HT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 10606 times:
As this was a short business trip, I preferred to travel light and therefore I did not take any camera with me: So, no pics (as usual with my very few TR´s yet).
During my return flight I came to the conclusion to make this TR a "DL vs. AF in C-Class" (with being a first time flyer in both products, but having prior experience on other airlines). Therefore I limit my description of my feeder flights to some basics and will focus on the Transatlantic Crossing.
Approaching AF´s check-in counter in HAJ at 0930h I had a queue of 20+ pax in front of me with only 2 check-in positions open. The queue moved slowly.
Fulfilling Murphy´s Law, a third position was only opened when I reached the head of the queue …
I had to fill in and sign a form with those stupid questions regarding the contents of my to-be-checked luggage ( ihad to answer the very same questions later in CDG another time). Apart form this, check-in was performed rather quick.
Very quickly after takeoff on runway 27R beverage service began. Apart from drinks also a selection of muffins, pretzels etc. was offered.
Once the single bev´service was over, the cabin crew of two vanished behind that front curtain and only emerged once again to collect the trash prior to landing.
Having touched down at CDG we taxied for exactly 10 minutes to a remote stand.
We had to squeeze into a single bus for the short drive to Terminal 2D which also was cramped in bus arrivals and single escalator was struggling to cope with the flow of pax.
Having to connect from 2D to 2E we (I flew together with some collegues) walked for quite a number of minutes …
Having received my boarding pass for my onward flight to ATL already in HAJ, I went through passport control at 2E for gate area E75 (fortunately I was in the quicker moving "EU"-line) which tool only a few minutes. Also screening of pax and carryon took only a few minutes.
After a quick visit to AF´s lounge serving gates E72 thru 77, I continued my walk to gate E75. That area of CDG still is under some kind of (re-)construction …
Approaching the gate area, my passport was cheked again, I got asked the same stupid question regarding my checked luggage twice (!). Being at the gate about 35 minutes prior to departure, the gate area was already deserted but staff was still present. It turned out that gate E75 is a bus gate on which intercontinental flights are handled …
I litterarily had to squeeze into a already full bus waiting. Minutes later three more pax had to squeeze in and ot took another few minutes before the bus left. This experience definitely was the low point of my travel experience so far: Having to squeeze into a already full bus as a full-fare paying business class pax really is something one might want to avoid !
The positive thing of this bus transfer is that I as an A.netter got driven past quite a number of biggies ...
Arriving at the aircraft only 1 airstair was attached to our B763. Consequently only 1 door of the bus was opened but still we had to wait on the apron for quite a while before the crowd had made up its way into the a/c (with everybody having to walk through the C-class section of the a/c).
CDG - ATL
Boeing B-767-300ER (apparently I memorized the reg incorrectly as N164AN, as it is not assigned to a DL B763).
Load in C-Class: Full
Coats were hung quickly, Pre-flight drinks were offered.
Once the a/c-door was closed we had to taxi only a few minutes to the runway and being #1 for departure we were airborne at 1355h.
After takeoff to the east we turned 180 degrees again and haeded west, getting wet feet over Brittany. In due course we flew over Lands End (England) and the southwestern tip of Ireland. We made our atlantic crossing at an altitude of 31.000 ft at 54 degrees North.
At 50° West we turned on a slightly southernly course (250°).
Making landfall over Canada we climbed to 37000 ft.
Champagne and OJ were served prior to departure.
More drinks were served soon after departure.
Meal service started about 1 h into the flight:
I opted for:
- Kingprawn and some other fish as appetizer (out of 2 choices)
- Chicken soup with vegetables and rice (out of 3 choices)
- Tenderloin beef with potato slices, sliced carrots and spinach with a peppery sauce (out of 5 choices)
- Assorted cheese (out of 2 choices)
- Ice cream
Out of 6 white and 6 red wines listed in DL´s menu, "only" two of each were available on this flight. The Australian Shiraz I had was delicious.
Food was served at a pace set by me, rather than the crew; refills of bev´s during lunch had to be asked for once (comment only, not really a negative point).
During cruise, cabin crew handed out bottled water ever so often (nice feature).
Our flight took us over Toronto and London, OT from where we went on a southernly heading.
Coming closer to ATL we had to cut speed quite early due to traffic inbound to ATL. Ultimately we had to circle north of ATL, but only 1 circle before we could perform approach into ATL. We were at the gate about 10 minutes later than scheduled.
