AlitaliaMD11 From Spain, joined Dec 2003, 4068 posts, RR: 13 Posted (8 years 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Trip Back Round
It was time again for my yearly trip to Madrid to visit my friends and enjoy the city I love so much.
Before booking my flight I looked at various options like flying KLM, Alitalia, Swiss, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air France, Iberia, and Continental. I have flown KLM, Air France, and Iberia on this route many times and wanted to try out something new but since price was an issue the choice came down to Air France or KLM who I have both flown and enjoy both very much. In the end, about two weeks before the departure date, we booked Air France since they where the cheapest. I booked AF7 and AF10 since I would be able to fly on the 777-300ER for the first time on the way to Madrid and the 747-400, hopefully on the upper deck, on the way back.
I was all set to leave on November 16th.
Night Before Flight
At 19:20 the day before my flight I checked in online (which turned out to be a big time saver) and moved my seats from 44 ABC to 22 ABC and printed my boarding passes.
Departure Airport: New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Transfer Airport: Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG)
Arrival Airport: Madrid Barajas (MAD)
Airline: Air France
Flight: AF1300 (did not make)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Aircraft: Airbus A320-100 (did not make)
Date: November 16th, 2006
Class: Y Tempo
Scheduled Time: 6hr20mn
Day of Flight
After a stressful day of finals my dad picked me up at school around 14:30 and then picked up my mother at work and we headed towards the Taconic for the 2 hour drive to JFK. I slept during the drive so it seemed short and awoke as we where going over the Whitestone Bridge.
Before heading into JFK we stopped at the JFK Avistar to leave our car and waited for the shuttle to take us to the airport. The weather wasn’t great that evening with a big storm front moving in from the south. It was extremely windy while waiting for the shuttle. The shuttle finally came and drove to Terminal One. While driving up the ramp I could see our 777-300ER, F-GSQF. AF6 arrived at JFK around 15:00 so she had been sitting at her gate for some time.
The check in area for Air France was quiet with not much people around, the same goes for the entire Terminal One check in area, and a woman stepped to us before entering the line and asked for our boarding passes. We showed her our printed boarding passes and she told us to go to the special E Service line. There was no one in front of us so we were next up when a desk was free. About 3 minutes later a desk was free and we were called over. The check in woman assigned our seats for the Madrid leg of the flight and sent us on our way.
I stopped at the ticket service desk to try and reserve upper deck seats for the flight back but I was told that could not be done unless I was a Premium Elite member. The woman was very kind and told me that only two people had reserved seats so far and to check in online and they should be available then.
We proceeded to the security area in the middle of the terminal and waiting in a short line (behind two passengers traveling on the Max Jet flight to Stansted). After a short wait we placed our belongings on the belt and walked trough the machine. Once passed I bid a due to my parents and walked off down the first concourse at Terminal One were most planes park to go and take some photos.
At the time a Royal Air Maroc flight was boarding for Casablanca, an Aeroflot flight to Moscow was boarded, two Alitalia flights to Milan and Rome had boarded and one had pushed back, the Austrian flight to Vienna had boarded, and at the end of the concourse was the Max Jet flight to Stansted.
As the boarding time was coming near (18:35) I decided to head back to the gate (gate 2) and meet up with my parents again for a quick bite to eat. We went to the Pannier located right across from our gate and I ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad and some Chicken Noodle Soup. As we finished up our meal Pre-Boarding was called. We finished up and joined the line that had formed at the gate.
