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18th Of July AF1980 CDG-LHR AF A380  
User currently offlineMaikel From Netherlands, joined Nov 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 20334 times:

Hello all,

My name is Maikel van der Heijden, 19 years young and living in The Netherlands. This is my first post and trip report on A.net. I've been reading trip reports here for like 3 years, I now wanted to make one myself. It's my first one so if you have any tips they are more then welcome!

Why this trip:

I always wanted to fly on a bigger plane then the normal 737’s I’m used to, when I heard that Air France was heaving some attractive offers on the Airbus A380 flight I checked their webpage. Although fairly busy with work in the summer holidays I was able to book a return trip on AF1980 & AF1981 in the weekend for a good rate. A friend of mine joined me on this trip, our first plans was to only fly the plane and then go straight back to The Netherlands but we decided that we were going to leave a day in advance to do some aircraft spotting at Paris CDG.

We spent the night before the flight in the Hilton CDG hotel (really nice hotel). Because I’m used to Dutch carriers like Transavia I was really looking forward to this more ‘’quality’’ airline and my first flight on a aircraft with 4 engines.

Before the flight & Hotel:

As I said we left Holland by car on Saturday morning to arrive in Paris at 10:30am, check in time for the hotel was 2pm so we had a little time to look around. We were well prepared I printed out some maps of the airport with spotting locations and I signed up for the spotting permit that is required to photograph airplanes at the airport (we were checked 3 times during our stay).
During the day we stayed next to runway 09R for landing traffic and 09L for the departing traffic, the sun was on the wrong side but I have some descent photos.

When flying on Air France you are able to do online check-in 30 hours before the departure of the flight. Before I left home I checked in and was able to chose my seat for both flights, the Air France website is user friendly and before I knew it I had the boarding passes ready to be printed out in a PDF format.

Late in the afternoon we went to our hotel room in the Hilton Paris CDG hotel****, car was easily parked in the car garage located under the hotel, parking is 29 euro’s a day. In this hotel they used a lot of warm colors and it looked very fresh and sharp. This hotel is also a popular overnight place for flight crews from Asia.


The thing I liked the most of the hotel are the 3 elevators in the lobby, I think they are American style.


Overview of the dining area where you can see that the whole ceiling is made of glass, that made the hotel very light. We took the elevator up.



On the upper level there was access to executive lounge for Hilton’s honored members.


The hotel room was very nice, there were good beds and also air conditioning with a large bathroom including a separate shower and bath. Here is the welcome screen on the flat television screen.


Room overview.


In the beginning of the evening we went to the terminal for some diner in Terminal 2, to check how this was because our flight was departing from Terminal 2E. When we came back we made a visited to the Concorde that was directly in front of our hotel. It was an awesome sight and it’s a pity I never saw it flying.


It was time to head back to our hotel room to do some administration, some nice models are displayed in the lobby of the hotel. Note the Air France Skyteam Boeing 777-300ER nose gear.


The Airport:

On Sunday the 18th of July it was finally time to fly on the Airbus A380 to London and back. We took the bus shuttle from our hotel to Terminal 2D, from there it was a short walk to Terminal 2E. There were no long waiting lines so we were very fast at the gate. There are plenty of shopping possibilities in Terminal 2 which is one of the newest Terminal of the airport. Here are 2 shots inside the terminal.



While waiting at the gate for boarding (that started rather late) the temperature was really getting up fast because the Terminal is made of glass, it was like a sauna in there.


On front of the 2 gates and 3 jet bridges that are being used to board the A380 there were a couple of seating plans.

Lower deck Voyageur (Economy).


Upper deck Voyageur (Economy).


The Flight, Seat, Entertainment, Cabins and Crew:

The boarding process started 10 minutes behind schedule. The gate used for the Upper deck was E53 and gate E54 for the Lower deck passengers. Off course the First class, Business Class en Premium Skyteam members were able to board first. There weren’t a lot of them so the economy passengers were the next ones to enter the beast. Here is she standing on the blocks, in this case the first A380-800 for Air France.



The door to the Airbus A380.


