After o period of self evaluating my presence in A.NET forum I think the small number of good people we still have here deserve my humble words, and here it goes my latest trip report, I hope you enjoy it and like always I'll be glad to receive your feedback:
Airplane: Airbus A320-211
Photo © Harri Koskinen
Duration of flight: 2:15
Age of the aircraft at time of flight: 15 years and 9 months
For the first time I tried to make my check-in via Internet, and I'm really glad that things worked out really well, specially because I called AF before to reserve my seats for the CDH/FIH/CDG and when I was checking them out in the Internet the seats I reserved had nothing to do with the ones I checked first! Anyway I re-checked again my seats all way from LIS to FIH. Then I printed out my boarding pass and waited next day for my adventure trip to FIH. My flight was in the afternoon from LIS to CDG but when I arrived to LIS I found out that our flight was delayed. After around 45 minutes we left LIS, our flight was around 80% full, the plane was not in bad condition and we taxied all way to runway 21 for take-off. I used for the first time a new take-off procedure at LIS airport, we left in the interception U5 for RN21, we had to wait a bit for a spannish Swearingen Metro to take-off and after we ligned up there was a DHL ( old colours ) 757 ready to go too. Leaving LIS in RN21 is always nice and fun because you can see Lisbon downtown, river Tagus, the bridge, but when we left it was cloudy so not a lot of Lisbon could be seen, anyway, the flight went really well, we flew FL360 and a dinner was served, a kinda of bird ( chicken or turkey..) with potato salad with mayonnaise, carrots, bread and a coconut cake, all this had two glasses of white wine Chateau Du Cla - Entre Mers 2005. After an uneventfull flight we landed at CDG already at night. Meanwhile because I was supposed to continue my flight next morning I found a nice and cheap hotel close to CDG with a courtesy bus ( Hotel Confort network ). After a refreshing shower and a good nice sleep I was ready for my trip to FIH/Africa!!!
Airplane: Airbus A330-200
Photo © Andrew Compolo
Duration of flight: 7:35 minutes
Age of the aircraft at time of flight: 5 years and 3 months
It was going to be my first time in a A330-200, we left on time at our boarding gate but that lead me to a bus, so I knew I was going to travel a bit to another terminal, I don't know what terminal it was but I remember that I saw that close to the place were our plane was there was a moke-up of a A380 part, so I guess that is in the new part of CDG ( is it??? ). The boarding went nice and smooth and the seats are quite generous, the configuration 2-4-2 also looks quite nice and the IFE also looked fine, we can either use the control or touch-screen. Our flight was around 70% full and we left with 25 minutes of delay. Our Cap. name was Coucher ( that's how it sounded...) and soon we took off to Africa. The take-off was good and powerfull, we didn't need to take all the runway and the plane had a great climbing rate, the weather was a bit cloudy all way untill we started to cross the Mediterranean Sea, at FL350, we went at North Africa in Tunisia and we could see pretty well the desert from time to time, we passed Tunisia, then Niger and Tchad, at the end of this really spectacular sight we climbed up to FL370 staying with that until our final landing. Meanwhile the aperitifs were coming, a bag of salty pretzels served with a glass of Jacquard Brut Mosaique, then it was time for the lunch:
Pasta Salad with Creole shrimp
Choise of main course
Sauté of beef accompanied by mashed potatoes, carrots and sugar snap peas
Fillet of sea pike served with watercress cream sauce and rice with vegetables
Camembert cheese, yogurt, Belle-Helene pear tart
Wines - White/Vin de Pays d'Oc Chardonnay Castel 2006
Red/Vin de Pays d'Oc Syrah Castel 2005
I took the fish with the white wine...very good food, tasty and the wine was also great! In the IFE I saw the "Wild Hoogs" and "Zodiac", they had around 8 movies, music and TV programs. So everything went smooth until maybe 1 hour before, then, over Gabon we got some turbulence for about 10 minutes, medium, not very, very bad. Before our descend we received a chocolatte with complementary drinks. Finally it was time to descend at FIH, we stayed over the airport some minutes because I saw the plane taking at least three 360 degree turns until we landed, a very nice and smooth one indeed, then we had to backtrack because there's no taxiway at FIH. When we landed there was 707's, DC-8's, IL76, AN12's, AN26's, L1011 all over, and talking about airlines I saw some Bravo Air DC-9-30's and Hewa Bora 727's. The only pictures I took were from the plane because outside it's absoultely forbiden!!!
