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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2000 1:36 am

From Sweden To Italy With AF

Thu Oct 26, 2000 11:08 pm

Two weeks ago I went back to Italy for a University test in Florence. I went with AF because I had never tried it but I knew it was a good airline. Now I can confirm it!

I was one of the first to check-in at Arlanda Airport and I was given window seats. The aircraft was a B737-500. While waiting to board the aircraft I took some pictures at the other planes, especially to a LOT ERJ145 and some SAS 737s in the new colors. Boarding was on time at 11.15 for the scheduled departure at 11.45. Getting on board I was greeted by two of the crew members and went to my seat 9A. The interior was very pleasant, with dark blue seats, and very lighty. My seat was just behind the emergency window row, so I had no seat in front of me! That was a little of disconfort, as I had several magazines and no place to put all them. Anyway, I looked out of the window and could see a KLM 737-400 in the nearby stand and the pushback of a Srilankan A330.

The safety procedures were demonstrated in French, in English with a very strong French accent, and in Swedish, thanks to a pre-recorded message. There were four F/A on this flight, which I think is more than usual on a 110 seater. Soon after take-off we were served a hot meal (rice and potatoes) with vegetables, pinapple cake and hot bread. Drinks were offered several times throughout the flight. The scheduled flight time was of 2hours and 35minutes, but after that flying time we were still flying over the clouds. We landed at 14.40 and taxied to terminal 2B. While landing, I saw a lot of wide bodies waiting for take-off, including a Thay plane in a special color scheme.

It was my first time at CDG but transferring from terminal 2B to 2F was easy. As I had enough time I walked to the other terminal instead of taking the shuttle. Hall F at CDG2 is spectacular, full of light and modern! My flight to Florence was waiting at a remote stand, so we had to be bussed until there.

Even if boarding was called on time, we waited a lot aboard the bus, then we moved and I could see very close to me a giant 777 engine! The flight to FLR was operated by Cityjet on behalf of AF on a BAe146-200. Even if seats were confortable, it was a very high density configuration, 3+3 seats on each row, and a very limited seat pitch. Of the three F/A only one could speak French, the other spoke English and it was hard to understand what did they say, due to their accent and to the bad audio system.

Departure was delayed of ten minutes from 15.40, we taxied behind a Gill Aw ATR72 and took off quite immediately, while on the parallel runway an Alitalia MD82 was landing.
Service on board was not so good and even cabin crew was not very patient. Even this flight lasted more than scheuled, but at the end I experience the first "normal" landing on the short runway at FLR. While taxiing to the terminal I heard most of the passengers saying thet the flight was quite good but thet it was strange for an AF flight to have only English-speaking crew mwmbers. I agree.

Collecting bags at FLR is a terrible experience, on a short belt, used when this airport had only few ATR flights, were put bags from two-almost-full BAe146 flights, mine from CDG and the other one from Milan Malpensa. My suitcase came out the "hole" after 30 minutes.

The experience on Air France was very positive, as I could confirm during my return flight at the beginnig of this week. I am sorry that such a nice city as Florence has such a terrible airport!

Wait for the report of th return flight!

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