The second Airbus A380-800 reg. F-HPJB resting next to us, probably being prepared for a flight to New York JFK airport.


At the door we were greeted by a stewardess that directed us to our seat, the uniforms of the cabin attendants where very nice and looked very smart . Obviously I wanted to make some photographs of the La Première / First class cabin and so I asked if we could have a sneak peek. She was very kind and opened the curtain for us, and what sight it was. The Air France Airbus A380 features 9 First Class La Premiere seats on the lower deck in a 1-2-1 configuration.

She left us to head to the door again so we had plenty of opportunities to explore the cabin and make a descent amount of photographs. Another cabin attendant turned on the seat lights, that was a nice extra. Here are some shots of the awesome looking seats, I thinks the brown seats and the red carpet are a nice combination.



A shot of the ( I think) 8,4 inch LCD screen that is located in the armrest.



Seat control on the armrest.


When done making photographs of the First Class I headed to the front of the plane were the Business and First class passengers were boarding. I waited until they were all upstairs and asked if it was possible to make a couple of pictures of the flight deck. She reclined and said the flight was running late and the pilots were busy. I made a proposal to come back when we were in London or the flight back to Paris. She was amazed that we were going back to Paris on the same day and we talked a little about where I was from and stuff like that. She was fine with the plan to return when the plane was at the gate in London. Here is a shot from the front stairway.


We returned to our seat, in this case it was 12K for me. Here is a overview of the Economy/Voyageur.


Voyageur/Economy Class on the Air France A380 seats at total of 449 passengers on both the lower and upper decks. Seating is configured in a 10 wide 3-4-3 configuration. I really like to mood lighting above the windows.



My view for the upcoming 3 hours(delay).


This shot was taken before we heard that there was a even larger delay.


There were a lot off cabin attendants in the cabin walking from the front to the plane to the rear and back, it looked a little chaotic so there obviously something wrong with the aircraft. A few minutes later the captain came on the speaker telling us that there was something wrong with the aircraft and he expected to depart in a couple of minutes. It seems that it wasn’t really a big problem, there also were some staff on board from the maintenance department of Air France and they were checking the galley.

What had to take a ‘’couple of minutes’’ became 45 minutes and the captain explained first in French and later in English that they needed to have a signature from Airbus. That signature waited for another 30 minutes so eventually we had about 2 hours of delay including the boarding delay. We did had enough time to explore the IFE system. The In-flight entertainment unit in Voyageur is an 8.4 inch LCD screen, along with 600 hours of viewing & 3,000 music tracks.


The control panel is also a gaming controller and phone.



The famous legroom shot.


Because it was taking very long the attendants were going to distribute some water, this was really nice because we already were 2 hours in the airplane without even departing. Actually a funny thing with a flight time of 40 minutes. It was about 25 degrees Celsius outside the airplane but the conditioning worked fine and that made the waiting more pleasant.


Then the captain came back again and he said he received the signature from Airbus so the plane was ready to go off blocks and head to the runway. The first thing I noticed was how quiet the plane was, off course I’ve seen plenty of A380 flying but I’ve never been in one and even when the engines where starting up there wasn’t a loud sound or anything like that. The IFE also has 3 different cams that you can select during the flight, located on the nose, belly and tail section. Here is a shot of the tail cam, it brings a new dimension for passengers.


During our 15 minute taxi to the departing runway there was plenty to see, here you can see a company triple 7 waiting, must have been a great sight.



An American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER waiting at the holding point for her journey across the Atlantic. It wasn’t that busy at the runway so we were next.


Lined up runway 09R and ready to go, the captain applied power on the 4 GE and Pratt & Whitney GP7000 engines. Take-off roll was smooth and uneventful.


Passing terminal 1 & 3 during our roll, note the Singapore Airbus A380.


The 2 control towers located in the center of the airport.


Window shots are hard to make in the A380 because the window consist of 2 layers. In this picture you can also see the Concorde in the far background.


The tail camera just after departure.


A nice overview of Terminal 2 with plenty of heavy Air France aircraft awaiting their next flight.