After 1 week in Kinshasa it was time to come back, first of all the AF check-in is not in FIH but downtown Kinshasa, I'm not going to report here how is to arrive or leave from FIH ( I'll take that for another topic...) but the check-in went well and after 2 hours in traffic from the place I was staying ( Mont Ngaliema ) till the airport here goes the return flights.
Airplane: Airbus A330-200
Photo © John Harris
Duration of flight: 7:25 minutes
Age of the aircraft at time of flying: 3 years and 3 months
Boarding our plane was very effective and fast, the only two flights that left were our AF and also SN with the A330-300. After the doors were closed we were advice by the crew that one of the members would pass by with sprays to "kill the mosquitoes" , so after some minutes I saw the F/A with a spray in each hand passing our aisle and returning in the other aisle, pretty funny effect but nothing bad or weird happen, the smell is not bad at all!!! We left 10 minutes late and Capt. Fenault said that we had to wait will the SN airplane took-off so we could get on the runway, backtrack and take off. And that's what happened, I noticed that when we lined up with the runway the engines of the A330 barely made it in the concrete....most of the wing was already outside the runway over the sand...that must be an effect seeing a possible cloud of smoky sand behind the plane. The take-off was on RN24, again good, powerfull and soon we started to turn left heading north. Because our flight left at night the only data I can give is the one that I saw on the map. We mostly flew the same route we did it the other way, our plane was around 90%. We first climbed to FL350, then FL390 and finnally the rest of the flight at FL410. On the way back our menu was:
Quinoa salad with vegetables accompanied by chicken and fig brochette
Choise of the main course
Braised beef, tomato coulis with Espelette chili pepper and penne past with red bell peppers
Sea pike served with chive sauce, fettuccine pasta and vegetable julienne
Camembert cheese, yogurt, apricot almond cake
Wines: The same ones from the other flight and Champagne also.
I took this time the beef option that was incredible tasty, really good food, with 2 bottles of red wine, a very nice Syrah!!! The sun rose already in France and we had time to get a small cake and drinks just before we started to descend and it was great to use the camera from our Airbus and see the landing at CDG, once again a very good one on RN08R. Then because I had a transit of only 1:20 minutes I had to rush a bit, because our plane parked on Terminal 2C and I was going to Terminal 2D. When I arrived there I still had plenty of time, but soon I found out that our plane was going to be delayed!!!
Airplane: Airbus A320-211
Photo © Sergio Domingos
Duration of flight: 2:25 minutes
Age of the aircraft at time of flying: 17 years and 3 months
The plane that was supposed to fly us home had a technical problem, so we only took off at 9:05, around 1:45 latter, and this because we had to board another airplane, Cap. Verier gave the best apologize possible and he couldn't do much more. Although it was already a big delay no one complaint and after the pushback we went to RN26R and left after a CRJ100 from LH. The first part of the flight was with clouds but when we arrived to the Atlantic things started to be better and during the rest of the flight we had mostly clear sky. We flew at FL350 and the flight went smooth, we were served a breakfast, a croissant, yogurt and a cake with complementary drinks...in my case coffee! We arrived to LIS quite high, turning for our final landing at RN03 over Belem tower, then we passed over the bridge and a nice landing at LIS.
Overall AF is a very nice product, the long-haul AF fleet looks really nice and modern, the short/medium haul fleet probably will need some brand new Airbuses A320's.....I'm sure AF is "taking care" of that. I enjoyed a lot flying in the A330-200's and the F/A's on all my flights were very nice and kind, so AF might be another good choise for those who like quality.