About a year ago I signed up for one of the spring break trips to Europe at my school. Since I have taken Spanish since 2001 I thought it would be useful to head to Spain to practice and see some history. When I signed up for the trip I hoped we would be flying Star Alliance so I could rack up some EQMs but sadly that didn't happen. Nevertheless I was looking forward to heading back to Europe for an amazing trip.
Wed. March 28, 2007
Air France 065
Depart LAX 3:35p
Arrive CDG 11:05a +1
I arrived at terminal 2 around 1pm to allow enough time for the 40 of us traveling in the group to get checked in and through security. Waiting at check-in took about 15 minutes. My bag was checked through all the way to MAD and I was given connecting boarding passes as well as a travel packet detailing transfers at CDG. It is nice of AF to give this out but it still takes a lot of time and patience to get around CDG.
I arrived at the gate around 2pm to take one of the few empty seats around. Terminal 2 really could use to be updated, but then again it is LAX. I walked around a bit and took some photos of the aircraft before boarding.
My first 777
Looking out over the city.
Boarding began slightly late around 3pm with everyone standing around crowding the gate area. It was very unorganised and was very difficult to figure out what was happening. Eventually I made my way through the masses just standing around and walked down the jetway. AF provides a nice selection of newspapers and magazines to all passengers and I picked up some reading material. I walked almost to the very back of the plane to my wonderfully spacious window seat. Pitch was lacking, especially not having flown anything tighter than UA Y+ for years I felt a little tight. We were pushed back and the safety video was played, almost identical to this one:
We took off very quickly on runway 24L slightly late at 3:55pm. One thing I noticed about the 777 is that the takeoff felt much more powerful than on the 744. Maybe it was those massive GE90s. We made a left turn over the bay towards Europe.
Last view of home
Long flight ahead....
Rear Tempo cabin
After takeoff the curtains were closed to the premium cabins, something I wish US carriers did. Sure they have those mesh curtains but it's not the same thing. A few minutes later we were handed menus and little amenity kits with headphones, a face wipe, and an eye shade. Getting a printed menu in Y is a nice touch.
About an hour after takeoff the meal service began:
To start I had a cup of soda and some cheese snack mix.
The meal was very tasty, French rolls were given out as well.
About an hour away from Canada. Just after the photo they asked for window shades to be closed.
We were flying over a storm system so at times there was some decent turbulence. I have a hard time falling asleep in an economy seat and I decided just to stay up the whole time. It was only dark out for maybe two hours anyway. I watched a few movies on the IFE system to pass the time. It's not on demand but they have a decent selection of movies, tv shows, games, and documentaries which restart every few minutes. I watched Casino Royale, a nature documentary, and watched the airshow most of the time. During the night drinks were available in the galleys for anyone who wanted them.
Approaching the UK
A decent breakfast was served.
Just before descent near France.
The cabin was secured and we began to descend into the clouds. It was a foggy morning at CDG so I couldn't see much until we were almost on the ground. We touched down slightly late around 11:15am. After a fairly long taxi we arrived at our remote parking stand. We had to take a bus to arrive at terminal 2E and clear immigration. The bus ride felt like a 15 minute tour of the entire airport which can be frustrating if you are in a hurry. We were connecting onto AF1600 to MAD departing at 12:35pm so I wasn't confident we would make it. After formally entering France we had to leave the secure area and cross over to terminal 2F. There should be a way to cross over without leaving the secure zone for the sake of time.
By the time we reached terminal 2F our original flight had already departed. We were about 15 minutes late so I don't blame them even though we had 40 people. They do have a schedule to follow after all. Because of the mis connect we were all given a free baguette sandwich and a soft drink. We were given boarding passes on the flight leaving at 4:35pm so our group could stay together.
Sorry for the darkness
Looking out over the tarmac
Thu. March 29, 2007
Air France 1900
Depart CDG 4:35p
Arrive MAD 6:35p
This was a fairly uneventful flight. I was very excited to fly on an AF 737 as they will soon be history. I think they only have a couple 735s left. We pushed back slightly late and had a long taxi to the runway. We took off around 5:15pm and turned towards Spain. Service consisted of a cup of soda, a bag of snack mix, and a package of cookies. We touched down in MAD on time.
