Jcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 37 Posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5841 times:
Heres my trip report from my trip that I just finished a few months ago, I typed it the day I arrived back. I've just been too busy to post it.
Delta was somehow able to get me First/Business Class seats when I only called two weeks in advance. I was definetly pleasantly suprised with their willingness to connect me three times on the way to Rome for the same price as a one-stop flight, and the availibilty of premium seats during the summer.
Frequent Flyer Program:
100% matching miles on premium class tickets nearly gave me a free coach ticket in the U.S.
19 Jul 2001
Delta Flight 480
Dallas/Fort Worth Int'l to Atlanta
Scheduled Dep. and Arr. Time: 11:30AM-2:38PM
Actual Dep. and Arr. Time: 11:40AM-2:33PM
Flt. Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
It took 15 minutes to check in. There was a line of about seven customers, and two positions were open at the first class counter. Only one position was actually taking customers as the other agent was arguing with a man who needed to check six bags to Seoul and was refusing to pay for them. Gate agents were prompt and did the proper Delta boarding procedure.
The Crown Room in Dallas is nice and comfortable, the gate areas are not. The gate area was dark, humid, and cramped.
Seats and Interior:
The 757 was pretty clean and the seats were the "new" Delta first class seats. These seats have a blue leather trim and a blue cloth center. Average first class recline. Very comfortable indeed.
Like most U.S. airlines, in first class a drink is offered upon boarding.The first class meal was a pasta with chicken in a creamy sauce with salad (ranch vinegarette dressing) and seven-layer cake. I must admit the pasta and chicken dish didnt look very edible but was actually quite tasty.
Delta Horizons has some of the most boring stuff you can imagine. It was shown on the overhead televisions and within 10 minutes of tuning in, I tuned out...preferring to read my Maxim (the greatest magazine ever) and listen to my CD player.
Friendly and helpful. Were always smiling and talking to passengers, a Delta oddity in my past experiences.
Air France Flight 307
Atlanta to Paris Charles De Gaulle
Scheduled Dep. and Arr. Time: 9:40PM-11:50AM+1
Actual Dep. and Arr. Time: 10:54PM-12:56PM+1
Flt. Time: 8 hours 2 minutes
Class: L'Espace Affaires (Business Class)
Seat: 62A (Upper Deck)
I was meeting friends in Atlanta and we were going to head to JFK before connecting to CDG, they got stuck in traffic and I decided not to board and wait up for them, when I told the gate agent of my situation she made me hike to the center of Concourse E from E2 (a fairly arduous trek) to stand on line. When I arrived at the ticket counter my three friends had finally arrived. We asked to be booked on the 9:40PM nonstop to Paris in Business Class, fair enough, right? A supervisor came over to me and my friends and gave us a lecture on Atlanta rush-hour traffic and International check-in procedures. When I asked if we'd be booked in Business they said, "It's your fault, youll be lucky if you are." We were finally able to convince them to book us in Business. Later at the gate when I asked if I needed a Cabin Bag tag for my backpack, a terse "No." headed my way. A standard Delta boarding procedure was done. You can bet Vicki Escarra got a pleasant letter headed her way.
The BusinessElite Lounge in Concourse E is great; cheeses, crackers, wines, plus to top it all off, Delta trail mix. A huge lounge with tons of room and cushy couches. The E14 gate area was designed to hold a 767s crowd, not a full 747 crowd plus two sets of youth groups families.
Seats and Interior:
The upper deck of the 747 is kind of dark and dreary, but none-the-less it appeared clean. The L'Espace Affaires seats are fairly comfortable, good amount of legroom, wide seat, and a recline of 127 degrees. They are also equipped with fibre-optic reading lights, electronic controls, and nice foot rests. The seat itself wasn't very soft. And it wasnt very comfortable on your lumbar. The seat was had grey cloth with a blue stripe down the middle, I prefer leather, but leather seats seem to be disappearing on most airlines.
Upon boarding a choice of orange juice or champagne was offered. Once aloft we received our menus and for an appetizer the choices were: duck or salmon. The entree choices were: beef tournadoes or crab. I had the duck as an appetizer, pretty good. For an entree I selected the beef tournadoes with potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms, excellent. After dinner we were offered cheese, it didnt look too appetizing so I declined. After the cheese, a cart was rolled out to reveal our choices for dessert, I had a great apple tart. For breakfast, we were offered a cheese omlette or french toast, I chose the cheese omlette with rosati potatoes, fruit, and yogurt. There was actually no cheese on my omlette (other than that it was good), the potatoes were good, the yogurt was not chilled (I dont know whether it is a custom to refrigerate yogurt in France...so I'm not going to comment on that). By the way I have never had better wine on an airline in my life!
