FLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55 Posted (9 years 10 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5429 times:
About the trip:
I´ve booked a Frequence-Plus ticket to Sicily in September last year for October, but it was impossible about business reasons to do this trip.
So, I need a new destination: LIS in early spring maybe a good result!.
STR-CDG AF 1409 Airbus A320-200 F-GJVW
Schedule: 10.10 / 11.30 Gate 310
Actual: 10.05 / 11.15 Seat 10F
Fare: 25000 FP-Miles and 39.-- EUR Tax
Load Factor: max. 60 %
Arrived at STR T3, the new and spacious building opened last year, at short after 8 am. Two counters staffed, one male, one female, another female agent arrived till I waited. After one minute to wait, one of the female agents was ready to check me in. She was a bit stressed, as she had a discussion with an older male passenger, IMO from the middle east, who had lots of bags
(40 kilos, I heard about it) and dont want to understand that this is not possible. As I travelled with cabin-bag only, some seconds thereafter I hold my boarding passes for the STR-CDG and the CDG-LIS legs. Security was strict, but no beep as I know the procedure. Tuesday (and Friday) is Hapag-Lloyd hub day at STR, a lot of non frequent flyers to connect, you know what I mean, confusion here, panic there and not easy for me to find a calm and sunny place to visit the interesting traffic this morning. A Bundeswehr (German
Air Force) Transall arrived, nice to follow the smoky prop approach.
HF planes everywhere ( included four A310s). Most interesting for me was the arrival of an old A300 with JAS cheatline and hastily painted Onur titles. It was Saga´s one and only plane, till know operated for FlyAir. AFAIK FlyAir is in financial troubles so OHY leased the bird. My plane from CDG arrived ontime with lots of pax leaving by the airbridge. Time goes by quick and boarding started at 09.30 for the 10.10 flight.
Friendly welcomed by an older female FA ( 1 male / 3 female). My seat was in the first row after biz class.
My 18th leisure flight on the A320 and the first on this plane. It was not in the best conditions, dirty floor, parts of the window cover turns away, only light overpainted. The boarding procedure was finished quick about the low load factor. Most of the pax biz travellers and some vacationeers.
We´re pushed back and lined in to departure, 3 or 4 planes first, included the Air Force Transall. We had to wait for an AZ EMB-145 on short finals, entered the runway and had a powerful departure in eastern direction. A right turn after departure and on to CDG, passed SXB nearby.The good wheather in southern germany changed and the captain announced later thick clouds and light rain in the Paris area. Service was very friendly with one free drink and a small cake. Approach to CDG started early, 25 minutes before arrival, nothing to see until 5 minutes before touchdown. Landing on the most western runway, heavy breaks and thrust reversers to vacate quickly, another plane behind us landed shortly. We had to wait for an departing A340 and a B747 before we´re allowed to cross the active departure runway. Arrival at T2D, most used for the Schengen flights.Deboarding by a finger gate. At CDG all arrivals ended in the public area for security reasons. Conclusion: A separate security check before your connecting flight. I cheked the screens and as usual a gate change between the STR issued boarding pass and the actual announcement. Crossed security again and find a quiet place with good views in the bus boarding area down the stairs to wait for my connecting flight to LIS. T2D is an older part of CDG airport with limited space in the waiting areas and totally underserved with 3 small restrooms for roundabout 30 gates.
CDG-LIS AF 1624 Airbus A 318 F-GUGA
Scheduled: 13.00 / 14.35 Gate D 60
Actual: 13.05 / 14.15 Seat 10A
Load factor: near 100 %
I saw F-GUGA arriving from my viewing place. AF showed different planes for this flight, on my passenger receipt from October last year no plane type was announced (the STR-CDG and the CDG-STR legs were exactly as announced) and the AF online booking system showed the A 318. I thinked, this could be my plane. Up the stairs to my gate and F-GUGA parked at D60.
