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AF#380 On The A380 JFK-CDG Part 1  
User currently offlinePlanereality From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 103 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 29914 times:

Inaugural Flight from JFK-CDG Part 1
Last week, Air France flew its first Airbus A380 route from Paris to JFK and then back to Paris. As you know, Air France is the first European carrier to fly the A380. Instead of simply selling the tickets for the inaugural flights, Air France auctioned tickets via eBay and donated the majority, if not all, of the proceeds to several charities that help impoverished children. Each winning bid was awarded travel on the A380 from either Paris to New York or vice versa, dependent upon which segment you were bidding on. Also included was a return flight on the day of your choice on Air France. Hotel and shopping discounts in either Paris or New York were also made available to winners of the auction.

With one day left in the auction, I decided to look at the range of bids. Mind you, I have never bought or sold anything on eBay so I was somewhat unfamiliar with the process. To my surprise, the bids for the JFK-Paris A380 trip were around $355 US dollars. The bidding was intense in the last moments, primarily because bids were quoted in Euros. When the auction was over, I had won a trip on the A380 for a mere $388 (give or take a few bucks) and it was for a great cause: help the Air France Foundation support the following charities:

Francois Xavier Bagnoud Association: http://www.fxb.org

Arts Et development Association: http://www.artsetdeveloppement.com

Association Plan: http://plan-international.org

Like I mentioned, the price included return airfare, but JFK-Paris-JFK was way too simple of an itinerary for me so I threw in a couple of other legs for good measure...more on that in other posts. Below is the first part of the experience. I will cover the arrival in Paris and post cabin photos of the A380 in Part II.

check-in area:

DSC_0060


DSC_0067



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Each passenger was asked to bring a wrapped gift for a child to be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Kips Bay.

the gifts:

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signage over security check point:

IMG00255-20091121-1526


IMG00260-20091121-1533


IMG00259-20091121-1533



Air France served champagne to anyone in this wing of Terminal 1, regardless of what airline one was flying.

terminal & gate area:

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IMG00268-20091121-1658



DSC_0104

IMG00267-20091121-1655


IMG00270-20091121-1904



It was a bit tricky getting photos of the plane in New York, but here are a few:

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DSC_0080



CEO of Air France, Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, speaking just before boarding:

DSC_0115



I was told by the gate agent there were over 500 passengers on the flight. Getting everyone on the plane is an acheivment it itself.

jet bridge

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This tote bag was placed at each seat. Included in it, among other things, was a model of the A380.

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boarding, economy style

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The plane is equipped with 3 cameras:1 on the tail and 1 each on the nose and belly of the plane.

cameras



from the tail camera just after pushback from gate

IMG00280-20091121-2054



The tail camera video I took during take off is posted here

dinner & breakfast menu for economy class

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A few times throughout the flight, this 3 piece band made their way through the cabin.

IMG00288-20091121-2136



dinner

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leg room

IMG00275-20091121-2023





entertainemnt system


IMG00286-20091121-2133



I did manage at least 90 minutes of sleep, but was woken by some odd occurences. The first time I woke, the band had arrived once again, this time right next time, playing Happy Birthday for someone in the row across from me. Oddly, the second time I woke, there were several crew members gathered at that same row helping someone elevate their feet and fanning the person. When I woke for good, I went and checked out the bar and snacks that had been set up for anyone’s enjoyment. When I drew the curtain at the galley I found a small party of Frenchmen. They made fun of me because I was serving myself water and not champagne. I got a big kick out of them and I too chuckled at myself.

European morning from tail and nose cameras:

IMG00293-20091122-0226




nose am





breakfast

IMG00291-20091122-0225




Much is said and printed about the A380 being quiet. My thought beofre the flight was "how quiet can a plane this large be?" Well, it certainly was the most queit plane I have flown on and becuase it was quiet, the ride seemed very smooth. And maybe it does ride more smoothly than other aircraft (?)
Air France certainly made this flight memorable and special, pulling out all the stops for all passengers. As mentioned, I will cover the arrival in Paris and post cabin pictures of the A380 in Part II. Thank you for reading this post. Comments and questions welcome of course.

[Edited 2009-11-26 07:38:40]


Andiamo!
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirpearl From Malaysia, joined May 2001, 943 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 29900 times:

Congratulations on this first AF A380 trip report Planereality! Can't wait to see more in Part 2. Well done!

User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26846 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 29712 times:

Very nice report been waiting for an A380 AF one. Nice meals, are those just for the special flight or is this an upgrade of catering for A380 .

Great pics

OA260


User currently offlineAkhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2438 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 29648 times:

Good job, Planereality! Great impression of the inaugural flight of an AF A380.

