Hi all, welcome to my first trip report on airliners.net. I hope you enjoy reading it, and kindly let me know of any feedback or comments
Since starting my masters degree in January 2010, I didn’t have the opportunity to go on holiday, due to the amount of work load at university.
In November 2010, I decided to book a holiday to go on after submitting my thesis to university. And being an ex-resident of Lebanon and having many friends there, I decided to book a flight to Beirut in early feb. “which means spending my birthday in Beirut! Wooohooo!”.
Another thought was since that I will be flying to the Middle East, I might as well pass by to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to catch up with some friends as well.
After carefully checking all the options, I decided to book my ticket with the following itinerary:
AF1899* 02FEB MAN
0615 0830 *operated by Flybe*
AF0564* 02FEB CDG
1030 1550 *operated by MEA
KL445 13FEB BAH
KL1073 13FEB AMS
After purchasing this ticket from travelocity.co.uk, it was time to arrange for my flights from BEY
, and JED
Having flown on Nas Air previously, I find them quite reasonable priced and so far with my experience, I haven’t been disappointed yet. So I decided to book BEY
on Nas Air, with a price of 420SR (£70)!
For the JED
flight, I booked my ticket with my miles on the Gulf Air FF
. Taxes costed me £28.
Hence, my full itinerary for the trip would be:
AF1899* 02FEB MAN
0615 0830 *operated by Flybe Embarer 195*
AF0564* 02FEB CDG
1030 1550 *operated by MEA
XY716 06FEB BEY
2035 0010+1 *operated by Nas Air A320”
SV1589 07FEB JED
-YNB 0620 0710 *operated by Saudia E70*
SV1588 07FEB YNB-JED
1600 1650 *operated by Saudia E70*
GF172 10FEB JED
1405 1620 *operated by Gulf Air A330-300”
KL445 13FEB BAH
0100 0550 *operated by KLM A330-200”
KL1073 13FEB AMS
0805 0825 *operated by KLM B737-700”
Date: 02 - FEB - 2010
Flight Number: AF1899/BE 3121
Departure Airport: Manchester International (MAN
Arrival Airport: Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG
Scheduled Departure Time: 06:15
Actual Departure Time: 0624
Scheduled Arrival Time: 0840
Cruising Altitude: 24,000ft
Passenger Load: ~80%
Aircraft: Embraer 195
I decided to leave home quite early in order to sort out an issue “which will be discussed further in this report”. Hence, left home at 3am, and arrived to the airport 3:35am. After having a quick cigarette, I entered T3
and went upstairs to the check-in area. According to the display screens, desks 40-43 were allocated and open for this flight. Nevertheless, by 3:45am, there was still no staff on the check-in desks!
Airlines that operate from T3
Flybe check-in area at T3
At 3:50am, two young lady staff approached the desks and opened for check-in. I approached the desk, and handed her my passport and travel itinerary.
Me: “Morning love”
Bex: “Morning there sir”
Me: “I would like to ask whether its possible to check-in my bags all the way to Beirut? Since that both flights are Air France codeshare?”
Bex: “Yes certainly, not a problem”.
Me: “Oh thats great, thank you!”
After few clicks on her terminal :
Bex: “Ummm, I’m sorry sir, but I cannot check-in your bags all the way to Beirut. It looks like you have to collect your baggage at CDG
and check in again for your other flight!”
Me: “What? But I rang Air France yesterday and they confirmed that my baggage should be checked-in all the way to BEY
, as both flights are AF
Bex: “Well, I’m sorry sir, the system is not allowing me to check-in your luggage all the way to BEY
, and your connecting flight is only showing with an ME flight code, and that is why I cannot check you in since that I do not have access to their system.
Me: “Oh gosh! So theres nothing you can do? Nothing that can be done? Because that means I have to change my connecting flight in CDG
to the later one in the afternoon, since that 1hr30mins transit is not enough to collect my baggage, transfer from terminal 2E to terminal 2F and then check-in again for my next flight!”
Bex: “I’m so sorry sir, theres nothing I can do on my side. However, you can wait for half an hour, and an Air France rep. will be on the customer service desk, and she might be able to help you.”
