After spending Christmas with my family in France, time to go to the most beautiful continent: Africa.
I needed to fly 2 Skyteam segments in order to maintain my FB Silver status.
From Paris, countless options link JNB. One way trip with reasonable fare during the festive season sounded like Utopian schemes.
I first thought flying with my usual favorite airline Kenya Airways, but Italy with Rome and Milan suggested Saudia for EUR 293 only. Not bad but forcing a long lay over in JED and as you know already, not a single drop of booze too.
Going to FCO can be easily done from Paris with 148 frequencies offered weekly by 6 airlines departing from three different airports (BVA, CDG and ORY).
Obviously as a.netter, there is only one airline to fly with. Here is the routing "totally" dry for this new trip report:
1) Paris CDG – Rome FCO: Kuwait Airways, Business, A300
2) Rome FCO – Jeddah JED: Saudia, Economy, A320
3) Jeddah JED – Johannesburg JNB: Saudia, Economy, B777
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper, Copyright © 1996-2013 Karl L. Swartz. All rights reserved.
Kuwait Airways seems to be a specialist in the fifth freedom rights thus this route is one of the most known here, along with the FRA-GVA. After a short search, one can read at least five nice reports departing from Europe (most recent first):
Marc: Brussels-Frankfurt! The Kuwait Way! (by MSS658 Dec 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Nils: A Taste Of The Middle East On KU: BRU-FRA-GVA-BRU (by sultanils Nov 14 2011 in Trip Reports)
Johannes: Personal Service On A Classic Plane: KU Business (by luxair747SP Mar 9 2011 in Trip Reports)
Planehunter: Fifth Freedom Tidbit: Kuwait Airways A300-600 (by PlaneHunter Dec 2 2010 in Trip Reports)
Sandeep: Earning Your Trust, KU Business Class To JFK (by AI151 Jul 8 2010 in Trip Reports)
Upon booking the website promised a four holers, rising some mixed feeling:
What is the best between flying the classic AB6 or getting a newer cabin on their A340?
Later on, the departing schedule got postponed for 30 minutes, always nice when the flight is early in the morning.
Promising an A340
The day after Christmas, the special alarm clock was set at 4h30 for an one hour ride in a RER B to CDG 1. I must admit that the last visit of this terminal dated back from the dawn of the airlines alliance era in 1998, Korean Air not in Skyteam yet operated from there to Kimpo Airport...
A way too early! Any idea where does it come from?
At RER station "Laplace", Charles De Gaulle means Orly
As i'm not a first time visiting tourist, going to Orly led me to Roissy
Sad for SN, out of the Hall 4
Near the counters, two smiling staffs employed by Alyzia checked the travelling documents and the eligibility of the premium lanes. Because of the American mum and her offspring, the agent invited me to process in no time at the First Class counter.
Dedicated premiums desks
First Class treatment
Flight information sheet
First Class treatment again
It is safe to say that there is nothing you can’t find in the over priced ADP shopping mall, more adapted to the bottomless wallets of Asian clientele presents at that time. So i gave up the window shopping.
Circular shopping mall
With high expectations, I set off to the nicely named lounge called "AF Premiere". To be honest this was a generic lounge with nothing much to write home about, of course i did not expect the quality of the T2E "La Première" sanctuary but with this adjective i had expected a better food offering and environment.
Ring the bell to enter
Internet connection pretty slow
Snacks available in all AF flights
No fruit on offer
Nicolas Feuillate to start this "dry" day
The numerous pictures taken drew the attention of other guests previously seen at check-in and asked questions about all the details needed in that lounge. Following a nice chat, she revealed me that CDG was far to be convenient to find direction. As French, i had to prove she was totally wrong despite not having visited T1 for the last 15 years.
Security checks made through "File N°1" were smooth, then i tried to spot few aircrafts but nothing exceptional so instead i discussed again with a very talkative and charming mum travelling in F.
The beauty named after the oilfield "AL-RWADHATAIN"
Marc (MSS658) had a pleasant ride with Mike Echo in June last year
Sri Lankan and A340 COTAM in the background
The Alyzia staff called for boarding regardless the travelling class, so i was in the middle of the herd. Quickly a nice female attendant, helped by Imad Farhat, welcome us on board.
Al-Khutout Al-Jawwiya Al-Kuwaitiyah is the national airline of the Kuwait, it has been launched in 1954 and flies a fleet of 17 aircrafts to 39 destinations across 3 continents. Few days after booking, a fire started on one of theirs A300 in Jeddah, raising many doubts about the seriousness of their maintenance.
Wednesday, the 26th of December 2012
Kuwait Airways KU166
Paris Roissy CDG – Rome Fuimicino FCO
Distance: 685 miles
Airbus A300B4-605R 9K-AME
ETD/ETA: 9h15 – 11h20
ATD/ATA: 9h17 – 11h10
Photo © digitalex Wiecka
Photo © Bruno Bevivino - Roma Spotters Club
Showing its age
I settled down quickly in the 7A before moving forward to 6A. Upon booking you can select your seat preference but once it done you can not change it.
From the 6A
One of the lovely crew member looking after the C class named Jean Gaptandan came to collect my jacket and then the protocol of service began like that:
1) Welcome drinks
4) Pitted and dried dates
5) Delicious Arabic coffee
6) Drink order for the flight meal
(Orange, tropical cocktail, tomato, mango and water)
(French, english et arabic)
Weak and nice coffee
Once all doors closed and locked, there were 3/18 guests in First, 10/18 in Business and full house in Economy meaning an overall load factor of 208/232 quite reflecting the peak season activity.
Safety announcements and call to prayer for Allah Akbar in English and Arabic
Take off video:
The "flying saucer" or the "Camembert"
Business class is layed out in 2-2-2 spread over 3 rows, there was a nonoperational cathodic ray screen in the bulkhead and color scheme was a bit old fashioned.
Quickly a meal was served, it looked like a lunch more than a breakfast. First was brought over a cold drink then a single choice two courses tray with cold canapés and hot meatball and hot samosas typical from Middle East. And to conclude a dessert cart was rolled over the aisles.
Great variety of breads
Another KU route
Gorgeous mini éclair and opéra
The cradle style seat was worn out, the pitch was ok for my size (175 cm) in seat position. In relaxation mode, i felt cramped as few cms were probably missing to provide a decent comfort. There was no electrical plug nor headset given. A PTV located in the armrest was not working either. However for a 2h journey a such lacklustre entertainment system was nothing dramatic. Luckily the nice weather over the Alps enabled to get a better show than the IFE.
Pillow and blanket
Limited pitch for big size
Recline better than AF, AZ, EZ...
A seagull, a falcon or a crane?
one can clearly notice only 777s
Only Planehunter knows all the mistakes
How many fifth freedom right routes in total?
The Mont Blanc with la Vallée de Chamonix
Then i've toured the aircraft to discover the Y section, before getting my jacket back from the nicest hostess.
2 – 4 – 2
2 – 3 – 2
Perfumes and oat milk branded Roger & Gallet
Landing on time and parking near a long hauler AZ at the T3 satellite G. Upon disembarking, i was curious to peek in the F class with the same number of seat than the C, unfortunately for your, i've been denied access in order to do not disturb the passenger continuing to Kuwait city.
Airbus A300-605 9K-AME at Rome FCO
Afterward we were put on hold a long 15 min in the jetbridge without any reason given. The whole business class left the plane and 50 people in Y headed toward the Eternal City.
My bag arrived third and i bade the Americans adieu.
Awaiting for the ground staff clearance
[Edited 2013-05-06 07:31:54]