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Air France Paris CDG - Amsterdam, 7 July 2005  
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 9 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5319 times:

Hi all,

This trip report is the follow up of the Varig troubles me and Flying Belgian had in CDG on 6 + 7 July 2005.

To make a long story short: I was at the Globeground desk in CDG Terminal 1, where I got my ticket about 1h before departure of my flight.

I ran to the bus station (on the other side of T1), stopped a bus, and arrived in CDG Terminal 2F 20 minutes later (10 minutes before closure of check in) and was met by a huge queue at check-in. The next flight to AMS had been cancelled apparently, and all passengers with connections were rebooked on the flight I had to take. I managed to check-in just in time (ran to another counter which was just being opened), and got one of the last seats on the plane (an aisle seat, as no windows were available anymore).


Paris Charles De Gaulle, Terminal 2F.

There was no time unfortunately to explore the terminal. But the difference with T1 was huge. This was a big, clean terminal with a lot of space and lot’s of windows, which made it very bright. There was a big table full of newspapers, and I quickly took one. The terminal was very crowded as quite some flights were leaving in the next hour. As it was already 12:20, 15 minutes before departure, I went back to my gate where boarding was just being announced.

Paris Charles De Gaulle – Amsterdam
Flight number: AF1740
Gate: F34 (Terminal 2F)
Aircraft: B737-528 F-GJNC
Mfd: November 14, 1991
Scheduled blocktime: 12:35-13:45
Actual blocktime: 12:38-13:52
Flighttime: 47 minutes and 15 seconds


F-GJNC at the gate, 5 minutes before boarding (sorry for the window reflections but there was no other possibility to take a picture):


F-GJNC (c/n25228) was built in November 1991, and was immediately delivered to Air France, so no interesting history for this plane.

I was in Tempo Challenge on this flight! Tempo Challenge is some kind of ‘Economy Plus’ on board of AF. You get a separate cabin, the same meal as in Business Class, and you have a flexible ticket. The only thing you don’t get is a pre-flight drink (like in Business Class), and a few other things. Tempo Challenge is a separate cabin, offered on flights in Europe, and on flights to North Africa and Israel. This is an excellent way to reward the people who buy full-fare tickets in my opinion. If you buy a cheap Economy ticket, you get a seat in the back with a minimal service. If you purchase an expensive Economy ticket, you get your own cabin in Tempo Challenge with a service similar to C-class. And if you buy C-class, you really get what you pay for of course  Wink

Boarding started on time, and I was welcomed by two cabin crew members. There were refreshment towels available for everybody who wanted them. I went to my seat, and was glad when the guy in 07F (the window seat) told me I could get his window seat.

The purser made an announcement at 12:30: “We are pleased to welcome you on board of this Air France – KLM flight to Amsterdam”. Indeed, they say Air France-KLM all the time! He wished us a pleasant flight, and asked to pay attention to the safety briefing.

After the purser, it was time for an announcement of the Captain. He introduced the crew (by name), wished us a nice flight, thanked us for flying AF and hoped that we would have a nice and comfortable flight.

We pushed back on time, and the engines were started with an AF B744 on our right side.



A few minutes later, we were on our way to Runway 09R. This picture shows B-HVX of Cathay Pacific Cargo waiting in front of us to enter the runway:



We lined up after the arrival of a BA A319, and about a minute later, we were finally on our way to AMS! Our rotation:



Two other pictures from our climb out:





Only a few minutes after our take off, the cabin crew were released from their seats. The service obviously had to go very fast, due to the short flight time.

The passengers in Business Class got their meal first, and only a few minutes later, the people in Tempo Challenge got the same meal. I really can’t complain, as the meal was very tasty, but I have to admit that I understand the criticism of quite some people (purchasing full fare Business Class tickets) about the food tray. Not that I care about the presentation (certainly not for this very short flight), but the Air France standards have certainly slipped in comparison with for example a year ago. Airlines like BA and LH still manage to present their Business Class food a little better.

Once again, I didn’t care, as for me, the taste of the food is the most important thing, and besides that, the flight time of today was only about 50 minutes so there wasn’t any reason to complain at all.

Contents of the meal:
- a cold tasty salad mix with two pieces of chicken curry
- lemon cake
- Camembert Président
- A small chocolate
- A (too) small roll

Champagne was offered, but I ordered a coke. It was remarkable by the way that nobody in the Tempo Challenge section ordered alcohol, even no wine.



The service on this flight was correct: the crew was polite, and helped the passengers as much as they could.

Cruising between the clouds:


I finished the meal at 13:20, exactly when we started our descent to AMS. The descent was very bumpy, as the crew even made an announcement that we had to make sure that our seatbelt was securely fastened due to the turbulence.

