717Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:41 am

717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:08 pm

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/U94KcK1340473408.jpg

Background

One very rainy and wintery night I was browsing various airline websites, trying to find a cheap escape to somewhere else. I really did not have many requirements for what the destination should be like, I just wanted to add something new (preferably many new things) to my log. And as I logged onto klm.com I could not help but seeing they had quite a large sale going on. My first thought was to look at destinations such as CUR, GIG and CPT, but prices were quite steep at around 1200 EUR per person for a return ticket plus these routings would break the rule of never flying the same airline thrice during the same trip (twice is still somewhat bearable...)

Soon I found Dubai in the list of offers at the price of 645 EUR and I was very surprised as I actually found return tickets for 400 EUR online - now that's a positive problem! It had to be solved in some way and in the end my booking department had taken my credit card in their possession and booked quite an interesting itinerary. For some added 30 EUR a standard HEL-AMS-DXB-AMS-HEL could be transformed into HEL-CDG-DXB-AMS-HEL on Finnair, Air France and KLM including many highlights: they were going to be my first flights on AF and KL as well as my first 747 and 777 rides. The only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was a) the complete rip-off 30 EUR credit card charge and b) that I found myself as a paying passenger on a flight operated by Finnair. Actually it was going to be quite interesting to see their service as my last AY flight over 2 hours was some four years ago..

This left me with a fair number of days in Dubai - a city like no other - but having explored bits of it some two years before this trip I knew I had to fit in some day trips as well. In the end I ended up booking two of those. First out was Oman, a country I have wanted to visit for years. DXB-MCT was booked on Emirates for some 50 EUR and the return was fixed on the cheap boutique carrier Oman Air for 40 EUR. Another two new airlines plus the rare Embraer 175 as a new aircraft type!

For a second I thought Bahrain could be a suitable location for the next day trip and a ride on Gulf Air sounded good and prices were reasonable, but reading that the situation in Bahrain wasn't exactly smooth and that BAH had a no-photo policy I ended up settling with Qatar instead. Their flag carrier Qatar Airways offered DXB-DOH-DXB return tickets for 145 EUR (and one way tickets at a delightful 250 EUR price) - a very tempting option to fly with the world's five star airline - but knowing my booking department I ended up being booked on very other carriers because of both financial and experience-related issues. DXB-DOH was secured on low-cost carrier Flydubai for a perfectly reasonable 29 EUR and I couldn't believe my eyes when I found a 45 EUR ticket on United Airlines (yes!) DOH-DXB on the 777-200, another new subtype.

Talking about interesting details I had a tough job booking the UA flight as I was due to fill in my payment address as Finland was missing in the dropdown list with countries. So I ended up choosing Sweden and writing "FINLAND!!!" in another place instead. Phew.

Surprisingly no wanted or less expected changes happened to any of my flights if you won't count the Finnair flight being upgraded from an A320 to an A321, actually quite a welcome change as the former type is much more well known to my log. Some weeks ahead of departure I also received a message from Oman Air about a flight number change for my booking but I really couldn't complain as the timings and the E75 were still the same.  

The itinerary ended up getting quite an interesting shape when looking at it on a map:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/MAP1.png

Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.
.
Monday 11.06.2012

Wake-up was set to the unhuman hour of 5.00 a.m. but perhaps it was the feeling that this trip was going to be one of the best ones until now that made it very easy to get out of bed that morning. And may I add that not a single cup of coffee was needed (actually, that's a drink I only enjoy on board planes and even then only in small amounts).

It was quite a tricky decision to choose whether I would go for public transportation or cheat by taking a taxi (the first available bus combo would have brought me to the airport only an hour ahead of departure and with bags to check in it didn't feel right) so a perfect middle way was presented when a good friend of mine working early in the morning offered me (and my family) a ride to the airport - very nice and well appreciated.

This way I step outside Terminal 2 of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport some one and a half hours ahead of departure. To my big surprise online check-in worked like a charm the evening before - Air France redirected me to the Finnair website to do my business. I wasn't able to pick my seat on the AF flight though - not a big problem as the seat I had chosen earlier was printed on my boarding pass. Fast forward through security control on my way to gate 31X (nope, they did not run out of letters!) I spot this nice-looking blue plane - but most of all see a familiar-looking red-nosed ATR in the background (perhaps it was even (wo)manned by the same Danish FA that took me home from TLL a week ago?):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3587.jpg

Soon I also locate the gate that is totally deserted, which is not a big surprise as the AY Asians flights are yet to arrive. Anyway the new seats in the gate area look good and are actually quite comfortable - hats off to Finavia for finally doing something good! (Well, the observation deck they opened last week after receiving quite a lot of publicity is what you call a letdown - even my balcony is bigger than that terrace!).

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3588.jpg

The time waiting is spent listening to some music, interrupting the song to listen to the excellent entertainment available: a Blue1 flight to Stockholm calling after one sole missing passenger. I count up to five announcements just made for him, the first one made ahead of original boarding time - sounds like KF was too early and the missing gentleman was too late? In the last one they shout out "Mr. XXX, I am looking at my watch and will personally close the gate in exactly one minute, 60 seconds from now, gate 12, last chance, thanks!". I hope the gentleman made it onto his flight!

Will you be my plane? (Most probably not as you are an A319)!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3589.jpg

More and more passengers arrive to the gate (including a big number of arrogant Business travellers with suits and huge carry-on bags, one of them actually steps on my foot both himself and with his bag of course without saying sorry but staring at me very nervously instead). Our indicated boarding time of 07.00 comes and an agent finally arrives around 07.10. She announces boarding will begin in a minute or two which most certainly isn't the case as one of Finnair's Asian flights just arrived and the passengers are deboarding using the same corridor we should use in the other direction to board our (Air)bus. Boarding finally begins at 07.20.

Air France, yes please!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3591.jpg

It is quite a hike from the podium to the aircraft but using my instinct I know OH-LZB is going to be my ride, fortunately it has not yet been destroyed by the new Finnair livery and it is a new one for my log as well:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3593.jpg

Our (almost-)albino neighbour:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3595.jpg

The next surprise awaits us in the jetway as the cabin crew hasn't let the first passengers in yet so we wait for another moment (goodbye, on time departure!) before the queue finally gets moving.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3596.jpg


AY871
Finnair
HEL-CDG
OH-LZB, Airbus A321
Seat 12A, Economy
07.35-09.40 (07.43-09.42)

Another happy surprise, this plane isn't destroyed with the new seats either:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3598.jpg

In true Finnair fashion I get a friendly welcome by our senior purser at the door - I must admit the whole crew (all female, all quite senior) look quite good in the new Star Trek uniforms but if you count out the purser the rest of the crew seem quite disinterested so my father and I do a part of their job by helping some people to stow their large pieces of hand luggage in the overhead bins and direct some older passengers to their seats. Perhaps I should send my CV to Finnair? I highly doubt it.

As most of the plane is business pax boarding is a quick and orderly affair, boarding is completed quite quickly and we finally push back at 07.43, some eight minutes later after being welcomed onboard by the crew and captain Sipilä. Flight time is announced as a short 2 hours and 40 minutes and I immediately feel better when they acknowledge this is a joint service with Air France and American Airlines. The delay is explained with "late positioning and the use of jetbridges".

Leg room is sufficient but what irritates me (and sure many others as well) is the faux seat: there is no proper seat pocket to be seen, just this small pocket big enough for your passport but not much else:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3600.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3599.jpg

The load is very good, around 90 % with all seats taken in front of the cattle class (business class is almost empty) but it seems like the last row rule would have worked on this flight!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3602.jpg

View towards the back of the bus:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3604.jpg

Notice the 717 on finals:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3606.jpg

Hello, fellow Finnair:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3607.jpg

Oops, fellows I mean:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3608.jpg

During our short taxi to the active we also meet the legendary Silver Bird that flew its last flight for AY a couple of days ago:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3609.jpg

Runway 22L is at our disposal today and after gaining speed for quite some time (hopefully they had loaded many muffins and thus the extra weight) we leave the ground...

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3612.jpg

...and fly over quite a few houses!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3613.jpg

Good to see Finnair has ponied up the money to print a whole new safety card instead of just putting a sticker with the new logo on the card (I found it necessary to take it with me as a souvenir - it's a new twist at least).

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3603.jpg

As soon as the seat belt sign is switched off we learn from an announcement that service is a "delicious free meal" and that we also have the opportunity to purchase items from the BOB (rip-off, I warn you!). And as Finnair as our trusted national carrier couldn't go any lower, they also announce newspapers are available for 3 EUR (that explains the lack of Herald Tribune and other papers at the gate - luckily I nicked some from a Blue1 gate so no need to invest any money in a newspaper).

The delicious meal turns out to be quite a generous sandwich:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3617.jpg

Soft drinks are also free (no - that's not beer - it is apple juice!)

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3618.jpg

The sandwich is nice with many different types of fillings: cheese, ham, lettuce, tomatoes and even some mayonnaise. The bread is a bit drye but with drinks it all goes down quite nicely. Anyway I still miss the nice hot meal I would have received on this very route not too many years ago. And I had no idea I would receive the same or even better service on 45-minute hops between the gulf nations. But that's another story, coming up soon!

Cruising over Germany:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3619.jpg

Our captain is soon on the speakers, letting us know we are flying over the city of Hamburg, with our route continuing over Germany and using a standard route to CDG (whatever that might be?). Remaining flight time is announced as 1 hour 30 minutes, so we're halfway there!

The flight attendants remain friendly throughout the flight: they apologize for serving my seatmate an ice bottle of bubbly. Still they leave something to be desired as they disappear to the galley immediately after the trash is collected. My attempt to visit the lavatory in front of the aircraft (no one in line for that one but a huge queue in the back of the cabin) comes to a quick end when one of the FAs run after me and shouts "Business class only!. Jeez, I can still bear with the fact that you want the only passenger travelling upfront today to have a private bathroom but most certainly you could have told me the news in a much more friendly way?

Having browsed through the Blue Wings inflight magazine (shouldn't it be renamed White Wings if you look at the color of the plane or Asian Wings if you take a look at the business model of the carrier?) the seat belt sign soon brings some more light to the cabin and we begin our decent towards Roissy.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3620.jpg

Bonjour la France - tu m'as manqué!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3621.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3622.jpg

Do I need to tell you how good it felt to be back on French ground after a smooth landing?

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3623.jpg

The welcome announcement contains some hilarious information for connecting passengers. They point out we have landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport and that passengers holding a ticket with a connecting flight from Orly Airport cannot board it at CDG, but has to exit the airport and head for ORY instead. That kinda makes sense, no?

Some exotic visitors, including something that could be my next ride:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3624.jpg

What's that - an emptied swimming pool?

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3625.jpg

Must-have-a-Concorde-in-a-report:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3626.jpg

Perhaps someone could shed some light on what is the purpose of this conveniently located Air France house? It most certainly isn't their headquarters.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3627.jpg

Yes, we are at the right airport.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3628.jpg

After a long taxi we park next to F-KGVK, part of Markus' flight log:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3629.jpg

Gate arrival is finally at 09.42, two minutes late - I guess we could talk about an on time arrival? I let the men in suits disembark first and enjoy the soft blue clothing seats for a while more. You could wake me up in my wildest dreams and I would know we had arrived at terminal 2D, but I decide to test the knowledge of one of the FAs when disembarking.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3630.jpg

"Sorry, I have a connecting flight and I wonder what terminal we have arrived to?"
"Uhm.. I really don't know... "
"Because I think we are somewhere in terminal 2?"
"Maybe you could ask my colleagues... no there should be an agent in the end of the jetway so ask him?"
"Okay, thanks".

Transfer from 2D to 2F or You can never ask for directions too many times

Finnair didn't pass the test but at least the FA remained very friendly. At the door I first get an "Arrigato" which changes to the "kiitos" I wanted so badly after thanking the purser for a nice flight in Finnish. In the jetway there is a huge sign indicating we have indeed arrived at T2D, so brownie points for me! The agent pointed out earlier is also found at the gate but now I don't need his assistance anymore as I know the flight to Dubai is leaving from terminal 2F which... turns out to be a terminal you can only access via going out in the public. Now I feel comfortable I didn't choose a HEL-CDG-DXB connection with a later departure from HEL as that would have cut my connection to only around an hour.

