Dear fellow A.net (travel)ers,
Let me just start with the following.
This A380 special itinerary was discussed here for quite a while. It did catch my attention but yet in a drill which pursued me to make a booking. Then, fellow A.netter Tim (vandenheuvel) got in touch and told me that he would be flying the LHR-CDG leg on 12th July. Soon enough, he learnt that Eric (Airbuseric) would be joining him on the flight.
The forum discussion got intensified and gradually more fellow A.netters reported their contribution on this date. Among them were Markus (FLIEGER67), Mark (BA319-131), Andrew (Brewox), FlyingFinn76, Infodesk, Stylo777, and Bobby (amigocharlie).
With such unique opportunity to meet so many fellow A.netters in person, I got more and more the feeling that I should not lag behind and for EUR 80, the offer was just too tempting. I conferred with my partner about it and he suggested a long weekend in Paris around the date. Since I have never been in Paris nor flown with Air France nor on board of A380, it was definitely a brilliant idea.
Booking was done on the French website of AF. Crisp, easy to navigate and pretty much exemplary to other legacy airlines. AF website seemed allowing customers to conduct reservations with any frequent flyer number of other Skyteam members. At least until I tried to insert my partner’s and my Korean Air Skypass details and got rejected twice with a warning that Flying Blue did not include any letter like KE Skypass. Well, I did not get it. Eventually, I decided to insert our Flying Blue details anyway despite our intention of not using Flying Blue anymore after our miles got filched from us. By then, the system recognized our Flying Blue accounts and the booking progressed.
Some striking things I noticed. Before proceeding to the payment step, we were inquired to indicate our seating preference. The system did not actually show a seat map, but put a question of a combination between middle and aisle or window and middle seats. I chose the latest. Within seconds, our booking confirmation was delivered together with a striking notification that our boarding passes will be issued thirty hour before our departure time. We appreciated this boarding pass service, but could we not choose our own seats? I tried to make an online seat selection, but the feature somehow did not exist for us. I hoped that we would be seated together and one of us got assigned the window seat.
On 19th May, the bad news came. Our flights were not supposed to be operated by A380 anymore. Instead we ended up with A321. I was disappointed, furious and totally unhappy. Even I had never been on A321 before, I desperately wanted to fly A380.
Following the example of Mark and Infodesk, I sent a complaint letter to AF. AF replied the following day and was very apologetic about the situation. They indicated that our flights on 12th July would be operated by A321 anyway and not by A380 as previously stated. Ironically, I received an AF newsletter couple minutes later about the A380 special flight offering.
AF did mention about the rebooking option, we decided to stick to 12th July as we were not in position to reschedule our flights due to other bookings involved for our weekend. Pity I had to miss out Eric, Mark, Andrew, Infodesk and Markus. Fellows, I do hope we could meet up one day.
Anyway, I returned the mail of AF to explain our situation and made a request for any other compensation. Then it became quiet on the other side. Upon calling the AF ticketing helpdesk couple days later, I was told that they were doing their best to accommodate any inquiry of the passengers traveling on 12th July and would be in touch in about two weeks. Well, two weeks were passing by and we were still waiting. Another reminder of mine did not seem to accelerate the whole process. I was not impressed.
About ten days before our departure, fellow A.netter hotplane notified us about the AF amendment of A380’s first Friday rotation which meant that we would be able to go onboard the A380 anyway. This was just too good to be true as our itinerary still showed A321. Even though, a little hope of mine was arising that a retro equipment change would take place. Unfortunately, as you might have found out, it did not come true.
Nevertheless, I wish you a very nice welcome to the trip report of my partner’s and my long weekend trip to Paris. On this occasion you will encounter the following:
- Our stay in Kyriad Paris La Villette hotel
- The city highlights
- Our visit to Le Bourget
- Our stay in Ibis Charles de Gaulle Aéroport hotel
- Plane spotting session from our hotel room
- Our check-in attempt the day before and the outward flight to LHR including a first meeting with FlyingFinn76
I will post our return flight to CDG including a second meeting with Tim on a separate thread.