Breaking through the clouds around 13:30:




During our descent, we followed the coastline for some time, before making a 90° turn to continue our descent to the ‘Polderbaan’. This picture will hopefully give you the impression that you are in the plane yourself, looking at the coastline  Wink:


Starting our 90° turn in very bad weather conditions, with a vortex at the end of the wing:


Continuing our turn above the countryside, before starting our final approach to the Polderbaan:


The crew had prepared the cabin for landing at this point, and had gone to their seats as we were now in final approach. Not much more can be said about the approach, so I’m going to post a few pictures from finals till touch down:















And… touch down + reverse!





Taxiing to our gate took quite some time (almost got the feeling that we were taxiing from Paris to Amsterdam  Wink), but the pilot was in a hurry apparently as we taxied quite fast. On the way to our gate, we taxied past quite some nice aircraft, like a Kalita B741F (N702CK), the Martinair MD11F with the flowers-coloursheme (PH-MCU) and N76054 of Continental rotated just besides us on its way to EWR. The purser also made an announcement to welcome us in Amsterdam, and he thanked us for flying Air France-KLM.







The captain told us in the meantime that we were about to reach our gate. He wished us a very nice day as well.

Approaching our gate:


Parking besides a company A320-100:


There were 2 cabin crew members greeting the passengers at the door. I thanked them for the nice flight, said ‘Au revoir’, and left the plane.

A picture of November Charlie at the gate:


After I took this picture, I saw a television screen showing CNN breaking news about the terrorist attacks in London. How awful that the lives of innocent people had been destroyed by brainwashed Muslim extremists. I didn’t feel very comfortable as well, as I was flying to London on the next day.

We left the airport, and once outside, we met forum member Md-11er and his girlfriend. After a visit to the Luchtvaart Hobbyshop, I decided to leave MD-11er, his girlfriend and Flying Belgian, as I had to get up very early on the next day (flying BMI to LHR and MAN). As they were going to stay for a few more hours at AMS, I’d arrive in the middle of the night at home (almost the time I’d have to get up again  Wink), so I took the train back to Brussels.

Conclusion: Air France was excellent on this flight in my opinion. The flight was on time, the staff I met was friendly, the service was great etc.

I also want to thank Flying Belgian for the 2 days in Paris! I hope we will do something similar soon!

Thanks for reading this trip report! All remarks/comments/… are welcome of course!

Kind regards
Frederic

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAmerican 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3653 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 5245 times:

Excellent report Frederic!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, by reading it and looking at the pictures you posted, I felt I was with you on that flight. Yes, Air France is quite good.
I flew with them a few weeks ago from Vienna to Paris. The aircraft was also a B737-528, like the one you were on, but registered F-GJNK. The only thing I was disappointed was no inflight meal,not even drinks, were offered. We got only a small can of water, that was all!!! This was due to a catering department strike in Paris. The crew apologized for that. It was not a problem for me on a two-hour flight, I don't complain for that, but if the flight were more than three hours I would have been upset about that. If you want to see pictures I've taken on that flight, go to myaviation.net
You are also welcome to read my latest trip report, I wrote it after a recent trip to San Diego.

Ben Soriano
Brussels Belgium



Ben Soriano
User currently offlineTriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4692 posts, RR: 43
Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 5062 times:

Hi Frederic!
Again a very good trip rerport, covering every imagineable detail of your short flight with excellent narration and photography. After all your hassles with RG at least you got a little compensation in return - and AFAIK, this is also the first trip report covering a flight in Tempo Challenge, so another plus for you.  Smile

I have to agree with you that the strategy to offer a service program in between C and discounted Y is a bright and innovative move, which was AFAIK first offered by AF. This way there is really no reason for any passenger group to feel ripped of - the discounted guys (like me) get a good value for their ticket fare, the full payer Y-class paxes get a little extra above the "cheap guys" and C gets its dedicated service, even if it has been a little watered down during the recent years.



Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5005 times:

Thanks for the nice comments, Ben and Jens!  Smile

Quoting American 767 (Reply 1):
This was due to a catering department strike in Paris

What an unbelievable country...  Yeah sure

Regards
Frederic


User currently offlineAOMlover From France, joined Jul 2001, 1301 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 4988 times:

Fr�d�ric, you should come here more often then you'd get use to those strikes pretty fast lol. Well if you didn't have an MD11 experience, at least you had an "everyday life of a Frenchman" experience  Wink

I'm glad at least you enjoyed your flight with AF, but of course a ride in a 737 is nothing like a ride in an MD11.


User currently offlineZRHnerd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4955 times:

Excellent report! Will you also write a report about your BMI AMS-LHR-MAN experiences? Can't wait to read it  Smile

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4947 times:

Thanks for the comments!

Quoting AOMlover (Reply 4):
you should come here more often then you'd get use to those strikes pretty fast lol

Being a Belgian, I'm already used to strikes quite much  Wink But you guys surely beat us!!