The massive wing.


The main menu of the IFE system offering to much options for such a short flight.


Some information about our flight.



Some biscuits and Cola when we were on 24.000ft.


Beautiful weather for flying.


We are beginning our descend from the South-East, you can still see the coast of France.


Just over the English Channel.


A few other map options, really nice.



The city of London.


We also made a holding pattern, this is really common here at Heathrow.


The London Bridge.


On finals runway 27L with a crosswind, I think there was a bird that came a little too close to the tail camera.


Landing was soft and after some hard braking we were vacating the runway on the right hand side, that meant that we had to cross the runway again to end up at terminal 4.

A Qantas and a Emirates Airbus A380 on the gate at Heathrow.



The taxi was fast because we didn’t had to wait long for the crossing. Here is another photograph of the seat.


When the seatbelt sign was off I headed up to the front again to see if the same cabin attendant was again there. She wasn’t there, but there were some others, I asked if it’s was ok to make a photograph of the cockpit.

She wasn’t really sure but said ok under one condition: ‘’Don’t talk to the pilots unless they talk to you’’. You should have seen my face when she said that, I thought it was kind of funny. I’ve worked a lot with pilots in the past but she couldn’t know that off course, they are just normal people and most of the time relaxed and friendly.

When I walked in the cockpit the first thing I noticed that it’s large cockpit with enough space, but hey! it’s the biggest civil plane in the world. All the crew members greeted me with a smile on their faces, they weren’t so stressed as the flight attendant that was in front of the cockpit door. Here are some photographs.


Overhead Panel.


Massive screens.




And the last shot with the gate number.


The captain apologized that he was so busy with work that he didn’t have time to talk. Well that’s work, and with 2 hours of delay that’s not a strange thing. Then we took the stairs to the Upper deck for some shots of the Business/Affaires. The Air France A380 Affaires/Business Class cabin is located in the forward upper deck of the aircraft, with 80 Seats set out in a 2-2-2 seating configuration. IFE screen is 15 Inch wide. Seats look nice to me, been on plenty of KLM aircraft so it’s nothing different.



Then it was time to de board my first flight on a Airbus A380.



My first encounter with Air France was really good. The cabin attendants look all ‘’classy’’ and well dressed, I really liked the red leather gloves that the attendant was wearing that stood at the door really good style. Overall they were very kind and although we had a large delay the time flew by very fast and most of the passengers left the Airbus with a smile.

I must confess I’m a big Boeing fan, but the Airbus A380 performed high above my expectations, good leg room and sufficient space between the armrest and the window. And off course not to forget the low sound level in the cabin, you can really have a good sleep in this aircraft.

I’m looking forward to Air France partner KLM, which I’m going to fly to Curaçao. That’s going to be my first Long Haul and I will make a full trip report as well. Thank you for reading my first full trip report and I hope you enjoyed it much as I did.

Feedback is always welcome.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineairbuseric From Netherlands, joined Jan 2005, 4401 posts, RR: 49
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 20275 times:

Hi Maikel,
welcome to the 'club' and you're pretty fast with bringing this report online. I flew these flights the day before you did (17/7) and got on 'JC', with minor delays in both directions. You've some good pics from this flight, and have been lucky to get upfront also.

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
I must confess I’m a big Boeing fan,
Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
I always wanted to fly on a bigger plane then the normal 737’s I’m used to,

But when you haven't flown on so many different planes yet, you can't really judge maybe. Get yourself also on the A340-600 for example, and compare with the B777-300ER's, or with B747-400. Then you' ve something to compare.


"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
User currently offlineMaikel From Netherlands, joined Nov 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 20246 times:

Hello Eric,

Of course you are right. I was more talking about the exterior then the interior, I've been spotting for like 5 years now so that's what that comment is based on. I really don't know the Interior, I've been inside Triples and 747's for work but not on a flight. Hoping to do that soon. Thanks for your reply.

User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 2079 posts, RR: 39
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 19668 times:

Hi Maikel, welcome to Anet! Nice report with good pictures. Not bad to score the A380 as your first quad  

Good luck with your study in Htown, I just graduated haha!

