This TR will cover my west-boud (outbound) flying only - hopefully a TR will follow for my return flights(s) which will take place on 30-MAR-2006.
HAJ - CDG 23-MAR-2006
AF 5498 / DL 8328
Actual timings: 1055-1200h
Equipment: EMB-145 F-GUBG (changed from a scheduled F-70)
Departing runway 27R
Photo © Fabio Lorenzato - SpotIT
Photo © Wojciech Malak (Wlkp_Spotters)
Arriving at AF´s Check-in at HAJ, two counters were open and busy. Only one single traveller was waiting in front of me. However, it took almost 10 minutes before the two agents had finished servicing their respective customers almost simultaneously.
While the agent served me any my luggage to check, there was a quarrel with the local personnel staffing the security check for the designated pax hold room. watching this discussion, I received the info, that my inbound flight from CDG was delayed and the there were to be about 20 pax on my flight (which would be leaving with 20 minutes delay).
Having surrendered my luggage, for the first time I had to state my details of stay (i.e. hotel address) in the U.S. - while I have had two flights to the U.S. since October 2005 (the date on which APIS should have become effective), on none of these flights I had to state the details of my hotel address.
Having another 45 minutes to spare before scheduled departure, I said good-bye to my folks, spent 1 EUR to visit the Visitors Terrace (from where I saw about 7 planes leaving & arriving within 15 minutes) and returned to my gate as the last pax - boarding had already started.
It was when I walked up to the a/c that I realized that we have had an a/c-substitution, as the flight was scheduled to be operated by a Fokker 70 - but this was a Embraer 145 ...
Load was very light: I had been #18 in the booking sequence while the total number of pax was in the mid-20´s - Therefore I had a row of two for my own (and fortunately I had brought along some ear protection, as my row 18 was the second last one offering good views of the engines ... ).
That flight was rather uneventful. The single F/A offered all the stuff to eat she had; I some pleasant views of the area I live in (though I was sitting on the wrong side to see my house) - those pleasant views continued to last all the way to CDG while en-route a total of 3 a/c passed us (crossing above and below, plus one passing head-on).
Upon descent int CDG, there were no views of the city center, as there was a lot of Smog in central Paris. Touchdown was on runway 09L (north of T1) which was followed by some minutes of taxiing to a remote stand (G20, IIRC).
Wile we first had to wait for 5 pieces of hand luggage to be unloaded (for delivery at a/c), we then had to wait onboard for a coach to arrive ) didn´t I complain about THAT service in my recent reports, yet ???!!!). However, unlike on my last connection through CDG, there were no backlogs at T2D´s arrival-busgates ...
After a brief detour to Terminal 2C to check out for fellow A.netter´s Zoheb´s aunt´s oncoming travel on EK, I made my long voyage to T2E (the one which´s roof collapsed a while ago).
Outgoing immigration was a breeze, security checks took about 10 minutes only. After a short (5 min) visit to AF´s Business Lounge (I had a quick Tomato Juice and "stole" a bottle of water), I made my way to gate E73, where for my flight boarding had already started.
The gate agent once again asked all those stupid questions regarding the state of my check luggage as well as my hand luggage - I really think these questions are nonsense...
As E73 is a bus-gate, there was a coach waiting outside. It was half filled when I entered it and I had to wait another 10-15 minutes before it was allowed to depart (with numerous more pax having to squeeze in, even though this wasn´t the last bus).
A drive of about 60 seconds took us to our waiting a/c:
STD/STA: 1340 - 1725h (--> 9h45 flying time, announced flying time: 8h45 only)
Off blocks: 1345h
Airborne: see below.
Seat: 13F (changed from 11D)
Photo © Luc Verkuringen
Photo © Matthew Lee - Contrails Aviation Photography
The a/c was parked at the very first remote stand next to T2E. Alighting from the bus was through the front door only onto a single flight of air-stairs.
Once onboard I briefly settled into my pre-assigned seat 11D but then changed seats with a lady who wanted to sit next to her (elderly) mother.
After a even lengthier taxiing, we joined the queue for departure runway 09R at 1408h.