My first flight on the A318 and naturally the first on this bird. Again, boarding started early and goes quick forward as the next gate was also used. Again, a very friendly welcome, this time by a older male FA (2 male/1 female). Some problems with the carry-on´s as the plane was nearly complete full. Infact of the upcoming easter days, lots of Portuguese people on their way back home, some biz travellers and some connectors on board. Boarding completed, push back started early and we travelled all the way back beside T2B / A / C like the incoming taxi this morning back to the western departure runway. Only some seconds to wait till another plane landed on the other runway and we departed in southern direction, the clouds lifted and I had really nice views on the city of Paris (especially the Eiffel Tower). Flight route southwestern to Nantes, over the Biscaya, entered the Iberian peninsula between Bilbao and La Coruna and approached over the portuguese countryside to LIS. This plane looks new, was clean and in good conditions. Service: A free drink and a plate with three small sandwiches with cheese or ham and a small cake. IMO a good alternative to my last experiences on European "Full service" carriers like LH or others.
Smooth touchdown, no thrustreversers, leave the active runway in front off the terminal building and arrival at the last finger gate. LIS airport shows clearly the different periods of building, IMO 3 or 4 times expanded the last years. As the wheather was fine ( sunny, 22 degrees) I dont want to loose time by bus and subway and take a taxi to the hotel. 13.-- EUROs, I think it was not cheap, but it was ok.
After 15 minutes I was there at the Sana Classic Executive, a 3 star city hotel near the Avenidas Novas and easy to reach by the subway station San Sebastiao. HRS rate 62.-- EURO per night, breakfast included, recommendable.
What to do in Lisbon for 2 days: Drive the famous old-fashioned tramways called Electronicos (but hold your pocket safe, a good place for pickpockets), take the Elevador de Santa Justa and enjoy a very interesting city.
LIS-CDG AF 1625 Airbus A 318 F-GUGA
Scheduled: 15.30 / 19.00 Gate 7
Actual: 15.30 / 18.40 Seat 20A
Load factor: near 100 %
This time i go by subway (included in my daily city ticket for Metro and Carris 2,90 EUR) and the Aerobus (3.-- EUR oneway) to the airport.
As the Aerobus runs late after schedule and the drivers had lots of time (manana!) before they started their run to the Airport I was there at 2 pm for my 3.30 pm departure. The new part of LIS airport where AF check in was done is impressive, wide and great. 3 counters staffed with 3 good-looking portuguese females, about 10 pax in front, not more than 5 minutes to wait. Check in was done quick, the agent was friendly, this time I checked ma cabin-sized suitcase in to STR and entered the pax area secured by a boarding-pass control desk. Lots of shops and restaurants thereafter, short before arrival at the gate area there is located the security check. Same procedure as always, belt and jacket off, no beep.
Interesting planes there: TAAG Angola B742, Loftleidir Icelandic B 767-300,
Air Luxor A330, SATA A310, 4 EuroAtlantic planes included the famous TriStar500 and another TriStar without markers.
I was at my gate as my plane arrived. Hmmm..., AF owns a wide variety of planes and what arrived? - F-GUGA, my second leg on the A318 and on this bird. Boarding started 30 minutes before scheduled departure time through the same finger gate as on arrival at Tuesday. Again very friendly welcomed by the FA´s ( 1 male/2 female) and the captain. Plane again clean. Also this time lots of easter travellers on the way to their familys, some biz pax in First and Biz. Taxi to departure is not easy at LIS, all the planes cross the active runway, the taxiway to the holding point is opposite the apron.Departure in western direction. Interesting, they built new houses sure not more than 200 meters beneath the runway. The departure directs us over the city of Lisbon, I remember that I saw some A340s low over the city, typical A340 departure.
Flight route was exactly the same as on Tuesday. The captain informed us pax well, with flight route informartions, sights to see along the route, good wheather over french mainland, the city of Nantes, Le Mans, Versailles castle and so on. Service this leg: A free drink and a cheese sandwich.
Some thunderstorms in the Paris area. On early approach we circled between the high clouds, later we fly through the clouds with heavy shakers, ups and downs, some people crying. Final approach was very interesting. We had to pass the airport, the approaching planes under us in the other direction clearly visible, a sharp left turn to line us in, short after us a widebody breaks through the clouds, also for lining in the approaching queue. Landing again with breaks and thrustreversers to vacate the runway. On the ground I saw how heavy the thunderstorm clouds are, impressive.