Have a safe flight home:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3631.jpg

I approach the infodesk right outside arrivals (unfortunately Hannah wasn't there to show the way but a gentleman instead).

"Pardon, de quel terminal part le vol Air France pour Dubai?"
"Sorry, I dont speak French. But you said Dubai? That is terminal 2E". (!)
"But I thought...."
another agent yells: "No, no, Dubai is 2F! I checked it!"
"Merci!".

Just like at FRA the next step is to go through an endless-looking corridor that finally brings you to the promised land, T2F for me:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3632.jpg

I locate a check-in kiosk, follow the instructions but instead of the precious boarding pass I end up with a piece of paper saying I should "contact the nearest Air France desk to verify all bags are checked in to the final destination". The nearest AF desk is right in front of my nose so I approach the gentleman.

"Hi!" (hands over the papers)
"Dubai?"
"Yes"
"Not here. Check in area five".

On the way to area five I see the monitors are stating passengers on AF3830 to DXB should use area six and somehow I trust them more than the charming gentleman at the previous desk so six it is! A guy admitting people to the check-in desks (looks like the French are trying hard to minimize the unemployment rate by inventing all kinds of workers!) doesn't let me in.

"Dubai? Check in area four".
"But look at the monitors, they say six!".
"Aaah, D-u-b-a-i? D'accord, welcome!".

And when I finally reach the desk after some queuing I show the young French mademoiselle the receipts I got....

"No need for me to do anything, your booking and bags are fine as well. Have a nice flight"
"Really?"
"Yes, you already got the boarding pass in Helsinki so no problem!"
"Merci beaucoup!"

All this took some 40 minutes... and apparently wasn't worth a penny? At least I got to practise some French on the way. I go through security, locate my gate, read a book until something very rare happens: I fall asleep!

I wake up five minutes ahead of boarding time, gather my belongings, line up and present my boarding pass to the agent.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3633.jpg

Yes, it is a jetway, but it is leading down to a bus:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3634.jpg

After a very long and bumpy ride in the bus we eventually pull up in front of F-GSQJ. As my first ever Boeing 777 ride begins with bus boarding I can't complain and fully enjoy the views:

Long and sleek:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3635.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3636.jpg

The engine:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3638.jpg

It is h-u-g-e! http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3639.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3640.jpg

Nope, my camera lense isn't this dirty - some final views from the covered stairs:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3642.jpg


AF3830
Air France
CDG-DXB
F-GSQJ, Boeing 777-300ER
Seat 44A, Voyageur
13.35-22.10 (13.45-22.01)

Our middle-aged purser Renée welcomes me at the door and takes some time to inspect the stub that is left of my boarding pass.

"Ah, monsieur 717Flyer, bienvenue à bord Air France! Votre siege 44A, c'est à droit! Bon voyage!"
"Merci beaucoup!"
"Avec plaisir!"

I think you got it already - after spending less than a minute on board I'm already sold. A simple welcome perhaps, but with a genuine smile. And this is a trend that would continue for the whole duration of the flight - those passengers that took the step of saying at least one French word to the crew very quickly got a pat on the shoulder and a friendly remark. (From now on I will translate my conversations with the crew in English - but they were all made in French!).

I wouldn't mind to be sitting in business on this flight:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3643.jpg

Economy looks alright as well:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3644.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3645.jpg

Leg room is alright but a bit on the tight side. I immediately notice the seat is quite hard and not something I would like to be sitting in for 10+ hours. The pillow makes sitting a bit more comfortable though and still bearable for a six-hour flight. Another thing slightly reducing the comfort of sitting in this seat is the shape of the fuselage back here as the seating layout changes from 3-4-3 to 2-4-2 and picking a seat in the first row of two-seaters seems to give a slightly worse leg room than on other rows. There is a bit of a weird gap between my seat and the window as well, but that space is greatly appreciated as it makes sleeping and leaning towards the window more comfortable.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3646.jpg

Ah, wing view on the Triple Seven and a great-looking neighbour!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3647.jpg

In addition to the bright red pillow, a bag with a blanket, eyeshades and a refreshement towel is placed on the seat.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3648.jpg

Of course there is also an IFE on board (that's already a great plus for me as this is my second ever flight with a personal entertainment screen):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3649.jpg

Boarding takes some time to be completed because of some late passengers and in the end the load is around 60 %.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3650.jpg

It's all about details:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3651.jpg

Soon after this doors are closed and we get a nice and detailed welcome speech from our French captain. Flight time is announced as 5 hours 50 minutes and an on time arrival expected to Dubai despite the small delay in departure. We finally push back at 13.45, 10 minutes late.

They also proudly announce the languages spoken by today's cabin crew as Spanish, Italian and German but I'm convinced they speak French and English as well.  Top
 
717Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:41 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:11 pm

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3656.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3657.jpg

Meanwhile, the safety video is shown on the entertainment screens and one of the flight attendants tell me Thank you for paying attention as she noticed I was trying to locate the nearest exit. Well, thank you for making me pay attention to the safety demonstration by putting some gorgeous French mademoiselles in the safety video!

Soon we meet something that is not even close to the Queen of the skies but a flying palace nevertheless:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3658.jpg

When I hear and feel the General Electric GE90's getting louder there's only one thing left to do: enjoy the ride. And what a take-off it is - with the low load it doesn't take long before we leave the ground behind and we enjoy quite a sharp climb rate.

But I must say I feel a bit homesick when I see a beautiful T-tail parked at one of the gates:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3661.jpg

Au revoir, la France!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3662.jpg

Roissy really is huge - the Fedex hangar is featured on the right of this picture:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3663.jpg

The smallest safety card I've seen can be found it the seat pocket:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3652.jpg

The thick Air France magazine features a lot of reading, including a guide as per how to use the IFE system. But can you spot something wrong in these instructions:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3653.jpg

Some nice basic information is being shown on the IFE:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3669.jpg

Paris-Beauvais:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3667.jpg

From time to time I even manage to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. Somewhere in the distance is Paris...

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3668.jpg

Cruising in the Triple Seven:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3670.jpg

The crew soon distributes headphones:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3674.jpg


The main IFE menu (of course I chose to use it in French):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3673.jpg

Even though the layout of the entertainment system is quite simple you can find all necessary features in it: through the Geovision feature you can access basic duration and altitude information as well as satellite photos of landscapes below the aircraft. Finally the external camera is a nice extra - the views on final approach to DXB were quite stunning. There's a decent amount of different audio tracks available as well as French radio channels (I liked Air Frances' own On Air selection specially much). Even though the lack of international music was a bit disturbing the movie selection was impressive. Everything from The adventures of Tintin to Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. .

A weakness in the Air France IFE system in addition to the fact that it has no name is the sound quality - I later in flight tried changing headphones (the crew was very helpful and apologetic about the IFE issues) but the sound wasn't very satisfying and other passengers also complained about sudden pauses when there was no sound at all. At least the situation was handled in a very professional manner.

Best of all - the airshow:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3675.jpg

Whee, two of my favourite TV series are available on board:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3678.jpg

After all this I almost forget there is another entertainment system - the good ol' window:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3672.jpg

Time flies (pun intended) when you are playing with the IFE systems and I am surprised as menu cards are soon handed out by Cathrine, the FA serving our section.

"Monsieur, we will be starting our meal service soon. Please take a look at our menu!"
"Thank you!"
"I will be back soon to take your order. And if you have any questions regarding any item on our menu today, feel free to ask".

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3676.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3677.jpg

A moment later Cathrine reappears in the aisle with a trolley.

"Monsieur, have you decided what main course you would like to have?"
"Actually, I have a hard time deciding".
"Well, I would definitely recommend the fish for you".
"I believe you, so I will take the fish please".
" Any drinks to start with?"
"Orange juice, please".
"With pleasure. Please enjoy this little snack as well".
"Thank you!"
"My pleasure!"

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3680.jpg

The sesame crackers are a perfect appetizer and makes me curious about what the rest of the service will be like - this nice little surprise most certainly wasn't mentioned on the menu.

There's plenty of time left to enjoy the service:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3682.jpg

Already flying over central Europe:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3681.jpg

Moments later Cathrine gives me a pat on the shoulder - but instead of commenting my photo-taking in any way she just gives a friendly smile. She confirms my father and I both had chosen the fish and wishes us a pleasant meal. Finally some warm bread is also offered from a basket and drinks are once again offered in addition to the water bottle on the meal tray - I go for another glass of orange juice.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3684.jpg

Very considerate for a flight to an Arab country:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3691.jpg

I start off by enjoying the zuchini and tomato tartare - unfortunately I am forced to leave the cheese untouched because of allergy - but otherwise the starter is perfect: tasty, moist with many different colors in it. Already after taking a first bite I knew Air France would do well...

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3685.jpg

...but it is only when I taste the main course that I am amazed. The fish fritters are cooked to perfection, the rice is delicious, the portion is generous and looks beautiful as well. Meanwhile, Cathrine passes through the aisle asking everybody if we are enjoying our meals. I tell her is is perfect which makes her insist I take some more bread and camembert cheese. She also asks if there is anything else I would like to have seconds of, anything missing.. What great service!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3686.jpg

Not to forget about the bread - the small baguettes are warm and crispy and the butter fits perfectly. The best bread I've ever had on board a plane, that is for sure. But when Cathrine offers me a third baguette I must refuse...

A nice and healthy ending to the meal are these slices of apple:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3687.jpg

After this, when I am about to taste the nice-looking pastry Cathrine passes by and assures that "Do wait for the coffee and cognac service before tasting it!".

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3688.jpg

That's what we do and turns out to be a good decision. The coffee is absolutely delicious and so is the soft and buttery pastry as well. The small bottles of cognac are cute (nope, I did not drink any but my father did):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3690.jpg

It was delicious:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3689.jpg

Meanwhile I teach my father how to say "What an amazing meal!" in French and when he tells it to Cathrine collecting the trays you can be sure we would be enjoying some extremely corteous service for the rest of the flight!

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3692.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3693.jpg

Soon I feel nature is calling and I need to pay a visit to the lavatory. In the back galley a young FA insists I cannot use the toilet before she has cleaned it up and while doing so we have a really nice chat: she compliments me on my French, tells me about her visits to Finland and I also take the time to ask some questions about Air France and the Triple Seven. The chat is interrupted and we both start laughing when we remember I was actually going to use the toilet instead of discussing the differences between Air France and KLM - so she opens the door for me and says "Let's talk more later!".

Here's proof I paid a visit to the toilet:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3694.jpg

After my lavatory visit the FA (I later learn her name is Laura) offers to show me the way to my seat, which isn't needed as it isn't many meters away but at least I am now convinced that AF flight attendants are not afraid of going that little extra mile (or meter....).  

When I get to my seat the airshow shows me have already done quite a bit of progress enroute:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3695.jpg

This is what I start reading:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3697.jpg

Even though the book contained many pieces of good advice regarding the Arab cultures and how to deal with the local people I must say the best way turned out to be to forget everything you had read in the book, follow the locals and just stay polite.

After these thoughts I am amazed by the beautiful sunset:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3698.jpg

Cathrine and her colleagues do drink runs once an hour - something that is greatly appreciated - and other times drinks are available in the galleys. When I go to get some water Cathrine insists on pouring a glass for my father as well - she points out how important it is to stay hydrated. Once again she tries to stuff a sandwich and some other drinks with me and she almost seems disappointed when I have to decline. Looks like Air France planes have a lot in common with my grandmothers house - both are places you never leave hungry.

At one stage they surprise quite a large bunch of passengers by turning off the cabin lights (this is a day flight after all), but the crew also walk around the cabin instructing each and everyone looking like a question mark as per how to use your personal reading light. Over all what I liked best about the crew on the flight was their ability to do the right thing at the right moment: after boarding was completed at CDG they were happy to help people moving to a nicer seat and later they helped a gentleman make the four seats he had into a bed. That's things you don't find in the crew handbook!

It is starting to get dark outside:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3700.jpg

Rougly one hour ahead of arrival Cathrine serves us a sandwich filled with pesto (nope, I did not eat half of it - it was delivered this way) along with soft drinks. When I once again order orange juice she points out to me "Someone is in love..." In love with Air France's excellent orange juice or? Otherwise it would be quite a scary prediction.

