, I explained to him that I’m just interested in airplanes and such.

This changed his state of mind and he went on about the details of our flight including the aircraft, etc.


Date: July 13th 2008
Flight: AF373
Departure: DTW
Arrival: CDG
Scheduled Departure: 19:00
Actual Departure: 19:00
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Estimated Load Factor: 75% in J; 90% in Y

Boarding pass. Uh oh, SSSS


We were welcomed on board by a couple of friendly cabin crew members and escorted to our seats. It seemed like most, if not all, the business class was full of Americans.

The forward view camera was turned on as we were boarding






Right before pushback, the flight attendants offered pre-departure drinks. The choices consisted of orange juice, water, and champagne I believe. The safety demo was then played on the IFE and we began a slow taxi to the runway.

The rotation was very aggressive and I found the A332 to climb much better than any of the A340’s, which isn’t surprising I guess.




The camera changed to a down-facing view after the gear came up








AF’s IFE, while being AVOD, could definitely be improved. There are about 7 on demand movies and the music choices are not all that great. It’s also not the most user-friendly and the system takes a while to react after pressing a button. Also, the moving map display didn’t work at all, which was disappointing as I really enjoy seeing where we are.


The meal service consisted of an appetizer and the main course. The meals were brought out on a cart similar to economy class, which was interesting. Is this a common practice in most business classes on other carriers?

Unfortunately, I forgot to take the menu so I don’t remember exactly what everything was but I do know the first course had shrimp in it and the main course was duck. The service was excellent on this flight and all of the crewmembers were very friendly.




Sunset. It’s always amazing seeing this from 35,000 ft high.




The seat is an angled lie-flat seat. It’s great if your sleeping on your side, however, is very uncomfortable sleeping on your back. If you sleep on your back, it’s best not to recline it fully.


I slept for the rest of the flight until I was awoken by a flight attendant asking if I would like some breakfast. There are no choices for this meal and I was handed this tray.


Shortly after I finished eating, the captain announced our descent into CDG. We did several turns before lining up with the runway.




The landing was very nice






Looks like we lucked out this time at CDG and got a jetway.


Immigration was fast and our bags took forever to come out.

Conclusion
AF proved once again that they are a carrier that offers very good service and a good product. Sure they’re no MH, 9W, or EK in terms of cabin service and overall product from my experiences. However, it’s good enough to compete with other TATL carriers and superior to almost all U.S. carriers, which I guess is enough for them. Obviously, it seems to be working because they’re practically printing money.

Hope you enjoyed the read! Comments are appreciated.

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMilesaddict From Singapore, joined Dec 2007, 100 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice TR.

Your conclusion is on par with mine. But to me it's quit a shame to see AF going down cause they can do much better, however they don't give a damn of premium pax. Now I'm flying *A. i used to be keen on AF and fan, but I'm no longer.

tks again.


User currently offlineCityofAthens From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Many thanks for a superb trip report; the detail was just right, the subtle humour appreciated and the photos appropriate and of good quality. I can't wait for the upcoming reports.

I am not surprised to hear service on your domestic flight was less than perfect; this seems to be a recurring theme when flying on US airlines; I haven't had any bad experiences in the US but it appears little effort is made to make the customer feel welcome ... which is a great pity, as US hospitality in other industries tends to be above-average.

Regarding meal services in J; whether the meal is brought by way of a trolley or by hand depends on a few things - the airline's policy, forecast bad weather or simply the load factor that day.

For instance, the general policy on daylight flights on BA is that if only a 1/3 of the cabin is occupied, the entire meal service can be conducted by hand. If the cabin has a higher occupancy rate, then appetizers are delivered and collected by trolley, whilst the entree and dessert is always delivered by hand.

Many thanks once again for a fabulous report.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5779 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Sure they’re no MH, 9W, or EK in terms of cabin service

Apparently, they're no KLM, either: I got a breakfast nearly that nice IN ECONOMY on LAX-AMS route as a second meal to the previous night's dinner.

I do like the camera view, though- wish more carriers had that.

Also odd that Air France's A330s have the old-style interior, while KLM and Northwest's are next-gen Airbus widebody style. Much nicer overall look, I think.


User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8536 posts, RR: 54
Reply 4, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
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Nice report and pictures, thanks.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
The meal service consisted of an appetizer and the main course

- Shame they seem to issue desert and cheese on the same tray as the starter!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I slept for the rest of the flight until I was awoken by a flight attendant asking if I would like some breakfast

- Not good service IMO, I'd only want to be woken if I asked to be or if we were begining descent and seats needed to be in the upright position.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
breakfast. There are no choices for this meal and I was handed this tray.