Just before landing the responsible FA (aka. Purser) came to every single pax in C-Class to say Good Bye. Nice touch.
Overall, DL left a very good impression of its C-Class.
Arriving at ATL
We docked at Concourse E right next to the center staircase.
As a number of other flights had arrived prior to us, Immigration area (only the odd-numbered booths were staffed) was pretty busy. It took me about 20 minutes to clear immigration (fellow collegues who chose a different row used another 15 minutes to clear immigration).
I can´t understand why only half of the booths are staffed ?! Immigration is the first impression a visitor to the U.S. get from the country he´s visiting and having to wait in line for such long times while only half of the available facilities are staffed makes no good impression.
As I´d been advised from A.netters, I was prepared to put my bag onto another belt after having cleared USDA inspection.
What I was NOT prepared for was the fact that the trainsystem connecting the concourses had broken down and also some of the travellators were inop.
Ultimately we had to walk all the way from Concourse E to Baggage Claim with a bottleneck past Concourse T where the single (and also single file) escalator was not running. Everybody had to walk up that inop´ escalator
By the time we reached Baggage Claim our checked luggage was already taken off the conveyor belt.
Checking in with the rental car agency took less than 10 minutes, but by the time we finally boarded the Rental car Shuttle it was 2 hours past our scheduled arrival time. Not a good performance (with "the airport" being the one to blame) !!
After 3 days of business it was time to return to Europe.
I had selected the last available flight out of ATL to CDG leaving at 2135h as that gave me the opportunity to have a full business day prior to departure.
Check-in for AF´s Business Class in ATL´s South hall is rather well posted. Check-in was accomplished rather fast and with the usual procedures.
Waiting time at security control was almost nil. Travelling with a collegue we deliberately decided to walk to Concourse E in order to get a bit of exercise as we had been sitting in meetings for 3 consecutive days.
Arriving at Concourse E, I first used a automated "US-VISIT" station to officially leave the U.S.
After meal at a Chinese fast food restaurant, we decided to hit the lounge for about 45 minutes. AF uses DL´s facilities and DL´s International Business Lounge at Concourse E was only lightly visited. It made for a very pleasant waiting ! Really one of the best lounges I´ve experienced so far !
ATL - CDG
2135h - 1150h
Loadfactor: 1 free seat in C-Class only (Y looked quite full, F had a number of pax) --> make that a "full" flight
Our a/c was parked at gate E14 which is only a few steps from DL´s Int´l Lounge. We were on board quickly. And that´s the time point on which my "complaints" start (hence the number of -emoticons):
Flying C-Class, AF had placed hangers for coats at every single seat (already tagged with the seat number). But nobody dared to take away my coat to hang it. I had to call a FA (who was pretending to be busy in the galley) for this
Having boarded early, we sat dead on the ground for more than 30 minutes, but no pre-flight drinks were offered. Cabin crew waited until pushback to offer drinks: Champagne (which I didn´t enjoy as it had only little taste, but maybe I´m just a Gourmand in this respect ) / OJ / water.
My headrest had no cover (unlike all other seats around me) - but after calling the purser (aka. senior FA) this was rectified within a minute
The in-flight magazine (which contents tomy taste were among the worst I´ve ever seen) in my seatpocket was pretty battered and its coverpage was torn off by one third - not a good impression to have such a thing in C-Class
I found some minor trash in the seatpocket, but this probably is to be blamed on the cleaning staff used at ATL. On a positve side, the remainder of the cabin was clean.
I skipped both the evening meal (as I had eaten earlier and wanted to sleep) as well as the breakfast. However I did notice that beverage services were very limited between meals. AF had put a 0.25 L bottle of water in every seatpocket but once this was empty it was not replaced.
Approaching breakfast time, the light simply (and radically) was switched on and breakfast was served immediately after. I would have expected that AF had handed out hot towels before breakfast in order to give the pax a way to wake up and freshen up … - Nope ! Those hot towels were handed out AFTER breakfast only !
The a/c was equipped with VOD (according to announcement) but I didn´t use it, as I preferred to sleep during the flight. My non-using of VOD was supported by my unability to remove the remote control out of its cradle: The hold just didn´t want to release it.
The headphone I tried for a moment (with music only) used noise cancelling functions. However I preferred to use the ear plugs provided in AF amenity box
Seats are adjustable only in 2 directions: Reclining the backrest (which also adjust the seatbottom a bit) and extending the legrest (with additional footrest). Degree of decline was a bit disappointing. Also my feet hit the seat in front of me when trying to lie (more or less) stretched out. Having to lie at an adverse angle, it made my knees hurt over the flight.