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3704.jpg

After this they manage to do yet another drinks run and despite I orginally hadn't planned on taking anything I end up with a glass of water and... another orange juice. I was starting to feel it was going to be hard to split up with these welcoming Air France people.  

This is confirmed by the fact that we are getting close (spot two airports I will be using during this trip):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3702.jpg

Soon our captain is on the speakers, announcing an on time landing to Dubai within 20 minutes. He also points out we are lucky not having to hold at all (little did I know I was going to get used to it later during my week in Dubai...) and that temperature in Dubai is a "nice and warm" 35 degrees.

Not much to see outside:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3701.jpg

Here they are, the lights of Dubai:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3706.jpg

This could be considered as art (actually I chose the wrong setting on my camera):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3707.jpg

The IFE brownie points are rising all the time and it is a great feeling following our final approach:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3708.jpg

No description needed:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3711.jpg

After a 10-minute taxi we park next to this Qatar Airways narrowbody (little did I know I was going to get to know them better during this trip):

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3712.jpg

I definitely feel like giving Cathrine some feedback (in addition to the survey I filled out on the IFE) but as she is busy helping other passengers I decide to pass the time taking some cabin pictures:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3713.jpg

I don't need to locate her as I soon get a pat on my shoulder.

"Monsieur 717Flyer, it was a pleasure having you on board today".
"Well, let me say it was a pleasure flying with you today and I really want to thank you for the great service."
"I am so glad to hear. I hope you will have a comfortable return journey with us as well".
"Actually, we are flying home with KLM. But I am sure that will be a nice experience as well".
"Mhm, sure. But remember you are always welcome on board Air France".
"Merci!"
"Au revoir, Monsieur 717Flyer".

On the way out I feel it is necessary to further document the business class cabin as well:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3714.jpg

Another friendly goodbye from Renée and her colleagues serving business class and I am soon in the jetway where I hear a voice pronouncing (well, more like yelling) the ugliest phrase of the English language: "NO PHOTO!". Fine, no goodbye shot of our beautiful Triple Seven then.

Dubai

I must say Dubai is a very intriguing airport as you could feel how it was getting to life at this ungoody hour. Something much less amusing was the queues greeting me at the Passport Control. Despite a number of agents closing, opening and admitting people to different lanes (a procedure that seemed to follow no logic at all) it takes over an hour for my turn to come (even though I was earlier waved to queue at the business and first class counter). I make the big mistake of greeting the passport officer (he eyes me like I would be a maniac) but in the end he doesn't ask me a single question (I guess all the day trips I had booked could have raised some suspicion), he just takes a photo of me and stamps my passport.

I can finally breathe normally as I see my bag appearing on the luggage belt after some waiting. It might have received some extra scratches during its visit to Roissy but having read about how many bags disappear from CDG every year all I cared about was that my precious bag was in my hands and (mostly) unharmed.

In the greeter's area a representative from our hotel is holding a piece of cardboard with our names (first time for me and I feel like a celebrity) and he escorts us to our private driver. I must say I would have loved taking the metro to the closest station and walking from there but as our hotel offers free airport shuttles and it was getting late we really could not refuse.

The next question you ask yourselves is of course "What hotel did you decide to stay in?". If there is one thing that Dubai has (in addition to shopping malls and interesting carriers operating from their airport) it is hotels. Big and small - cheap and expensive as what. Chains and boutique. Last time visiting Dubai I made a great choice in staying three nights in the city centre (close to the Deira district) and three nights closer to the beach in Media City. This time, with so many flights and day trips planned it was essential to have a strategic position close to the airport and other attractions in the city so we decided to stay near the Creek for all of the week but of course with a twist: a hotel change at the end of our stay.

As much as I love staying in small hotels and getting to know the owners I could not refuse as the five-star Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers offered us a club room (that means a higher floor, free breakfast and access to the Club Lounge - did you hear that Petteri and Jonas?) with views over the Dubai Creek for 80 EUR per night. Normal rates at this hotel are around 160 EUR per night (the double) but by combining an earlybird special with a booking.com discount we were all set to go!

The hotel is definitely five-star and already the lobby was probably the finest room I've ever seen (stay tuned for the next part) even though it takes a while to assure the staff at reception that 1) we do not need private driver services during our stay and that we know the Dubai Metro well and 2), that we can carry our luggage to our room ourselves. It takes some time to get used to staying at a five-star hotel, for sure!

Our room on the 10th floor:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3716.jpg

The bathroom is luxurious as well. The room also features a French balcony with very nice views over the Creek:

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3983.jpg

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3984.jpg

After enjoying some sandwiches we made home in the morning (no need for room service...) we decide to call it a day. In my dreams I go through everything that happened during the day and all that Dubai has on offer (all those things you guys will learn more about in the next part, wink wink.)  
.
Conclusions

My conclusion for this part is that I will leave the conclusions for later - but to sum it up

Finnair proved that their business model is mostly working - at least on CDG route - a good flight in every way but I must say I am disappointed by how Finnair is losing more of its Finnish feel - a good example is the "Arrigato" I got at the door when leaving the aircraft. The part I had feared most, transferring at Charles de Gaulle, ended up going just fine but with a shorter connection time it is definitely a no-go.

Air France was almost like a flashback from the past. Excellent food and genuinely welcoming crew making sure you feel comfortable are definitely the strong parts of the AF experience - on the other hand the aircraft was already showing its age and the IFE was definitely the weakest one of all the ones I experienced on this trip (music selection was quite limited, quite a few problems with the system while inflight and sound quality was quite poor as well). But the smiles of the cabin crew made me forget most of this and I am convinced to try Air France short haul as well!

Stay tuned for the next part featuring 717Flyer's Five Things You Must See In Dubai as well as two airlines that blew my mind - or - Emirates vs. Oman Air

Please prove the existence of the freedom of speech by replying. All questions and comments are greatly appreciated!

Regards,
717Flyer   
 
jwhite9185
Posts: 1581
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:20 pm

Nice report there - and interesting to see Dubai as its new the top of my to do list!
@mytripreport
 
nethkt
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2001 10:27 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:33 pm

Love the food / wine and service on Air France medium to long haul.
What a great product from a legacy!

Thank you for sharing.
Let's just blame it on yields.
 
MSS658
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:57 pm

Hello R.


Great report, Glad you enjoyed Air France and their 77W's.
The crew reminded me of the old Air France I used to know.
The last few times I had some bad luck with the crews on my AF flights. You can read some of my stories here.
A Short Hop On A Big Bird! (by MSS658 Feb 27 2011 in Trip Reports)


Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
The777Man
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:08 pm

Hi Rasmus !

Very nice report and great to see that the 717Flyer is gong a on a 777 for the first time!

AY looks alight but not so good that they don't a have a gate at their home airport in the morning.

Air France looks good and the service seems to be the same as before, very good! Too bad that they seats aren't so great and it looks like the meal options are not as good as before either although the food was very good. I had orange duck on JFK-CDG in 1999 and it was AMAZING!

It goes a long way when you try to speak the language of the carrier that you are flying on. I speak some French although after 20 years over here, I forget more and more each year although I do understand quite a bit.

Looking forward to the rest of the reports in this series very much!

The777Mna
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
aflyingkiwi
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:52 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:35 am

Hi 717Flyer,

Thanks for the great read! It sounds like you had 2 great flights with AY & AF.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
DXB-MCT was booked on Emirates for some 50 EUR and the return was fixed on the cheap boutique carrier Oman Air for 40 EUR.

I'm quite surprised how cheap the fares are for intra-gulf flights. I had always assumed that those flights were quite expensive..

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The delicious meal turns out to be quite a generous sandwich:

Looks pretty good for an intra-Europe flight.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I think you got it already - after spending less than a minute on board I'm already sold. A simple welcome perhaps, but with a genuine smile.

It's pleasing to know that the crew were so receptive & friendly on your flight.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I am surprised as menu cards are soon handed out by Cathrine

I never knew AF offered menu cards. It's pretty rare to see them in Y.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
She confirms my father and I both had chosen the fish and wishes us a pleasant meal.

The meal looks great & also nice to know that it tasted great as well. Does AF still serve champagne in Y? or has that gone with the times.

Regards,
aflyingkiwi
 
reifel
Posts: 1534
Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:53 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:01 am

Hi, thanks a lot for sharing! Impressed by AF I must say. I flew them NYC-CDG and found the experience quite good, too. And their european product is great as well. I think they have a problem with their bad reputation, but they're actually quite fine. And when they will close 2D down later this year and make 2F to Schengen and 2E to non Schengen terminals, it should get better as well...

I'm really looking forward to your remaining trips down there.
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:59 am

Well done 717 on an excellent report.

You certainly presented Air France in an excellent light. I think I would need a little more evidence before I took the plunge and booked a long-haul with them.

The meal looked really good on the whole. Though not benchmarking...

Also great job on finding an interesting itinerary at great prices! Impressed.

Luke
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
roberts87
Posts: 1091
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:59 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:57 pm

Great report!

Good to hear you enjoyed AF. They get some bad reviews from time to time but I also thorougly enjoyed my sole long hail flight with them!
 
sultanils
Posts: 1929
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:37 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:08 pm

Hi there 717Flyer,

Wow, 717Flyer turns into 777Flyer and goes longhaul, that’s history in the making my friend and I’m glad I was part of it. All of this to say: excellent story! I’m delighted to see and read your ultra-positive AF experience - and your OK-ish AY one of course as well. A lot of bad things have already been said and written on AF’s longhaul service: from the cramped Y cabins to the surly FA’s (at times). I’m glad that this crew at least went out of their way to please the pax. Probably the light load had something to do with that, who knows?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
the complete rip-off 30 EUR credit card charge

A rip off it is! Where was it booked? I assume not on any of the airline’s websites?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Another two new airlines plus the rare Embraer 175 as a new aircraft type!

No extra widebodies? Although the 175 is good as well, but considered the fact that the region is nearly flooded with exotic widebodies, I at least thought you would book another one of those.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
DXB-DOH was secured on low-cost carrier Flydubai for a perfectly reasonable 29 EUR and I couldn't believe my eyes when I found a 45 EUR ticket on United Airlines (yes!) DOH-DXB on the 777-200, another new subtype.

Wow, that’s really good! A nice 5th freedom squeezed in as well. I’m quite curious as to this one  

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
fortunately it has not yet been destroyed by the new Finnair livery

Are you still one of those people who have to get their mind set to the tone of the ‘new’ livery. I’m starting to quite like it by now.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The delay is explained with "late positioning and the use of jetbridges".

At least is something different than ‘late incoming of the inbound’, the most heard excuse involving this matter.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Bonjour la France - tu m'as manqué!

Ha ha, practicing your French of course. Sorry that I need to nitpick you a little: it’s ‘tu m’as manquée’  

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
"Pardon, de quel terminal part le vol Air France pour Dubai?"
"Sorry, I dont speak French. But you said Dubai? That is terminal 2E". (!)
"But I thought...."
another agent yells: "No, no, Dubai is 2F! I checked it!"
"Merci!".

A typical example of the surliness of the CDG staff. Sad...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
and in the end the load is around 60 %

You counted them of course 

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
the best way turned out to be to forget everything you had read in the book, follow the locals and just stay polite.

The main and best travel advice when visiting any other country then your own.

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
Ideekay
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:18 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:42 pm

Hi 717Flyer!

Very nice TR, I see that you enjoyed AF!

Very sad that AY has just some sandwich or cold pasta with chicken onboard, I remeber the good old days were there was hot and tasty food. I had the same sandwich as you had on the flight to ZRH and it tasted totally dry.

And than on AF, very good service for Economy class, looks delicate! Cathrine made a good job  

So, thanks for you TR!

- Nico
 
9v-svc
Posts: 1703
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 5:19 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:51 pm

717flyer:

Excellent trip report, enjoyed it tremendously!

Well at least AY served good sandwiches, I enjoyed mine too.  

How did you find the Boeing 777-300ER, great plane right?

Cheers
Charles
Airliners is the wings of my life.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1588
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:05 pm

In the 1960s AY operated the Caravelle to Paris with a stop in Amsterdam and I think Copenhagen. It was a 2 stop flight and my mother always flew Paris to Amsterdam on them and raved about the meal and service.