We had personal video screens that came from armrest, the movies were shown on cycles, and there were about 12 channels, 6 movies playing (in French and English), 5 TV features, plus a map display. About 12 audio channels also. There were no video games.The screens were in good condition.
Very business-like, and by the book. It appeared that they seemed to care more about the French speaking passengers than their English speaking counterparts. Not rude, just not very friendly.
20 Jul 2001
Air France Flight 2004
Paris Charles De Gaulle to Rome
Scheduled Dep. and Arr. Time: 2:25PM-4:30PM
Actual Dep. and Arr. Time: 3:03PM-5:01PM
Flt. Time: 1hr 58mins.
Class: L'Espace Affaires (Business Class)
Unlike the American system of boarding an aircraft, Air France calls for all rows at one time. No priority boarding. Just one big mass of humanity at the boarding door. It really slows down boarding dramatically. We were delayed about 30 minutes for air traffic delays.
Hall F is an architectural masterpiece, it is awesome, the gate areas are small and inadequate though. The lounge for premium passenger downstairs was packed and there were no seats in the whole place. The lounge was kinda dissapointing.
Seats and Interior:
I know it is common for European airlines not to have First Class seats but this was just terrible. Usually on intra-European flights the legroom is a little better than coach, not here. You basically had coach seats and coach legroom, the only difference was the middle seat was unoccupied and cup holder folded down from the center of the seat. Very dissapointing. The seats were red or blue with weird little designs on the fabric.
Stellar. Salmon with rice pilaf, a small salad, and chocolate cake on white linen. The salmon was a bit on the dry side, and I nearly broke my teeth on a roll. Other than that the meal service was very nice.
I really can't compain about the lack of video monitors on a old 737. The in-flight magazine was pretty interesting with good articles in French and English. The English articles are worded awkwardly like the article was translated directly from the dictionary.
They definatly didn't go out of their way to be pleasant, but they weren't necessarily friendly in any way. However, they were courteous, proper, and business-like. Like previous Air France flights I have been on it seemed they were more friendly to European passengers than American/Canadian passengers.
I can't complain since I decided not to board my flight to JFK, my bags were held up there for a night and arrived the next day in Rome. It was pretty nice, the bags were delivered to my hotel, and I recieved a call from Air France at the hotel just to make sure my bags came.
25 Jul 2001
Air France Flight 1805
Rome to Paris Charles de Gaulle
Scheduled Dep. and Arr. Time: 2:10PM-4:15PM
Actual Dep. and Arr. Time: 2:11PM-4:11PM
Flight Time: 2 hours
Class: L'Espace Affaires (Business Class)
No one was on line when we went to the L'Espace check-in counter in Rome, so check-in was very quick. Quick, was some thing that boarding was not. The same thing that happened in Paris ensued in Rome, one boarding announcement was made, and it was a mad dash to the gate. Quite frankly, since there was a full load I was suprised that we took-off on-time.
Kinda bleak, dark, and gloomy at the gate, but the lounge was a different story. A very friendly and talkative woman greeted us at the entrance, and asked us how we enjoyed Rome, and where we were from. The lounge was clean, stocked with biscuits, pastries, and beverages. The lounge was totally empty except for us, so I just stretched out on the couch and caught a quick nap.
Once again, like on the 737, the seats were basically coach with a armrest coming down from the middle seat. Very dissapointing.
Herb-marinated chicken, vegetable medley, a small salad, and truffles served on white linen. Very good food, but was suprised at the lack of French food on the menu. At least this time the rolls were softer. Wine service was excellent.
I was pretty suprised when there were no TV monitors on the A320, every A320 I have been on has had monitors. I guess that I was just on one of the fairly old A320s built around 1990. However, the reading material was good. The lack of monitors didnt matter though as the views of the Italian islands, Alps, and Paris were spectacular today
and my eyes were out the window most of the flight.
Fairly suprising, considering past experiences. Very friendly, always asking if you needed something, making conversations, and laughing. Perhaps it was because all of them appeared to be in their mid-twenties, and seemed to be good friends. Nice job on this flight.
What a zoo at baggage claim, four flights including mine had just arrived and we were all stuck on the same claim. So much for the priority tags on the luggage, it took about an hour to get all of our stuff.