Approaching CDG, coats were handed out 30 minutes before touch down. To my standards this is quite early as there´s no good way to place a coat for such a long time w/o getting crincles in it (as I didn´t want to put it onto my lap for half an hour, I put it into the overhead bin). Furthermore, even though every hanger had a preassigned seatnumber on it, the FA´s had problems to deliver coats correctly (I can´t say if the tags were wrong or similar) …
Arriving at CDG
We once again received a remote stand; a single air-stair was in use and only a single bus was waiting for pax. Having been in C, I was fortunate enough to get a spot in that first bus. While reversing out and drivng away I had proper sight of the a/c and the airstairs for about 4 minutes: No second bus arrived and pax had to wait on the airstairs.
We got bussed to Terminal 2E again and had to walk through some temporary corridors. Immigration was performed quickly.
Having specifically booked a later flight out of CDG (as 60 minutes of connection time from 2E to 2D was too short by my calculations) I took a stroll walking from 2E via 2C to 2D. In the connecting corridor between 2D and 2B I found the best set of restaurants (some of them being "fast food").
CDG - HAJ
Load factor: about 50 %
Using a side entrance to my gate area (D75) - this one goes down a flight of stairs where the corridor of T2B hits T2D - security check was done very quickly (I was the only pax at that check point). Upon going to board the bus we had a secondary check of BP & passport (!) just outside the bus. A/C door was closed on time and we were off our stand (located between T1 and T2B) quickly, however by the time we joined the departure queue we were #7 for departure, thus we departed 30 minutes late. Service was the usual (nothing special to mention here) and we landed at HAJ about 20 minutes late. Luggage was deliverd quickly.
When comparing the products DL and AF delivered in C-Class for these very flights on the same route (actually on code-sharing flights), I need to give full "thumps up" for DL:
Seat pitch: 10/10
Conditions of a/c: 8/10
Food & Beverages: 9/10
Service on board: 9/10
Here´s my voting of AF:
Seat pitch: 3/10
Entertainment: 9/10 (high score, though I didn´t use it)
Conditions of a/c: 8/10
Food & Beverages: 5/10 (selection of food looked fair; quality I can´t comment)
Service on board: 3/10
While I´m impressed by the product DL delivered, I´m deeply inclined to neglect AF in any future long-haul future planning in C-Class. One can get a much better product on other carriers than AF for the obscene amount of money to be paid for such flights !
Connecting through CDG´s various concourses within T2 is another thing I´ll try to avoid in future.
I hope I´ve covered all relevant aspects - If not, don´t hesitate to ask.
Holger aka. HT
HT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 10232 times:
Quoting Semsem (Reply 2): You say you skipped the "meals" on AF ATL to GDG; so how can you rate their food 5/10?
In my opinion their food is better than most airlines even in Y.
--> First part of answer:
Quoting HT (Thread starter): Food & Beverages: 5/10 (selection of food looked fair; quality I can´t comment)
And I also included "Beverages" (amount / quality (to my taste) / "offered refills") in my rating which I rated rather low.
The overall "5/10" is an estimation.
I can´t comment on "food in Y on AF".
UPDATE: Food on DL:
I have to correct some details:
- There was only 1 appetizer on offer.
- "Main course" had 4 choices.
- OTOH, I forgot to mention the "Afternoon Refreshment" (fresh Pizza or Asian Style Chicken Salad) - the Pizza was delicious.
Panamair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9618 times:
Quoting SK601 (Reply 6): Nice TR. Like B319-131 I also thought AF would beat DL.
Great TR. DL's transatlantic Business service is actually very good, - friendly and professional FAs 99% of the time, mostly excellent wines (especially the New World wines), very comfortable 60" seat pitch, and a very healthy seat recline of 160 degrees (especially for those of us who prefer the 'cradle' seats versus the lie-flat-at-an-angle J seats).
Also agree that the dining at your own pace option, constant replenishing of water bottles, and the senior FA going through to thank all Business passengers, are nice touches that I have not seen much of at other airlines.
HT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 9365 times:
Thanks for all the replies.
Quoting Dutch122 (Reply 8): But still surprises me, that AF service was that "bad" according to your experience.