I also noticed that AF seats are very "hard." I don't understand why they are the only airline with hard seats.

They offer the best Y service long haul in my opinion from the USA to Europe. 32" legroom (at least a few years ago) and the best meals in my opinion and very friendly crews.

However they don't give 100% miles credit for Y tickets on the DELTA frequent flyer program. That's a big negative.
 
MH017
Posts: 1473
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:17 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:08 am

Great report, Rasmus !!!

A few points, though:

The AF A320 parked next to you is more like F-GFKV...

The airport isn't Paris-Beauvais but Paris-Le Bourget IMHO...

Catering on the AF flights looks excellent for Economy, despite what many A.netters believe unfortunately...

OK, let's see the comparison now with KLM  

Cheers,

MH017/Pieter...
don't throw away tomorrow !
 
infodesk
Posts: 1462
Joined: Thu May 18, 2006 11:06 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Mon Jun 25, 2012 1:01 pm

Hi 777Flyer, er 717Flyer, sorry!

Where are the muffins?!

Seriously though, how great to read your latest report and even better to see such a positive experience on AF. They can be a bit hit and miss, but it seems that you really were given the special treatment. It proves the point that a little bit of French works wonders! What a bonus to board the 777 by bus, that must have been very special.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
the complete rip-off 30 EUR credit card charge and

That is daylight robbery.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I wasn't able to pick my seat on the AF flight though -

I've had this problem too. A good friend here gave me the tip of using the KLM website and that usually works.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
In the last one they shout out "Mr. XXX, I am looking at my watch and will personally close the gate in exactly one minute, 60 seconds from now, gate 12, last chance, thanks!". I hope the gentleman made it onto his flight!

It may have had the desired effect, but it sounds highly unprofessional to me.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
And as Finnair as our trusted national carrier couldn't go any lower, they also announce newspapers are available for 3 EUR

It's a good few years since I flew on AY and I still have trouble believing that they have stooped to such levels. I remember the wonderful hot meal we got too.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
They point out we have landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport and that passengers holding a ticket with a connecting flight from Orly Airport cannot board it at CDG, but has to exit the airport and head for ORY instead. That kinda makes sense, no?

Believe me, there's bound to be someone on board who hadn't realised they have to change airports!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Must-have-a-Concorde-in-a-report

Now that could make your life very difficult......

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I approach the infodesk right outside arrivals (unfortunately Hannah wasn't there to show the way but a gentleman instead

One thing I still haven't mastered is the art of being in two places at once  
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Pardon, de quel terminal part le vol Air France pour Dubai?"
"Sorry, I dont speak French. But you said Dubai? That is terminal 2E". (!)
"But I thought...."

Hello? How can the guy at the infodesk in CDG not speak French??

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Actually, I have a hard time deciding".
"Well, I would definitely recommend the fish for you".
"I believe you, so I will take the fish please".

Or maybe they had more of the fish and it was all clever tactics?  

Your hotel in DXB looks very posh, what a great deal you got.

Loooking forward to the next part (hopefully with muffins!).

Happy flying
Infodesk   
"Do nothing in haste, look well to each step and from the beginning think what may be the end" - Edward Whymper
 
717Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:41 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:02 pm

Hi all, thank you for your comments!

Jwhite9185:

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
Nice report there - and interesting to see Dubai as its new the top of my to do list!

Why thank you! You certainly were quite quick reading the report and commenting mot many minutes after the report came online?   Nevertheless glad to hear you enjoyed the read despite there really wasn't much of Dubai featured in this report - so stay tuned for the next one for more of the city itself!

Hi nethkt,

Quoting nethkt (Reply 3):
Love the food / wine and service on Air France medium to long haul.
What a great product from a legacy!

I can only agree with your statement.  

Hello Marc,

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 4):
The crew reminded me of the old Air France I used to know.

Indeed they were a flashback from the past for me as well (but then again I have little to compare to as it was my first flight on Air France).

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 4):
The last few times I had some bad luck with the crews on my AF flights. You can read some of my stories here.
A Short Hop On A Big Bird! (by MSS658 Feb 27 2011 in Trip Reports)

It really seems like Air France crews are either hit or miss. Thank you for the link to your report, I'll be taking a look at it soon!

The777Man:

Quoting The777Man (Reply 5):
Very nice report and great to see that the 717Flyer is gong a on a 777 for the first time!

Thank you, actually that's the only thing I was expecting to hear from the real 777 Man.  
Quoting The777Man (Reply 5):
AY looks alight but not so good that they don't a have a gate at their home airport in the morning.

True, it was bad planning but I think you could blame Finavia (the airport operator) for it as well - they don't always provide airlines with the best possible solutions (to put it in a nice way).

Quoting The777Man (Reply 5):
Air France looks good and the service seems to be the same as before, very good! Too bad that they seats aren't so great and it looks like the meal options are not as good as before either although the food was very good. I had orange duck on JFK-CDG in 1999 and it was AMAZING!

I believe you! Seems like good things don't change.

Quoting The777Man (Reply 5):
Looking forward to the rest of the reports in this series very much!

Hey, I'm putting together the second part just now so it should be online quite soon.

aflyingkiwi:

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 6):
Thanks for the great read! It sounds like you had 2 great flights with AY & AF.

Good to read your feedback and glad you enjoyed the report (despite the AY flight was more mediocre than great) but an enjoyable trip nevertheless.

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 6):
I'm quite surprised how cheap the fares are for intra-gulf flights. I had always assumed that those flights were quite expensive..

Well, competition is fierce on the intra-Gulf routes, specially after flydubai entered the market as the first low cost carrier. And that's only good news for us A.netters!

Quoting aflyingkiwi (Reply 6):
The meal looks great & also nice to know that it tasted great as well. Does AF still serve champagne in Y? or has that gone with the times.

The meal really was excellent and as shown on the menu card they still serve champagne (but only as an aperitif).

reifel:

Quoting reifel (Reply 7):
I flew them NYC-CDG and found the experience quite good, too. And their european product is great as well. I think they have a problem with their bad reputation, but they're actually quite fine.

Exactly. And I'm sure their bad reputation has something to do with CDG

Quoting reifel (Reply 7):
And when they will close 2D down later this year and make 2F to Schengen and 2E to non Schengen terminals, it should get better as well..

Really? I didn't know about this but sounds like a good thing indeed.

lukeyboy95:

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 8):
Well done 717 on an excellent report.

Hi Luke, thank you!  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 8):
You certainly presented Air France in an excellent light. I think I would need a little more evidence before I took the plunge and booked a long-haul with them.
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 8):
The meal looked really good on the whole. Though not benchmarking...

Then who would make it better than AF? Perhaps TK would, I admit.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 8):
Also great job on finding an interesting itinerary at great prices! Impressed.

Thank you, but reading your amazing stories here on the forum I am convinced you are quite good at doing it as well...

Hi Robert,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 9):
Good to hear you enjoyed AF. They get some bad reviews from time to time but I also thorougly enjoyed my sole long hail flight with them!

I completely agree with you. You might have mentioned it before but what route (and aircraft) did you fly on with Air France?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):

Hi there 717Flyer,

Wow, 717Flyer turns into 777Flyer and goes longhaul, that’s history in the making my friend and I’m glad I was part of it

Hi Nils! Thank you for the compliment but remember it was only a temporary transformation, I promise to be back to the T-tails after I'm done reporting on this trip...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
and your OK-ish AY one of course as well.

You mean okAYish? 
Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
A rip off it is! Where was it booked? I assume not on any of the airline’s websites?

Unfortunately it was booked directly through KLM's website. Otherwise it was a very user-friendly experience but that rip-off fee didn't leave a good taste in my mouth.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
No extra widebodies? Although the 175 is good as well, but considered the fact that the region is nearly flooded with exotic widebodies, I at least thought you would book another one of those.

Well, to get home from MCT (if I didn't want to fly Emirates again or choose Swiss in the middle of the night) the only choices were between the 737-800 and the E75. I didn't need to think for a very long time before I made up my mind!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Wow, that’s really good! A nice 5th freedom squeezed in as well. I’m quite curious as to this one  

Yeah, we'll get back to UA later...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Are you still one of those people who have to get their mind set to the tone of the ‘new’ livery. I’m starting to quite like it by now.

Yes. You are free to convince me to like it!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
A typical example of the surliness of the CDG staff. Sad...

   But surly AF staff, are you sure such a thing even exists? I've never seen it (but fine, I don't have a long history with Air France...)

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
You counted them of course 

Please, why would I... fine, I counted them...  

Nico:

Quoting Ideekay (Reply 11):
Very sad that AY has just some sandwich or cold pasta with chicken onboard, I remeber the good old days were there was hot and tasty food. I had the same sandwich as you had on the flight to ZRH and it tasted totally dry.

+1. I'm not sure if the Finnair management actually are aware of all the damage they've done and what's happening to the brand...

Quoting Ideekay (Reply 11):
And than on AF, very good service for Economy class, looks delicate! Cathrine made a good job  

Yes, that's why I also sent AF some feedback about my flight with them.

Quoting Ideekay (Reply 11):
So, thanks for you TR!

Thank you for reading!

Charles:

Quoting 9V-SVC (Reply 12):
Excellent trip report, enjoyed it tremendously!

Always good to hear.  
Quoting 9V-SVC (Reply 12):
How did you find the Boeing 777-300ER, great plane right?

Just wait for the next part for another 77W experience - but yes, it was a very nice plane to fly with.

Lychemsa:

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 13):
In the 1960s AY operated the Caravelle to Paris with a stop in Amsterdam and I think Copenhagen. It was a 2 stop flight and my mother always flew Paris to Amsterdam on them and raved about the meal and service.


Not that I was even born back then - but I believe you!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 13):
I also noticed that AF seats are very "hard." I don't understand why they are the only airline with hard seats.


Perhaps they want people not to sit too much and get some exercise instead?

Hi Pieter! Good to see your comments.

Quoting MH017 (Reply 14):
The AF A320 parked next to you is more like F-GFKV...
Quoting MH017 (Reply 14):
The airport isn't Paris-Beauvais but Paris-Le Bourget IMHO...

I stand corrected.  
Quoting MH017 (Reply 14):
OK, let's see the comparison now with KLM  

Haha, why am I not surprised to hear this... But there's still another part before KLM is in the spotlight. If only the AMS-HEL leg would have been operated by Cityhopper, then the trip would have been perfect...

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Hi 777Flyer, er 717Flyer, sorry!

Hi... Hannah.  
Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Where are the muffins?!

You have just pointed out the sole and only flaw in the Air France experience!

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
What a bonus to board the 777 by bus, that must have been very special.

True, but it ended up not being the only time I did it on the trip...

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
I've had this problem too. A good friend here gave me the tip of using the KLM website and that usually works.

Thanks, but I actually tried it and the same thing happened: I was redirected to Finnair. Online check in worked fine on the KLM website for the return journey (but that's not too big a surprise as all flights were operated by them...)

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
It may have had the desired effect, but it sounds highly unprofessional to me.


I don't know if it is very professional to make five announcements and wait so long for one single passenger either? Perhaps they just should have left without him? I seriously doubt it. (This is Blue1 - in good and bad!).  
Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Now that could make your life very difficult......

Maybe, maybe not. You know, the 717 and the Concorde have quite a few things in common?  
Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
One thing I still haven't mastered is the art of being in two places at once  


But if we wait long enough... maybe you'll learn?

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Hello? How can the guy at the infodesk in CDG not speak French??

Yep, that's what I asked myself as well. And no, I'm not kidding.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Or maybe they had more of the fish and it was all clever tactics?  

Come on, Cathrine would never do such a thing.  
Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Your hotel in DXB looks very posh, what a great deal you got.

Yep, I just looked at the rates for next year only to find out they were around 220 EUR per night - no thank you, I'd rather invest that money in some flights instead.

Quoting infodesk (Reply 15):
Loooking forward to the next part (hopefully with muffins!).

I can't promise you anything but I'll do my best with the muffins...

Once again thank you all for taking the time to write a reply.  

