CARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 749 posts, RR: 1 Posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7106 times:
2nd TR: STR-CDG-ORY-LCY / LHR-CDG-STR on AF in Y
--- OUTBOUND LEG ---
Hello and welcome to my second trip report!
WARNING: This is a long TR. Four parts: Thread-op & replies 1, 2 & 3. 452 photos.
Before I wrote my first TR in July 2010 which was just a test-run for this TR I read on the General Aviation forums that AF would be deploying the A380 on the CDG-LHR-CDG route, so I was eager to fly the whale on a cheap inter-european flight. As I have never flown into LCY either, and wanted to try it I thought I could combine both flights into one trip. Additionally I have never been to London, so the whole trip seemed to be a great long weekend-trip.
I booked the flights via the AF website and payed 170 Euros for all flights. I didn't like the fact that I had to transfer between CDG and ORY, but that was the price I had to pay for this "unique" routing.
After booking my flight I searched for a cheap hotel with 3 stars or more and found the Sheraton 4-star hotel near LHR for just above 100 Euros for three nights. Step 3 was to book my train connections in advance, so I booked one Heathrow Connect one-way ticket for Friday evening and two round-trip tickets for Saturday and Sunday. Hotel and HeathrowConnect combined it was still much cheaper than to book a good hotel in inner London.
On Friday morning I got up at 07:00 AM, packed and got into my car at about 08:00 AM. I arrived at STR about one hour later and parked in the P2 parking garage for mid-term parking. After a 5 minute walk I arrived at the terminal area on departure level.
I proceeded to Terminal 3 to the AF express self-chech-in and realized checking in online would have been smarter. I only got an aisle seat and could not check-in for my 2nd flight from ORY to LCY.
While checking in an AF agent came to me and told me a had to get a approved-carry-on badge for my bag, so I had to go the AF counters.
Security took me about 10 minutes which is a rather long time for STR. It was the first time they wanted me to put my parfum into an extra bag, so I had to buy one.
After security, view towards Terminal 1 and 2:
The A318, never flown this type before. Btw this TR will feature 3 new types for me on 4 flights.
Date: 27 August 2010
Airline: Air France / AF
Flight: AF 1409
Aircraft: Airbus A318
Aircraft Reg: F-GUGK
Departure Airport: STR / Stuttgart Airport
Arrival Airport: CDG / Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:30 AM
Actual Departure Time: 10:50 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:50 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 12:10 AM
Seat: 09D (aisle)
Open cockpit door while boarding:
View down the aisle, we had to wait 20 minutes for push-back after boarding was complete because no available slots on the assigned airway. At least that is what the captain told us.
Generous legroom in the exit-row, picture taken after take-off:
Snack and drink service:
After landing we taxied about 10 minutes or longer to arrive on a hard-stand:
Pax deplaning via stairs:
***TRANSFER TO ORY***
Inside busy Terminal 2:
I proceeded to the AF Correspondance desk because I was told in STR I would get a free "Cars AF" ticket their for my connection to ORY. To my disappointment I was told that this is only true for pax continueing on a long-haul flight from ORY and I would have to my for the bus-ticket myself.
I left the terminal to get to the "Cars AF" bus-stop just 2 minutes away. The bus came after 10 minutes, I bought my ticket from the bus driver and searched for an empty row. What came now was an unbelievable scandal. How can AF take 20 Euro for a 40-minute drive from CDG to ORY and offer a seat-pitch of about 25" ??? I had no room left between the seats, my knees were hurting after we arrived at ORY. I advise everyone to take the metro/tube/underground between CDG and ORY.
That seat didn't stay empty, bus had a load factor of 100% after we left the last bus-stop at CDG.
Traffic on the motorways around Paris:
Self-check-in machines at ORY just printed out a piece of paper which advised me I had to check-in at a check-in-desk. As some hundred tourists to Carribean destinations wanted to check-in at the same time, I first thought about waiting the 20 or 30 minutes in the extreme slow moving queues.
