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Posts: 1653
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:29 am


Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:23 am

3 weeks back i had a nice time in paris.heres how i got there Big grin

It was march 26. A Saterday.My spring break.We packed our bags and went off to IAD at 12:30. Our flight would depart at 5:50pm and we had nothing to do. Traffic on I-495 was perfect. If only it was as perfect as my flight.

We arrived at the airport at 1pm. We tried carefully to look for the right turn into economy parking but we missed it since there was some construction going on and it looked like a construction area rather than a lot. we kept driving until we hit employee parking,and headed back. We entered and were greeted to a full lot. No worries-lets drive down to the Gold lot. FULL! We ended up at the furthest parking lot from the terminal,the purple lot. No problem-a shuttle pulled up to the nearest stop right when we got there.

At 1:10 we were at the Terminal. the bus driver asked everyone the airline they were travelling on. He didnt hear us say "air france" which ended with me walked down the entire terminal to Air France check in.

at check in we were greeted with 2 forms to fill out (1 for each passport).The woman at the front of the check in line asked to see our tickets. we told her we had electronic tickets. "ok,i would like to see the confirmation." We showed her that and went along. It was Ok though since we were checking in 4 hours before departure and there was 2 people ahead of us. It did get me thinking. I had checked an hour before we left on air france's 777s. only problem we would have would be row 26 (only row missing a window). No problem i thought-what are the chances we would get that row? We came up to the desk. Electronic ticketing was no problem. the woman at checkin asked "do you have any bags to check?"

"no just carry on" we showed the bag (it was a pretty big bag-right on the limit).

"oh im sorry your going to have to check that." ugh-checked luggage always frightened my mother ever since my dad went on a business trip in the 90's and the airline lost his bag.inside-a $400 suit,several $100 ties,and some other real expensive stuff. Ended up with only $200. Not to worry,we got our bag this time. Along with our regular bag was a gift for the sister of the guy i know who works at the local exxon. She was to pick it up at the hotel.

Then we were given our boarding passes.

"ok,you seats are 26A and 26B"

wooohooo i got a window seat i thought for a nano second but then i remembered something-ROW 26 IS THE ONLY DOWN ROW ON THE PLANE WITH NO WINDOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I tried to change rows but it was the only "window" seat left on the plane. I was still thankful of Air france's IFE.

After that i look through the large windows of IAD's terminal to the B concourse to see our bird sitting there-waiting for departure.

We proceeded through security (short line,usual stuff). nothing special. there was stuff on the walls showing the new additions to dulles being added. After check in we went down into the brand new walkway.Long way down and long way up. One thing that i found interesting was the fact that the walkway continued past the escaltors at the concourse B extended about 100 feet forward. Looked like wasted building to me.

sorry for the motion blur-i took it on the moving walkway.

a short walk to our gate (26 i think or something) revealed that the flight was on time. A couple people were already there for departure. I had 3 hours to kill and a terminal to walk around in. i walked to the end of the concourse to look at the planes parked just west of the gates. an alitalia 777 was parked there. I made my way back to the A gates with my new Ipod in hand. Nothing special there.

at about 3pm i went to get lunch. I went to this small place next to the burger king in the food court. Only reason i went there is because i remember they had really good fajitas.i get my food and proceed to the bridge between the A and B gates (i like eating with a view). Nothing special that day,just the usual traffic. Oh and a new control tower being built.

And two United 747s at the C concourse. One is in the new colors and the other in old. Oh ill miss the old livery.

i made another round and went the the starbucks (theres two starbucks in the B concourse-go figure) and got a white mocha. whatever. after more walking i come back to our gate. It was filled with people ready to go to paris. We tried to switch windows seats again but it was a full flight.

Boarding started shortly after 4:10pm. It was the usual-everyone got up at once. Ok fine-I really didnt care i just wanted to get some really good steak tartare in paris ASAP. The line slowly crept toward boarding. We get our boarding pass stubs and off we go down the jetway.

Before getting on i tap the fuselage for good luck and into the 777. Man those AF F/As were hot Big grin they pointed us to our seats (i already knew where my cursed window seat was) and went back to the row. I sat down to a panel. But there was salvation- half a window was peaking out behind me seat. No problem-i could just recline. or could i......