Maybe the crew I encountered had a bad day, but definitely my overall impression of this very AF flight was lower than what I had experienced lately in longhaul C-Class to/from the U.S. (in alphabetical order: AF, DL, KL, LH).
Just yesterday I got an appointment for another meeting in the Atlanta area in February and I already am looking into flights for which I will try to neglect CDG and AF. Minus these two factors, my options (in terms of timing) are limited, but currently I´m looking into:
- LH via FRA
- DL from FRA with feed from LH
- KL via AMS
777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 9314 times:
Quoting HT (Thread starter): When comparing the products DL and AF delivered in C-Class for these very flights on the same route (actually on code-sharing flights), I need to give full "thumps up" for DL:
Seat pitch: 10/10
Conditions of a/c: 8/10
Food & Beverages: 9/10
Service on board: 9/10
Hi HT, I've flown DL in C class from FCO to JFK and from ATL to MPX a month ago and I had the same positive feeling you described in your report.
I found the overall quality of the on board service great!
DALelite From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 9203 times:
HT, I am very glad to hear that you've had a good time on DL's premium class.
I have been on the biz elite class several times before and i have always said
that it is a great product.
The food is o.k. but in comparison to their old c-class, menus aren't that
fancy and stylish anymore.
The service still is superb, if not even improved.
Don´t you get those little infoboxes as popup when you position your mouse over a IATA- or an airline code on A.net ? The browsers I use display a small dotted line beneath the code (in this case: HAJ ).
(see also Help With Mouseover Feature (by UA772IAD May 23 2005 in Site Related) )
HAJ --> Hannover, Germany
DALelite, In case you need any additional info / help on this, please send me a IM or e-mail (see my profile).
Flpuck6 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 8942 times:
I am actually happy to hear that your experience went well with Delta, I hear more negative feedback than positive.
As for your experience with AF, however, I am slightly disappointed. As staff, sometimes I get the pleasure of flying Business class, and each time I have, I have never encountered any problems.
I guess the basic difference is in the "service method". Keep in mind that the service methods often times reflect the culture of the respective country. Americans tend to actually want to be more warm towards clients, where as the French avoid being too imposing. An american f/a would call a passenger by his first name or by Mr. XXX where as in the French culture, you just don't do that unless you know the person.
The f/as in J should have been attentive enough to note that you had a jacket and should have picked it up and stowed it right away. There is always at least one cabin crew who is supposed to be present in each section of the business class cabin during boarding.
The "welcome drink" should have been offered before take-off. Perhaps the Captain told the crew that taxi -time would be short and perhaps in this case he was wrong. The inverse could have happened, but it didn't. The welcome drink at AF is indeed "only" Champagne/OJ/Water.
The cabin crew should have noted the missing head rest cover during their cabin checks before boarding. Usually they don't miss small things like that, believe me, I work with them before they give me the OK to board !
It's true, the AF magazines have a tendancy to get ripped and do not get replaced as the month goes by. A small thing they should pay more attention to.
Minor trash in the seat pockets is a pain in the butt !!! One part of the problem (but this is not an excuse) is that the turn around time in ATL on that flight is so short. It arrives at 19h35 and leaves at 21h35, allowing for only 2 hours turn around, if it arrives from CDG on time ! At my station, the turn around time is the same time. 2 hours goes by very fast, necessitating, unfortunately, only a basic cleaning. Yess, it's unfortunate, but that's what CDG dictates !
As for water, it's true that passengers appreciate the cabin crew passing through the cabin with water. This is not, however, an AF trademark and is not part of the service methods. There are, however, two bars located at door 2 of the aircraft for business class passengers where one can serve one's self at any time during the flight, champagne, beer, soda, OJ, water etc. I don't think most people know about it.
For breakfast, yep, when breakfast is served, they wake everyone up! I have been on flights where they turn on the lights only part way, not fully illuminating the cabin, and other flights where they turn on the lights all the way. I prefer the 1/2-illuminated way. There are definitely passengers who want that 45 extra minutes of sleep.
The business class seats on the 777s are indeed still the old ones. They are the same ones that have been on the rest of the fleet for a little while now. The retro fitting with the NEV seats (new travel concept) was given priority to the A340/330 and 747 fleet as they will have only J and Y. The company needs to keep First Class seats on the 777s and cannot afford to take them out of service as they can with an A340 (if that makes sense). Hopefully you will be willing to try the new business class seats when they are available on all aircraft. Right now, you have to inform yourself on which routes offer them, b/c not all of them do.
