This trip report is the follow up of the Varig troubles
me and Flying Belgian had in CDG
on 6 + 7 July 2005.
To make a long story short: I was at the Globeground desk in CDG
Terminal 1, where I got my ticket about 1h before departure of my flight.
I ran to the bus station (on the other side of T1), stopped a bus, and arrived in CDG
Terminal 2F 20 minutes later (10 minutes before closure of check in) and was met by a huge queue at check-in. The next flight to AMS
had been cancelled apparently, and all passengers with connections were rebooked on the flight I had to take. I managed to check-in just in time (ran to another counter which was just being opened), and got one of the last seats on the plane (an aisle seat, as no windows were available anymore).
Paris Charles De Gaulle, Terminal 2F
There was no time unfortunately to explore the terminal. But the difference with T1 was huge. This was a big, clean terminal with a lot of space and lot’s of windows, which made it very bright. There was a big table full of newspapers, and I quickly took one. The terminal was very crowded as quite some flights were leaving in the next hour. As it was already 12:20, 15 minutes before departure, I went back to my gate where boarding was just being announced.
Paris Charles De Gaulle – Amsterdam
Flight number: AF1740
Gate: F34 (Terminal 2F)
Aircraft: B737-528 F-GJNC
Mfd: November 14, 1991
Scheduled blocktime: 12:35-13:45
Actual blocktime: 12:38-13:52
Flighttime: 47 minutes and 15 seconds
F-GJNC at the gate, 5 minutes before boarding (sorry for the window reflections but there was no other possibility to take a picture):
F-GJNC (c/n25228) was built in November 1991, and was immediately delivered to Air France, so no interesting history for this plane.
I was in Tempo Challenge on this flight! Tempo Challenge is some kind of ‘Economy Plus’ on board of AF
. You get a separate cabin, the same meal as in Business Class, and you have a flexible ticket. The only thing you don’t get is a pre-flight drink (like in Business Class), and a few other things. Tempo Challenge is a separate cabin, offered on flights in Europe, and on flights to North Africa and Israel. This is an excellent way to reward the people who buy full-fare tickets in my opinion. If you buy a cheap Economy ticket, you get a seat in the back with a minimal service. If you purchase an expensive Economy ticket, you get your own cabin in Tempo Challenge with a service similar to C-class. And if you buy C-class, you really get what you pay for of course
Boarding started on time, and I was welcomed by two cabin crew members. There were refreshment towels available for everybody who wanted them. I went to my seat, and was glad when the guy in 07F (the window seat) told me I could get his window seat.
The purser made an announcement at 12:30: “We are pleased to welcome you on board of this Air France – KLM flight to Amsterdam”. Indeed, they say Air France-KLM all the time! He wished us a pleasant flight, and asked to pay attention to the safety briefing.
After the purser, it was time for an announcement of the Captain. He introduced the crew (by name), wished us a nice flight, thanked us for flying AF
and hoped that we would have a nice and comfortable flight.
We pushed back on time, and the engines were started with an AF
B744 on our right side.
A few minutes later, we were on our way to Runway 09R. This picture shows B-HVX of Cathay Pacific Cargo waiting in front of us to enter the runway:
We lined up after the arrival of a BA
A319, and about a minute later, we were finally on our way to AMS
! Our rotation:
Two other pictures from our climb out:
Only a few minutes after our take off, the cabin crew were released from their seats. The service obviously had to go very fast, due to the short flight time.
The passengers in Business Class got their meal first, and only a few minutes later, the people in Tempo Challenge got the same meal. I really can’t complain, as the meal was very tasty, but I have to admit that I understand the criticism of quite some people (purchasing full fare Business Class tickets) about the food tray. Not that I care about the presentation (certainly not for this very short flight), but the Air France standards have certainly slipped in comparison with for example a year ago. Airlines like BA
still manage to present their Business Class food a little better.
Once again, I didn’t care, as for me, the taste of the food is the most important thing, and besides that, the flight time of today was only about 50 minutes so there wasn’t any reason to complain at all.
Contents of the meal:
- a cold tasty salad mix with two pieces of chicken curry
- lemon cake
- Camembert Président
- A small chocolate
- A (too) small roll
Champagne was offered, but I ordered a coke. It was remarkable by the way that nobody in the Tempo Challenge section ordered alcohol, even no wine.
The service on this flight was correct: the crew was polite, and helped the passengers as much as they could.
Cruising between the clouds:
I finished the meal at 13:20, exactly when we started our descent to AMS
. The descent was very bumpy, as the crew even made an announcement that we had to make sure that our seatbelt was securely fastened due to the turbulence.
Breaking through the clouds around 13:30:
During our descent, we followed the coastline for some time, before making a 90° turn to continue our descent to the ‘Polderbaan’. This picture will hopefully give you the impression that you are in the plane yourself, looking at the coastline
Starting our 90° turn in very bad weather conditions, with a vortex at the end of the wing:
Continuing our turn above the countryside, before starting our final approach to the Polderbaan:
The crew had prepared the cabin for landing at this point, and had gone to their seats as we were now in final approach. Not much more can be said about the approach, so I’m going to post a few pictures from finals till touch down:
And… touch down + reverse!
Taxiing to our gate took quite some time (almost got the feeling that we were taxiing from Paris to Amsterdam
), but the pilot was in a hurry apparently as we taxied quite fast. On the way to our gate, we taxied past quite some nice aircraft, like a Kalita B741F (N702CK), the Martinair MD11F with the flowers-coloursheme (PH-MCU) and N76054 of Continental rotated just besides us on its way to EWR
. The purser also made an announcement to welcome us in Amsterdam, and he thanked us for flying Air France-KLM.
The captain told us in the meantime that we were about to reach our gate. He wished us a very nice day as well.
Approaching our gate:
Parking besides a company A320-100:
There were 2 cabin crew members greeting the passengers at the door. I thanked them for the nice flight, said ‘Au revoir’, and left the plane.
A picture of November Charlie at the gate:
After I took this picture, I saw a television screen showing CNN breaking news about the terrorist attacks in London. How awful that the lives of innocent people had been destroyed by brainwashed Muslim extremists. I didn’t feel very comfortable as well, as I was flying to London on the next day.
We left the airport, and once outside, we met forum member Md-11er and his girlfriend. After a visit to the Luchtvaart Hobbyshop, I decided to leave MD
-11er, his girlfriend and Flying Belgian, as I had to get up very early on the next day (flying BMI
). As they were going to stay for a few more hours at AMS
, I’d arrive in the middle of the night at home (almost the time I’d have to get up again
), so I took the train back to Brussels.
Conclusion: Air France was excellent on this flight in my opinion. The flight was on time, the staff I met was friendly, the service was great etc.
I also want to thank Flying Belgian for the 2 days in Paris! I hope we will do something similar soon!
Thanks for reading this trip report! All remarks/comments/… are welcome of course!