A group of teenagers sat ahead of us. They were ok until i peaked down at their bag right where my feet should be. Any more pissed off and they would be missing a game boy DS.

Right above the wing we were. A large black woman (reminds me of aretha franklin) sat down in the aisle seat. my mother and her talked,laughed,etc. was a cloudy day and i havent seen the giant ball of fire in the last 3 days.

An F/A came through and passed out amenity kits to economy passengers. It consisted of a pair of those eye covering things,crappy disposable earplugs,mints,cheap $1 earbuds,and a moist towelette (hey its still an amenity kit and those mints were good Big grin )

Some people call it the sun-i call it a big flaming ball of fire. After a quite lengthy little stay at the gate we push back. I peak out the window to see-us pushing back (what else was there?). it was the usual-a taxi to some runway (i was to lazy to notice which one but it was either 19L or 19R). We were cleared and started rolling. To the tune of steppenwolf's "born to be wild"we accelerated really fast - we lifted off when we were paralell with the main terminal. A quick break through the low ceiling revealed a beautiful sunset.

We Climbed and the Flaming ball of hydrogren ummm didnt

We kept climbing but i didnt care since i did nothing but listen to my ipod.We climbed to 38000 feet really quick. I continued to listen to queen's "bohemian rhapsody" as the sky grew dark and i grew kinda sleepy.

Another flight attendant came through with a drink cart. and passed out menus (amenity kits,menus-in economy? oh lord i forget these existed after flying on the US legacy carriers). One thingy came to my attentions- they had Fanta aboard. I havent had good fanta in years. Of course i asked for that from the F/A. The full Can=false. Meh-i still had fanta and a little pack of pretzels and something else.

Shortly after the IFE was activated. To my dissapointment All the movies listed either sucked or i saw them. I decided to take a look at "sideways". it was ok but not a movie that grabs my attention on a screen the size of an index card. I tried to recline-but it didnt. "oh well i dont need to recline anyway" i thought to myself. Those buttons are sometimes hit or miss.

About 1 hour after takeoff meals were served. I opted for the chicken. The main course consisted of a whole chicken breats and some 'tators. (Potatoes-ya know you cook em,bake em,or fry em up real crisp). The chicken was ok but kinda tasteless. it was still good (i have yet to meet an inflight meal i couldnt swallow). It came with a side of salmon and a salad. That was a good treat. about 30 min later another F/A came around with tea and coffee. I asked for coffee. I mixed it with a little cream that came with the mean (contrary to what i told one girl how i take my coffee the same way i take my women-black Big grin ) All in all the food was GOOD and filled me up.

After that i was exceptionally bored. I kept switching back between "sideways" and "sky captain and the world of tomorrow" sky captain was ok even though i already saw it ( im a big fan of film noir style crap ) For the next several hours i did absolutley nothing-i cant fall asleep on planes and i only had my ipod to keep my from dying of boredom.

I went to the lav once. instead of stopping in the middle of the economy cabin i went to the back ( i dont know why i felt like it). All were full so i waited and noticed how exceptionally loud it was next to the exit ( alot more than on any 767). I go in and find my self surrounded by mirrors. Whatever. I do my usual business in a lav i found cramped for a 777. It was definetly not the best way to join the mile high club. The mile high club thought did remind me of one song-TISM's "everyone else has had more sex than me". Its a song. google it. The flight proceeded like a regular day at school. I couldnt wait for it to be over.

I tried to recline the seat again-and of all things it didnt. I would either break an arm or the seat before it reclines. and i thought. then i almost screamed. HOW UNLUCKY DO I HAVE TO BE TO NOT ONLY GET THE 1 ROW WITHOUT A WINDOW,BUT THE ONE SEAT THAT DOESNT RECLINE?????????

After a few hours i saw light again. Right then the F/As passed out breakfast. It was some raison bread,some little pastry,a little yougurt,and orange juice. For a pre-arrival snack it was good and woke me up. I heard from a few people not to eat 2nd meals on flights since they have been on the plane for 8 hours but hell i have things in my fridge for longer than that and they always taste good anyway.