Thank you for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo



Friends forever
User currently offlineDirectorguy From Egypt, joined Jul 2008, 1651 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 29557 times:

Thanks for putting up the very first TR on AF's A380! May it be the first of many Big grin
And btw-catering on AF looks amazing, as always. They have the best Y catering, ever IME.
Congrats, looking 4ward to Part Deux!


User currently offlineFlpuck6 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2122 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 29261 times:



Quoting OA260 (Reply 2):
Nice meals, are those just for the special flight or is this an upgrade of catering for A380 .



Quoting Directorguy (Reply 4):
And btw-catering on AF looks amazing

Not to rain on planereality's parade but the meals were just for the special flight ... helas ...

In my opinion that's how economy meals should be ... but we all know how that goes.

Thanks for the report planereality ... perhaps can you tell us a little bit about the ambiance on board, the service on board, the service on the ground ...



Bonjour Chef!
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8486 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 29161 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report & pictures, thanks for sharing your 1st flight experience.

I've got to say the price you paid was a steal, much cheaper than my ticket, and that's not for charity!

As stared above, the catering does look good, better than on most previous AF Y class flights posted here, looking forward to see what I get when I fly her on the CDG-JFK sector soon  Smile

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 offlineReifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1327 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 2 days ago) and read 28662 times:

Great, I#m looking forward to part 2. The meal seems very nice  Smile

Can't wait to fly with that bird. Have to wait until february  Smile


User currently offlineFLIEGER67 From France, joined Sep 2003, 5133 posts, RR: 55
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 28493 times:

Hey, Planereality,

what a interesting read and it seems you´re really lucky to catch that special fare on that special flight.

Well done pics also, looking for more now.

Regards,
Markus (FLIEGER67)



Next: How to deliver a present in style!.
User currently offlineHOOB747 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 438 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 28402 times:

That flight looked like a lot of fun! And Air France looks like they know how to give their big new toy a proper christening. Hope you can include a photo of the model 380 in the gift bag!


747 Number One Fan from U.S.A
User currently offlineManchesterMAN From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 1217 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 27849 times:

Thanks for the interesting report and photos. First thing I noticed from the onboard photos is that AF have a more traditional style of overhead bins like found on the A330, compared with the 777 style bins I found on the SQ A380 (which I think look better and provide more space for the pax). Any other airlines gone for these bins?

I guess the band didn't play during the night as I'm not sure too many pax would appreciate having their sleep disturbed!



Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 27778 times:

Yes, I realise it wasn't typical Y catering but the food looks gorgeous. It's similar to what you'd find in J class.

User currently offlineJHCRJ700 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 377 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 27398 times:

fantastic report. I am very impressed with Air Frances offerings for this flight!


RUSH
User currently offlinePlanereality From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 103 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 1 day ago) and read 25761 times:

Thank you for all of the comments and feedback. There was definitely a special Y menu (and probably J & F as well). That being said, I have had positive experiences with AF Y catering both from US to Europe and Europe to the Middle East.

Quoting Flpuck6 (Reply 5):
perhaps can you tell us a little bit about the ambiance on board, the service on board, the service on the ground ...

The atmosphere was quite celebratory and the service impeccable. Boarding was quick and efficient despite the number of passengers. I have no doubt AF staffed this flight with their most accomplished FA's. There were 3 FA'a for each aisle of the section of economy I was in. They were all very happy to be part of the experience and have "us" on board to take part. I suppose one could argue that extra effort was made to have a perfect service because it was the inaugural flight; I will leave that up to the reader. Thanks



Andiamo!
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6714 posts, RR: 78
Reply 14, posted (4 years 8 months 23 hours ago) and read 25659 times:

Hi Planereality,

great report, good to see the first AF A380 review here! The catering was very impressive.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
When the auction was over, I had won a trip on the A380 for a mere $388 (give or take a few bucks)

Excellent deal - not just for an inaugural flight.


PH



Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineBrouAviation From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 985 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 23 hours ago) and read 25635 times:

Very nice report! They really organised a nice party around the first flight.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):

Much is said and printed about the A380 being quiet. My thought beofre the flight was "how quiet can a plane this large be?" Well, it certainly was the most queit plane I have flown on and becuase it was quiet, the ride seemed very smooth. And maybe it does ride more smoothly than other aircraft (?)

The A380 is so silent because of a new technique used in it's engines. It has something to do with holes and empty spaces in the turbine, but I'm not so well informed about that. Some EA-guy explained it to me in Dubai, I will see if I can find the story.

Sad to see though that AF has made the most stupid mistake again by putting a pile of at least 1,5" thick paperwork into the seatback. The remaining legroom doesn't seem too large, is it? I'd love it when airlines would remove this nonsense space-decreasing paperwork-stuff.