Quoting ZRHnerd (Reply 5):
Will you also write a report about your BMI AMS-LHR-MAN experiences? Can't wait to read it

Yes, but the next trip report will probably be Alitalia BRU-MXP-FCO and SN Brussels Airlines FCO-BRU. Other reports will be BRU-LHR-MAN and back on BMI, BRU-LHR-BRU on BMI and BRU-MUC-BRU on Lufthansa and Eurowings.

Regards
Frederic


User currently offlineA340600 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2003, 4104 posts, RR: 52
Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4947 times:

Lovely report, thanks for sharing Smile

Sam



Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4811 times:

Hello Frederic,

Finally I found some time to read your recent trip reports. I am glad that you liked AF and I agree that this Tempo Challenge Class is not bad. I was also upgraded from Tempo to Tempo Challenge when I flew to the Paris Air Show last month and I found the service excellent for such a short flight, the only little dissadvantage is that Tempo Challenge passengers have no lounge access.

Really sad that Varig dissapointed you so much! I would be really angry when the same situation had happened to me, it is annoying when you miss a flight in a (for your logbook) new aircraft type, even more annoying is that it was a MD-11 with the Star Alliance livery, it is quite rare to get a flight with a plane in special livery. I hope you get a compensation from RG, please keep us updated about the case.

Thanks for the report, reading and watching was a pleasure.

Patrick


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4709 times:

Thanks for the comments!

Hi Patrick,

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 8):
the only little dissadvantage is that Tempo Challenge passengers have no lounge access.

Out of curiosity: I thought you had already a high Flying Blue status? So you should have to get lounge status even with a Tempo Class ticket if I'm not mistaken?

Regards
Frederic


User currently offlineHighpeaklad From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 538 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4701 times:

I'm going to AMS soon. Where will I find the Luchtvaart hobbyshop ? Also do you know if the viewing area at Schipol is still open?
Great report and good pictures.

Chris



Don't try to keep up with the Joneses - bring them down to your level !
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4696 times:

Hi Chris,

The viewing area is still open! Luchtvaart hobbyshop: I think it's better to ask some AMS locals about the driving directions, as I can't help you with this.

It might be worth to check out their (impressive new) website: http://www.lhshop.nl

Regards
Frederic


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4690 times:

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 9):
Out of curiosity: I thought you had already a high Flying Blue status? So you should have to get lounge status even with a Tempo Class ticket if I'm not mistaken?

Yes, I have Flying Blue Silver status. Unfortunately are members with Silver status not allowed to use the lounges when they are holding a boarding pass for Tempo or Tempo Challenge, only Gold members are allowed to enter the lounges regardless of their booked travel class.

Well, I hope to get Flying Blue Gold status next year, then I will always get lounge access for a travel partner and myself.

Patrick


User currently offlineJouy31 From France, joined May 2003, 447 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4544 times:

mmm ... You are supposed to have access to the CDG lounges (official) and some UK lounges when flying in Tempo Challenge, regardless of your FB status. Of course, if you are upgraded at the gate ...  Wink

User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4481 times:

Quoting Jouy31 (Reply 13):
You are supposed to have access to the CDG lounges (official) and some UK lounges when flying in Tempo Challenge, regardless of your FB status.

That's interesting, I didn't know that. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Well, seems that I didn't miss anything, I got the upgrade to Tempo Challenge in DUS, on the way back I got a very special "upgrade", I sat on the third best seat in the plane. Big grin

Patrick


User currently offlineAlphafloor From Chile, joined Jun 2004, 1277 posts, RR: 41
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4399 times:

Nice trip report and very good photos !!! Thanks !

Alphafloor



Whatever
User currently offlineFlying Belgian From Belgium, joined Jun 2001, 2389 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4311 times:
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Hello Fred !!

Lots of souvenir as I was looking at the pics !! And once again many thanks for the adventure we had together. I will always remember getting into the plane as last pax as I did not expect to see you on board !!
I was also relieved to reach AMS, and I'm very thankful to AF who accepted directly my ID ticket. I was very well treated despite the cancellation hassle they had on the next AMS flight (means a lot of rebooked pax and a very full flight).
The visit at the Luchtvaart Hobby shop is a MUST for anyone going to Schpihol !!  bigthumbsup 

FB



Life is great at 41.000 feet...
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4239 times:

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments!

Flying Belgian... Big grin

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 16):
And once again many thanks for the adventure we had together

I thank you too! Big grin

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 16):
I will always remember getting into the plane as last pax as I did not expect to see you on board !!

Looking at the fact that I had just sent an SMS to Md-11er to let him know that you weren't on board (I thought that boarding had finished), I was surprised as well when I suddenly saw you boarding! Big grin

Regards
Frederic


User currently offlineNYCFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1385 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

good report. I read your previous one as well. I'm sorry you couldn't get that MD-11. Oh well.

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