Regards,
717Flyer   
 
toby25
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 1:28 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:14 am

Hi there

Excellent TR! I am very surprised over your treatment with Finnair – I always had the impression they were a class airline and I have always wanted to try them flying long haul. Their fleet of airbuses always look so smart and stylish! Conversely your experience with Air France has shocked me as I always thought the majority of crew were rude and quite surely! They seem almost friendly from your experience haha I am only joking the crew on the flight can really make or break your journey.

How easy was it to transfer between terminals at Paris? I have read horror stories transferring even within the same terminal let alone another one! You mentioned you required to change to terminal 2F, did you have to go through passport control and then through departures at 2F? seems abit convoluted – especially if you have a very short connection time!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
At the door I first get an "Arrigato" which changes to the "kiitos" I wanted so badly after thanking the purser for a nice flight in Finnish

I didn’t understand this sentence. You had a Japanese FA?

Anyway very nice TR – I enjoyed it immensely and you have warmed me a little to possibly choosing AF – although I will make sure any connecting flights are in the same terminal lol!

Toby
Seriously dude! I swear!
 
CaptainRed
Posts: 784
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:22 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:10 pm

Hi 717Flyer,

what a great report you have put together here, really enjoyed it. Congrats for logging your first 777, sure a very nice plane with some mighty engines (not as nice as a 717 though   ).

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
the complete rip-off 30 EUR credit card charge

Ouch, that's really bad, but rip-off charges like that sadly seems to be the norm nowadays.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The itinerary ended up getting quite an interesting shape when looking at it on a map:

Wow, indeed a nice routing, good idea to include some local flight in the Gulf region as well.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
hopefully they had loaded many muffins and thus the extra weight

Well, they knew that you were on board, so of course they did   ...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The delicious meal turns out to be quite a generous sandwich:

Hmm, looks ok, you have to be happy to get something for free on intra-European flights these days.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
They point out we have landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport and that passengers holding a ticket with a connecting flight from Orly Airport cannot board it at CDG, but has to exit the airport and head for ORY instead. That kinda makes sense, no?

Makes sense, indeed. But then there are probably a lot of people who don't know about the change of the airport.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
"Pardon, de quel terminal part le vol Air France pour Dubai?"
"Sorry, I dont speak French. But you said Dubai? That is terminal 2E". (!)
"But I thought...."
another agent yells: "No, no, Dubai is 2F! I checked it!"
"Merci!".

Unbelievable, looks like you got the full CDG connection experience here. Still I really don't understand that there is an employee at an infodesk who doesn't speak the language. With the French people generally being so proud of their language.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
At least I got to practise some French on the way.

Tres bien. At least you took some positive thing out of it. Good that it worked out in the end with your connection, indeed in CDG it is always better to allow yourself a little extra time when connecting. Imagine how not so experienced travelers might get confused there.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Meanwhile, the safety video is shown on the entertainment screens and one of the flight attendants tell me Thank you for paying attention as she noticed I was trying to locate the nearest exit.

Most likely you have been the only one.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
But can you spot something wrong in these instructions:

Ouch, unbelievable {No} ...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
After all this I almost forget there is another entertainment system - the good ol' window:

Usually the best IFE available   ...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Looks like Air France planes have a lot in common with my grandmothers house - both are places you never leave hungry.

   ... Indeed wonderful service here with AF, nice meals and generous portions, super friendly FAs., really impressive.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
It might have received some extra scratches during its visit to Roissy but having read about how many bags disappear from CDG every year all I cared about was that my precious bag was in my hands and (mostly) unharmed.

Indeed, CDG is infamous for loosing bags, had my share of lost baggage there, although it was usually handled well by the staff and everything showed up a day or two later.

Thanks again for this report and now I am looking forward to the next part

CaptainRed
 
signol
Posts: 2652
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:18 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:01 pm

Hi 717Flyer,

nice report, thanks!

Finnair look like they are ok, standard service. A nice looking sandwich though!

CDG - well, less said the better! I've had good transfers, I've had appalling transfers.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

Perhaps someone could shed some light on what is the purpose of this conveniently located Air France house? It most certainly isn't their headquarters.

Actually it is, or rather at least was - when I worked in it   On the ground floor. It was called "La Cité Air France" as opposed to the "Siège Air France" next door, the official HQ. The Cité housed the language school, the staff canteen, the standby rooms for cabin crew, social areas, etc. The language school, where I worked, moved to another building in 2000.

As for the Dubai flight, some very good service there. I too have found that service improves a notch when you speak, or even attempt to speak, French...

Looking forward to the rest of the series!

Thanks again

signol
Flights booked: NWI-AMS-JNB-DUR, JNB-AMS-NWI
 
aya333
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:10 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:46 pm

Moikka, 717Flyer!

What an enjoyable read! Congratulations again!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
For some added 30 EUR a standard HEL-AMS-DXB-AMS-HEL could be transformed into HEL-CDG-DXB-AMS-HEL on Finnair, Air France and KLM including many highlights: they were going to be my first flights on AF and KL as well as my first 747 and 777 rides.

Ah, I have never been flying 777 either. My first flight is going to take place in later this year. It will be nice to fly to Japan to have lunch and take a shower!

Nice routing so that you can try also AF!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Another two new airlines plus the rare Embraer 175 as a new aircraft type!

Excellent!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
During our short taxi to the active we also meet the legendary Silver Bird that flew its last flight for AY a couple of days ago:

To be honest, it wasn't my favourite aircraft. So, I am sort of happy that it will gone (for good, I hope).

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
Soon we meet something that is not even close to the Queen of the skies but a flying palace nevertheless:

Ah, A380. Isn't it a wonderful plane?? I love it.

I like your description of the AF service! I should definitely also try them on a longhaul flight - not only A380 CDG-LHR-CDG 

I am looking forward to the rest of story!

Jani
319,320,321,333,343,388,717,732,733,735,736,73G,738,752,AB4,AR1,AR8,ATR,AT7,D9S,D10,DH4,E45,E70,E90,F27,F50,M82,M83,M90,
 
FlyingFinn76
Posts: 1698
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 12:10 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:31 pm

Hiya,

Good account on your trip down to the Gulf. You seem to have gotten lucky with Air France - IMHO they are quite hit and miss - sometimes if you get a good crew the experience can be great but if you get a stereotypical French one everything can be very bad as well. Or maybe the women just fall for your boyish charm...  

AY looked blah, not good service standards and the crew sounds bad as well.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
these routings would break the rule of never flying the same airline thrice during the same trip (twice is still somewhat bearable...)

What kind of rule is that? Does it apply to Blue1?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I actually found return tickets for 400 EUR online - now that's a positive problem!

That is quite a nice price indeed, well done.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
First out was Oman, a country I have wanted to visit for years. DXB-MCT was booked on Emirates for some 50 EUR

Hmm, this sounds somehow familiar to me... good choice of a destination!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
DXB-DOH was secured on low-cost carrier Flydubai for a perfectly reasonable 29 EUR

Nice price. And another nice carrier, I was very impressed by my flight with them earlier this year.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I couldn't believe my eyes when I found a 45 EUR ticket on United Airlines (yes!) DOH-DXB on the 777-200, another new subtype.

Wow, nice! I had no idea UA operated intra-Gulf segments. You could've combined your two trips by doing KLM or BA on DOH-MCT too.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
To my big surprise online check-in worked like a charm the evening before - Air France redirected me to the Finnair website to do my business

Errr why would you use the AF website to check in to an AF codeshare on AY metal anyway? You know the thumb rule is to check in with the operating carrier, no matter whether online or physically. There's no AF check in desk at HEL either (well ok, there are KLM check in desks which is close, though).

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
(Well, the observation deck they opened last week after receiving quite a lot of publicity is what you call a letdown - even my balcony is bigger than that terrace!).

Yeah, tell me about it. First I thought Finavia had finally done something right but when I went there - what a letdown! They should go to Kloten or Schiphol to learn how a proper observation deck is done. Frankfurt would do as well.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
one of them actually steps on my foot both himself and with his bag of course without saying sorry but staring at me very nervously instead

Well, they were French, undoubtedly. Like a former French colleague once said "I'm French so I don't have to be nice" before speaking his mind. I kinda like that.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Another happy surprise, this plane isn't destroyed with the new seats either:

What on earth are you talking about? These are the crap new seats - the good old thick cloth seats can still be found on the A319s and I certainly hope they will be around for many years to come!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The delay is explained with "late positioning and the use of jetbridges".

So a bus boarding would've been more efficient? That's bs.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The delicious meal turns out to be quite a generous sandwich:

I can't believe they actually referred to that as "a delicious meal"?! Sure, it looks like a nice sandwich - I received the same on HEL-SVO back in February but a meal it ain't.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Soft drinks are also free (no - that's not beer - it is apple juice!)

It doesn't look like beer. Beer has a head.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Anyway I still miss the nice hot meal I would have received on this very route not too many years ago.

Yeah, this is my pet peeve with Finnair. They keep eroding the inflight product further and further and at the same time alienating a lot of customers. They will never ever be able to compete on price with the other carriers (well maybe with SAS though) so they should definitely focus on the service. I mean back when there were hot meals on European flights and free booze (or even the times with only free beer and wine) I had no problems paying a reasonable premium for flying with Finnair. When they took that away the prices sure as hell didn't go down so that sort of left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. Sure, I'll book Finnair even today if it suits my plans and the price is okay, but mostly just because I can then upgrade my flight to business class, not because they are any good in economy.

This is something Mr. Vehviläinen just doesn't seem to get.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
serving my seatmate an ice bottle of bubbly.

You mean "selling", right?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Do I need to tell you how good it felt to be back on French ground after a smooth landing?

Good? France? No, not really. It is a nasty chaotic place. Sure the food and wine are good, though.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
What's that - an emptied swimming pool?

Septic tank  .

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Perhaps someone could shed some light on what is the purpose of this conveniently located Air France house? It most certainly isn't their headquarters.

Actually it is part of the complex housing their corporate headquarters  . On a later picture you have the "AF needle" on the background, that's standing in front of the HQ.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
"Uhm.. I really don't know... "

Wow, I knew the employee morale ay AY wasn't the best out there these days but this is really, really bad. You should send AY some serious feedback about this.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
thanking the purser for a nice flight in Finnish.

From your description that flight sounded very mediocre, so how come you called it nice to her?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
turns out to be a terminal you can only access via going out in the public.

Well actually any transfer apart from within the same module (and even then there are exceptions) at CDG2 requires you to exit the sterile area. As I've always said it is a horrible, horrible airport that shouldn't be used for transfers at all. Completely unsuitable as a hub in a traditional hub & spoke system. It is just about bearable as an O/D airport, but that's about it. So very French.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
"No need for me to do anything, your booking and bags are fine as well. Have a nice flight"

Why did it occur to you to go to the check in desk in the first place? You had a boarding pass and your luggage was checked through - so why not just clear security and go to your gate (or rather the shopping pit below the gate level)?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Yes, it is a jetway, but it is leading down to a bus:

So very CDG. That's the only airport where I've been on a bus from the plane (an A340 actually) and the driver got lost!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
After a very long and bumpy ride in the bus we eventually pull up in front of F-GSQJ. As my first ever Boeing 777 ride begins with bus boarding I can't complain and fully enjoy the views:

Hey, quite nice for you to pick a great -300ER as your first triple seven - that's definitely a much much more impressive piece of engineering than the vanilla -200, which of course is no mean beast itself.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
It is h-u-g-e!

Well these are the most amazing aircraft engines ever built. In a way the whole triple seven was designed around it.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Economy looks alright as well:

No, 10-abreast seating does NOT look alright!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Leg room is alright but a bit on the tight side. I immediately notice the seat is quite hard and not something I would like to be sitting in for 10+ hours.