Overall I was impressed with Air France's Tempo product. They have nice touches like menus, amenity kits, glassware, and metal silverware in economy which is rare these days. Even though I don't speak French there was no problem navigating CDG or speaking to the cabin crew. CDG needs some serious work in terms of connections though. Having to take multiple buses and walk across the airport can really take a lot of time. I would book a three hour connection just to be safe. Hopefully when they finish rebuilding terminal 2E things will improve. Please leave any comments and thanks for reading!
I liked your report very much. I always try to book AF whenever I fly back to the US. Their Tempo product is very good. Glad you liked them as well. What was your return flight like? I agree it can be a pain in the neck having to be bussed to the terminal. Hopefully after 2E and the other terminal are finished this will make transfering a lot easier.
I did a LAX-CDG-FCO flight about a year ago and found the inter-terminal transportation to be like a maze. The bus I got on had no sign to which terminal it was going to. I believe we had a 2:20 min. layover and we made our return flight from CDG to LAX with just 15 mins. to spare.
I don't know if they always speak Spanish on the LAX flights, it would be a nice touch if they did. The return flight was pretty similar so I didn't take many pictures. The only real difference was they offered ice cream and sandwiches in between the two meal services.
Here in Asia, menus are given out on long/medium haul flights on most of the Asian major carriers such as SQ, CX, NH, JL, QF. I believe menu cards are non-existent in Y on the US carriers and many other European carriers.
Is AF the only European airline that gives out printed menus in Y class? AF's long-haul Tempo products looks/sounds good!
Excellent report! I flew AF JFK-CDG and CDG-BCN last month and I was impressed with the aircraft cleanliness, nice crews (friendly, efficient, polite), relatively on time schedules, and thought the food, IFE, and amenities in economy on the 777 service from JFK were quite nice.
My only complaint is CDG. It's a mess. We also had a 20-25 minute bus tour of the airfield, which was cool, as it was a nice day, and many planes could be seen landing or taking off, but for connections, it's very irritating.
My CDG-BCN segment was also good. On time. Nice crew. We departed 2F, Gate 34.
Nice trip report, first time I've ever read an Air France trip report and didn't think "what a horrible product." Your pictures really made the report all that much better, so, again, thank you for taking the time.
Last summer, booked 5 friends from LAX-AMS and for the first time ever, Air France ended up booking at almost $100 lower than most other airlines, so, they went for it against my recommendation. On the way over, they flew aboard an Air France B744, and they said it was a nightmare. Aircraft didn't have individual tvs in each seatbacks, flight attendants were more then rude to the passengers, and transiting CDG was ridiculous. They called while on the trip wanting to pay anything to change the return, but, as the summer season would be, it was impossible. Well, if all stories have a light at the end of the tunnel, the return was seemless. Transiting CDG they said was much easier and the return flight to LAX was aboard the B777 and they said it was like night and day between the B744 outbound and the B777 on the way home. Individual ptvs made the flight more enjoyable, the f/a on the CDG-LAX portion were more than pleasant and accomodating and their transfer in LAX to their HP PHX flight was a breeze. It's interesting how many people we encounter that have flown Air France and the majority all say the same thing, that the f/a almost go out of their way to be rude to the pax on flights towards CDG. Honestly, if they don't like their job, or maybe, they love their job and they don't like Americans, or maybe just another bad day, it's time to find another job. Honestly though, all reports we get back after we send guests out on a trip and they write a response to an Air France leg, most feel that the f/a purposely are rude to the American traveler, and it comes up over and over again, so, this trip report, finally I'm glad to hear the dawn of a new day and that the flights were different.
With this, we now only book passengers on airlines that offer ptv's. It's the only way to get the trip off on that different note we feel, and that little 4 inch screen in front of our passenger really seems to make all the difference. Hopefully they'll become a standard to all airlines flyings trans Atlantic, especially as we see American carriers now upgrading and/or retrofitting the a/c that they utilize to fly cross Atlantic routes.
Thanks very much for an excellent report, both in terms of description and pictures! I have to stay coach looks very good on Air France, especially compared to some other European airlines, like Lufthansa.