Paris CDG - New York JFK TW925 767-200
Arrived at Charles de Gaulle One (the original round terminal) nice and early. For those of you unfamiliar with the place, it's a real blast from the 1970's and there's no obvious sign of any work carried out from those hedy days.
Went to the TWA Ticket desk to enquire when checkin opened, they told me now (it was shut) and directed me to it. Unfortunately the way they directed me was closed, something a very nice young French Lady with a Machine Gun told me. When the TWA counter manager saw they'd directed me into the arms of Miss MachineGun, he came running over apologetically and walked me round the other way, where he opened a desk and checked me in personally. Overall they were very helpful (few airlines open checkin early and offer personal service to lowly down back folk!). I did feel they should have spoken better English. Later the queue was huge.
Having passed through CDG's Central Travelators the queue for passport control was long and slow, there were people becoming anxious they'd miss their flight.
The TWA staff in Satalite 2 were very helpful, although announcements were not clear and they gave up trying to board by row numbers half way through which was confusing. The people infront couldn't fin their boarding pass so another agent jumped out of no where and kept the line moving which was good.
The aircraft was still in TW's old scheme but looked clean and well kept, both inside and out. The seats had the new covers, they're the same as Trans World One but are blue not grey, while the blue bulk head covers with red globe remain (you can see them in the Cabin Shots section on an MD80).
The flight was full, mainly due to two groups, neither of whom admitted to speaking French or English and refused to sit down. Departure was on time. 30 minute wait to take off, roll quite long and much turbulance for the first hour.
After that the meal was served, I had Pasta (I think you could have chicken but no choice was offered) which was wrapped with Motzarella, with Cuccumbers and Peppers. Plus a Guilion Chocolate, Roll, Soft Cheese, Cracker, Salmon Salard and Water. Then two rounds of drinks.
Followed the first movie, drinks (lemonaide), another movie (Remember the Titans), a brief break then another meal. Ham and Salard Roll, Chocolate Spounge, Fromage Freit and Orange Juice, 2 rounds of drinks.
The crew were..... very experienced, all 60+ and French New Yorkers. I built up a good repore with one who I think took pity on me and kept fetching drinks and generally cared for me above and beyond. Sadly she had no name tag, I'd have written to say thanks otherwise (although TW's Customer Relations Dept has had problems of late I hear).
Flew into JFK past Manhattan, very nice. Landing smooth. The JFK Terminal isn't run down, despite what you hear on Airliners.net.
Very good flight, excellent crew with good language skills (although perhaps not quite as classy as they could be), excellant food (up to Asian standards), on time, well timed service (so the time flew) and comfortable flight. My only comment no Inflight Magazine and some of the lights didn't work. Oh yes, I don't need a Visa for the US (I hold a UK passport) and the crew were convinced I did, giving me the wrong forms etc. The worry of that could be quite distressing to some and the problems and delays it caused to me at Passport Control inconvenient and unpleasant. I do feel as London is one of the their two remaining European cities they (the crew) should have known better (especially as CDG is such a major "world hub" where people from all over interline.
One quite funny thing, I went round to DEpartures to get a drink. A very large (I'm no shrimp) flight attentant saw the staff shuttle leave and went into hysterics on the Mezanie screaming "Stop the bus, oh my god stop the bus, somebody stop the bus" and so on. The entire terminal stopped, this baggage handler turned to me and said in a real dead pan New Yorker voice "she could use the run to the next terminal", OK you had to be there!
New York JFK - Paris CDG TW924 767-200
From Manhattan getting to JFK right now is no easy task, the subways not running and the roads dug up. When I finally made it, the checkin desks were heavily understaffed and a queue of several hundred people went the entire length of the terminal. To make matters worse, half the desks were opened and staffed and empty, First Class only. It wouldn't have taken much imagination to open some to coach passengers, but not much was too much for the duty staff. Thank god for hand baggage only!
The terminal is in good condition, although the facilities are limited (news stand, liquor stand etc) more 1981 than 2001 shopping mall with a runway, but extremely clean and well maintained. Grey carpet with red dots and red seats.
Gate agents very junior and neither good nor bad. Away early at 610 and take off 30 minutes later. No pre take off service or comfort kit and again no magazine. Most full flight.
Soon after take off drinks then meal, very good again. Pepper Stake (well done), home fries, Californian Chardonay and a choice offered this time.
Ambassidor Video shown: Vintage Friends, E TV and History of TWA. A break then movie (Remember the Titan) again. Another break then breakfast, a Banana Muffin. No set up galley, a welcome feature on the first flight. US Crew this time, 50's, more refined and as friendly. Landing rough despite no winds, about 5 minutes late so not bad.
This flight was one from hell. The guy behind (I'm 5f 11"), well I made it too his chin and his feet past me seat and knees in my back. I feel for all our comfort a professional crew should have moved him to a roomier bulkhead where seats were available. Plus the vile women infront decided her seats rightful place was in my face until landing. With a 31 inch pitch (Americans extra room would have been very welcome!!!) that left me with no space. Plus the padding in my seat base had completely gone, when I stood up an inch deep canyon existed. The ash trays on both arms were removed but not covered over (which ten years of ash still about), the radio didn't work, there's no lower back support (my pillow didn't fill the gap) and I was going through the pre flu hot sweet and shivers stage, one way and another not a nice seven or eight hours!
All up, good effort, good airline, let down by a few factors. The seats on the 762's arenot up to overnight longhauls and spoil a lot of good work elsewhere. Catering supurb (almost comparable to Cathay Pacific - my ultimate complement). Crews good but lacking in a certain finesse, which I feel with their experience should show.