Photo © Daniel Werner
Check-in was quick, only two people in front of me. Unfortunately no window seats available but managed to get an aisle seat in row 18 – right near the back of the baby bus! Only a short queue at security and in no time I was in the terminal 2 departure lounge. What a surprise – because of building work it’s currently a complete dump and devoid of many facilities. I couldn’t even find a working cash dispenser. Fortunately, I didn’t have long to wait before the flight was called. The 318 certainly looked cute as we approached it (although I appreciate that beauty is in the eye of the beholder) and boarding was quick and efficient. We were greeted by a very charming cabin crew who were polite and friendly throughout the short flight. The seats were comfortable but I have to say that the legroom was surprisingly tight – not bad for a one hour flight but it would have been uncomfortable if I’d had to endure it much longer than that. One thing that did surprise me on this new aircraft is that every seat has an ashtray in the armrest. Can’t imagine why given that most, if not all, AF flights are non-smoking. Another thing I noticed was that during the flight the aircraft constantly felt as if it was yawing from side to side – never had this sensation before and it felt quite strange. Service consisted of a sandwich and a choice of drinks – perfectly adequate for this flight. Soon we were on approach to CDG and after a firm landing had a 15 minute taxi to the terminal. Once in the terminal what can only be described as chaos ensued. About 300 people were queuing to get through passport control and tempers were certainly frayed. Not an experience I would recommend and not the best welcome I could have had to France.
9 April 2004 CDG/MAN
Photo © Aeroview Zurich/Worldwide
On this sector I was in business class and got seat 1A. The business cabin is configured 2-2, with the centre seat being occupied by a rather handy table. This flight was quite empty and I got the 2 seats and the table to myself. Taxi out took forever and we had time for two glasses of lovely Champagne! Once airborne the service quickly began. What a disappointment! A piece of bread with a bit of smoked salmon on it and two tiny cakes. The sandwich I had in economy earlier in the day was much better. Got a fantastic view of central London en-route to MAN and soon after we were descending into a very wet and murky MAN. After a bumpy landing we arrived on stand about 10 minutes early and then had a very swift transit through immigration and customs. I was in my car less than 10 minutes after leaving the aircraft.
All in all a good day trip. CDG is a truly awful airport and I would never consider transferring through it on a long-haul flight – AMS is much better. AF was alright, but their business class service was something of a disappointment.