This is a brief report of my latest trip with my girlfriend. The weather isn´t the funniest in Sweden in November. Therefore we decided to have a short vacation in Mauritius, a country that we hadn´t visited before.
November 22, 2005
Air France, AF2063
Airbus 320-211, F-GFKU
14.45-17.25 on time
First I thought about making a bonus trip with SAS using some of my EuroBonus points to Paris, but after looking around on the web I found a great fare for my girlfriend and myself on the Air France website, only 287 dollars for two persons for a round trip ARN-CDG. Air France flights from Stockholm lands in 2D and our flight to Mauritius was going to leave from 2C. On this trip I was going to fly with two new airlines, Air France and Air Mauritius. One new aircraft type, the A318 on this vacation also.
We had two different bookings, one for ARN-CDG and the second one for CDG-MRU. I don’t know why, but the lady at the empty check in couldn't check us all the way to Mauritius, not even our bags. Well, with plenty of time at CDG this was not a problem. CDG is normally a nightmare if you have a short connection, especially if you are going from one terminal to another.
The flight to Paris was uneventful, departed from the old Terminal 5 in Arlanda and landed on time in Paris. I had a good seat, 12B in the emergency exit row, plenty of leg room. One nice thing with Air France is that they serve you something to eat in Economy class (Tempo in the language of AF). (Please SAS, maybe something you also can do again?) The food was decent, some kind of beef. Of course I took a bottle of red wine with the meal.
On arrival in Paris we had a rather long taxi. Our luggage was delivered quickly to the belt after the flight.
November 22, 2005
Air Mauritius, MK45
Airbus 340-312, 3B-NAU
20.15-10.55, actual 01.12-15.07
Our holiday didn´t start that well, the flight to Mauritius was delayed to 00.45. No mention why, not at check in or during the flight to Mauritius. Well at least we received a meal voucher at the deserted check in. I must say that Terminal 2 in CDG don’t have that many good restaurants. Finally I ordered a steak as well done at a restaurant (don’t remember the name of the restaurant), but of course it was not that “well done”. Whatever, maybe the guy in the restaurant didn’t understand what I said. One good thing with the delayed flight was that I had plenty of time to walk around Terminal 2. Our transfer from 2D to 2C was easy. (It took about 10 minutes to walk from 2D to C). The terminal is very cramped, I can just imagine how it looks in the peak summer season. But at least Terminal 2 is must nicer than the very outdated Terminal 1 were SAS lands. CDG isn´t my favorite airport in the world.
Finally it was time for boarding. No priority boarding as far as I could see. No newspapers for the passengers. I took my seat in Economy class, 27G and noticed that the leg room was quite generous. Socks and eyeshades were given out. Air Mauritius A340s have 12 First class seat, 28 Business class seat and 254 Economy class seats. I would never pay for flying in Business class with Air Mauritius, 2-3-2 seating, and the pitch is about 43. The seats really looked old and cramped. Well, back to Economy class. The problem with the seats in Economy are that they are very, very hard and the seats don't recline very far and have no lumbar or neck support control, it was impossible to get comfortable.
No drinks were served before the meal. One nice thing though was the fact that we received a menu:
Tagliatelle and Salmon Salad
Alaskan Hake Fish with Moroccan Sauce or Roasted Chicken Fricassée with Curry and Coconut Milk Sauce.
I took the chicken, it was not bad but not a masterpiece either. Typical airline food. After the meal the crew more ore less disappeared. No drink rounds during the flight, if you want something you have to go to the back of the aircraft and get it yourselves. Ok, its always good with some exercise, but normally I am used to a cabin crew that walks through the cabin offering water at least a couple of times during a night flight. The breakfast next morning was not that good, a Croissant and an boring Omelet and some fruit appetizer.
The flight time to Mauritius was 10H55. I cant remember our exact routing, but we flow over Genoa, Cairo and Mogadishu. Almost no turbulence during the flight.
Every seat has individual screens with six different movies. I think that the screens are from the first generation. I didn’t watch any of the movies, none of them interested me.
A Russian gentleman who only spoke Russian, sat in one of the middle seats in the same row as we did. I have never witnessed someone drinking one liter of Stolichnaya vodka during a flight. What a show!
