ChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 9447 times:
Since the news spread that AF would deploy the A380 on the CDG-LHR route I did not hesitate and booked a ticket. I extended the trip by departing from DUS so that I would two extra segments keeping me on track to achieve silver elite status this year with Flying Blue. As I live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, I needed to book two hotels. One to spend the night in DUS as the flight to CDG would leave early in the morning and one at LHR as I would return the following day.
The day that I would leave to DUS by car arrived and after a very long day of work at the client I headed for the office to print all necessary documents and get underway. As I was printing the documents I checked my email for the last time and got in an instant depression. There was an email from AF stating that flight AF 1980 from CDG to LHR would no longer be operated by an A380 on July 24. I was hugely disappointed but realized I was lucky not to book a day return meaning that I would have another chance to experience the A380 on Sunday July 25. I heard about the stories around the replacement of the A380 by an A321 on July 12 and hoped they would substitute the A380 with a more exciting aircraft then the A321. When I decided to have a look at my reservation at the AF website and to see which seat I have been assigned my disappointment vanished a little when I saw I would now be flying a Boeing 777-300ER. I have never been on this type and was also assigned a window seat so it could have been much worse. Seeing the positive side of the whole story, hopefully two new types to my log, I started the car and went underway for the two hour drive to DUS.
I will skip the DUS-CDG flight as it was a flight like thousands and no interesting events took place.
Date: July 1724, 2010
Flight: AF 1980
Aircraft: Boeing 777-328ER
Registration: F-GZNA built and leased from ILFC since October 2007)
Seat: 40A (window)
After passing a very tight and slow security process I went for gate E37. I arrived there exactly at the scheduled boarding time but boarding had not started yet. When looking around the gate area I noticed a lot of disappointed faces as not everybody had received the news of the equipment change. Some passengers argued with the ground staff.
Only 25 minutes to scheduled departure boarding started and it already became clear to me that a delay was unavoidable. Boarding was a bit messy as ‘voyageur’ passengers decided to use the ‘business class’ line after all those passengers where aboard. I decided to join them as they were all allowed to board and the ‘voyageur’ line was still very long.
I entered the aircraft and was friendly greeted at the door. During my walk down the aisle towards my seat the rest of the crew positioned there were also welcoming me in a friendly way. I took my seat and I have to say it was very comfortable. Wide seats, good legroom, headrest and a nice size PTV.
The seat next to me remained empty and only the aisle seat was occupied by an older French male. There were not many free seats left so I considered myself lucky to have some extra space.
The captain introduced himself and apologized for the equipment change. He said he was sorry as he understood that many of the passengers booked this particular flight because of the A380. He explained one of A380 had technical problems and therefore the A380 had been removed from this particular flight. He announced that the problem had been solved and that he was assured that the A380 would perform the CDG-LHR rotation tomorrow (Sunday July 25). That was a relief to hear!
As expected boarding wasn’t completed by the scheduled arriving time resulting in that we lost our slot. Due to congestion at LHR our slot was postponed by an hour. I did not really mind as my only plan was to go spotting at LHR and an hour less was not something to worry about. I gave me the opportunity to look around a little and observe the AF Boeing 747 parked next to us. And you could have guessed it, it was dirty! AF lived up to its reputation.
After an hour we left the gate and taxied towards the active runway. No queue for take-off and we lined up. The captain applied power and we were rolling down the runway. In the meantime a company Airbus A330 took off from the parallel runway. Although it started its take-off earlier then we did we quickly catched-up and climbed much faster because of the light fuel load.
This was also the first time I was onboard an aircraft with onboard cameras. I really enjoyed the views from the onboard camera although it was only displayed on the central screens, the PTVs only displayed the flight map.
After some right turns and breaking through the clouds we set course to the Channel. Flight time was expected to be 39 minutes.
Leaving the French coast behind us
Over the Channel
Just after reaching the Channel the crew started service. Service was rushed a little and you sure could see flight attendants were a little stressed to serve all passengers, not that strange considering the large number of passengers for such a short flight. I was served by a very charming flight attendant who provided me with a coke and biscuits.