Me: “Ok then, I’ll check with her, Thank you”.
Obviously, I was gutted once I heard this news, which meant the possibility of having a 5hr transit in CDG
! I decided to wait for the Air France rep. to arrive, in order to discuss the matter and hopefully find a solution.
30mins later, the AF
rep arrives to the desk, and I approached the desk:
Me: “Good morning, I was wondering if you can help me with my issue?”
rep.: “Certainly sir, let me see what I can do”
After less than a minute, and few clicks and buttons pressed, and a few phone calls to AF
rep.: “Here you go sir, you can go back to the check-in desk and they should be able to check you in all the way to BEY
Me: “Phewww! Thats a relief! Thank you! However, if I may ask, what was the issue?”
rep.: “For some reason, on your reservation, your connecting flight was only showing its ME flight code, and not the AF
. And that is why they couldn’t check your bags in all the way. But thats all sorted now. Have a nice trip sir”
Me: “Thank you very much Ms.”
I went back to the check-in desk and asked Bex to try again, and there it goes, everything went smoothly, my bags were checked in all the way to BEY
, and got my boarding pass as well for the connecting flight.
Then it was time to proceed to the departure lounge.. And by this time, the airport started to fill up with passengers, and the departure lounge was quite busy.
I couldn’t be bothered to sit down, so I ended up walking around and snapping shots and wanted to see if I could get some good shots of planes. However, since that it was dark, and the light reflection on the glass, it made it really hard to get a decent shot.
Massage chairs, very comfortable!
At 5.45am, gate 44 was assigned for our trip to CDG
. Gate wasn’t really busy, and boarding started at 5.50am. No air-bridge available today, hence needed to go down the stairs and then up using the “mini-stairs” for the Embraer 195 “G-FBEJ”.
Push-back was at 6.24am and taxied to runway 23L for take-off at 6.36am. Take-off was nice and smooth, though felt a bit steep climb. Shortly after that, the F.A started the round of “snacks, sandwiches and drinks”. Prices were OK
, e.g: a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, with a bottle of water cost me £6.50.
Legroom on the Embraer 195
Inflight magazine - Feb 2011
At cruising altitude
At 8.30am Paris Time, we started our descend into CDG
. The captain made an announcement that the weather is quite cloudy and low visibility, so it might be a bumpy landing! And yes, he was right, the clouds were so thick that I can say that for nearly 5mins continuously, all you can see from the window is WHITE clouds as we were passing through them.
Beginning of descent into CDG
through thick clouds
Touchdown at 8.52am, a bit of a rough one though. Taxied to remote stand, which was surprisingly quite far from Terminal 2E. Disembarked the plane at 9.05am, and was hit by the cold breeze of Paris! The bus that took us to Terminal 2E was very packed! I think they might have squeezed nearly all the passengers on our flight onto one bus, if I’m not mistaken! Anyways, journey took about 7mins to the Terminal, and then entered the Terminal and followed the signs to 2F. I must say though, I was quite disappointed with the fact that there was an AF
employee at the door assisting transiting passengers, and he did not speak English! All he could say after me asking him was: “2F” and pointing with his finger towards the bus.
Then I saw the noticeboard with different buses from this pickup point connecting passengers to the other terminals. And there was more than one that goes to 2F. So I asked the AF
employee: “Excuse me, when is the next express bus to 2F?”, as there were some express buses that took about 10mins, and others that last about 25mins due to the fact that they go around all the terminals before ending up in 2F. Nevertheless, the AF
employee couldn’t reply, and all he said was “2F” and pointing towards the door to exit and get on the bus.
Bus routes info
Luckily enough, the next bus was the express to 2F, with only one stop at 2C first and then continuing to 2F. Journey time to 2F was about 10mins in total.
Onboard transfer bus to T2F
Oman Air A330
Ukraine Airlines (B757?)
On arriving to 2F, and going up the escalator, I was greeted by an Asian French airport employee. Again, they started talking in French. Lucky enough I understand and can speak the basics, so replied back to her in French as well. Though she giggled when I replied, so that made me believe that my accent isn’t that great in French apparently :p!
