Let me begin by apologizing for lack of photos. I have some but for a strange reason haven't figured out how to upload them here. I'm a bit of "challenged" when it comes to that type of stuff.
So here is my report on my return trip to Dusseldorf flying on AF
. Enjoy and hope for lots of feedback.
DATE: December 29, 2005
FLIGHT: AF365 PHL
SCHEDULED/ACTUAL DEPARTURE: 19:05/19:10
SCHEDULED/ACTUAL ARRIVAL: 08:25/08:10
I just spent three weeks back in the US visiting family and friends in various parts of PA. The day came for me to get on the PA Turnpike and head back down to PHL
. I had a rental so I took that back first and took the shuttle over to Terminal E. AF
arrivals in Terminal A West but since DL
handles their departures they leave from Terminal E. Not one of PHLs nicest Terminals. Anyone know when AF
will arrive and depart from Terminal A West?
I'm dropped off at the curbside of Terminal E and made my way inside. I was quite early so I was surprised I was allowed to check in right away. Previous trips I wasn't allowed to check-in until exactly 2 hours before departure. DL
handles all the formalities for AF
. I only stood in line for about 5 minutes before the DL
agent waved me over to him. He was very nice, asked if I had nice trip to the US and if it was my first time here, etc. I couldn't resist so I pulled out my PA driver's license and handed it to him along with my passport. He laughed and apologized although he didn't need to. (On a side note....I've used DL
out of PHL
often and the check-in agents have always been friendly, efficient and helpful. Keep up the good work DL
people.) Because Santa treated me so well this year I had two bags checked through to Dusseldorf.
I was issued my boarding pass and instructed to go upstairs through security. I know this isn't the fault of DL
but security screening in Terminal E is really a case study in organized disorganization.....Very cramped, very slow. Another reason I hope AF
moves over to Terminal A West soon. Also Terminal E is very boring as far as diversions go. A few snack bars, a gift shop and that's about it. Most European airports are way ahead when it comes to this type of stuff.
I made my way down to the gate. The terminal was crowded by this time. WN
also uses E and I guess they were having a bad day as a lot of their flights were delayed. I arrived at the gate just as the AF
A330 was being parked at the gate. A few minutes later ground staff started getting things ready for boarding. All they were doing was moving those seat belt like thingys around....anyone know what I mean??? What are they called anyway????? Then another AF
guy brought out the newspaper rack and started sorting the papers. A nice touch by the way.
Why is it whenever an airline employee approaches the gate desk EVERYONE jumps up and starts standing in line? We still had well over 90 minutes before departure!
I took advantage of the free newspapers and found a seat back in the corner and waited until they ANNOUNCED boarding at about 6:30pm. As soon as the gate agent picked up the microphone tons of people got up and wanted to board. The agent kindly asked everyone to be seated while they pre-boarded the people who needed assistance, had small kids or were in Business Class. My turn to board came about 15 minutes later.
I was greeted at the door by two very nice FAs. I was directed down the correct aisle. I knew which aisle anyway but decided to humor them. I was curious how this crew would look in comparision to my flight to PHL
. See part 1 of my report. To be honest they were okay....a mixed bunch of senior and younger female and male FAs. Still they were friendly and greeted all passengers in French and English. In all my flights with AF
I've never experienced a snotty French only FA
. I guess my trick really does work...smile and give them a polite "hello" and you get the same in return.
I really love the A330 and I'm so glad AF
uses it on their Philly flights. The cabin is spacious and airy. The economy is a 2-4-2 set up except the last 3 rows are 2-3-2 due to plane curving towards the back. The economy cabin was quite full by the time I found my seat, 33B. I was relieved I was able to put my coat and carry-on in the bin above me. There was an older gentlemen seated at the window. As usual the pillow and blanket were placed on the seat. The cabin was also clean when we boarded. Again see part 1 of my trip report.
I settled in and waited for the doors to close. We started to push back and the safety video started. It was different than the one on my inbound flight, more computer animation than the older one. By the time the video was over we had reached our position and we made our way down the runway and in just a few seconds we were airborne.
Approximately 10 minutes after takeoff the FAs handed out the amenity kits and menus. The kits contain eye shades, earphones, ear plugs and a moist towel. The A330 offers individual inflight entertainment. The movie choices were okay. There was also the usual music channels. AF
offers something for every taste: Caribbean, Latin, Pop, Oldies, Classical, Japanese, French Chansons, Europop,etc. A few minutes later the first beverage service started. Alcoholic drinks are free in economy so I took advantage and chose a glass of Champagne. It was served in a plastic cup but,hey, what the heck its free!
About 45 minutes into the flight the meal service started. The menu this night was:
Tabbouleh shrimp salad
Breast of chicken with paprika accompanied by Lyonnaise potatoes and green beans
Cheese ravioli with basil sauce
Camembert cheese, warm rolls, raisin cake, coffee/tea, Chardonnay La Baume 2003, Chardonnay Viognier 2004 Castel, Cabernet Sauvignon 2003, Merlot, Beer, water and various sodas and juices.
The FAs served quickly but not so much so as to feel rushed. I chose the ravioli. It was fine. The FA
came around twice with warm rolls. They were good as well. There wasn't a very long wait until the FAs came around and gathered up the trays. The cabin lights were dimmed and everyone started settling in for the night.
I chose to watch "Forest Gump" for the 20th time. I made a few trips up and down the aisle. AF
offers a neat setup in the galleys where you can help yourself to drinks. I asked for a bottle of wine and a glass and headed back to my seat. The rest of the flight was uneventful.
As we were over Ireland the breakfast trays were handed out. Yogurt, fruit, a roll and juice, coffee, tea, etc.
We touched down a few minutes early and made our way to CDG
2C. The crew stood at the door and wished everyone goodbye. I passed through immigration quickly and went out side for some "fresh air" before my next flight to DUS
DATE: December 30, 2005
FLIGHT: AF1606 CDG
SCHEDULED/ACTUAL DEPARTURE: 10:20/11:10
SCHEDULED/ACTUAL ARRIVAL: 11:35/12:25
This flight left from 2F. I like this terminal because you get some good views from behind security. I don't know why but there were many delays this morning...the weather was cloudy but nothing I would think to cause a lot of delays. Oh well, who am I to judge....
This flight was really uneventual. We started boarding about 10:50. the flight was quite full as there were a lot of connecting passengers heading back to DUS
. Service onboard was "sparse" to be polite. There are two types of economy on AF
; Tempo Challenge and Tempo. I was in Temp. Beverage service was limited to water, coffee and tea with a croissant. The coffee was terrible, it was instant coffee with luke-warm water added to it. The FAs were nice but obviously knew they had to get everyone served so they really went through the cabins at a high speed.
We arrived in DUS
and parked at Terminal B. Since DUS
was rebuilt I've have always enjoyed going in/out there. I waited and waited and waited and eventually my luggage arrived. It was last as usual.
I made my way up to the Skytrain to head over to the airport train station. Well guess what? It was out of commission again!!! Siemens better get their act together soon. Anyway that's a whole other story.
To sum it all up AF
lived up to my expectations. Their economy class on long haul flights beats most US carriers by long shot. As long as they continue serving PHL
, I continue using them.
Again sorry no pics, if I figure it later I'll put them online. Hope everyone enjoyed my report. I'm open for comments questions.