After a couple incredibly bored hours i saw light again. Woohooo i thought. I turned on my ipod and shuffled the songs.

We started descending. I looked down to startus clouds below us. Oh jeez. Every single time i go to europe we always land in the crappiest weather.The last time i landed in europe to sunny weather aeroflot still used A310s on their IAD-SVO route.

The lower we got the more condensation we got. Closer and Closer we got. Then i notice something. My seat is reclined-by half a bloody inch. whatever.

it was a quick descent and we went straight into the airport,no holding pattern or anything. Then the flaps started going down. We were close and I think my ipod was reading my mind because we were descending to guns and roses's "take me down to the paradise city". Right about that point the condensation started getting kick-ass.

This is the view out the windows for a few seconds at a time.Then out of no where was the ground. And we came down-pretty smooth landing for the weather.

the pilot kept spoilers up the whole taxi to the gate.No idea why but it was one long taxi. I could not see where we were since The windows started fogging up as soon as we were going freeway speeds. Finally we hit the gate. Before we got off i asked the F/A if i could get a pic of the cockpit. long story short,yea i could.

and that 777 suddenly turned into a-747-100?????? hehe thats the cockpit of the AF 747 in the le bourget air and space museum (concorde hall was cool btw). heres the 777 cockpit (sorry for the darkness i took it on the fly)

We procedded through check-in which was no biggie to baggage claim. I was tired,and baggage claim reminded me of the novel "1984". It looked cool in futuristic,but the atmosphere was depressing. We got our bags and an hour later checked in at the aida opera( oh and that gift was delivered successfully  Smile )

Thanks for reading my report. Ill post the CDG-IAD part later on when i feel like it. Please leave your comments
Snakes on a Plane!
Posts: 5185
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:08 pm


Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:18 am

nice report but here is a tip from someone who submits photos here, DON'T ever point your camera directly towards the sun and take a photo! fastest way to ruin the camera for good!  Yeah sure
Posts: 3532
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:57 am


Sun Apr 17, 2005 4:24 pm

You flew the SU A310 IAD-SVO? How was it? Or did you just put that in as time related. I flew their A310 JFK-SVO and while it was OK, it was nothing special, and my brother got food poisoning (I suspect)
-Mr. X
What now?
Posts: 3220
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am


Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:13 pm

You think you're unlucky? In 2003 i flew LAX-LHR and yep, you guessed it, no window. (even though it was a window seat). Last year, LGW-MCO-LGW. Two rows, one there was no window (thankfully i did get a window, though, as i sat in the row that did have one), and then i'm flying LHR-LAX this summer in WT+ and our seats are around the non-window area (though i have been told that it isn't too bad and that i should get a window).

Anyway, good report, and well done for getting some pics.

Posts: 182
Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:18 am


Mon Apr 18, 2005 2:59 am

Woohoo! Great report AND you mentioned TISM ( - One of Australia's most popular "cult" bands. Having met them several times if you think their songs are funny, they're even better live.
Again great trip report and thnaks for posting pics too!
Keith Richards: The man that Death forgot...
Topic Author
Posts: 1653
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:29 am


Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:29 am

OK heres the CDG-IAD route.

After several days in paris i was getting back home. It was April 1st and around 1pm local time after a nice lunch near the metro station "grands boulevards" we got to CDG. A 1 hour trip on the B RER line was uneventful but the fact that it was an express train to CDG and didnt stop anywhere was a Plus.

at terminal 2F the transition from the train station to the terminal check-in desks was quite confusing,and the only way through there without problems was by my memory of it from 4 days back. After a few escalators we got to the moving walkways to terminal 2F and found an alitalia a319 finnishing taxi from italy.

we got to the beginning of 2F to find us near check in desks 1-2. The departure board said our flight would check in at desk 14. well in the terminal we kept walking past 3-4,5,6,etc. hoping to find 14 eventually. The good news was that we were going in the right direction. The bad news was we were going in the right direction.We stopped halfway at the Air France self check-in machines. We had electronic tickets and decided to try to use it. after 4 menus we got the message "you are not checked in" well duh. Whatever. We continued to walk. desk 14 is at the absolute other end of the terminal.