Regular boarding was called and we passed through the line quickly and boarded the aircraft. We entered the aircraft and made our way through the Business class and into Tempo and found our seats. By now it had started to rain outside, pretty hard, and the wind had picked up a lot so the aircraft was being blown around some. On the hardstand next to us was a RON Max Jet 767-200. Boarding finished up and the safety demonstration video was shown on the PTV. Push back commenced and the captain notified us of a long taxi time and delayed take off time. The giant GE engines started up and we taxied towards 22R stopping in the middle of 13L for about 50 minutes! Passing us where a British Airways 747-400, American 767-200, American A300, Air India 747-400, Aer Lingus A330-300, Jet Blue A320s, Jet Blue EMB-190, Delta 767-300, Delta 757-200, United 757-200, and a United States Air Force 737-700 which I made the mistake of identifying as Air Force 2 and text Phil Derner JR in a state of great excitement only to find out as she taxied by she was only the 737-700. The wind was blowing us around and the rain was coming down hard. Finally we started to move ahead towards 22R.
We lined up and shot off down 22R like a rocket and rotated after only about 10 seconds. This had to be the fastest rotation I have ever experienced, I mean I have experienced longer in a CRJ-200! We shot off into the clouds and into slight turbulence and then cleared out into the beautiful clear sky. After about 10 minutes into the takeoff and climb, flight attendants came around with little kits with eye shades, towel, ear plus, and head phones. The IFE system was turned on and I quickly headed over to the game section and played the aviation quiz which I have to say I sucked at! The purser came on over the PA and announced that they where having some trouble with the system and it had to be rebooted. I wasn’t having any trouble with it but I guess other people where.
They shut on and off the system about a million times before it finally started to work again 3 hours into the flight and without the games.
Menu’s where passed out and the dinner choices where:
Middle-Eastern style chickpeas salad with tuna
Choice of main course
Cheese ravioli and aurore sauce with shrimp
Chauessur-style sautéed beef with baby vegetables and mashed potatoes
Lemon poppy seed cake
Coffee and tea
I choose the beef and a Fanta Orangé which turned out to be pretty good along with the delicious cake and rice-pudding.
Something I forgot to mention was that the flight was not full so my dad was able to sit in front of us in 21 C which gave us 22 B free which allowed for some stretch out room. The seat pitch was not great but there where foot rests which added some comfort. Recline was nice and the headrests where nice and the seats where sort of hard but comfortable.
Since the IFE was back on I decided to watch The Devil Wears Prada and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
Both movies were good and passed the time by until breakfast was served.
Breakfast was a roll accompanied by yogurt and orange juice. The time of the flight I had waited for was slowly approaching as the sunset was coming up. The nose camera became available as it became light and I eagerly switched to that.
As we entered French Airspace an Easy Jet A319 soared over us and minutes later a BMI A320 did the same.
We descended and landed on 26L. The landing was smooth and we came to a stop on the taxi way and taxied behind an Air France A330-200 for the terminal 2E remote stands.
We parked next to an Air France A340-300 and waited for the doors to be opened. By now it was approaching 9:00 and we had a 9:40 flight to catch and where getting very worried. The doors where finally opened at 8:56 and we rushed down the stairs and into the bus. The bus took off at 9:00 and made the long drive to terminal 2E where we arrived at 9:10 and made our way to passport control which was extremely crowded. We found an Air France personnel and asked her about our connection and she told us to just get on line. We where a little surprised and disappointed with the response since Air France has always been very helpful and generous to make sure we made our connecting flight. We where still inline at 9:40 and had definitely missed our connection.
After passport control we made our way down to the transfer tunnel over to 2F and passed trough security running to F33 just incase our flight had waited. The minute we reached the gate the A320 was taxiing out for take off.
We made our way over to the Air France Customer Help desk and they rebooked us for the 14:20 flight to Madrid.
Very tired and disappointed we sat down and I fell asleep on and off during the wait. I did some spotting from 2F and then fell asleep again.
By now 13:30 was approaching and we made our way over to our gate (F31) and waited for the boarding to start. Finally boarding started and we boarded and took our place in the A319.
Next to us an A321 was pushed back using her right landing gear which I was very surprised by.
We followed the A321 to 26R for departure.
A Qatar Government 747SP arrived and a Brit Air CRJ-700 arrived on the runway next to us while we waited and we finally took off. We flew out over Paris and over Le-Bourget were surprisingly I could see the Qatar 747SP landing only a few minutes after she had landed at CDG.