Again at the security check, I was spoken to in French, with one officer asking “if i had any liquids, gels, etc...”. The only way I understood that is because he was sitting down on a table and had small plastic bags in front of him! And again, at the x-ray machine, I was spoken to in French, however this time I replied in English, but it didn’t seem to matter as I was still replied back to in French!
9.35am and I’m wondering about in Terminal 2F duty free. Gate F53 was assigned for our CDG
flight. Boarding commenced at 9.50am. I was quite disappointed again that there was no air-bridge to the plane, and that we had to get on the bus again to take us to the remote stand. Journey time to the plane took about 10-12mins roughly.
Terminal 2F Duty Free on lower level, and gates on upper level
Date: 02 - FEB - 2011
Flight Number: ME /AF 564
Departure Airport: Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG
Arrival Airport: Beirut International Airport (BEY
Scheduled Departure Time: 1030
Actual Departure Time: 1132
Scheduled Arrival Time: 1550
Actual Arrival Time: 1710
Passenger Load: ~30-40%
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Upon boarding the plane, I was greeted by the Cabin Manager and showed to my seat “21D” on this A330-200. I was quite shocked with the seat configuration for the first two rows in economy. The first row was configured as 2-3-2, and the second row onwards were 2-4-2. And the fact that my seat “21D” is positioned in a weird position and legroom was awful and the PTV was not directly infront of my seat, it was onto the right “behind the first aisle seat of the first row”! Quite inconvenient configuration I must say!
PTV on ME A330
Since that the passenger load today was about 30-40%, there were many empty seats, so I decided to move back to row 25, and take the middle 4 seats for myself.
Here are some pics of the MEA
A330 PTV system:
Door was closed at 10.32am, and we were “supposed” to be ready for push-back! However, at 10.50am, the captain announced that there will be a 40mins delay starting now, due to the bad weather and low visibility at CDG
and that only one runway was operating at the moment. Drinks were distributed during the wait. Later on, I decided to head to the galley and have a quick chat with the flight attendants and take some cabin pics.
Finally push-back was at 11.32am local time, and take-off was at 11.56am from runway 26L.
Following take-off, menus were given out, and a round of drinks commenced, along with peanuts. I must say, those were the most delicious and freshest peanuts I have ever had! And upon checking the production date on the bag, it was less than 2weeks ago!
Choice for lunch today were either Salmon Fish, or Chicken. I opted for the chicken.
The chicken dish was “supposed to be” chicken with sauce! However, as it can be seen in the pictures, and after me tasting it, it was quite dry and plain. But credit must be given and honesty said, the chicken itself was cooked perfectly. not too hard and not too soggy and soft. The smoked salmon appetizer was delicious. All in all, I was satisfied with the meal.
Following the meal service, trays were collected and tea and coffee was served. I must say, the F.A were very attentive and efficient!
After the lunch service, I headed back to the galley to have a chat with the Senior Cabin Manager, “whom I apologise for forgetting his name!”, and discussed how MEA
has changed over the years, their new fleet orders, their current strategy, and his position in MEA
. Apparently, he has been with MEA
since that time they had their 747s in the 1980s. I was really impressed with his professionalism. He introduced me to his fellow flight attendants on the flight, “Nadine, Michelle, Sara, Reema”. All were lovely and very beautiful! I must say, thumbs up MEA
for that :-P!
Clean and well maintained lavatories
Inflight magazine, Feb 2011
Ended up going there, amazing atmosphere and food, and lovely live entertainment
Soon it was time for our descent into lovely Beirut. I returned back to my seat, grabbed my camera, and positioned myself onto a window seat behind the wing on the left side to have a view of the landing at BEY
. Clear skies, normal visibility, and low wind helped for a smooth descent.
Touch-down was a little rough, and braking was too strong. Though all in all, good landing. We taxied to the gate, and deplaned at 1710.
Passport Control queues were quite empty as not many flights arrived at that time. And as soon as I was done, I approached the baggage reclaim hall and was impressed that my bags were already there waiting for me! Another thumbs up for BEY
And thats the end of my first TR
, I would appreciate your kind comments and feedback to improve my future TRs.
TRs coming up soon:
on Nas Air A320
along with a couple more trips coming up in the next 2months!