That was when I discovered that there were more check-in desks at ORY "Hall 03" (I was in "Hall 04", about 100m/yd away). Too bad the desks all had closed already for a flight leaving in about 10 minutes, just one biz-class check-in was open, so I tried my luck and the agent gave me my boarding pass without having to wait an endless time at the economy check-in desks. Strike!
I went through security and wanted to take a picture from the small check-point, but a police officer told me that it is forbidden in France. So I bought something to drink and searched for a seat near the windows to watch the arriving and departing aircraft as I had to wait short of 2 hours till departure.
The Fokker 50 of AF CityJet opr by VLM which would take me to London later this day:
Both boarding passes:
More spotting pics:
Seating area for gates 30, 31 and 32 (and subsequent sub-gates like 32A etc.):
Date: 27 August 2010
Airline: Air France Cityjet / AF operated by VLM
Flight: AF 5022
Aircraft: Fokker 50
Aircraft Reg: OO-VLN
Departure Airport: ORY / Paris-Orly Airport
Arrival Airport: LCY / London City Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 16:45 AM CET (on-time)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 16:50 AM BST (on-time)
Seat: 09D (window)
As you could see in photos above it rained for about 30 minutes, but while boarding the sun came back out:
Unique nose of the Fokker 50, the "Spirit of Reenstar":
Good legroom, I think about 32":
Paris from above, can you spot the Eiffel tower?
Snack (ham-sandwich, a good one!) and drink service:
Over the Channel:
Approach and landing:
In contrast to my flights with C9 (Cirrus Airlines) between MHG and TXL you don't get your larger hand-luggage back after deplaning, despite the "delivery at aircraft" tags, so I had to wait for my luggage to arrive on the belt like normal checked bags. Afterwards I proceeded through the small LCY terminal to the DLR station.
Terminal with some construction going on:
DLR station London City Airport, from here I took the DLR to Monument, from there Circle Line to Paddington station and onwards with Heathrow Connect to LHR and last but not least the free bus to the hotel:
More in replies 1, 2 and 3...
(Replies 1 and 2 consist of 249 photos from London, if you want to coninue with the return-flights, go to reply 3.)
CARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 749 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6965 times:
--- INBOUND LEG 1/2 ---
Monday came too fast, I really wanted to spend more time in London, but as I had to be back to work on Tuesday this had to be a short trip.
Leaving my hotel:
With the free bus service around LHR to terminal 1,2,3 central bus station:
With the free Heathrow Express from terminal 3 to terminal 4:
I used the self-check-in machines and got an aisle seat for first flight and an window seat for my second flight. Passing through security:
Inside terminal 4:
Arriving in the 4-Deck-Lounge, I had booked the ticket in advance for a 50% discounted price. All cereals and cofee/tea were empty, a/c was not working, except for the main floor and the quite-zone on floor 3. I first watched the arriving and departing aircraft from the 4th floor, then proceeded to the quite-zone on 3rd floor, to drink some coke and eat pretzels:
15 minutes before boarding time I started my long walk to gate 6A at the other side of the terminal:
Date: 30 August 2010
Airline: Air France / AF
Flight: AF 1981
Aircraft Reg: F-HPJC
Departure Airport: LHR / London Heathrow Airport
Arrival Airport: CDG / Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:50 AM BST
Actual Departure Time: 13:05 AM BST
Scheduled Arrival Time: 15:05 AM CET
Actual Arrival Time: 15:15 AM CET
Seat: 33A (window) (checked-in on 32C)
Still empty cabin, but the purser told me later only 9 seats remained empty:
We had to wait 15 minutes for missing passengers, as they didn't show up the row behind us stayed empty. "Us" in this case is me and the french couple I already met the day before at Tower Bridge. The world is really small. Btw, nice a.net-anecdote, the guy was totally surprised that I had chosen to fly via CDG just to fly on some special airplane. Why on earth would someone do this? A.nutters...