While waiting in line, we had to give way to the following departing a/c:
2. didn´t get a glimpse of it
3. CO B752 (no winglets)
4. KE-Cargo B744F
5. A320 in StarAlliance colors
6. Braathens/SAS B737s (B737-600 ?)
7. KL B737s - reg. PH-BTH (if my eyesight is still okay)
8. China Eastern A343
9. AF A343
10. AF B773
and finally at 1432h: us !!
waiting behind us: NW A330, 2x AF B744, AF B772, Jets2 B737s
While taxiing and waiting in line for departure, I had to note that the air conditioning was running on gale-force like levels, most pax in B/E donned their jackets or used their blankets. Temperature levels and ventilation were rectified after departure.
Load in C (Business/Elite): Only the seat next to me was unoccupied making a extremely good load in C !
After departure to the east and a 180° turn, our flightpath took us over St.Helier (Channel Islands) and over Land´s End (U.K.) at 34,000 ft around the southern tip of Ireland from where we (apparently) received our Atlantic clearance to fly west on 53°N at an altitude of 36,000 ft.
Pre-departure drinks (Champagne in plastic glasses as well as OJ) were served. Prior to meal service digestives were served for which I did stay with the Champagne, which was "Champagne Lallier NV Brut from Ay, France" on this flight. While enjoying one of several refills (I also stayed with the Champagne during the first courses of my meal), I held a silent toast to fellow A.netter "Door5Right" who, as like me, really does enjoy a good glass of Champagne ... Aperitifs were accompanied by warmed nuts.
Meal orders for the main course were already taken prior to departure; I once again opted for the "South American Tenderloin of Beef in Peppercorn-Brandy Sauce" which I had already sampled during my last flight on DL (which I also mentioned to the purserette taking orders) - as it turned out, there were too few "Tenderloin of Beef" on board, and those young folks in front of me (who had ordered earlier than me) were asked to change their selection (but not me ! ).
Food service in B/E started about 50 minutes after take off and was once again outstanding when comparing it to other carriers Business Class product.
Each F/A in my mini cabin served only 12 seats each ...
While dining I had a closer look at my fellow pax around me:
Telling from their looks (and from what I´ve heard) ALL of them appeared to be U.S.-citizens.
In front of me there was that family of 4 consisting of Grandma, Mum, daughter in her mid-teens and son around 10 years old.
Having 2 seats near the window, there was that elderly couple of which he was brought onboard in a wheelchair, as (as I overheard) was still recovering from some form of heart problems.
I started with the single appetizer which were 2 Grilled Rosemary Shrimps with "Daikon" and Sweet Pepper Slaw (to go down with more Champagne)
For "Starters" this time I opted for the "Roast Chicken and Vegetable Soup" which was accompanied by even more Champagne ...
As Main Course I had the already mentioned Tenderloin of Beef for which I regarded the Champagne as not suitable. I therefore changed to Dry Red Wine in form of a Shiraz from Oz (I neglected the other offer "Merlot" from California) which was also a perfect match to go with my dessert "Assorted Cheese with Crackers).
Final element of my dine was "Vanilla ice-cream topped with nuts".
I need to make a break here, as we now are in cruise and there´s nothing else to mention, apart from the fact that during the time that I needed to write above lines, I was offered drinks (water etc.) at least 3 times ! - Any my business notebook´s battery is already down to 25% (while the re-charger is checked as belly cargo)
Continued in the hotel:
After about 2 hours of sleep, "Afternoon Refreshment" was served for which I opted for Chicken Salad.
Overall, once again a very good and warm service from DL-personnell in Business Elite !
Having touched down in easterly direction, it took us only a few more minutes to taxi to our gate.
Deplaning went fast.
Immigration was deserted, but booths were staffed - so it was a breeze.
Luggage was delivered in no time (was on the belt after a short visit to the Men´s room)
No waiting times at Customs Control and also not at subsequent Security Check (for accessing ATL´s train system).
The train was running.
When I reached the final luggage conveyor belt, one of my suitcases was already there, the other one arrived 2 minutes later.
There was a short queue at the Rental Car agency I have had made reservations with, but I was in their Shuttle bus within 60 minutes after touching down. Not bad and only half the time it had taken me on my last try ...
And then: When I sat in my rental car, the rain started making the drive on I-285 not very pleasant !
´Hope you enjoyed my TR ...
[Edited 2006-03-24 03:27:22]