After crossing the Channel we set course to London and were put into a holding pattern.
Reaching the English coast
I reserved seat 87L on the A380 to obtain some good views of London if we would be landing in easterly direction, but the equipment change resulted in 40A for me and no available seats left on the other window side. Luckily the turns we made during the holding pattern offered me some great, but quick, views on downtown London as well.
Great views on downtown London
After that we went straight for a 27R landing which was executed perfectly by the flight deck crew. After lengthy taxi and crossing 27L we arrived at our gate.
Green line showing our route at LHR from landing to the gate.
Below I share some pictures with you being the result of a great day of spotting at LHR.
Although disappointed about the aircraft change as I booked this trip to fly the A380 I am quite satisfied in the end. Not having flown a 77W before this was the only aircraft that could take away the most of my disappointment. I really liked the aircraft, its spaciousness and technical gadgets like the onboard camera. I consider it not to be the fault of AF that the A380 had technical issues and had to be replaced. The 77W was a great replacement and if the A380 will fly tomorrow on the LHR-CDG leg I have nothing to complain.
The crew handled perfect and did everything to make the passengers happy after a major disappointment for many of them. The impression I have from the AF crew is very good despite other stories on this forum.
All in all it was a great trip and I thoroughly enjoyed spotting at LHR.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6498 posts, RR: 79 Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 8726 times:
very nice report about your AF1980 experience. At least you got a 77W instead of an A321 or an even more boring aircraft.
Quoting ChrisCruise (Thread starter): He explained one of A380 had technical problems and therefore the A380 had been removed from this particular flight.
Sounds familiar - our flight on F-HPJA last Sunday was delayed due to "technical checks". After sitting more than 1.5 hours on the plane I was already preparing for a cancellation, but fortunately we took off in the end two hours behind schedule...
akhmad From Netherlands, joined Sep 2005, 2421 posts, RR: 53 Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8545 times:
What a pleasant surprise to see your report popping up so quickly. I would have been so disappointed as well of an equipment change to a 77W. Like you, I have never been on this bird. But this is about to change pretty soon.
I am surprised that you had another experience with the security process to mine. Could it be due to the rush holiday weekend like AMS?
Anyway, have a nice A380 flight today and looking forward to your installment of this.
AI151 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2009, 303 posts, RR: 17 Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7838 times:
Fingers crossed that all went well with the A380 on the return flight. Nice pictures of London as well as the few from Mrytle Avenue I think?
Quoting ChrisCruise (Thread starter): There was an email from AF stating that flight AF 1980 from CDG to LHR would no longer be operated by an A380 on July 24. I was hugely disappointed but realized I was lucky not to book a day return meaning that I would have another chance to experience the A380 on Sunday July 25. I heard about the stories around the replacement of the A380 by an A321 on July 12 and hoped they would substitute the A380 with a more exciting aircraft then the A321. When I decided to have a look at my reservation at the AF website and to see which seat I have been assigned my disappointment vanished a little when I saw I would now be flying a Boeing 777-300ER.
Definitely at least you got the 2nd best aircraft in their fleet. Like a lot of other people its a shame that the aircraft got substituted but at least you didn't get stuck with the A321 or anything else.
DanTaylor2006 From UK - England, joined Feb 2006, 474 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 7426 times:
Nice report on the outbound leg... I flew F-GZNA LHR-CDG that day, and while I was happy I got to fly the 77W for the first time, the total chaos at LHR meant I got allocated a G seat, in the middle of the 10-abreast seating. Glad you had a better experience, and reading this I can 'see' what I missed haha.
reifel From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 1264 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7074 times:
Thanks for the report. I've never flown on a 777 before, therefore I would consider yourself lucky since you were able to fly back on the A380. I would have been at least. I'll be flying this rounte on 15aug, however on a daytrip, therefore I hope they will not send a substitute.
I went on the AFKL agent website and found some information about A380 irregulirities in the last few days which could have led to the replacement. I thought this could be interesting for you:
- Johannesburg: AF990/22jul CDG 21h20 JNB 07h45, for technical reason, the flight turned back twice to the ramp. The flight is postponed to Jul23 with the following schedules: CDG 15h30 JNB 01h55. This flight is renumbered AF990A.
