This is my first post and trip report so please bear with me. NW was offering bargain fares to Paris so the girlfriend and I decided to go. Here goes:
March 3, 2005
CWA-DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW
Flight: NW 3750 (operated by Pinnacle)
Tail number: Unknown
We arrived at Central Wisconsin Regional about 1 1/2 hrs.before scheduled departure and checked in uneventfully. This airport is quite small so this gave us plenty of time to smoke our lungs out in the upstairs lounge/observation area. We passed through security (the TSA / RCSS), Taiwan">TSA at CWA insists all shoes be removed - even though I KNOW mine won't set off the detector) and waited at our gate. The A/C arrived shortly before our scheduled departure (from MSP / KMSP), USA - Minnesota">MSP I presume.) The ground crew turned the plane very quickly and we pushed back about 15 min. late. They offer beverage service and a small bag of Spinzels for this flight, which I declined. The actual flight time "across the pond" (us Wisconsinites call Lake Michigan the pond) on the CRJ (which are relatively new to CWA) is only 56 min. - a big improvement over the Saab. We arrived at our gate in DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW right on schedule.
March 3, 2005
DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW-CDG / LFPG), France">CDG
Flight: NW 50
Tail number: Unknown
We had a fairly short layover at DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW. Just enough time to go out and grab a smoke, buy some more at duty free and score some Euros from the cash exchange. The flight was full because the AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS flight got cancelled due to weather on the other side. It was my understanding it got an hour or so on its way and then turned back to DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW. We took our bulkhead seats (row
29 C & D) which were pretty comfortable and afforded me a little extra leg room. Even though we pushed back on time we got out almost an hour late due to deicing and traffic (light snow.) Once airborn the captain stated that there'd be no favorable tail winds on the way to CDG / LFPG), France">CDG and that would delay us even more. I assume this is why we flew almost directly across (like on the return trips) as opposed to going up by Greenland. The meal was chicken in gravy, mashed potatoes. Pretty good and filling for airline food. I also downed two Budweisers along the way. IFE on the A330 is fantastic. I'm especially fond of the trivia game. Our F/A was a sub and she was less than enthusiastic. That's not always bad as I'll detail on the return flight. Some nine hours later we touched down at CDG / LFPG), France">CDG and taxied for what seemed like eternity. We finally parked on the tarmac and took an Air France bus to immigration - the bus ride also seemed to take a long time. Immigration was
quick and easy; while the girlfriend waited for our luggage at the carousel I went off for another smoke. When I got back from my cig break the bags magically apperared and we were off to find the Les Cars busses by Air France. I highly reccomend this mode of transport from CDG / LFPG), France">CDG into Paris. It costs 18 E roundtrip and is a nice relaxing ride. We took it to Gare de Lyon which was fairly close to our hotel and took a cab from there for 10 E.
March 5, 2005
CDG / LFPG), France">CDG-AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS
Flight: KL 2012 (operated by Air France (1740)) we actually wound up on AF 1640
Equipment: 737 scheduled, actually flew A319
Tail number: Unknown
We only had one bag to take for the night in Amsterdam so we took the Metro/RER back to CDG / LFPG), France">CDG. We got to CDG / LFPG), France">CDG at about 11:00 and was informed that flight 1740 was cancelled due to weather in AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS. The friendly (and incredibly gorgeous - I mean HOT / KHOT), USA - Arkansas">HOT) woman at the AF ticket counter put us on 1640 and said not to rush because 1640 would be leaving late. It didn't leave until 12:35 - the same time our scheduled flight was to leave. I fell asleep on this mundane aircraft and had sweet dreams about the AF ticket agent. I didn't feel guilty as I caught my girlfriend lusting over one of the AF F/A's. I was awakened when the captain told us about our having to spend 15 min. in a holding pattern over AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS due to the weather. Finally we started our rough descent into AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS. The lines at immigration in AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS were quite long - and the first officer seemed suspect of me (don't know why) but let me through without any trouble. Eventually we made our way to the train and arrived shortly at Amsterdam central. Our stay in Amsterdam was phenomenal. If you haven't been to this city I highly suggest going. The Victoria hotel is great. Since this is a "clean" forum I can't discuss what we did there but I can assure you this town knows how to party. I WILL be back.