Last week I had the joy of sitting 8+ hours in the much hyped (by SN themselves) new SN A330 economy seat and that one was the same - rock hard and thus not good for sleeping.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
the comfort of sitting in this seat is the shape of the fuselage back here as the seating layout changes from 3-4-3 to 2-4-2 and picking a seat in the first row of two-seaters seems to give a slightly worse leg room than on other rows

Good choice. 3-4-3 on a 777 is like an Avro with 3-3 - no go.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Soon we meet something that is not even close to the Queen of the skies but a flying palace nevertheless:

A flying whale is more like it.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Paris-Beauvais:

Nope, BVA is around 70 kilometers towards NWW, this is Le Bourget.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The main IFE menu (of course I chose to use it in French):

Why? Not a very nice language that one.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Best of all - the airshow:

Shame it seems to be the same old one the AY A32xs have.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Very considerate for a flight to an Arab country:

Hah, a bit different than the piece of pig leg Armavia served on my EVN-DXB flight!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I start off by enjoying the zuchini and tomato tartare - unfortunately I am forced to leave the cheese untouched because of allergy - but otherwise the starter is perfect: tasty, moist with many different colors in it.

You know - that dish looks exactly like it's already been digested once - not very appetizing!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The fish fritters are cooked to perfection, the rice is delicious, the portion is generous and looks beautiful as well.

Merde! A French carrier serving this? Man, this is basically a set of "kalapuikko" and nothing more. Not very high on a culinary scale - I'd expected more from Air France. Food is one of the food things the French do well!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The small bottles of cognac are cute (nope, I did not drink any but my father did):

And they cheat you by having 25% less content on it (3ml vs. 4ml)!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
In the back galley a young FA insists I cannot use the toilet before she has cleaned it up

Hah, the SAS unions would love her.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I am now convinced that AF flight attendants are not afraid of going that little extra mile (or meter....).

Well as long as you don't encounter some with some of that world famous French attitude or they aren't on a strike (which happens around twenty times per year).

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Rougly one hour ahead of arrival Cathrine serves us a sandwich filled with pesto

That's quite small. Sure it was a shortish flight, but still something more would be better suited here.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
and that temperature in Dubai is a "nice and warm" 35 degrees.

Ugh. I'm kinda happy I went there in February then!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I am soon in the jetway where I hear a voice pronouncing (well, more like yelling) the ugliest phrase of the English language: "NO PHOTO!".

Yeah, I got a lot of this at DXB.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
opening and admitting people to different lanes (a procedure that seemed to follow no logic at all) it takes over an hour for my turn to come (even though I was earlier waved to queue at the business and first class counter).

The immigration at T1 seemed to be quite random - luckily I got through in less than ten minutes. T3 was more of the same but at least your surroundings were much more grand so you didn't mind waiting there  .

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
he doesn't ask me a single question (I guess all the day trips I had booked could have raised some suspicion)

Well how would they know about those?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
(that means a higher floor, free breakfast and access to the Club Lounge - did you hear that Petteri and Jonas?)

Yes, I heard you. The best hotel lounge I've ever been to was at the Mövenpick Istanbul hotel BTW. On that trip I didn't spend a single Lira on food as the food at the hotel lounge was so amazing.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
After enjoying some sandwiches we made home in the morning (no need for room service...)

Oh dear, are you sure you don't have any Dutch roots?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The part I had feared most, transferring at Charles de Gaulle, ended up going just fine but with a shorter connection time it is definitely a no-go.

Well I can think of many, many airports with far better transfer experiences than CDG. The fact that you had to leave the sterile area along drops its score in my book a lot.
 
Tomskii
Posts: 451
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 10:42 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:42 pm

I suppose it's their ops center?

http://i1112.photobucket.com/albums/k494/B717Flyer/IMG_3627.jpg
Nikon D90 + Nikkor f4.5-5.6 18-105mm + Tamron f4-5.6 70-300mm
 
Knightsofmalta
Posts: 1665
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:20 am

Hi 717Flyer

Great report, I enjoyed that! You really went to town by the looks of it, what with all the side trips, different airlines and airline/aircraft combinations. Well done on that!

I'm quite surprised with the meal you got on Air France. By the looks of it the quality and quantity were both excellent, especially given that you were in Economy Class. It even looked nearly healthy!

Thanks for posting in any case!

Cheers,
William
 
The777Man
Posts: 5912
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 1999 4:54 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:24 am

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Wow, nice! I had no idea UA operated intra-Gulf segments.

UA also flies BAH-KWI vv with 5th freedom rights. Both flights are very short; about 30-45mins each so probably not even a drink service onboard but I'm not sure. I guess we will find out in the next report.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Good? France? No, not really. It is a nasty chaotic place. Sure the food and wine are good, though.

I much prefer France to most countries in Europe including Sweden. A difference of opinion.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Why? Not a very nice language that one.

Another disagreement; much prefer French to most other languages except English. I just wish I spoke better French but I forgot a lot being over here for 20 years.

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
akhmad
Posts: 2492
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:34 am

My friend 717Flyer, a very good day to you and your family,

I am sorry for my belated reply. I wanted to read your report properly and thoroughly before posting my comment.

To start with, what a catchy title, 717Flyer Does 777!   


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
the complete rip-off 30 EUR credit card charge

OMG! Is there another payment method without hefty surcharge, like debit card or Paypal?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
So I ended up choosing Sweden and writing "FINLAND!!!" in another place instead. Phew.

Good to know it worked out this way.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
when a good friend of mine working early in the morning offered me (and my family) a ride to the airport - very nice and well appreciated.

That’s what friends are for!   


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
even my balcony is bigger than that terrace!

Are you serious? What a deception.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
one of them actually steps on my foot both himself and with his bag of course without saying sorry but staring at me very nervously instead

Disgusting! If I were there, I would have stepped on his foot and said, “Sorry, this was on purpose!”  


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
so my father and I do a part of their job by helping some people to stow their large pieces of hand luggage in the overhead bins and direct some older passengers to their seats

So sweet and gentle! This is how I know you and your father.  


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
there is no proper seat pocket to be seen, just this small pocket big enough for your passport but not much else:

Still sufficient to put my notebook in.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
(I found it necessary to take it with me as a souvenir - it's a new twist at least).

So, you start loving the new Finnair livery.   


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
(no - that's not beer - it is apple juice!)
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
(nope, I did not drink any but my father did):

Beer? Cognac? 717Flyer, why don’t you just admit it! 


Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
most certainly you could have told me the news in a much more friendly way?

Indeed! No need to shout there.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Do I need to tell you how good it felt to be back on French ground after a smooth landing?

Yes, because you would be speaking French again. I have similar feeling on Spanish soil.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
That kinda makes sense, no?

For us, as plain as day! But for several others, I am not sure.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
. turns out to be a terminal you can only access via going out in the public

Hmm, I wonder which arrangement connecting non EU citizens would have.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
"Sorry, I dont speak French. But you said Dubai? That is terminal 2E". (!

No French speaking infodesk agent at the very CDG terminal? You’re kidding, right?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Aaah, D-u-b-a-i? D'accord, welcome!".

What did he think in the first instance? Mumbai?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I can't complain and fully enjoy the views:

Nothing beats the feeling of boarding by stairs!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
From now on I will translate my conversations with the crew in English - but they were all made in French!).

D’accord!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Spanish, Italian and German but I'm convinced they speak French and English as well.  

AF is always proud of her multilingual cabin crew members.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
by putting some gorgeous French mademoiselles in the safety video!

I found the video on YouTube. Don’t forget the hunky French monsieurs as well!  


Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
The smallest safety card I've seen can be found it the seat pocket:

It sure fits in your own pocket.   


Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
But can you spot something wrong in these instructions:

Airbus 777-300!   


Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
Even though the lack of international music

Oh no! What about dance music and today’s hits?

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
Moments later Cathrine gives me a pat on the shoulder - but instead of commenting my photo-taking in any way she just gives a friendly smile.
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
Cathrine passes through the aisle asking everybody if we are enjoying our meals
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
when I am about to taste the nice-looking pastry Cathrine passes by and assures that "Do wait for the coffee and cognac service before tasting it!".

Cathrine’s a gem of flight attendant. Air France should be proud of her.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
But when Cathrine offers me a third baguette I must refuse...

How could you?  


Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
The chat is interrupted and we both start laughing when we remember I was actually going to use the toilet instead of discussing the differences between Air France and KLM -

Sweet!

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
Looks like Air France planes have a lot in common with my grandmothers house - both are places you never leave hungry.

Air France should feel honored by this!

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
I was starting to feel it was going to be hard to split up with these welcoming Air France people.  

I know how you felt. Why do all good things come to an end?

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
where I hear a voice pronouncing (well, more like yelling) the ugliest phrase of the English language: "NO PHOTO!"

I should have told you about photography at DXB during our BER meeting. Don’t listen to anyone who said “NO PHOTO” and keep on taking photos. Whoever did this, was just bullying you!

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
I could not refuse as the five-star Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers offered us a club room

Way to go, 717Flyer!


Thank you for sharing, 717Flyer. I have the feeling that you have become an ambassador of Air France. So many nice gestures you experienced on board, it’s just amazing. Well, perhaps it’s not that surprising because of the great personality of yours.

Have a nice weekend and please pass on my regards to your family.

All the best,
Suryo  
Friends forever
 
deltamartin
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2010 5:48 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:25 pm

Hej 777Flyer!  

Again a very nice report and an enjoyable read. Good to see you enjoyed AF and that your connection at CDG went pretty good. As you say, it sure is a huge airport where anything can happen!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
DXB-MCT was booked on Emirates for some 50 EUR and the return was fixed on the cheap boutique carrier Oman Air for 40 EUR.

Nice prices on (what I hear is) two nice carriers.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
DXB-DOH was secured on low-cost carrier Flydubai for a perfectly reasonable 29 EUR and I couldn't believe my eyes when I found a 45 EUR ticket on United Airlines (yes!) DOH-DXB on the 777-200, another new subtype.

Oh very nice, a good idea.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
But can you spot something wrong in these instructions:

Can't find anything. But on an unrelated note, have you flown the Boeing A380 yet? 
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I am surprised as menu cards are soon handed out by Cathrine, the FA serving our section.

Nice touch with menu cards in Economy, don't see that too often nowadays!

Looking forward to read more on this tripreport series!

Martin
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6512
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:00 pm

Hi 717Flyer,

nice report about your AF 777 experience! Good to see you chose to fly on a real plane for the first time!  

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Soft drinks are also free (no - that's not beer - it is apple juice!)

I'm relieved...it would look nasty for a beer.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
After a very long and bumpy ride in the bus we eventually pull up in front of F-GSQJ. As my first ever Boeing 777 ride begins with bus boarding I can't complain and fully enjoy the views:

You cannot ask for more - what's better than being able to pass the mighty GE90 so close?

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
But I must say I feel a bit homesick when I see a beautiful T-tail parked at one of the gates:

Oh come on, how can you think of any of these toy planes when aboard the magnificent 777? Be glad that no t-tail was sucked into the GE90 during taxi.  

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I must say Dubai is a very intriguing airport as you could feel how it was getting to life at this ungoody hour. Something much less amusing was the queues greeting me at the Passport Control. Despite a number of agents closing, opening and admitting people to different lanes (a procedure that seemed to follow no logic at all) it takes over an hour for my turn to come (even though I was earlier waved to queue at the business and first class counter). I make the big mistake of greeting the passport officer (he eyes me like I would be a maniac) but in the end he doesn't ask me a single question (I guess all the day trips I had booked could have raised some suspicion), he just takes a photo of me and stamps my passport.

We also had to wait very long after arrival on QR earlier this year. But it was much better when we arrived on EK some days later. Different terminal, whole different experience.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
FLIEGER67
Posts: 5195
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 4:43 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:29 pm

Hey, R.,

good to follow you´re story.
Well done and also nice pictures.
It seems both Airlines doing a good job here, with AF as the better one.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

After a long taxi we park next to F-KGVK, part of Markus' flight log:

Perfect.

Looking forward to more around you´re trip.