As a result, AF995/23jul JNB 17h30 CDG 04h05 is postponed to jul24: JNB 04h45 CDG 15h20. Flight renumbered AF995A.
- New-York JFK: AF006/23jul CDG 11h35 JFK 19h45, first departure at 12h18, followed by a return to the gate for technical reason. Then the flight left at 14h18. Arrival expected at JFK at 22h16.
- New York JFK:
AF007/23jul JFK 23h05 CDG 06h35. Due to the late arrival of the aircraft, flight renumbered AF007A and rescheduled at 00h50. Then, due to bad weather conditions at JFK (thunderstorms), departure at 02h35, take-off at 03h52 and arrival expected in CDG at 10h24. As a result, the flight AF006/24jul CDG 11h35 JFK 19h45 has been rescheduled: CDG 12h35 JFK 20h45.
AF008/23jul CDG 17h10 JFK 01h10. Due to the thunderstorms at JFK, the flight diverted to BOS where it arrived at 02h25. Departure from BOS at 03h22 and arrival in JFK at 04h28. Therefore, the flight AF009/24jul JFK 03h30 CDG 10h30 has been renumbered AF009A and rescheduled as follows: JFK 05h50 CDG 12h55.
AF995/23jul JNB 17h30 CDG 04h05. Further to the postponing of AF990/22jul to Jul 23, the flight has been renumbered AF995A and rescheduled on Jul 24: JNB 05h40 CDG 16h15.
- New York JFK:
AF009A/24jul JFK 03h30 CDG 10h30. This flight, at first rescheduled at 05h50, actually left at 07h06 and arrived at CDG at 13h55.
AF006/24jul CDG 11h35 JFK 19h45, late arrival of the aircraft at 10h23 and delay in loading the freight operations. Departure at 13h14, arrival estimated at 21h07.
AF006/25jul CDG 11h35 JFK 19h45. Due to A380 shortage (caused by the postponing of the flights to JNB), this flight has been rescheduled as follows: CDG 14h50 JFK 23h00. The return flight AF007/25jul JFK 23h05 CDG 06h35 is renumbered AF007A and rescheduled as well: JFK 01h35 CDG 09h05.
- New York-JFK: AF006/25jul CDG 11h35 JFK 19h45. Reminder: Due to A380 shortage (caused by the postponing of the flights to JNB), this flight has been rescheduled as follows: CDG 14h50 JFK 23h00.
The return flight AF007/25jul JFK 23h05 CDG 06h35 has been renumbered AF007A/26jul and also rescheduled: JFK 01h35 CDG 09h05.
To allow statuary crew rest, the flight AF007/26jul JFK 23h05 CDG 06h35 has been re-numbered AF007B/27jul and rescheduled: JFK 00h45 CDG 08h15.
Flights handled by ROC.
And much more interesting if this happens again: AF has put in place commercial instructions in case of an aircraft replacement on this route:
A380 on Paris-CDG / London-Heathrow service : Instructions in case of change of aircraft.
Tomorrow, the flights AF1980/24jul and AF1981/24jul operate with a B77W instead of A380.
Specific commercial instructions are set up when an aircraft switch occurs on CDG-LHR-CDG service, when an A380 is initially planned.
Please refer to the commercial instructions given on this site in the Instruction section.
Summer 2010: CDG-LHR with A380, instructions to be applied in case of aircraft switch
Paris-CDG / London- Heathrow service operated with an A380 from June12 to August 30, 2010.
These instructions apply in case of switch of aircraft when the flight is planned to operate with an A380 between CDG and LHR.
For passengers holding an Air France ticket issued with a booking class R, N or E (i.e Fare basis: R380FR, R380GB, N380FR, N380GB, E380FR, E380GB) :
1/ Rebooking :
Rebooking permitted without any penalty on an other flight operated with an A380 between CDG and LHR in the same travel class until August30, 2010.