Best regards,


Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently offlinePlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 7099 posts, RR: 75
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 19668 times:

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
My name is Maikel van der Heijden, 19 years young and living in The Netherlands. This is my first post and trip report on A.net. I've been reading trip reports here for like 3 years, I now wanted to make one myself. It's my first one so if you have any tips they are more then welcome!

Hi Maikel, welcome to the trip reporter crowd - you have done agreat job. With top quality pictures, a carefully written text and a nice layout your first report is already much better than the stuff some people post after years of "experience". I hope you will stay on board!

Btw - some other a.netters were on that same flight/s on Sunday. I was seated in 93K on the upper deck on AF1980, next to member brightcedars and behind member babybus.  

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
Late in the afternoon we went to our hotel room in the Hilton Paris CDG hotel****, car was easily parked in the car garage located under the hotel, parking is 29 euro’s a day. In this hotel they used a lot of warm colors and it looked very fresh and sharp. This hotel is also a popular overnight place for flight crews from Asia.

The hotel looks nice - is it possible to log registrations from certain rooms? I stayed at the Ibis Terminal hotel and was quite impressed, it was much better than expected and quite cheap, too. I requested runway view and was able to log planes in the evening and in the morning.

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
What had to take a ‘’couple of minutes’’ became 45 minutes and the captain explained first in French and later in English that they needed to have a signature from Airbus. That signature waited for another 30 minutes so eventually we had about 2 hours of delay including the boarding delay.

Well, it wasn't just a simple signature, AF asked for Airbus' authorization. Brightcedars talked to a flight attendant and was told that a ground vehicle had hit a cargo door. Some FAs in the galley even talked about a possible cancellation of the flight...I had to catch a LHR-VIE flight at 14:00 from Terminal 1, so I wasn't amused about all that.

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
Take-off roll was smooth and uneventful.

Climb-out and much of the flight weren't smooth, but surprisingly shaky - at least that was our impression in the very back on the upper deck.

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
On finals runway 27L with a crosswind, I think there was a bird that came a little too close to the tail camera.

Brightcedars has already started a new topic about that:
Bird Strike On AF A380 18-JUL; Cleanup Countdown! (by brightcedars Jul 19 2010 in Civil Aviation)

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
And off course not to forget the low sound level in the cabin, you can really have a good sleep in this aircraft.

I belong to those who don't like such a low sound level. You can find out more about that here if you are interested:
A380 Really a Step Forward? LHR-DXB-DOH On EK
A380 Cacophony, 777 Star Livery: DXB-SIN-HKG on SQ


Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
User currently offlineMaikel From Netherlands, joined Nov 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 19610 times:

I should have announced my comming then to join up with you guys. Thanks for letting me know what the problem was sounds like a realy big deal indeed. The climb out did had some bumbs but from our position it wasn't really out of the extraordinary.

About the Hotel, if you have a room at the side of the Concorde (west side) you have a clear view on a couple of taxiways in front of the hotel. You can read the regs for sure. I know that room 217 had a clear view so maybe for the next time.

The sound thing is interresting after reading the reports, on a short flight like this I didn't really notice anything but on a long flight it's another thing off course. Don't think I will hear those things on the 747 I'm on to Curacao.



User currently offlineoa260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 29584 posts, RR: 59
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 19310 times:

Hi welcome to Anet and congratulations on your first trip report. Great quality photos and a pleasure to read. Hope to see more from you in the future. I wouldnt mind the delay on the A380   More time onboard.


User currently offlineDunaA320 From UK - England, joined Feb 2009, 618 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 19287 times:

Hi Maikel

Congratulations on your first report and I must say how well written it is and of course, execellent photos. Photos always add a thousand words. Glad you enjoyed your trip on the whale across to London.

Living close to LHR, I saw your arrival on Sunday.

Keep up the good work and look forward to reading your report from Curacao.


User currently offlineEC001 From France, joined Jan 2009, 94 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 19287 times:

Hello there Maikel,

I just wanted to say I really appreciated reading your great TR.