28 Jul 2001
Air France Flight 40
Paris Charles de Gaulle to Dallas/Ft. Worth
Scheduled Dep. and Arr. Time: 1:30PM-5:30PM
Actual Dep. and Arr. Time: 1:29PM-5:56PM
Flight Time: 11 hours 27 minutes
Class: L'Espace Affaires (Business Class)
I checked-in at about the same time all the flights to Africa were leaving so I basically had to wait on the L'Espace line for about 25 minutes before being helped. The woman checking me in spoke virtually no English, and communication was a challenge. I was suprised that the flight to Dallas/Ft. Worth was boarded "Air France Style" all rows at a time, you'd think a codeshare with Delta to the U.S. like that would be done differently, not so.
Terminal 2A at De Gaulle is a dump, right out of 1970, everything, the seats, the flight monitors, everything. Very small and cramped gate area. The lounge was quite a bit better, with fresh pastries, juices, biscuits, and beverages all neatly set up. There were plenty of U.S. magazines on hand, which was kind of refreshing.
Light and airy the interior of Business Class seemed so roomy. The seats were pretty much the same as the flight to Paris from Atlanta. However, they did seem less worn than the seats on the 747. Pitch and legroom were definatly adequate for the 11.5 hour flight. The only difference being that the PTVs were not on the center of the armrests, but could be pulled out from the bottom of them near the footrests. I think that this was the first revenue flight for this aircraft. There was not a spot anywhere in the cabin.
Lunch and a small dinner were served on the flight. For lunch we were offered a choice of fish, or Beef Tournadoes as the main course. Duck salad or tomatos and cheeses were offered as appetizers. For dessert a trolley came around with some nice looking cakes and tarts. Of course, the obligatory cheese and rolls were offered once aloft. I chose the duck salad, beef tournadoes, and a piece of seven-layer cake. Excellent! I was asleep when the small dinner was offered. Later, I went to see the "buffet" that was set up, expecting something nice like the "Raid the Larder" buffets on BA, but instead all that were offered were these 2"x2" soggy sandwich squares, and warm soft drinks. With a bucket of ice that had totally melted pretty much. Wine was excellent once again.
Before the flight it was announced that it was the first A340 (maybe first in entire fleet) flight to have a new in-demand video system. It was really awesome. First of all the screen was a touch screen, no more fumbling around for the remote. The in-demand system was great, I think that you could choose between 6 movies, and 6 different TV shows all in English and French. There were also several video games on the system. Really cool stuff, made the 11.5 hours go by much quicker.
Right when I boarded I headed to the front of the aircraft to visit the cockpit, a flight attendant emerged immeadiatly to nearly yell in my face saying I could not pass through L'Espace Premiere. I told him that I wanted to visit the cockpit he told me just to sit down. It still took 25 more minutes to board the aircraft. This kind of bothered me considering he let a French guy go up to the cockpit, even though he was seated in coach. Once again, not friendly. Not much of anything, just there for service.
We had our baggage in customs no more than 10 minutes after landing.
Overall Grade: B/B-
Air France needs to evaluate how they treat their passengers (specifically those of non-French descent), especially those who paid for a high level of service. That will pretty much be my last flight on Air France. I'll stick to an American major, British Airways, Virgin, Swissair, or Lufthansa when I want good service. Other than the surly flight attendants, service was average, never went out of there way to go the extra mile. Food was good, IFE decent, and interiors average/below average.
DL Widget Head From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2106 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 5532 times:
Thank you for your detailed report. I particularly liked your grading system. I think you were mostly fair except for a couple of points.
First, I don't understand why you would fire off a "pleasant letter to Vicki Escarra" (I take it you're being facetious) regarding the fact that you WERE reaccomodated in Business Class on a later flight. It's not the airlines fault that YOU CHOSE to miss your confirmed flight to JFK. Summer is peak travel time to Europe and seats (especially premium) are hard to come by. Just because you change your mind and decide to take an entirely different flight, routing, AND airline doesn't mean the airline will be able to confirm you in Business at the last minute. Nonetheless, it seems you did get lucky and were accomodated in Business on a later flight. What's the problem????
Second, I disagree with you regarding DL's inflight programming (domestic). I have flown just about every US airline and DL is about the best in this area. Typically, on a flight from DFW-ATL you will see a sitcom (Spin City, Frasier, Seinfeld, Becker, Friends) followed by a popular music video then CNN news segments (Money, Sports, Entertainment, Human Interest), then dpending on the length of the flight, a multitude of other video programs (too many to enumerate). So I don't understand what you're expecting to see on a 1 hour 50 minute flight. Maybe the Star Wars Trilogy would be nice but alas, not enough time. Anyway, thanks again for the report.