Waiting for missing pax & push-back:
Waiting for line-up and watching other aircraft take-off:
See the Olympic a/c passing by on the TV screen:
And taking-off afterwards:
Take-off and climb-out:
In-Flight and playing with the IFE system:
Drink and snack service:
Generous long-range economy leg-room:
And really comfortable seats:
In-Flight and visiting all economy sections of the whale:
Approach and landing (we overtook the AF 747 which had just started its take-off roll and then it overtook us again):
CARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 749 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6958 times:
--- INBOUND LEG 2/2 ---
*** CONNECTING IN CDG ***
They offered everyone the chance to get into the cockpit and to visit the upperdeck, but I had no time as I had to get my connecting flight from the other end of terminal 2!!! About 25 minutes by foot and I only had 15 minutes left. On my way I passed an AF agent and told him I had to get my plane to STR, he told me should not worry, took his walkie-talkie and called the departure gate to wait for me. Till this point everything seemed to be going fine...
I don't know at which part of terminal 2 I had arrived, perhaps you can see it by the photos, everything I know is I had to go through some sort of security check-point and had a very long way to Terminal 2D. And as luck wasn't with me that day, there was a bag without an owner and French soldiers were stopping everyone between my part of Terminal 2 and Terminal 2D. I asked the nearest AF agent for help and she said there is nothing she can do, I should try to take the Inter-Terminal bus to Terminal 2D. I had to wait 10 minutes for my bus and when I arrived at Terminal 2D boarding was closed already. So I went to next AF desk and they rebooked me without problems on the next flight to STR in the evening.
Here my new boarding pass:
I proceeded through security and relaxed in some kind of angled-lie-flat-seat near my boarding gate.
More than three hours passed and it was time for boarding:
Date: 30 August 2010
Airline: Air France / AF
Flight: AF 2508
Aircraft Reg: F-GRXC
Departure Airport: CDG / Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Arrival Airport: STR / Stuttgart Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:00 AM (on-time)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 20:20 AM (on-time)
Seat: 18F (window)
Take-off and climb:
Near the French-German border it got darker with every minute, large stormcell cloud-formations could be seen:
Approach and landing:
Cockpit, thx to the crew for letting me in:
And so I finish thir TR where I started it:
It was a pleasure to fly with AF. Their service was good on all four flights, the cabin crew was friendly and very talkative on the A380 flight. Would I fly AF again? Yes, without question.
Problematic is the transfer with "cars AF" between CDG and ORY, I would not use these busses again. And selling a connecting flight with a transfer time of 35 minutes is no problem if we would have arrived on-time and at the planned Terminal. But as we arrived at Terminal 2E or 2F I had no chance of getting my connecting flight, even without the abandoned bag this seemed to be a bit over-optimistic.
And I am sorry for the huge number of photos. I had 1500 pics and deleted more than 1000. So this is already my best-of collection and I am far above my own set maximum number of 150 photos for a best-of collection.
FLIEGER67 From Austria, joined Sep 2003, 4772 posts, RR: 56 Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 6566 times:
no chance for me to miss a STR story in any case!.
Now that´s a great bunch of pictures in and around London.
For everyone who´s never been there, that´s the way to see what´s on offer.
Good choice with all that different plane types, especially the A380, but I like the small oldfashioned F50, too.
I agree with Cars AF, its always confusing, long haul connecting is free, short haul not, for me as a FB Gold Elite it´s free on all flights and classes, but I avoid it as ever possible to connect by bus.
PlaneHunter From Germany, joined Mar 2006, 6503 posts, RR: 79 Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6497 times:
very impressive report, I really like your high-quality pictures. It's great to see that you take the time to edit your pictures carefully - numerous users here simply throw them in as they come from the camera, no matter how they look like. Keep up the great work.
Good to see you got three new types, definitely a successful trip. I also enjoyed flying on AF's A380 between CDG and LHR back in July - however, the venture cost me some nerves...
Quoting CARST (Thread starter): I booked the flights via the AF website and payed 170 Euros for all flights.
Not bad at all!