The photos are excellent,

well done,



User currently offlineEL-AL From Israel, joined Oct 2001, 1517 posts, RR: 13
Reply 9, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 19189 times:

Hey Maikel,

Welcome to our trip reporters community.

You have done a great job on this report - well written with great photos. It was a pleasure reading it.

Those AF A380 CDG/LHR flights are popular here!

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
The Flight, Seat, Entertainment, Cabins and Crew:

That is very nice table! How did you make it?

Quoting Maikel (Thread starter):
A Qantas and a Emirates Airbus A380 on the gate at Heathrow.

I think that is Saudi Arabian B777, not EK.

Welcome on board,

every day is a good day to fly
User currently offlineakhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2533 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 18573 times:

Hi Maikel,

Welcome to the party. You have got yourself a flying start here with excellent pictures and well-written report. I especially like the moments you have captured during take off. Beautiful!

Too bad I was not that fortunate to fly the A380 across the channel.

Keep it up and hoping to see more reports of yours.


Friends forever
User currently offlineMaikel From Netherlands, joined Nov 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 18539 times:

@CrimsonNL: Congratulations!

@ EL-AL: You are right that there is an 777 next to the Qantas A380. I was talking about shot 59 & 60 in one sentence. Reg. of the Saudi was HZ-AKE. Thanks for the replies so far!

And about the list, I've been reading different trip reports for a couple of years now so I've chosen the most important subjects relevant to the flight I made.

Btw: I'm going to buy a small lap top for the flight to Curaçao so I can do some work in-flight. Think that saves a lot of time and keeps the memory fresh.

[Edited 2010-07-21 08:51:57]

[Edited 2010-07-21 09:04:09]

User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5156 posts, RR: 54
Reply 12, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 17977 times:


Super cool report ... I could hardly tell its your first one. You look like a professional already! Thanks for sharing, and welcome to the community.


PS: How did you do the flight info icon?

Live, and let live.
User currently offlineMaikel From Netherlands, joined Nov 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 17839 times:

Thanks Abrelosojos

Well I have to admit that I'm an absolute amateur if it comes to Photoshop and that sort of pragrams. It took me some time to make it in PS but it worked out wel. I just used to colors of Air France and that's it. Also going to make this for my next TR. I think it's a easy and clear way to display the most important information in a creative style.


User currently offlineflightsimboy From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1420 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 17797 times:

All I can say your photos are the best from all the other AF A380 CDG-LHR-CDG trip reports out there! Nice and simple, yet very professionally done. I noticed AF A380s have a voyageur section on the upper deck like SQ does. Did you opt to sit there on the return? Looking forward to the return trip.

User currently offlineMaikel From Netherlands, joined Nov 2006, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 17547 times:

@flightsimboy: Yes on the return flight I was seated in the upperdeck section on seat 83A, it was a very nice experience to be seated so high above the ground. I have to dissapoint you because I'm not going to write a trip report about that flight, simply because of the reason that the flight was almost the same as the CDG-LHR leg.

I do have some other pictures taken next to the runway.







Looking forward to write my trip report of the AMS-AUA-CUR flight. Maybe I'm going to make a day trip to SXM on Insel Air/7I always wanted to visit SXM (like a lot of other people on a.net I think   )


User currently offlineinfodesk From Switzerland, joined May 2006, 1497 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (5 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 17308 times:

Hi Maikel,

What an excellent first trip report! You have some great shots of the A380, I like the cockpit ones in particular. Pity about the delay, alhtough it gave you more time to sample to IFE on what is otherwise a short hop. I too flew these legs at the beginning of July and it was a great experience.

Looking forward to reading about your trip to Curacao, sounds great!

Happy flying

"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
User currently offlinevirgin744 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 923 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 16890 times:

Hi Maikel,
Absolutely fantastic TR. Very well documented and quality pictures and presentation! Outstanding.
Just one minor point I wanted to correct you on, in Pic 57. The bridge is actually Tower Bridge and not London Bridge but technically by definition of location you would be right.

Many Thanks again for the great report!

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