March 6, 2005
AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS-CDG / LFPG), France">CDG
Flight: KL 1237
Tail number: PH-BXO "Plevier"
It was tough getting up that morning but eventually we cleared what remained of our brains and got on our way to AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS. The KLM ticket agents were friendly and efficient (but lacked the stunning good looks of that AF girl ). I somehow lost my boarding pass en route to the gate (don't ask how) - but the gate agent happily hand wrote a new one. We boarded the plane, took our exit row seats (YAY) and the flight left on time. There was a snack and beverage service, which I declined, and then tried to get a little more sleep. We landed at CDG / LFPG), France">CDG a little ahead of schedule. During taxi I saw an AF CONCORDE on the tarmac near a hangar (sorry, I couldn't get the tail number) - I got so excited and woke up my girlfriend to show it to her, she didn't even know what a Concorde was, and after I gave her a brief lesson she could have cared less French immigration was once again a snap and we went right to the RER to finish off our time in Paris.
* Regarding the AMS / EHAM), Netherlands">AMS/CDG / LFPG), France">CDG flights. I know people will ask why I didn't take the Thalys. It was a little more money and took 4h 11min. Not taking into consideration the time and money spent getting to and from the airports I thought flying was the logical choice. I was wrong. Everyone we talked to said the Thalys is definately the way to travel. Thalys would have been slightly faster, saved the transfers, and cheaper.
March 8, 2005
CDG / LFPG), France">CDG-DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW
Flight: NW 49
Tail number: N806NW
We took the Les Cars shuttle bus back to CDG / LFPG), France">CDG and promptly found check in. It was being handled by Air France. Before we got in line there was an AF employee asking 101 questions before letting us proceed. We tried to change our seats and the AF agent refused to do so. We passed through customs (easily again) and did a litle duty free shopping and smoked a few cigs before repeating the bus type loading. Once on the A/C we quickly realized we had the WORST seats on the plane. Seats 27 D & G are just forward of the bank of lavatories. They have "limited recline." Both seats have metal boxes underneath the seat ahead of them (I presume for the IFE.) My IFE screen, along with a few rows forward in the C and D seats, was broken. My girlfirend asked one of the F/A's if there were two other seats together. He later came back and said no, but there was one exit row seat next to a window. I immediately sprang up and took it. The GF was mad as hell - but there was no way I was staying in that seat. I'd have gone stir crazy. I took the other seat next to a very friendly (but somewhat pretentious) surgeon. I read most of the way, watched most of "Alexander" and took a nap. The meal was Hungarian chicken stew. It was OK. The only female F/A on the flight also fed me three Buds. She was VERY pleasant (unlike her male counterparts.) About them, we all know the no smoking announcements, etc... This guy was
very threatning and explained people caught smoking would have their cigs and passport taken away and be turned over to police in DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW. He insisted seat belts be fastened OVER the top of your blankets (I like cheating this rule.) The guy was a sky Nazi. Nevertheless, we arrived in DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW about ten min, early. Immigration and customs at DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW is quite lengthy. We cleared without any trouble but then had to pass through security AGAIN. This is a waste of taxpayer money as the cutoms area is in a secure area. Once we cleared these hidious lines we went out for more nicotine. After our lungs were cashed we headed to the C counourse for the next flight...
March 8, 2005
DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW-CWA
Flight: 3070 (operated by Mesaba)
Equipment: Saab 340 baby!
Tail number: Unknown
Once at the gate the incompetent agent started looking for volunteers to be bumped because
the plane was overweight. Anyone who has been on a Mesaba flight knows this drill. Due to maintenance the flight left 45 min. late. I swear to God I have never left DTW / KDTW), USA - Michigan">DTW for CWA on time. We finally boarded this Saab - which was trashed. Although the Saab is sort of an outdated piece of equipment I do enjoy flying on it because I think it's days in the NW fleet are numbered, I don't know if it's because they're gone, but I used to like the Dash 8 also. Before takeoff the F/A needed two volunteers to move to the front of the Saab to balance it. Since there was a family in the row behind us I and a volunteer moved to the front row. After about an hour and a half the little turbo prop touched down at CWA and we were finally home.
[Edited 2005-03-14 14:10:13]