Refund permitted with a MPD.
For passengers holding an Air France ticket issued with a booking class A or Z (i.e fare basis: A380FR, A380GB, Z380FR, Z380GB), fare conditions allow rebooking and refund.
For passengers who do not hold a special A380 fare and who wish to change or cancel their journey, fare conditions apply as usual.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 6516 times:
When I saw the news about this equipment sub my first thought was "will there be somebody writing a report about it?" - and of course there was! I think you got the best of both worlds here - a ride on the 77W which is an amazing machine (so I hear, never been on one) AND a ride on the whalejet back (touches wood).
Great pics as well. Hope to read about the return segment.
Sultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1399 posts, RR: 31 Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 6342 times:
I was booked on the same flight as you were! One day before I got a call from Air France informing me that the flight would not be operated by the A380. I was given a choice of rebooking or a refund. After some back and forth calls with Air France, I managed to get myself on the next day (Sunday) flight (report coming up in a few days!). It seems Air France has quite some operational issues with their A380's.
Glad you enjoyed the 777, but I wouldn't have settled with anything less than the A380
ChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 6314 times:
Very nice to hear this TR is well received!
Quoting airbuseric (Reply 1): you should consider yourself lucky with that 77W indeed. It's a great aircraft. I flew on it myself also, and work with it regularly. Definitely something good produced by Boeing!
Absolutely agree! The only issue I noticed was the very high shreeking sound when engines were started. The guy next to me was even putting his fingers to his ears. Is this common? But apart from that is was great!
ChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5733 times:
Quoting Sultanils (Reply 12): Glad you enjoyed the 777, but I wouldn't have settled with anything less than the A380
I stayed overnight at LHR and was on the same return leg as you. I was flying from DUS and booked a hotel overthere and in London and cancelling all that would just be too expensive. In the end I flew both the 77W and the A388 so it was great!
For the delay on the 77W I actually received the following email from AF with a little compensation. Very nice gesture!
I write to you further to the delay to your flight on the July 24, 2010. Please accept my sincere apologies on behalf of Air France for any inconvenience this delay may have caused. Let me assure you that the delay you experienced on this occasion was not in line with the high levels of service we aim to provide. As gesture of genuine regret for the inconvenience suffered on this occasion, I am pleased to inform you that 1000 Miles will be credited to your Flying Blue account within the next few days. I very much hope you will give us another opportunity to welcome you on our services and that your future flights with Air France will be to your entire satisfaction.
AIR FRANCECustomer Relations Department
Quoting AI151 (Reply 14): Let me know if you do plan a trip and if I'm not working, I will join you there if you don't mind?
ChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4886 times:
Quoting Kappel (Reply 16): Wow, another spotting trip to LHR! Did you stay at the same hotel?
No, this time I was in the Juries Inn. Perfectly positioned to Hatton's Cross and from there onward to Myrthle avenue. My room had a view on the incoming traffic, really nice! But service is awful! When I arrived they gave me an uncleaned room. I had to wait for about 20 minutes to get a new one. The receptionist kept telling her housekeeping colleague about me as 'the guy'. I look a little younger for my age, but in hospetality it should be 'sir'. The breakfast was a mess, with everything sold out and nothing being replaced, absolutely not worth the GBP 9,95.
For the location I would recommend this hotel but the Arora Hotel is superior on all other aspects.
Quoting akhmad (Reply 17): Not the KL one unfortunately. I will let you know after four weeks.
Kappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 18 Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4560 times:
Quoting ChrisCruise (Reply 20): No, this time I was in the Juries Inn. Perfectly positioned to Hatton's Cross and from there onward to Myrthle avenue. My room had a view on the incoming traffic, really nice! But service is awful!
Last time I was in London I stayed at the Chamberlain Hotel, very near the Tower of London. Service was very good, the room was nice. Not the cheapest option available (it was 4 star after all). I didn't take breakfast, but went to a nearby Subway for breakfast instead. Very tasty and filling and only about GBP 4-5. Sadly no traffic to be seen of course, but for sightseeing a great hotel!!