Greetings,
Markus(FLIEGER67)
Tripreporter.net
 
stipica
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 2:55 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:50 pm

Hi Al Rasmus !
super nice trip report but A.net audience expects that ... for me Dubai is last city in the world on "must to visit list" and you are already been there twice ... ok ok for catching interesting airlines good destination ...  
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
One very rainy and wintery night I was browsing various airline websites, trying to find a cheap escape to somewhere else.

aaaaa so weather is the reason way Nordic people or better to say Finnnnssss are so active to find a cheap escape but I still looking for a reason why you are writing good ... hmmm

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
In the last one they shout out "Mr. XXX, I am looking at my watch and will personally close the gate in exactly one minute, 60 seconds from now, gate 12, last chance, thanks!". I hope the gentleman made it onto his flight!

hahahhahaa this is not possible in croatia we are to serious and disinterested

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
fortunately it has not yet been destroyed by the new Finnair livery and it is a new one for my log as well:

I must admit that I like the new image and new lounge but new Star Trek uniforms is little bit to much for me

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
crew seem quite disinterested so my father and I do a part of their job by helping some people to stow their large pieces of hand luggage in the overhead bins and direct some older passengers to their seats. Perhaps I should send my CV to Finnair? I highly doubt it.

way not ? ah the best crew work for Blue1 heehehhe
anecdote : many years ago when Al Rasmus has not yet been born I helped an old lady find a seat ,stow her luggage and helped with the safety belt while the JAT flight attendant stood and watched ... and old lady asks me : young man thank you for helping me but why you not wear a uniform this is not professional !?!? ... speechless ... hehehehhe I just mumble something in shock and a flight attendant began to laugh ...but this not stopping me for helping

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
I found it necessary to take it with me as a souvenir - it's a new twist at least

have you heard voices again ? Libertas Libertas Libertas Oh beautiful, oh dear, oh sweet freedom ...hehheheh

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Finnair didn't pass the test but at least the FA remained very friendly. At the door I first get an "Arrigato" which changes to the "kiitos" I wanted so badly after thanking the purser for a nice flight in Finnish

heheheh arrigato Rasmus-san ... maybe just trying to be stylish ... Finnair looks fine to me ...

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
As my first ever Boeing 777 ride begins with bus boarding I can't complain and fully enjoy the views:

super nice ... my first ever B747 ride starts the same BA to MEX

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
safety video is shown on the entertainment screens and one of the flight attendants tell me Thank you for paying attention

you are a player ... while you're watching a young mademoiselles you secure a position for the excellent service hehehe

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
But can you spot something wrong in these instructions:

so it's probably globalist future airborg777.380 resistance is futile

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
When I go to get some water Cathrine insists on pouring a glass for my father as well - she points out how important it is to stay hydrated. Once again she tries to stuff a sandwich and some other drinks with me and she almost seems disappointed when I have to decline.

ah and Cathrine too ????

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
When I once again order orange juice she points out to me "Someone is in love..." In love with Air France's excellent orange juice or?

...she notice too ... no 717 in report ( this small dot is not acceptable) no muffins ( just some boring sandwiches ) ... what happens there hehehheh

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
717Flyer's Five Things You Must See In Dubai

help me help me please hehehhe but exclude airport

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Please prove the existence of the freedom of speech by replying

hahhahahahaha you heheheh
so Al-Rasmus شكرا ... heheheh stipica  
Open your eyes and think
 
adamspotter
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:00 pm

Hi there 717flyer,

Great report! thanks for sharing. Looks like you had a good flight with AF, great crew who took good care of you 
Dubai remains high on my to visit list!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
The delicious meal turns out to be quite a generous sandwich

That sure does look generous

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
They point out we have landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport and that passengers holding a ticket with a connecting flight from Orly Airport cannot board it at CDG, but has to exit the airport and head for ORY instead. That kinda makes sense, no

haha well some people (not so frequent flyers) probably dont understand and have made mistakes with that :P

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):

Ah, wing view on the Triple Seven and a great-looking neighbour!

Love that livery!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
But can you spot something wrong in these instructions

Never heard of an Airbus 777 before hehe

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Whee, two of my favourite TV series are available on board

mine too!

Looking forward to your next parts!

cheers,
Brendan // adamspotter
 
roberts87
Posts: 1091
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:59 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:52 pm

Sorry for the late reply.

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 16):
Hi Robert,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 9):
Good to hear you enjoyed AF. They get some bad reviews from time to time but I also thorougly enjoyed my sole long hail flight with them!

I completely agree with you. You might have mentioned it before but what route (and aircraft) did you fly on with Air France?

It was ORD-CDG on an A332. Great flight. Good food, comfy seat, friendly and chatty FA and 45 minutes early.
 
LH4116
Posts: 1183
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:39 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:22 am

Hey 717Flyer, nice report!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
a) the complete rip-off 30 EUR credit card charge

Really EUR 30? Now that's really criminal to take such high charges, not something you expect from a legacy airline like them.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
plus the rare Embraer 175 as a new aircraft type!

Had no idea the E75 was rare. Oh well, I'm glad to be scoring a flight on one in August  
Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
sounds like KF was too early and the missing gentleman was too late?

The man could possibly have been a Pandion, hence the large effort in calling out for him. Although the standard practice for Pandions is actually to call them up on their cellphone and ask them personally if they're going to make the flight or not.

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
(including a big number of arrogant Business travellers with suits and huge carry-on bags, one of them actually steps on my foot both himself and with his bag of course without saying sorry but staring at me very nervously instead).

You are right about some DYKWIA suit travelers, one cut me in line at the fasttrack in LIS only to have me waiting 5 minutes for re-arranging the liquids in his oversized hand luggage. Neither did he offer me to pass him by, very rude of him!

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
they also announce newspapers are available for 3 EUR (that explains the lack of Herald Tribune and other papers at the gate

EUR 3? That's really a ripoff, especially since SAS brag about giving newspapers for free. Although who the devli reads the Herald Tribune anyway?

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
But I must say I feel a bit homesick when I see a beautiful T-tail parked at one of the gates:

I suppose that must've been a SAS MD and not your beloved KF717?  
Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
The smallest safety card I've seen can be found it the seat pocket:

Hah, that looks more like a pamflet to me than a safety card! Was it at least laminated?

Quoting 717Flyer (Reply 1):
It was delicious

Again, I must say that I'm very impressed by the catering offered by Air France, they are really the best airline in Europe when it comes to providing good meals! Did your father opt for Champagne as apretif btw?

"Wheels Up!"
//Jonas
SAS Plus is Business Class made faux!
 
717Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:41 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:43 am

Hi fellow A.netters,

I know it has been forever since I posted this report and I sincerely apologize for not getting back to these replies earlier. Let's just say life sometimes takes quite surprising turns and this meant taking a break from A.net for a while.

Enough of talking, here we go:

Quoting toby25 (Reply 17):
How easy was it to transfer between terminals at Paris? I have read horror stories transferring even within the same terminal let alone another one! You mentioned you required to change to terminal 2F, did you have to go through passport control and then through departures at 2F? seems abit convoluted – especially if you have a very short connection time!

Well the transfer itself wasn't very hard: after going out in the public you only had to follow the signs to 2F and go through security there. As I wrote in the report, finding the right check in desk ended up being a harder task (even though it wasn't even necessary to verify our bag tags in the end).

Quoting toby25 (Reply 17):
I didn’t understand this sentence. You had a Japanese FA?

Nope, but the Finnish FA told me goodbye in Japanese, perhaps because there was quite a large number of Asian pax on that flight. And I have a hard time accepting that my national airline is losing more of its Finnish touch all the time.

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 18):
what a great report you have put together here, really enjoyed it. Congrats for logging your first 777, sure a very nice plane with some mighty engines (not as nice as a 717 though ).

Thanks Captain! And when it comes to the 717, you're right.  
Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 18):
Unbelievable, looks like you got the full CDG connection experience here. Still I really don't understand that there is an employee at an infodesk who doesn't speak the language. With the French people generally being so proud of their language

That is just what I thought as well. The only explanation I can find is that the guy not speaking French was actually not working at the infodesk (but then again why would he have been behind the desk then?).

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 18):
Thanks again for this report and now I am looking forward to the next part

Yeah, give me some time and one day you may find the next part online! Besides I am trying to finish a report on some recent travels to Lapland first.

Quoting signol (Reply 19):
Actually it is, or rather at least was - when I worked in it On the ground floor. It was called "La Cité Air France" as opposed to the "Siège Air France" next door, the official HQ. The Cité housed the language school, the staff canteen, the standby rooms for cabin crew, social areas, etc. The language school, where I worked, moved to another building in 2000.

Hi Robin, thanks for your feedback and very nice to know some history of the building!

Quoting signol (Reply 19):
As for the Dubai flight, some very good service there. I too have found that service improves a notch when you speak, or even attempt to speak, French...

True!

Quoting AYA333 (Reply 20):
Ah, I have never been flying 777 either. My first flight is going to take place in later this year. It will be nice to fly to Japan to have lunch and take a shower!

Hi Jani and thanks for your comments! This must be the Alitalia

Quoting AYA333 (Reply 20):
To be honest, it wasn't my favourite aircraft. So, I am sort of happy that it will gone (for good, I hope).

Really? I agree with you that the retro livery wasn't very appealing to my tastes but I found the idea with retro crews (with the old uniform and everything) flying around as a very nice touch.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
What kind of rule is that? Does it apply to Blue1?

Hi Petteri & good to read your reply.
To answer your question I always try to squeeze in as much variety in an itinerary as possible and thus the rule applies to Blue1 as well - but the 717 is excluded from the rule as it is a case of its own, of course.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Errr why would you use the AF website to check in to an AF codeshare on AY metal anyway?

Because I desperately wanted to avoid the badly designed new Finnair website, that's why.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Well, they were French, undoubtedly. Like a former French colleague once said "I'm French so I don't have to be nice" before speaking his mind. I kinda like that.

I don't like that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
What on earth are you talking about? These are the crap new seats - the good old thick cloth seats can still be found on the A319s and I certainly hope they will be around for many years to come!

True, I must have been a bit tired when writing this - but another thing I meant is that the newest AY cabins feature the grey seats and I was relieved to see those bland and boring seats had not taken over my plane yet. Plus they've started putting them only on A319s and A320s as far as I know.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
So a bus boarding would've been more efficient? That's bs.

Yeah, but the way the jetways were used (an Asian flight with 250+ pax were disembarking in front of our noses when we wanted to board) must have been one factor to the delay. Badly explained, perhaps.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
You mean "selling", right?

Serving after selling.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
From your description that flight sounded very mediocre, so how come you called it nice to her?

Sometimes you just need to stay polite.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Why did it occur to you to go to the check in desk in the first place? You had a boarding pass and your luggage was checked through - so why not just clear security and go to your gate (or rather the shopping pit below the gate level)?

Because I had a lot of time for my transfer and a check in kiosk spit out a piece of paper that said my luggage tags had to been verified to ensure my bags make it to the final destination. And knowing that CDG is quite well known for losing people's bags I decided not to gamble this time.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Nope, BVA is around 70 kilometers towards NWW, this is Le Bourget.

I stand corrected.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Why? Not a very nice language that one.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 24):
I much prefer France to most countries in Europe including Sweden. A difference of opinion.
Quoting The777Man (Reply 24):
Another disagreement; much prefer French to most other languages except English. I just wish I spoke better French but I forgot a lot being over here for 20 years.

Thanks Lars - I can only agree with you on this! But Petteri is entitled to his own opinion, of course.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 21):
Ugh. I'm kinda happy I went there in February then!

That's the question most people asked me when I told them I was going to Dubai in June. "How are you going to survive the heat?". It might just be me - but I don't think it was that bad. Actually, I don't think it was bad at all. Sure, some days temperatures were up to 40 °C and I could have done with a couple of degrees less in temperature, but that's it. I love the sun (heck I last used sunglasses when I was three years old) and being where it is warm. And during the week in Dubai you really got used to the heat. Never forgetting to keep yourself hydrated (just as Cathrine of Air France pointed out on the flight on the way here) and cooling yourself down by entering a mall or another air-conditioned building every now and then does the job. The evenings (with lower temperatures and higher humidity) I actually found the weather was close to perfect. You may call me crazy, but that's the way I found it. My father found it a bit harder adjusting to the hotter temperatures, but eventually, as the days passed, even he got along better

Quoting Knightsofmalta (Reply 23):
I'm quite surprised with the meal you got on Air France. By the looks of it the quality and quantity were both excellent, especially given that you were in Economy Class. It even looked nearly healthy!

Hi William, I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the report! And yes, I definitely think the AF meal was top notch, definitely one of the best economy meals I've ever had - right now I can think of Turkish Airlines that would have done a better job foodwise.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
My friend 717Flyer, a very good day to you and your family,

Hi Suryo, I'm so happy to finally be able to reply to your comments. And thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply, I really appreciate it.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
I am sorry for my belated reply. I wanted to read your report properly and thoroughly before posting my comment.