- Not that impressive really.

Look forward to the return.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineMSYYZ From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Nice report , thanks for sharing..

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
. Sure they’re no MH, 9W, or EK

Is AF really to be compared to 9W ? I don't mean anything bad for 9W , but AF has been around forever while the Indian carrier is a new comer , you would expect AF to have a superior service .

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
However, it’s good enough to compete with other TATL carriers and superior to almost all U.S. carriers

No surprise there  Smile



A346,A343,A342,A332,A333,A310,A300,AB6,A319,A320,A321,B741,B744,B777,B767,B732,B735,B727,B707,B757,MD80,F-70,E-170,B738
User currently offlineMeta From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 337 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 4):
- Not good service IMO, I'd only want to be woken if I asked to be or if we were begining descent and seats needed to be in the upright position.

I like what JAL does by placing a small sticker next to the IFE if you miss a meal because you were sleeping. It says that a meal was served while you were sleeping and to tell an FA when you want your meal.


User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
Apparently, they're no KLM, either: I got a breakfast nearly that nice IN ECONOMY on LAX-AMS route as a second meal to the previous night's dinner.

I completely agree I've been given breakfast of similary size in Y several times accross that atlantic.


User currently offlineCgnnrw From Germany, joined May 2005, 1150 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
they came back and picked up our trash.

FAs do not pick up trash....they collect your "service" items.

Nice report. I am a huge AF fan and try to fly them whenever I travel TATL. I think you're right AF realizes they are miles ahead of all US carriers in terms of service in both econ and biz and probably think that's enough since they have a much more extensive network to the US than the carriers out of the middle east or Far Asia.



A330 man.
User currently offlineCabinboy From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2000, 189 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

i cant see the pics!!

User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Cgnnrw (Reply 8):
FAs do not pick up trash....they collect your "service" items.

LOL

Quoting Cabinboy (Reply 9):
i cant see the pics!!

They should be working again.


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7411 posts, RR: 57
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 4):
- Shame they seem to issue desert and cheese on the same tray as the starter!

This the "short" service offered in "J" class on the short flights back to Europe from the East Coast.
On all the westbound flights, there is a separate cheese and Dessert service.


User currently offlineCAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
An LH A333 to MUC or FRA

LH only flies to FRA out of DTW


Great report, I flew NW in J DTW-CDG a few months back http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...ums/trip_reports/read.main/120807/ , and it looks like each carrier balances out, NW having better IFE, with AF having a better seat and food. But that breakfast looks the same, pretty pathetic for a J breakfast on an 8 hour flight. I just flew NW DTW-AMS a couple weeks ago in J, and NW stopped putting the yogurt on the breakfast tray, just fruit and a pastry.  boggled  They served an egg biscuit sandwich in Y, I should have asked for it!

Any particular reason you were routed through DTW? Seems like an unlikely place to connect to Europe. Glad to hear you enjoyed the terminal, world's greatest IMO  Smile.



The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
User currently offlineQantasistheway From Australia, joined May 2008, 309 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
It seemed like most, if not all, the business class was full of Americans.

Well I know I'd rather take them than NW or any other US carrier.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Sure they’re no MH, 9W, or EK in terms of cabin service

MH? They aren't that great, but even though I have not flown them i reckon 9W are very good, not to sure about EK to say the least.

Apparently, they're no KLM, either: I got a breakfast nearly that nice IN ECONOMY on LAX-AMS route as a second meal to the previous night's dinner.

Well to be fair LAX-AMS is a tad bit longer and I think they have to give out two substantial meals at least. Plus they have more time.

Thanks a lot for the great report.


User currently offlineIliriBDL From Germany, joined May 2007, 1205 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:

Great TR.

DTW is one of my favorite airports in the US. Back in Dec. me and my family went on a trip to Dusseldorf with NW, and we too went early in the day to DTW to make sure we would catch the connection, and we had a great time there. Me and my brother rode the train on top, a couple of times going back and forth, just to pass time. lol



delta.com
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 12):
Any particular reason you were routed through DTW? Seems like an unlikely place to connect to Europe. Glad to hear you enjoyed the terminal, world's greatest IMO .

Yeah the terminal was fantastic. We went through DTW because that was the only airport we were able to get award tickets going out of. Typically, we connect through ATL or JFK.