I must say that Air Mauritius is a disappointing contrast to the fantastic service and standards of the island's hotels. The crew onboard our flight were tired, almost no smiles and the service was not that good. Maybe it was the delay? The food was rather ok, but the problem was that the seat was very hard, impossible to sleep well. I really tried to sleep but it was difficult. I wonder if they will have new seats on their new coming A340s.
The immigration in Mauritius went pretty fast, about 20 minutes after landing we sat in a taxi on our way to the hotel. At this time of the day 15 pm, the Airport was almost deserted.
Ile de Maurice
During our (to short) vacation in Mauritius we stayed at the Shandrani Hotel located next to the airport. The hotel is fantastic, the location near the airport is perfect for airline freaks as us. it’s marvelous to lie on the beach and watch a Boeing 747 or Airbus 340 take off. Mauritius is a great destination, especially for us who live in the dark and cold Northern countries. The people are very friendly.
November 28, 2005
Air France, AF963
Boeing 747-400, ?
08.50-17.25 on time
Before we could proceed to the check in we went trough security. After that we had to use our elbows to go to the Air Mauritius/Air France check in. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Airport (SSR) is really quite cramped. At least in the morning when passengers for a couple of 747s and an A340 and a 767 are checked in almost at the same time. The lady at check in didn’t have any problems at all to send our bags and check us in all the way to Stockholm-Arlanda, nice work!
I am a bit confused about the configuration of our aircraft. Normally AF flies with a 747 with over 450 seats to leisure destinations in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. But I could see that our aircraft had the new Business class seats onboard (looked very nice). My seat was 19A, over the wing. Maybe someone can tell what kind of 747 AF normally use to Mauritius.
After a rather chaotic boarding, with no priority boarding this time either we took of 10 minutes late, but landed on time in Paris about 11 hours and 15 minutes later. Our flight today was completely full. Last time I flow with a 747 was back in 2003 (with Lufthansa). Its always nice to feel the power of a 747. Wonderful aircraft!
This was my first long haul flight with Air France. The seat was much better than on Air Mauritius, softer and more comfortable. The pitch was not as good as on Air Mauritius though. No personal PTVs on our aircraft, only the old fashioned style with monitors in the wall/ceiling. An other boring thing, no air show on this flight. Wonder why? I am always interested to know about the route the aircraft is flying.
After a beautiful take of with some fantastic scenery a rather boring breakfast was served. No warm things on that one. About four hours later we were served a lunch, chicken with rice. No menu and no choices, everyone ate the same food. One interesting thing, a bottle of wine and a bottle of liqueur were on the tray. Maybe a typical thing for a French carrier? The food was ok, the best thing of it was the dessert. A very good chocolate cake.
During the flight the attendants went through the cabin and offered water. One could also go to a self-service bar with soft-drinks, water and some sandwich to eat.
I must say that the flight attendants were very professional and friendly during the flight, what a difference compared to the flight with Air Mauritius.
One interesting thing, we were warned about turbulence and requested to return to our seats maybe 4-5 times during the flight. The problem is that there was no turbulence. I wonder why they did that? Does anyone know if AF normally sells duty free items on their long haul flights? On our flight they didn’t.
November 28, 2005
Air France, AF 1262
Airbus 318-111, F-GUGB
19.30-22.05, on time
Photo © Mint Photography-Kevin Minter
Our aircraft to Stockholm was parked at a remote stand. The A318 looked nice in the evening.
We left the remote stand 10 minutes late but landed on time in Stockholm. Once again an emergency exit seat for me, this time 9B. Plenty of leg room. The A318 is a nice “little” aircraft, quite powerful during take off.
The food on this flight was bad, some kind of turkey. I didn’t eat it at all. The dessert was the only good thing about this meal, and the French Kronenbourg beer of course.
Once again friendly and professional flight attendants on this almost full flight.
Our bags were delivered rather quickly at the deserted Terminal 5 in Arlanda Airport. 15 minutes after landing we sat in a taxi on our way to our home in Stockholm.
What can I say? Mauritius is a marvelous little island. Air France was a pleasant surprise, but I am disappointed about Air Mauritius. I think that they can do better, or I hope that at least. Would I fly with Air France again? Yes, especially if they will give me emergency exit seats for 2 flight out of 3! Air Mauritius? Maybe.
Thanks for reading!