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The A380: From Light City To Night City & Back  
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1729 posts, RR: 30
Posted (4 years 2 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11614 times:
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Hello & welcome!

Preface…

This report will feature a trip I took on Sunday, July 25th from Paris/Charles De Gaulle (CDG) to London Heathrow (LHR) and back with Air France’s A380. Ever since the much talked about crew training flights Air France is doing this summer between CDG and LHR with their A380’s, I decided I had to get myself on one of those flights to experience this wonderful piece of aircraft engineering. And so a booking for Sat, July 24th was made about 2 months in advance, securing myself the cheapest available ticket: € 79 return; taxes included. A bargain I must say! Alas, it was literally seconds after I checked in online the day before I got a call on my cellphone from Air France customer service informing me that the A380 would not be doing the flight to LHR… We were proposed to rebook to another date/flight or to apply for a refund. Bummer… After some phone calls back & forth with Air France call centre in Belgium, I got myself rebooked at no extra cost on the Sunday flight; ie one day later. I was really happy with that and got my fingers crossed that everything would work out fine. And so it did…
That morning, an early wake up call for me at 4h30… I arrived at CDG at 8h after a long drive from home, parked the car and took a long walk to terminal 2E. The flight was to depart from gate E53, one of the newly built A380 gates at CDG.

FIDS; already a half hour delay is announced


Security was quickly cleared, the staff was friendly and courteous. The airside of terminal 2E is very spacious and airy and at the very end of the terminal you have a great runway view with a lot of traffic coming and going. But that was not the most important thing at first! Where is the A380??

Ah, here she is, being serviced inbound from JFK


Engine close up


TV monitors at the gate with lots of info; even a seat map on display


Since boarding time was still an hour away, I walked around and did some spotting.

A340 at the adjacent gate, going to Seattle


Tail collection


Skyteam bird to Mexico City


Another set of tails, mostly Air France


Air Austral 777 to ? entering the taxiway on its way for takeoff


A321 being marshalled into the gate


T7 riding along


Another T7


Regional traffic


BA 763 inbound, presumably from LHR


Air France has quite some T7’s, this one on tow to the gate


B747 about to leave for MIA


By now it was time to get back to the gate as boarding would start within minutes. The gate area was packed and lots of people with cameras were shooting away, including me.


The layout of the cabin on display, I was seated on the upper deck.


In full display, almost ready to go!
Flight: AF1980
Equipment: A380
Reg: F-HPJA
STD-STA: 10h05-11h15
Load factor: nearly full


Boarding was called and the ground staff made clear announcements so everyone knew where to queue. I believe good organisation is a must when dealing with this big amount of people. Within minutes we were on our way.


A lot of jetbridges to guide everyone in


1 out of 4


Massive wingspan


Arriving at the front door of the upper deck, the crew was very welcoming


Passing through the ‘Affaires’ cabin to reach the ‘Voyageur’ cabin


The ‘Voyageur’ cabin aka Economy


Seat view


Leg room


Seats were comfortable with winged headreasts and of course equipped with PTV. Legroom was good, even for longhaul flights it seems.

The safety card, enough emergency exits to choose from  

The inflight map


Since I was seated in a middle section (I had to give up my window seat at the boarding gate due to it being reserved by other passengers…:-( ), I made good use of the entertainment system, mostly the maps and camera.

On our way to the active runway


Crew conducting the safety procedure which was also displayed at the in-seat monitors


About to turn right


Waiting patiently


Guess which runway we used?


Starting to roll


And lift off!


Take off was very smooth and gentle, by now it became very evident how quiet the cabin is.


We cruised at 24000 feet for about 5 mins en then descent already started. The crew conducted a drink service , very fast, friendly and professional. They managed to serve everyone a drink, a biscuit and collected the rubbish in about 20 mins time; impressive! Now that is what I call crew training. I didn’t get out of my seat and walk around to not bother the crew in their duties.

Over the Channel


Of course we were put in a holding pattern on approach to LHR


Breaking through the clouds, the camera got real wet


Runway visible in the distance


Closer…


And closer…


The most annoying moment: everyone wanting to get off first…


We docked in a gate at terminal 4, but apparently the airbridge for the upperdeck was out of order so we had to leave via the stairs and the lower deck.

On the way out


And a last quick look out of the window


‘Classe Affaires’: seems comfortable


And again


A galley


Other side


Here she is, parked at gate 6, terminal 4


After we disembarked, I went through security again and 5 mins later I was back at gate 6, but now from the ‘departing’ side. The first impression of terminal 4 was not good: oldfashioned & outdated. All SKYTEAM members are apparently teamed up in this terminal to ease connections.