Quoting IliriBDL (Reply 14):
Great TR.

DTW is one of my favorite airports in the US. Back in Dec. me and my family went on a trip to Dusseldorf with NW, and we too went early in the day to DTW to make sure we would catch the connection, and we had a great time there. Me and my brother rode the train on top, a couple of times going back and forth, just to pass time. lol

Thanks! Yup I rode that train several times also to pass time.


User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2123 posts, RR: 29
Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Hello,

Interesting that NWA had "trouble" getting your boarding passes.

1. You should have been through-checked, even if you were on 2 separate tickets because they're both SkyTeam flights.

2. Northwest handles AF in DTW (in the NWA system) so the agents in DTW should have known perfectly well to issue your boarding passes or check you in even if you were not through checked.

A very good idea to leave more than enough time for your connection !



Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlineMHTripple7 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1105 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (6 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 32767 times:



Quoting Flpuck6 (Reply 16):
1. You should have been through-checked, even if you were on 2 separate tickets because they're both SkyTeam flights.



To NW's credit, our bags were through-checked. However, I completely agree in that they should've been able to issue our AF boarding passes in TPA as well. I guess it comes down to the particular check-in agent. She was complaining about how difficult it was to access AF's system just to check our bags through so maybe she just didn't want to go through the process of printing our boarding passes also?

Quoting Flpuck6 (Reply 16):
2. Northwest handles AF in DTW (in the NWA system) so the agents in DTW should have known perfectly well to issue your boarding passes or check you in even if you were not through checked.

So it seems the NW agent didn't realize AF and NW were in the same system. That's interesting.


User currently offlineGOwithCO332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (6 years 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Wow, how was Africa? You seem to travel to pretty exotic places and I really like your style of trip reports!

You know, I flew AF once to Paris and I remember how everything about it was new and well, not exotic but different in a good way. When I think back to every INTL flight of mine, they all seem to be my favorite regardless of F, J or Y class, but AF just has a class about it that no other American airline can have. I flew Y on them and just seeing the crew approach the gate was something to look at!

Also, the whole atmosphere on the plane was just really nice. I think they have a great coach product and I think back to my two flights on them to and from CDG a lot. Flying is just an experience that incorporates all of the five senses for me and I just really loved how AF pulled everything together. Probably most other people on the flight just slept until they got to CDG but I felt so good on that relatively short TATL flight. I actually did not want to get off until I realized I was in Paris!


User currently offlineXx787xX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (6 years 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 32767 times:

Great TR  Wink

Does all Dinner on planes have shrimp in it or is that just me???

787


User currently offlineThegreatRDU From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 2310 posts, RR: 4
Reply 20, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 30660 times:



Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
AF’s IFE, while being AVOD, could definitely be improved.

Isn't that the truth
 duck 



Our Returning Champion
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6782 posts, RR: 77
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 29595 times:

Another really enjoyable report with many details!

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
As I’m curious as to how flights perform in terms of loads and yields, I decided to ask the gate agent how full the flight was today.

He replied by saying: “May I ask why you want to know?”
My reply: “I’m just curious”

Apparently that answer was acceptable and he went on to explain the exact amount of people in both J and Y.

To assure him that I wasn’t a 15 year old terrorist, I explained to him that I’m just interested in airplanes and such.

This changed his state of mind and he went on about the details of our flight including the aircraft, etc.

Yes, one should be careful with such questions in the US...

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):

AF’s IFE, while being AVOD, could definitely be improved. There are about 7 on demand movies and the music choices are not all that great. It’s also not the most user-friendly and the system takes a while to react after pressing a button. Also, the moving map display didn’t work at all, which was disappointing as I really enjoy seeing where we are.

Too bad you still had the old AVOD system. I was quite satisfied with the IFE on my CDG-ATL flight on an A340.

Champagne & World Of Coke: Air France A340 To ATL

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Unfortunately, I forgot to take the menu so I don’t remember exactly what everything was but I do know the first course had shrimp in it and the main course was duck.

The food looks very delicious.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
I slept for the rest of the flight until I was awoken by a flight attendant asking if I would like some breakfast. There are no choices for this meal and I was handed this tray.

I would have expected more in Business Class.

Quoting MHTripple7 (Thread starter):
Sure they’re no MH, 9W, or EK in terms of cabin service and overall product from my experiences.

The new AVOD system is nice and AF even beats certain Asian carriers in terms of catering (Y Class).


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
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