Arrival again in T2D. Heavy rain, no finger gate,bad,but CDG has a special kind of buses. Its a sort of driving elevator cabin, it picked us up directly at the planes door and leaves us at a finger gate without going outside in the rain.
CDG-STR AF 1208 Airbus A 319-100 F-GRHO
Scheduled: 21.15 / 22.35 Gate D 56
Actual: 21.10 / 22.15 Seat 25A
Load factor: not more than 40 %
I take the same place as on Tuesday, stairs down, sit and wait, view the traffic. As it was night, no good views this time.
Again a gate change and early boarding at 8.45 pm. My 12th flight on the A319-100 and the first on this bird. Warm welcomed by the Captain and a female FA (1 male/3 female). Good looking plane, clean.
This time most of the pax are biz flyers on the way back home to germany.
One service with a free drink and some bretzels and crackers. Departure at the same runway as on Tuesday, taxi this time around the new T2F and E.
3 planes to departure in front, but only 1 or 2 minutes to wait. The clouds gone away and this gives me a very nice view over the nightly lighted city short after departure. Flight route: CDG/SXB/STR. Approach started early, more than 30 minutes before arrival. We passed STR in southern direction and approached from the east. The male FA announced: In a view minutes we`re arriving at Frankfurt Rhein/Main airport. Where, the pax asked?. Laughing around: Sorry, at STR Echterdingen airport. Soft landing, we vacate the runway nearly at the end, joined a finger position. Till we waited for the finger I had a nice chat with the male and the female FA in the back of the plane. They said it was a long day and the flight before was CDG-FRA,FRA-CDG and then CDG-STR. They had the night-stop in STR. The female purser apologized her personally by us pax at deboarding for the FRA-STR fault. A special and emotional service. Interesting was bag pick-up. At the announced belt waited lots of pax from an earlier arrived HLX flight from PMI and they are really annoyed as our AF bags arrived as we are at the belt and they had to wait much longer.
Conclusion: After my last trip with 3 LoCoAirlines (Germanwings/Vueling/HLX) only 2 weeks ago I feel more safe on this AF trip. Be sure, safe not in the case of safety in the plane, I think safe around the trip, whats going on if something goes wrong, connection, wheather or else?
Ontime flights, friendly employees at all = Good Job by Air France.
Comments and critics always welcome,
Contact Air From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 1154 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (9 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5193 times:
great report; I always like to read reports about my home airport STR.
I found it surprising that load factors on the STR-legs were so low while on CDG-LIS-CDG it was near 100%. On the other hand, AF sent their smallest plane (A318) to LIS while most STR-flights are operated by A319/A320.
TriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4696 posts, RR: 42
Reply 4, posted (9 years 10 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 5118 times:
A very nice trip report about one of my favorite airlines. Air France is one of the few remaining airlines in Europe, where there is still a noteable difference regarding Peasant Class service compared to low cost, no frills carriers.
I would challenge your remark that travelling Air France should make one feel more safe in terms of travel disruptions though. Although I really like the style and onboard service of Air France, their very generous frequent flyer program and good fares, their management in case something goes wrong leaves a lot to be desired when compared to the rather bland and stern, but very reliable Lufthansa.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
Sabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (9 years 10 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5086 times:
Thanks for the interesting trip report!
AF flights in Economy are not covered that much on this website, so it was good to read your experiences.
Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 4): Air France is one of the few remaining airlines in Europe, where there is still a noteable difference regarding Peasant Class service compared to low cost, no frills carriers.
Hi Jens, with 'service': do you mean the meals, the service in general (flight attendants, on the ground, in the air,...) or both? Because, when I compare the meal service between AF and the Peasant Class of LH, I don't see a big difference. LH still serve sandwiches on quite a lot of EU flights (I know that several routes get chocolate bars etc from now on, but still...) while AF are serving quite some peanuts these days, even on longer EU-flights when you are not flying during mealtimes.
FLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 5044 times:
first, thanx all for your replys.
I don´t count the pax from the Tuesday morning CDG-STR flight but it seems to be good loaded. This flight is the first morning flight from CDG to STR with the biz flyers to STR and the connecting pax from the overnight flights. It seems the A320 is large enough for the incoming pax, on the other side its the second daily flight to CDG, to big for the outgoing load. I m not sure if AF is satisfied with their load factors on the STR route.