During the flight I slept and awoke and slept and awoke some more. Apparently the meal service was a drink and some pretzels which is a big decline from the yummy scrambled eggs and chicken fingers I had on the flight three years ago.
We circled outside of Madrid and touched down on one of the new runways behind the new Terminal 4. We taxied to Terminal One and retrieved our luggage and were off to Madrid.
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Air France offers great service. However Charles de Gaulle Airport is indeed a pain to connect at with busses to from larger aircraft, bad signage and passport control etc. When I connected I gave myself 2 1/2 to 3 hours in both directions and it was just enough time. Great pictures. Thanks.
Cgnnrw From Germany, joined May 2005, 1170 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Very nice report. Interesting pics too. Although next time no need to post the blurry ones.....(no offense intended).
I spent a lot time meeting groups at T1 at JFK this summer. A very busy terminal indeed. I have yet to fly on AF's 777, usually take their A330 into PHL. The service is one of the best as far a econ class goes. Too bad your IFE suffered so many glitches.
You seem to be a pretty seasoned traveller so you should have known 50 minutes to connect in CDG is cutting it awfully close. I usually give myself minimum 2 hours when connecting from a trans-Atlantic flight.
Jycarlisle From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
A trip report well done with great pictures! Thanks for sharing!
I flew AF23 JFK-CDG (B772 - FGSPM) and it was very nice like you described in your post. I hope you have a nice time in Spain as it is indeed a beautiful country which I also hope to visit sometime in the future.
My movie selection BTW was Woody Allen's "Match Point", it was a nice dinner flick that we watched going off the coast of Long Island passed BOS. I also like "The Devil Wears Prada" because there are some nice night shots of Paris in that movie.
Quoting Semsem (Reply 10): However Charles de Gaulle Airport is indeed a pain to connect
Hear, hear! I arrived off of AF23 at around 5:30 AM and I didn't leave the airport until 9AM !!!
TriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4695 posts, RR: 42
Reply 17, posted (7 years 12 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Vrey nice report, thank you very much for taking the time and effort to compile it. I haven't flown AF longhaul in quite a while now, but it seems that their service on longer route has not degraded as much as their shorthaul product, which is even worse than the Lufthansa one by now (and who would have expected that a few years ago?).
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
B707Stu From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 918 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Nice report, thanks. We should make it our duty to advise people that CDG requires at least 2 hours for connections. One should expect a 30-45 minute delay because of the never getting to the terminal stand issue and subsequent bus rides and of course my favorite, rarely having your bags make your flight. Though I love Paris, the city, I really don't like connecting through CDG. Hopefully when they re-build the fallen terminal things will get better.
Goldorak From France, joined Sep 2006, 1855 posts, RR: 4
Reply 24, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Great report AlitaliaMD11. I'm looking forward to read your return trip on the upper deck of the B744.
For all of you who wrote that AF Y long-haul product is great, you're absolutely right. It's really one of the best across the Atlantic. I flew last saturday CDG-ORD in Y on AA (and I'm currently waiting at ORD for my return flight which is delayed due to heavy rain here ) and this was really a pain for me. I had no choice for this flight as AF was full. What a disapointment with AA (this was my first AA flight) : old, tired 763 with a completely outdated interior. Even their J class seats seemed very narrow (I know they are refurbishing their cabins but it was really urgent!). The pitch and recline were disappointing (I'm not a tall guy (1,70 m) but my knees were "blocked" against the seat pocket). The food was pretty poor, in "small amount" and you have to eat with plastic cuttlery (I hate that ) and I was astonished to have to pay 5$ for wine or beer on an international flights (when you think that AF offers even champagne for free in Y !). And to finish, no PTV. The only positive thing is that the crew was nice.
I'm wondering how they can still have customers knowing what airlines like AF, BA, VS and most asiatic airlines are offering.