Check in was a breeze,but i was a little worried. We had the same bag as last time which is usually a hit or miss with carry on. Thats ok. Check in was very quick and then the woman asked to see our bags. We showed the one carry on. And she had a look on her face- the "ooohhh dang I think that should be checked bag" look (oh and the biggest lips ever).

She let it slide and a tag for carry on was put on the bag and my mother's hand bag. A look at the boarding pass showed that our seats were not assigned yet. We asked what this little 3-letter thing ment. apparently we needed to ask for seats at the gate. Ok fine.

Security was quick and without problems-once again. Nothing special-and no long queues. After collecting our bags we were greeted with the wing-shaped gate area of 2F.

our gate was Gate 52 and when we walked over to it the 777 wasnt well there. thats ok-it will come eventually. I walked around to find well nothing interesting in the terminal. we had an hour until boarding and i did nothing but walk around the terminal a few times. It was ok-until i couldnt get out of the damn stalls in the restroom ( hell i wonder how many people missed their flight because of the stall doors).

I get back and sit down at the gate and look out to see a 777 passing by. I thought "is that our plane?" it couldnt of been. then it did a 90 degree turn to the gate "hey it is ours." I picture through all the glass concrete and metal of the terminal and jetway reveals what will get me to DC in 8 hours.

at about 10 min before boarding, a queue started forming for the boarding desk even though nothing was announced. About half of the plane was in the line before boarding "started". All this time we still did not ask for seats, so we went to the desk. Long story short we should have done it earlier and ended up 10 rows apart,but hell i got a window seat-and this time it was a real window seat. check in consisted of a 15min delay because of the weather in DC (i was just hoping the power was still on in my house)

I was nervous a bit though since our bag was marked as carry on but still could be deemed ask check baggage at the gate. We walked closer to the desk. a family from peurto Rico ahead of us passed through to board (knew by their passports) and we gave the agent our passports and passes. he didnt give a second glance at our luggage-woohooo.

a long walk down the glass jetway revealed an air france a340 right next to us-and i snapped a picture of all that was visable

there were 3 desks with security agents checking bags but we just ignored them. And they ignored us. We got the the front of the plane and boarded without worry. My mother took a seat at row 28 and we put the bag above her seat. I continued to the back to row 42.

At row 42 was a mother and her 7 year old daughter sitting there. They were in the window and i requested to sit there. No problem there. Anyway i ended up sitting next to the most tolerable and polite 7 year old on the entire flight (thank god!) who also lived in the DC metro area. I then i noticed something-i was sitting in the seat infront of a 2 year old-oh dear lord. Would this be the flight from hell because of him?not really.I was sitting in the perfect seat-behind the wing with a great view of the ground.

I had my camera ready for anything to happen outside and was flipping through my photos of paris. the child requested to see them and i showed her. Then right in the middle of it, of all things to taxi by my plane-was a saudi arabian 747sp!!! holy crap! i almost deleted a picture when i got my camera ready to capture it,and almost missed it.

Wow. I kept the camera pointing out the window the whole time.I could see luggage was being loaded-really slow. There was a delay in departure and i could see one of the containers removed. Looks like some idiot checked his bags but was going to miss his flight. Ugh-things like that make a $9 million dollar lear 45 not so expensive.

we pushed back and taxied to 27L. We were #2 for take off-and right before being cleared another AF 777 was landing

We turned onto the runway and sat there for a minute. Then the engines spooled up and we rolled-kind of slow.

We rotated over the first set of touchdown marker things and climbed pretty fast. I could see the many parisian suburbs

We climbed to about 28000 feet when the F/As started serving drinks. I opted for Fanta and got-the full can! It was heaven i thought. Along with the drink everyone go a menu.

Meal service would include a crisp vegetable salad and middle-eastern style chicken brochette

the choice of main course was either:

suate of beef,olives and tomatoes,mashed potatoes and zucchini

Fillet of saithe with lemon sauce,rice medley and carrot mousseline

It came with camembert,fruit yougurt,and a plum tart.