View from the gate: Air Mauritius, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific & Qantas


Gate 6


Since the incoming flight was delayed, the flight back was also delayed by about half an hour. Eventually, boarding was announced bu the ground staff messed up the whole process, I will not go into detail but apparently they still need more ‘crew training’ than their colleagues at CDG…

Flight: AF1981
Equipment: A380
Reg: F-HPJA
STD-STA: 12h50-15h05
Load factor: nearly full


Entering via the front lower deck door


We were again seated at the upperdeck, at the window this time!

Some thing at the galley


Seat 87A, hi neighbours!


During pushback this guy was at the edge of the wing, giving indications to the tug driver. Gives you an idea how massive this plane indeed is!


Some other traffic


Exotic visitor from the Seychelles, this one stops on it’s way af FCO. Maybe next time?


I like the A340-600 series, despite them being not a big success…


Virgin Atlantic assembly


Sister A380 EK parked


On the way to the active runway. On this pic you can see the actual runway in use in front of us, with a large waiting line at the other side. Take off started from the far right end so I figured we had to cross the runway and get in line. We waited some 15 mins, then started taxiing and turned immediately to the left and on the runway and went for a rolling takeoff. Impressive!!


Turning left on the active, not using the whole length


And here we go


And again


Turning left, is that a polo game?


LHR in the distance


Again


Cruising at 23000 feet


Then the same procedure as the inbound flight followed: 5 mins of cruise followed by descent and a quick drink/snack/rubbish tour performed by the crew

I believe this LGW


By bye UK


Approaching CDG


Flaps out on finals


Runway ahead!


And a very hard touchdown on French soil!


Flaps and airbrakes deployed


Leaving the runway


Leaving the runway looking out the window


Etihad and XL parked


Also here an A380 is used by EK


And another collection of AF tails


Arriving at the A380 gates


Airbridges ready to dock at our arrival gate


Everybody needs good neighbours


No doubt about the flown type!


Bye bye


Bagage claim at CDG, terminal 2E


And so my A380 experience came to an end. And what an experience it was. Is it a beauty or a beast? It is for sure a masterpiece of engineering and a joy to fly on! Thanks Air France for making this experience possible for us enthusiasts.

Thanks for reading & watching.
(Sulta)Nils


In thrust we trust.
3 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineChrisCruise From Netherlands, joined May 2010, 109 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 2 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 11563 times:

Hi Nils,

Very nice report and very familiar with me as I was on the LHR-CDG leg as well. We were actually sitting very cose to each other as I had seat 88L.

It was a memorable experience and absolutely worth the money!

Quoting sultanils (Thread starter):
And a very hard touchdown on French soil!

O yes, the hardest touchdown I have ever experienced!

Adios,

Christian



Flown:319, 320, 321, 343, 388, 733, 738, 742, 744, 752, 763, 764, 772, 77W, CR7, CR9, DC9-31, E70, E90, F70, F100, MD11
User currently offlineDanTaylor2006 From UK - England, joined Feb 2006, 495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 2 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 11165 times:

Hi,

Excellent report   I was sat in 86L not far from you on the CDG-LHR leg! Excellent selection of photographs, shame about the middle seat on the outbound though! I know that feeling having been stuck in the middle of the 77W the day before.

Quoting sultanils (Thread starter):
Eventually, boarding was announced bu the ground staff messed up the whole process, I will not go into detail but apparently they still need more ‘crew training’ than their colleagues at CDG…

After the service we 'experienced' on Saturday morning, I would say needing more training is a definitely a must.

Regards,
Daniel.



Flown: A319-21, A346, A380, B733-4, B738, B744, B752, B762-4, B77W, CR2, CR9, DH4, E190-95, F70-100, MD-11, MD-88, MD-90
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15749 posts, RR: 27
Reply 3, posted (4 years 2 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 10625 times:

Quoting sultanils (Thread starter):
he airside of terminal 2E is very spacious and airy and at the very end of the terminal you have a great runway view with a lot of traffic coming and going.

It is, once you get there. But the rest of the terminal is pretty chaotic and dingy, and I found that the lounge was not nearly as good as BA's offering at LHR. I was shocked when I saw that CDG opened in 1974, it seems much older.

Quoting sultanils (Thread starter):
Air Austral 777 to ? entering the taxiway on its way for takeoff

Probably to St. Denis, Reunion, but I thought that Air Austral flew to Orly.

Quoting sultanils (Thread starter):
I believe good organisation is a must when dealing with this big amount of people.

It is, but there seemed to be very little of it when I flew with them. Once you're on the plane though, everything is great.

Quoting sultanils (Thread starter):
‘Classe Affaires’: seems comfortable

In the seated position, the Affaires seats are good, every bit as good as Club World. But they aren't fully flat, and more importantly, when they are reclined your feet are stuck in a recess in the seat in front of you which isn't too comfortable. Catering is top notch though, and the FAs are good too, even though I don't speak French. Oh, and the tray tables sucked. They should go back to having them in the armrests like the 747.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
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