Handing jackets out 30 minutes before landing is probably at the discretion of the cabin crew ... remember they have to be seated at a certain point as well. But from what I read, it seems like you really had only a mediocre crew.
As for DL and the senior f/a thanking all the C-class pax, the J-class Purser on AF is supposed to do that as well. S/he is even supposed to greet passengers in the cabin prior to push back and to ask each passenger if s/he is aware of how to use the seat and the video system. When I think of it, I see this less and less nowadays. Only those who have flown Concorde know how to do this.
Anyway, I hope perhaps I have clarified some things at least in the AF service methods. In no way does this explain or justify any of your negative impressions !!!
In any case, like I said, I found your trip report to be very informative !
Av8rDAL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 8715 times:
Excellent report- I flew DL to DEN this past week and had a pleasant experience with their domestic product. Bankruptcy does not seem to have disrupted the personal service aspect of flying with them. Aside from aging interiors of the 763 and $5 booze in coach, I don't see too much of a reason for the average person to avoid them on these lucrative transatlantic routes they are seeking to tap. Go get 'em, DL!
HT From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 8666 times:
many thanks for your comments and insights (here and in your e-mail).
Quoting Flpuck6 (Reply 14): Keep in mind that the service methods often times reflect the culture of the respective country.
When comparing by experiences at AF with those on KL and LH (all C-Class Europe - U.S.), the latter two´s method of service suited me more ... - but that´s my personal view (collegues of mine prefer to fly AF over other carriers).
Quoting Flpuck6 (Reply 14): As for DL and the senior f/a thanking all the C-class pax, the J-class Purser on AF is supposed to do that as well.
I saw this happen only in AF´s First Class.
Quoting Flpuck6 (Reply 14): Anyway, I hope perhaps I have clarified some things at least in the AF service methods.
Sure - and again: Many thanks !
And I now know what to expect on AF´s C-Class.
Only when taking into account the displeasure of connecting flights at CDG´s T2´s, I probably will go for other travel solutions for my next fligths to ATL ...
FA4AF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 8615 times:
great responses from Flpuck6, but I just have to add two comments:
-as for cabin rounds with water and in general, drinks, we are not, indeed, supposed to do so as part of our service methods. However, we are required to patrol the cabin every 15 min as pat of Skyteam service standards.
-as for the time when we are supposed to give jackets back, it is absolutely not at our discretion: our safety procedures book requires they be handed back by the time the first fasten seat belt sign is turned on. And this really depends on cruising altitude, weather conditions and final approach patterns...
thanks for every opinion shared here, anyway!
Mikkel777 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 8582 times:
Thanks for the report.
I did CDG-ATL on DL and ATL-CDG on AF this year, and I must admit that my experiences were pretty different. Both flights were on 772ER.
DL were lousy, both on dinner and prearrival snack. The only good stuff was the ice-cream
AF was not impressive either, but breakfast was very good and filling
DL were bad, but they did serve champagne pre-departure.
AF had really good wines, both red, white and champagne. Too bad the don¨t offer champagne as predeparture, I guess it is to expensive to serve the passengers non-duty-free champagne.
DL has very good picth and width
AF has ok pitch and width, but it can be a problem to step over the passenger in the aisle seat when the seat in front is fully reclined.
AF a little bit better, but neither was impressive. The biz-cabin is too big for personalized service ala CO 752.
My comparison of the airlines is as follows
Seat pitch: 8/10
Entertainment: 5/10 (didn¨t use it, ate and slept instead)
Conditions of a/c: 7/10
Food : 3/10
Service on board: 5/10
Seat pitch: 6/10
Conditions of a/c: 7/10
Food : 5/10
Service on board: 6/10
Anyway, I will probably fly AF and DL on the same route 4-5 round-trips next year, but none will be in paid C. It is just not worth it with those carriers.
B707Stu From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 8558 times:
Your experience matches mine exactly. I found DL's Business Class a far superior product to Air France's in comporable aircraft (both 777). From seating to crew to service, DL was far better on the trips I took JFK-CDG-JFK. And I've done it a few times... and I used to work for AF I'm sad to say. AF does, however, have a better economy product is what I've found, and of course they still operate a First Class product, BUT, in Business Class, DL is the way to go. I must agree about DeGaulle, I HATE transferring there. I always find myself on buses, running and generally anxious, can't compare to AMS in the least, or even LHR.