Actually, it is my reply that is now belated by over a month....  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
To start with, what a catchy title, 717Flyer Does 777!

Thanks, now I'm looking forward to "717Flyer Does 787!". 
Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
OMG! Is there another payment method without hefty surcharge, like debit card or Paypal?

Yep, you can avoid the hefty charge by paying by debit card or straight through the netbank.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Good to know it worked out this way.

Actually it didn't work out with UA in the end as I never entered their plane. But let's save that story for later, shall we?

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Disgusting! If I were there, I would have stepped on his foot and said, “Sorry, this was on purpose!”

But you weren't there.  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
So sweet and gentle! This is how I know you and your father.

Aww, thank you. Still we felt a bit weird doing it as the flight attendants were busy standing in the aisle and doing nothing.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Still sufficient to put my notebook in.

It might be, but I had a hard time squeezing my orange notebook into it.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
So, you start loving the new Finnair livery.

Well, I guess that is one way of looking at it. I must admit I don't dislike the new colors anymore but I really do miss the old tails featuring the Finnish flag and lots of blue color - after all Finland is the land of a thousand lakes.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Beer? Cognac? 717Flyer, why don’t you just admit it!

Come on, Suryo - I turned 17 two days ago. Do you really think I would drink that?  
Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
For us, as plain as day! But for several others, I am not sure.

You are right. But that is yet another reason not to connect via Paris unless it is absolutely necessary.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
No French speaking infodesk agent at the very CDG terminal? You’re kidding, right?

Unfortunately this was not a bad joke but actually the case.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
What did he think in the first instance? Mumbai?

I thought about the same, it must have been! Unless he heard Dublin, Dubrovnik or Dushanbe instead?

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
AF is always proud of her multilingual cabin crew members.

...and later during my trip I also learned that EK does the same.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
I found the video on YouTube. Don’t forget the hunky French monsieurs as well!

For sure. 
Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Cathrine’s a gem of flight attendant. Air France should be proud of her.

Definitely, that is also why I wrote Air France some positive feedback about the service I encountered on my flight.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
I know how you felt. Why do all good things come to an end?

Because there will always be a second chance, another opportunity to experience and make things right?

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
I should have told you about photography at DXB during our BER meeting. Don’t listen to anyone who said “NO PHOTO” and keep on taking photos. Whoever did this, was just bullying you!

Good to know. And later during my week I did gather more courage and took photos quite freely at DXB. Just wait for the next part of the series and see!

Quoting akhmad (Reply 25):
Thank you for sharing, 717Flyer. I have the feeling that you have become an ambassador of Air France. So many nice gestures you experienced on board, it’s just amazing. Well, perhaps it’s not that surprising because of the great personality of yours.

Have a nice weekend and please pass on my regards to your family.

After all the negative attention Air France has got lately I thought it was only fitting to write a positive review. After all, everything was so close to perfection. And yet I was only travelling in economy class.

Thank you so much for your kind words. My father asked me to pass on best wishes to you and your family as well. Always keep flying high!  

Hi Martin,

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 26):
Again a very nice report and an enjoyable read. Good to see you enjoyed AF and that your connection at CDG went pretty good. As you say, it sure is a huge airport where anything can happen!

Thanks for the feedback. Yep, CDG is full of surprises - this time the surprise was that everything went quite well (if you count out the boarding pass hassle, of course).

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 26):
Nice prices on (what I hear is) two nice carriers.

True, and I'll prove that in the next part of the series! Just give me some time.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 26):
But on an unrelated note, have you flown the Boeing A380 yet? 

Well, with the current economic crisis our world is going through, you never know what can happen.  
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 26):
Nice touch with menu cards in Economy, don't see that too often nowadays!

Yep, that definitely is an indication if a quality carrier. I was for example very surprised to find out that QR does not offer menu cards in economy class. They are a five-star airline after all (if you believe the ratings, that is).

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
nice report about your AF 777 experience! Good to see you chose to fly on a real plane for the first time!  

Hi PH and good to read your comments! This was my first time on a real PLANE if you count out those times I've flown with a real flying MACHINE.  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
You cannot ask for more - what's better than being able to pass the mighty GE90 so close?

Sitting in the 717 engine is better. Been there, done that.  
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
Oh come on, how can you think of any of these toy planes when aboard the magnificent 777? Be glad that no t-tail was sucked into the GE90 during taxi.  

I get your point, but I think you are exaggerating a little here... Anyway I agree that the 777 is superior compared to any other plane (that is not a t-tail).

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 27):
We also had to wait very long after arrival on QR earlier this year. But it was much better when we arrived on EK some days later. Different terminal, whole different experience.

It shouldn't be a different experience depending on what carrier you are arriving on, so that is something they could work on. But it must have to do with the time you are arriving as well - during my week in Dubai I always arrived during the late night rush hours and thus, was forced to wait for over an hour every time. (And I never arrived to Dubai on EK - only left from there on their flight - so I can't say anything about that experience).

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 28):
Hey, R.,

good to follow you´re story.
Well done and also nice pictures.
It seems both Airlines doing a good job here, with AF as the better one.

Hi Markus, thank you and I agree AF did a truly good job!

Quoting FLIEGER67 (Reply 28):
Looking forward to more around you´re trip.

Should be online sometime in the future!

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
Hi Al Rasmus !

Hi Stipica! 
Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
super nice trip report but A.net audience expects that ... for me Dubai is last city in the world on "must to visit list" and you are already been there twice ... ok ok for catching interesting airlines good destination ...  

Thank you for your kind words! I agree that Dubai as a city might not be full of culture and old heritage but if you know where to search you will find really nice places, specially in the neigbouring countries! I can tell you already now that Muscat and Oman was wonderful.

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
aaaaa so weather is the reason way Nordic people or better to say Finnnnssss are so active to find a cheap escape but I still looking for a reason why you are writing good ... hmmm

But sometimes we Finns also book trips up to Lapland despite the weather there isn't any better either?

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
hahahhahaa this is not possible in croatia we are to serious and disinterested

Really? I do remember two summers ago when flying home from Dubrovnik (with Blue1 of course, it was on the MD-90 back then) and they did no boarding call whatsoever - the agent just opened the door without saying a word. I guess that was still more professional than the KF announcement I mentioned in the report.

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
I must admit that I like the new image and new lounge but new Star Trek uniforms is little bit to much for me

I think the uniforms are okay, but the new livery is the problem...

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
way not ? ah the best crew work for Blue1 heehehhe

Hahaha, true  
Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
anecdote : many years ago when Al Rasmus has not yet been born I helped an old lady find a seat ,stow her luggage and helped with the safety belt while the JAT flight attendant stood and watched ... and old lady asks me : young man thank you for helping me but why you not wear a uniform this is not professional !?!? ... speechless ... hehehehhe I just mumble something in shock and a flight attendant began to laugh ...but this not stopping me for helping [/quote

Great story! The flight attendant shouldn't just have stood there and laughed though - she should have apologized for not doing anything...

[quote=stipica,reply=29]heheheh arrigato Rasmus-san ... maybe just trying to be stylish ... Finnair looks fine to me ...

How on earth would it be stylish for a FA on Finland's national carrier to say goodbye in Japanese???

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
super nice ... my first ever B747 ride starts the same BA to MEX

Bus boarding on the 747 sounds even better than on the 777!

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
you are a player ... while you're watching a young mademoiselles you secure a position for the excellent service hehehe

Oh come on, as it was my first time on the Triple Seven I had to get used to emergency procedures as well, that plane hadn't earned my trust yet...

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
ah and Cathrine too ????

Stipica, please...  
Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
...she notice too ... no 717 in report ( this small dot is not acceptable) no muffins ( just some boring sandwiches ) ... what happens there hehehheh

Sometimes life takes surprising turns, that's all I can say.   And there should be muffins AND a 717 in my next report about my summer in Lapland so no worries!

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
help me help me please hehehhe but exclude airport

I think I won't do the five things to see in Dubai and change the format a bit. We'll see.

Quoting stipica (Reply 29):
hahhahahahaha you heheheh

Laugh more to live longer, sounds like a good concept! Again thanks for leaving a reply.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 30):

Hi there 717flyer,

Great report! thanks for sharing. Looks like you had a good flight with AF, great crew who took good care of you 
Dubai remains high on my to visit list!

Hi Adam(spotter), thanks for leaving a comment! Glad you enjoyed reading. And I do recommend Dubai, but not in the summer.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 30):
That sure does look generous

Yes, but I still wouldn't call it a meal as Finnair did!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 30):
Love that livery!

Me too!

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 31):
It was ORD-CDG on an A332. Great flight. Good food, comfy seat, friendly and chatty FA and 45 minutes early.

Sounds exactly like the Air France that I know!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
Hey 717Flyer, nice report!

Hej Jonas, tack!  
Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
Had no idea the E75 was rare. Oh well, I'm glad to be scoring a flight on one in August

Well it sure has heck isn't as well known in the European skies as the A320 series... And I agree that the 717 might be even more rare but the main thing was scoring a new type, may it be rare or not.

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
The man could possibly have been a Pandion, hence the large effort in calling out for him. Although the standard practice for Pandions is actually to call them up on their cellphone and ask them personally if they're going to make the flight or not.

Good point, still I've heard similar Blue1 announcements earlier at HEL - those gate agents are quite laid back people and once we heard something like "Mr XXX, I am closing the flight in one minute" and a minute later "Mr XXX, gate closed, please contact the ticketing office" or something like that...

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
You are right about some DYKWIA suit travelers, one cut me in line at the fasttrack in LIS only to have me waiting 5 minutes for re-arranging the liquids in his oversized hand luggage. Neither did he offer me to pass him by, very rude of him!

That sure doesn't sound good at all!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
I suppose that must've been a SAS MD and not your beloved KF717?  

Yes, as Blue1 has stopped operating to CDG, but a t-tail is still better than no t-tail at all!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
Hah, that looks more like a pamflet to me than a safety card! Was it at least laminated?

Nope, it was just a flimsy piece of cardboard. And now it is a piece of my collection!

Quoting LH4116 (Reply 32):
Again, I must say that I'm very impressed by the catering offered by Air France, they are really the best airline in Europe when it comes to providing good meals! Did your father opt for Champagne as apretif btw?

I wouldn't call Air France the best when it comes to meals (think of Turkish Airlines for example) but I agree the quality was very good. And I do think my father went for some champagne, I didn't have any time to take a picture though.

Again thanks to all of you who read and commented on the report and sorry for not getting back to you earlier.

Regards,
717Flyer   
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:36 pm

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Then who would make it better than AF? Perhaps TK would, I admit.

No that meal looked excellent. But do they recreate it each time? It can be their benchmark perhaps. I am still to try Turkish! But my most recent Emirates flight had wonderful catering too... Perhaps all airlines (barring American ones) are raising the bar!
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
717Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:41 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:08 pm

Hi again Luke,

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 34):
No that meal looked excellent.

It was excellent! But not everyone shares this opinion, look at FlyingFinn's reply for example...

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 34):
But do they recreate it each time?

Apparently Air France really is a hit or miss airline, so perhaps the same is also true concerning the food? I hope not and I really wouldn't hesitate trying them again.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 34):
I am still to try Turkish!

Believe me, after you've tasted the Do&Co catering there is no way back!  
Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 34):
But my most recent Emirates flight had wonderful catering too..

Mine had too, despite it was only a 40-minute hop between two Gulf nations. But that's another story!

Happy flying!
717Flyer   
 
FlySSC
Posts: 5179
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2003 1:38 am

RE: 717Flyer Goes 777! HEL-CDG-DXB

Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:02 pm

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Paris-Beauvais:

This not Beauvais airport but Paris - Le Bourget (LBG)

Quoting 717Flyer (Thread starter):
Perhaps someone could shed some light on what is the purpose of this conveniently located Air France house? It most certainly isn't their headquarters.

This is the old Crew Center building. Still long to Air France, it's part of a whole complex, some offices are now located there.
The Air France-KLM Headquarters and the new Crew Center are located just beside this building along the taxiway facing Terminals 2D & 2F :

http://archiguide.free.fr/PH/FRA/IDF/RoissyPNAirFranceVaPi.jpg

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