The sky was clear and it was overcast below us. Right about when we hit our cruise alt,we passed right below a contrail. It was pretty interesting to see a contrail close up. It looekd like two tubes that resembles where the engines were with ripples of clouds ontop and below it.

half an hour later the IFE was booted up and the selection was quite crappy. The only movie that caught my attention was "ray" so i decied to watch it.Nothing interesting was happening outside so i closed the window shade. An hour later meal service began. I opted for the beef. It was very tender and really good. The chicken brochette was ok but the salad it was on was not something i would eat again. All in all it was still good.

Since i was sitting behind a 2 year old i felt no guilt in reclining the seat all the way back Big grin We were about 300nm from the english shore and i opened the window to see if anything changed. It did-and i saw something really cool outside. An oil tanker was passing by below us. I wondered if anyone was down there looking at us.

I closed the window shade and continued to watch "ray". Even on a 4" by 6" screen it was good.after it ended,Near the middle of the flight i got up to go to the lav. It was not the longest walk (3 rows) and was ok ( as in clean). I got back and the little girl was sleeping and i didnt want to wake her up. I ended up slipping over her bag,ripping off the back of my seat,and almost got a bloody nose. Oh well-at least i didnt wake her up lol.

I opened the window shade to see a contrail next to us over the atlantic near newfoundland.

it continued for a while,ended but appeared again. At that point i noticed was sitting for back enough to see the beginning of our own contrail.I closed it up again.about 3 hours before we land we climbed up to 40000feet to conserve fuel. half an hour later i opened it up again to find of all things-a NW 747 passing by us about 1000 feet below! oh god i got my camera out quick and captured it just before it sailed away past us. It was forming a quickly dissapating contrail.I wondered if this was the same one that diverted to IAD on april 1st......

Soon after we got a pre-arrival snack. It was a sign that well descend soon. I forgot exactly what it was but whatever it was-i ate it. Soon after we were descending into dulles.

It was overcast, and really gray. I mean really really gray. It was so grey,i felt like slitting my wrists to see color. (ok well it wasnt THAT gray).

at around 14000 feet i could see the spoilers in action while flaps were extended to 5 degrees.

I was worred about then because we were 4000 feet above the ground yet only going about 140mph. This was mph,not knots and we were starting to pitch up a bit. I was wondering if we could stall. There were two professional pilots at the front-that couldnt happen.

On short final into dulles i could finally see the ground. it was rainy and depressing.

I could see some roads-traffic looked OK. I took a picture of this from 600 feet-anyone know what it could possibly be?

A few minor adjustments until the final few feet

touchdown-and it was shaky-just like paris.

The weather was awful and the place was busy. We did get to our gate Ok.

Everyone got up and we went through the arrivals area of the gate to the shuttles for customs. I got in the first one and we went off. suddenly- the cabin filled with smoke. yeah-i was scared as hell. everyone was coughing and had scarfs around their face. One guy said it smelled like rubber and joked "heh maybe their spinning tires out here".

I all got to customs alive. The queue was not long,but not short. it was a normal 10 minute wait. We got through and got an empty shuttle to the purple economy lot. We got off and were welcomed home with a 777 (have no idea of the airline) buzzing by 300 feet above us on final for 1L.

The window seat really paid off this flight and was really enjoyable in general-but it was still economy and still quite uncomfortable. Meh-i still flew  Smile
Snakes on a Plane!
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Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:38 am

It would be nice if I could see at least one picture.

BWIADCA - Nikon D100
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 12:46 am


Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:40 am

Good report but I too could not see any of the pictures due to the bandwidth being exceeded at I got stuck with the windowless seat on a flight to LHR a few months back and I can appreciate your frustration, staring out the window is always the highlight of my trip and I hate when they insist on us closing the shades. Again interesting report and I'll check back later when the pictures might be back up. I'm not sure if photobucket limits the total hits or just the total simultaneous hits to their website.
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Tue Apr 19, 2005 5:00 am

Please please please please please please ditch Photobucket.

Go here:
Topic Author
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Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 9:29 am


Tue Apr 19, 2005 10:42 am

sorry about the bandwidth crap,ill get the images up again within the week. BTW drama747 thanks for the link.
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