Never ask somebody if he's a pilot. If he is, he will let you know soon enough!
User currently offlineRustang75 From France, joined Nov 2009, 1 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 8 months 21 hours ago) and read 25321 times:

great report, food looks good

User currently offlineMindscape From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 16 hours ago) and read 24901 times:

Congrats Planereality ! Very good deal you did and very nice trip report.
The screen of the IFE is displaying icons in a different way that one can find on the other AF planes, but is it the same video system as in their new B77W?

Quoting BrouAviation (Reply 15):
Sad to see though that AF has made the most stupid mistake again by putting a pile of at least 1,5" thick paperwork into the seatback. The remaining legroom doesn't seem too large, is it? I'd love it when airlines would remove this nonsense space-decreasing paperwork-stuff.

You rush to judgment. Mind you, it is not a pile of paper you see, but the blanket wrapped in its plastic that Planereality put there before using it in addition to the AF magazine.

[Edited 2009-11-27 19:51:53]

User currently offlineBrouAviation From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 985 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 8 months 10 hours ago) and read 24463 times:



Quoting Mindscape (Reply 17):

You rush to judgment. Mind you, it is not a pile of paper you see, but the blanket wrapped in its plastic that Planereality put there before using it in addition to the AF magazine.

However I stand corrected on the blanket part, still this AF magazine reduces the legroom significantly. It can make the difference between having your knees touching it all the time, or the feeling of complete freedom around your legs. If they now completely removed this whole case on the seatback in front, and only put an elastic one instead, which doesn't take any space when it isn't used. Still it offers the possibility of storing your stuff. And hand out those dutyfree catalogues and inflight magazines on request. It would safe weight, fuss, and legroom.



Never ask somebody if he's a pilot. If he is, he will let you know soon enough!
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10882 posts, RR: 37
Reply 19, posted (4 years 8 months 8 hours ago) and read 24336 times:

Thank you for this trip report. I am happy to see that you enjoyed the first commerrcial JFK to CDG flight on the new AF 380.

As one of the very first flyers on all the Singapore Airlines inaugural 380 flights (Sydney, London and Narita) I had a look at the AF auction, which was modelled on the Singapore Airlines 380 auction.

I noticed that the JFK-CDG flights ended up being very cheap. I don't know why the bids were so low... I am very happy to see that you took advantage of the low prices and did this very nice trip report for us.

My FTF friend Nicolas Dirac was on the CDG-JFK flight and he told me about the very wonderful atmosphere on board, all the happy passengers and the live band on board, they all enjoyed this novelty very much as well as the very good service onboard provided by AF during the first flight.

 airplane   cheerful   airplane 



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineJFKMan From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 592 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (4 years 7 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 22735 times:

Fantastic TR!!! I'm so happy someone from A.net was on the first flights.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
The first time I woke, the band had arrived once again, this time right next time, playing Happy Birthday for someone in the row across from me.

I find this to be very funny. Sleeping passengers randomly awake throughout the night to the sounds of a band!

Thanks so much  Smile

Tommy

(aka JFKMAN)



US / AA - JFK / TPA
User currently offlineMadameConcorde From San Marino, joined Feb 2007, 10882 posts, RR: 37
Reply 21, posted (4 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 22015 times:

I am not sure if this link was posted, this is a nice video where you can see the band and the birthday on board the first Air France 380 flight. The atmosphere on board seems to be very happy and joyous indeed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAfKy3XBvx4&feature=related

Friend Nicolas Dirac is seen boarding the aircraft with his 2 years of flying the 1380 polo shirt on right when the very first passengers are boarding the plane.



There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
User currently offlineJosh32121 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 369 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (4 years 3 months 17 hours ago) and read 18552 times:

Hey,

Thanks for the trip report! I'm curious about the comfort of the economy seats. I saw your pic of the legroom and wondered how tall you are. My partner and I are booked on the A380 from JFK this October, and I am stressing over seat assignments. He is 6'6", so keeping him relatively comfortable in economy can be a challenge. Obviously, I always try to get seats with extra legroom whenever possible, but I'm not Medallion, so I can't pre-select those seats...just have to keep my fingers crossed that some are available at check-in. Right now, we are in 87A & 87B (upper deck at the rear). I have studied seatguru, and I'm wondering if I should switch to 11K & 11L because 11L doesn't have a seat in front of it. I am concerned, though, about being stuck without aisle access. Is there enough space in front of the seats in 10 to get out along the window wall? What about row 45? Is it noticeably louder towards the back? I know AF sells Seats Plus at check-in, but I'm ticketed with a DL flight number, so will I be able to purchase those? Thanks for any input!


User currently offlineSeptember11 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3623 posts, RR: 21
Reply 23, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 14135 times:

This is terrific! Awesome experience...


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