Quoting CARST (Thread starter): How can AF take 20 Euro for a 40-minute drive from CDG to ORY and offer a seat-pitch of about 25" ??? I had no room left between the seats, my knees were hurting after we arrived at ORY. I advise everyone to take the metro/tube/underground between CDG and ORY.
Wow, that's ridiculous. Thanks for pointing that out.
Quoting CARST (Thread starter): And selling a connecting flight with a transfer time of 35 minutes is no problem if we would have arrived on-time and at the planned Terminal. But as we arrived at Terminal 2E or 2F I had no chance of getting my connecting flight, even without the abandoned bag this seemed to be a bit over-optimistic.
I would only connect at CDG again if I have at least two hours. Everything else is quite risky. Good to hear you were rebooked without problems.
CaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 647 posts, RR: 21 Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6352 times:
great trip report with some very nice pictures (it took awfully long to load, but worth the wait). I like the pics of STR with the dark clouds, very dramatic. Also thanks for the impressions of London.
I agree with you on AF, they usually offer a great inflight product. Their problem is just the connection in CDG or ORY. Really ridiculous to charge 20,- on that bus ride. I have done that once and would definitely try to avoid it if possible. Even connecting within CDG isn't really easy as you have found out. Even if you make it in time, it is pretty sure that your checked bags won't make it. At least you were rebooked on another flight without problems.
And on the A380, congratulations on logging that great bird! It is still very high on my own to-fly-list, let's see if I can catch it as well on that CDG-LHR hop sometime.
CARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 749 posts, RR: 1 Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5335 times:
Thx everyone for your answers so far, feedback is always appreciated.
Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 7): I agree with Cars AF, its always confusing, long haul connecting is free, short haul not, for me as a FB Gold Elite it´s free on all flights and classes, but I avoid it as ever possible to connect by bus.
Would I have known before what Cars AF is like, I would have taken the metro. Free or not, the legroom is just unacceptable. And the Paris Metro is always fun...
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 8): It's great to see that you take the time to edit your pictures carefully - numerous users here simply throw them in as they come from the camera, no matter how they look like. Keep up the great work.
Thx PlaneHunter! I agree that pictures should be edited or at least the good ones should be chosen to present here. Digital Photography brought us the opportunity to take as many pictures as we want, but still there is no reason to present all of them.
That is way I said 150 to 170 pictures is my normal maximum for a best of collection, that is a equivalent of 5 films of 36 pictures in the old analogue days. If you showed your guest these 5 films as dia-positives or printed pictures everyone had enough.
In this case here I had more than 400 pics, too much already, but because half of them were about the flights and half of them about the destination I thought it is just borderline acceptable.
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 9): At least you were rebooked on another flight without problems.
I was really happy about that, too, as I was booked in the lowest economy fare category. But that are the advantages of flying with a full-service-airline and not some cheap-o-air LCC.
Quoting jrfspa320 (Reply 10): Well done for walking around London, so many tourists get on the tube to travel everywhere and miss so much!
Totally agree with you. My feet hurt after the combined 26/27 km on both days, but it was worth it and I would have hated waiting for and sitting in a train half of the day. And you discover so much by walking around.
Everyone from Germany I can advise to use the Baedeker travel guides, the best available guides in my opinion. They include a lot of routes to go by foot. I mixed my routes out of the available ones in the Baedeker London guide.
FlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1705 posts, RR: 41 Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4954 times:
Whoa, that's quitte a report. Or at least the amount of great quality photos in it is breathtaking! Looks like you really made a throughout exploration of London - which is a very pleasant city just to wander around if the weather is good, of course it being the UK you can never be too sure.
Your trip reminds mine from last summer - I was too supposed to be flying the whalejet but unfortunately AF changed the equipment to a boring A321 on that particular day and my plans didn't allow me to rebook. Anyway I turned it into my advantage, only using the outbound portion of the ticket and coming back from LCY on CityJet to ORY just like you, only with an Avro instead of the Fokker (flown far too many of those). And yes, I did experience the same nasty Le Cars service from ORY back to CDG, although it was amazingly fast when I did it.