One daily flight for the summer timetable is cancelled.
I am several times on this last daily flight CDG-STR and it was always good loaded, IMO this day was an exception about the upcoming easter days.
AF is my favourite "classic" airline in Europe. Disruptions and problems happens everwhere, but till now always good managed ( I remind another FP mileage ticket to DUB which gives me the chance to fly Biz on KL/EI because the flight was overbooked and fills my Flying Dutchman account up!).
About Frequence Plus and Flying Dutchman: They summarize it to Flying Blue at 01.06. this year but the details were not announced till now. I will wait about the conditions if FB will be my future favourite programm.
I´ve done a few flights on AF and on LH the last years and followed the service downgrade. IMO AF is not that much but a bit higher than LH especially in Peasant Class and is much more "personally" for me.
Sabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5037 times:
Excellent report, reading was a pleasure! I am glad that you enjoyed AF's onboard service, I would rate it, together with LX's, as the best of all European airlines, especially I like the always friendly and helpful F/A's.
Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 5): AF flights in Economy are not covered that much on this website
Ndebele From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 2903 posts, RR: 22
Reply 9, posted (9 years 10 months 21 hours ago) and read 4866 times:
finally I read your report, very interesting, not only but also because I always enjoy reading reports involving STR. I didn't know that AF and KL "merge" their FF programs, but it makes sense, of course.
Regarding AF's flights to STR: They also downgraded the afternoon flight to BAe146 a few months ago. It used to be operated by CityJet, now since last week it's mostly D-AWBA, a WDL aircraft - not sure if operated by WDL crews, though - I just noticed the unusual reg.
Thanks for sharing this report with us, Alex.
FLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (9 years 10 months 19 hours ago) and read 4848 times:
thanx for your reply.
The "merger" was announced on AF´s website, but I received no mail or other notice from AF till now. Not to bad for me, as I am a member of both programs.
If they bring the miles together, they will have 4 levels and I will be second or third level.
I searched a good fare for a Paris weekend in August and they will do some flights with EMB145´s during the summer!. Interesting that they operate with an WDL aircraft, never heard it before.
Maybe I will write a report when I have a bit time during the next few days, unfortunately I don't have a digi-cam so it will be one without pics. Don't count on the report because I have a lot of things to do beside while I am here.
EddieDude From Mexico, joined Nov 2003, 7640 posts, RR: 42
Reply 16, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4498 times:
Hi Markus. Very nice report. I flew STR-CDG last Northern hemisphere summer (July 2004) and I had a 737-500. As a matter of fact, I think it was two weeks or so before all the AF 735's were retired. It is interesting that AF is using a mix of A319's and A320's in this route. My flight was in the morning and I just got biscuits or peanuts and a soft drink... your sandwich meal sounds much more appealing!
Anyway, nice report. And I really liked STR. It is a very nice airport, perfect for a great city like Stuttgart.
Udo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 4450 times:
great report! You summed it up quite well, AF is really outstanding. Interesting you got the first A318, but too bad it showed up again. That has happened to me several times too. Flying the same plane again is one of my nightmares...
FLIEGER67 From UK - England, joined Sep 2003, 5186 posts, RR: 55
Reply 18, posted (9 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4457 times:
thanx for your reply. Some B737-500s are in service till now. Hope I get one on my next AF flights before they phase them acutally out. I read about the switch to the A318 but saw one at CDG and one today at STR.
And about the service: I had some flights STR/CDG/STR the last time with different services (drink only, drink and snack, drink and cake, drink and sandwich), dont know about the reason.
Nice that you enjoyed your trip to STR.
Never been in MEX till now, but let´s see whats going on...
thanx for you reply. On another AF trip 2 or 3 years ago, I´m on an A319 STR-CDG, outside parking position with a short connection (I remember the discussion from your AF/JFK report), a long ride on the bus to the terminal, a terminal change for my connecting flight to ARN,out of breath I was there at the gate as they called the PAX for boarding by bus and ... enter the same plane with the same crew (smilling).