Ironminds From Australia, joined Apr 2001, 556 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5515 times:
Good report -- It's funny you should cite Maxim as your favorite magazine, because by breaking the piece up into a bunch of individual bits, each with a tagline and a grade, you were (subconcsiously or not) writing in Maxim style!
(If only there were a way to include funny and sexy pictures with clever captions...)
Jcs17 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 8065 posts, RR: 37
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5505 times:
<<<< First, I don't understand why you would fire off a "pleasant letter to Vicki Escarra" (I take it you're being facetious) regarding the fact that you WERE reaccomodated in Business Class on a later flight. It's not the airlines fault that YOU CHOSE to miss your confirmed flight to JFK. Summer is peak travel time to Europe and seats (especially premium) are hard to come by. Just because you change your mind and decide to take an entirely different flight, routing, AND airline doesn't mean the airline will be able to confirm you in Business at the last minute. Nonetheless, it seems you did get lucky and were accomodated in Business on a later flight. What's the problem????
Second, I disagree with you regarding DL's inflight programming (domestic). I have flown just about every US airline and DL is about the best in this area. Typically, on a flight from DFW-ATL you will see a sitcom (Spin City, Frasier, Seinfeld, Becker, Friends) followed by a popular music video then CNN news segments (Money, Sports, Entertainment, Human Interest), then dpending on the length of the flight, a multitude of other video programs (too many to enumerate). So I don't understand what you're expecting to see on a 1 hour 50 minute flight. Maybe the Star Wars Trilogy would be nice but alas, not enough time. Anyway, thanks again for the report.>>>>>
First, I had left my cell phone at my apartment in Dallas, not wanting to be interrupted during my vacation, so when my friends got stuck in traffic around Lakewood, 10 minutes from the airport (there was a multi-fatality accident, it took 2 hours to clear two southbound lanes). They had no way to get in contact with me. I had no idea what had happened to them (had they been in an accident?). I certainly did not want to board a flight to JFK, only to find out something serious happened. Then when my friends and I finally met, my friends explained the situation to the ticket agent and the supervisor came over gave us a speech about international check-in and Atlanta rush-hour traffic. Not neccessary at all!! The point is that they had Business Class seats but they didnt want to give them to us (and the supervisor actually said that).
Thirty minutes later the original ticket agent came in to the BusinessElite Lounge and handed us our Business Class tickets saying that he just went ahead and booked us despite his supervisor's wishes. The only reason I wrote a letter to Vicki was because of the unwillingness of the supervisor to rebook us in Business even though there were SIX seats still availible. I didnt rip the airline or Ms. Escarra personally, just the way the supervisor handled it.
Second, maybe its just my luck but they were showing an episode of Friends (ugh!). I cant stand those filmed CNN programs, they just seem so out-of-touch. I just cant compare it to UA, where I have gotten four different episodes of Fraiser and Seinfeld in two weeks on four different flights.
Malina From Germany, joined Jul 2000, 146 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 5484 times:
Great report, thank you.
I have posted my own AF transatlantic trip report from Europe to Montreal, Canada, a couple of months ago: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/13358/
Like you, I was stunned by CDG Terminal 2F.
For AF: I must agree, big airline, great catering, but FA's can be quite difficult to deal with.
And always be prepared to delays.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6176 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 5479 times:
Well, I would agree with you on DFW's deal with Delta. I would say that I also don't care for terminal E here at all. I normally fly out of terminal B, which is by far the most interesting. Terminal A is equally dark- ceilings painted DFW brown and stuff. Delta's terminal is dreary- even the redesigned gates lack character. You should see the AirTran and Northwest gates, they are a disgrace. The once futuristic chairs now have tears in their vinyl, and foam padding on the floor.
I would recommend USAirways for future transatlantic flights. I didn't care for them domestically, bu tI had a great experience from Philly to Rome and back on a pair of A330s. It was great because the plane was configured comfortably and the IFE system kicks tail. You can pick (it has a remote, not a touchscreen but that's okay with me) from many different movies, some kid oriented, some adult oriented. Music by the album. Some TV shows. I watched Blow, Parent Trap, and what's her name's diary. I also watched a bit of VH1, but found it to be just like regular VH1- not entertaining.
I would gripe about the meal service, but I was in coach.
That's my recommendation, US.
Nobody else flies an airplane as nice to Rome, except Continental. AA dropped Rome while I was there, United flies only to Milan on 763s, and Delta with 763s, while CO does 777s.