Every 2 years my family goes on a trip to Europe. This year we decided on Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, mainly so that my dad could give a talk at the Czech Technical University so that he could size it up as a potential site for a sabbatical. Seeing as this is my first trip report, feedback is appreciated. Booking
Originally we tried booking the following sequence on Expedia: BOS-CDG-PRG on 5/29/2018 with AF and OK, returning BUD-FCO-BOS on 6/8/18 with AZ. This route was chosen so that I could try out three new airlines and also experience a 787. Unfortunately, 12 hours later we got an email from them saying that they couldn't ticket our route, and were cancelling our booking. Additionally, fares had risen in the 12 hours that elapsed between when we first booked. This caused us to then go and book the same itinerary directly through Air France, with the dates being moved one day earlier (leaving on 5/29/18), and the final flight being coded as a KLM flight.AF 333At the airport
After being dropped off by the Preflight parking shuttle bus, my family proceeded to check in at BOS terminal E. After a very short wait, we dropped off our baggage at the check in desk and received our boarding passes. After a brief wait in the TSA precheck line, we were through security. After a failed attempt at using the LH lounge (my dad's credit card would only give him and one guest access so we didn't go in), I then proceeded to walk around the terminal. While I don't have any pictures of it, the newly added international gates at the E terminal look beautiful. Below I have attached 5 of my best plane spotting photos.
My AF 789 for the ride from BOS-CDG
TK A333 and AF 789
IB A346 and AF 789
TP A332. Unfortunately the way the secure corridor is laid out in Boston makes it difficult to get a good photo.
Air France boards by zone, with my family being in zone 5, after waiting in a long, slow moving line, my family was welcomed aboard the 787.Onboard
The first thing that I noticed about the seat was how cramped it was. While the seat width was reasonable, and the seat itself was comfortable, the leg room was so tight that my legs were hitting the seat in front of me, and I am only 5 feet 6 inches.
The amenity kit on the seat included a pillow, blanket, eye mask, and headphones. Later on in the flight I would find out that when the head phones were set up with 1 pin, you could only hear the audio out of one ear, so I ended up just using my ear buds. After an on time push back, we then proceeded to have a long taxi, where I got in a lot of spotting. Again, I have attached a few of the best pictures below.
VS A346, DY B787, and in the distance BA A388
Multiple B6 aircraft and a private jet.
If you zoom in you can clearly see an S4 aircraft
Landing FY aircraft from KEF
After a powerful takeoff at 19:44, we were off for Paris. Once we were above 10,000 feet, I browsed the entertainment system, which had a massive selection of movies and tv shows. In keeping with my long term tradition of choosing a kids movie on an Eastbound Atlantic crossing I settled on Cars 3. Soon after takeoff, hardcopy menus were distributed- something that I had never seen in any of my other trans Atlantic trips before (on UA, LX, BA, DL, LH, LY, and IB).
A hard copy menu
Soon after the menus were distributed, the flight attendants began distributing dinner and beverages. For a main I selected the chicken with a pepper and sherry sauce and cilantro rice.
The tray. Not visible is a pat of butter and a wedge of spreadable cheese.
The curry-orzo salad tasted great: the orzo was properly cooked, the vegetables on it were reasonable, and it had a nice curry flavor and very little heat. While the chicken dish did not have much of a pepper taste, it did have a nice, rich, creamy sherry sauce taste. The rice also did a perfect job of soaking up all the left over sauce. The roll was served warm, and was great with the spreadable cheese. The fruit compote was just a thing of Motts apple sauce, and I wasn't a big fan of the desert (more because I don't like coffee than because it was not good). Overall, this was a very nice meal for economy.
Soon after I finished, the flight attendants came through to collect the trays. They had finished with this process when I still had about 25 minutes left in my movie, marking one of the fastest meal services that I have experienced yet. After my tray was collected I took a melatonin and attempted to get some rest. Right as I was about to fall asleep, I was awoken by an announcement that they were calling for a doctor for a sick passenger. As an EMT-Basic (ambulance technician), I waited for a couple minutes to make sure that the flight attendants had found a doctor (they actually found 2), and then proceeded to try to fall asleep again. Unfortunately, I found this to be difficult and drifted in and out of sleep for the next few hours.
I woke up with about 1.5 hours left in the flight, and proceeded to finish up Cars 3 and then looking for something short, I selected an episode of Sydney Harbour Patrol. During this time period the flight attendants distributed a breakfast which consisted of a blue berry muffin, a yogurt, and a container of orange juice. I wasn't really hungry so I didn't sample it. This meal was finished with a very good French caramel, which was a very nice way to finish off the flight.
After this, we proceeded to begin our descent into CDG and the flight attendants came through to prepare the cabin for landing. After a firm landing, we were down at CDG. After a long taxi we rolled into a bus gate at CDG.
Throughout the flight the flight attendants did a good job of taking care of the passengers. They were present to greet and say good bye to the passengers. They were polite, and put themselves into the service.Overall Weighted Score
Overall score 3.7/5
Note: due to the fact that the medical emergency and my being an EMT are outside of the airline's control, I have weighted the sleep quality score to be higher than it actually was.Connecting at CDG
After disembarking from the AF 789, we were guided by ground crew to the waiting bus. Once the bus was crammed full of people, we were then bused off to terminal 2F to begin our connections process. Below I have attached a photo from this bus ride.
AF, DL, and PU aircraft.
Once inside the terminal we followed the flight connections sign and waited in a roughly 10 minute line to go through security. While waiting in this line, we were delayed by one of the people in front of us standing and arguing with the security screener instead of just going through. Once through we then hopped onto the bus to terminal D. Below I have attached a few images from this ride.
AF being serviced by Servair
After disembarking the bus we followed the signs to passport control for flight connections. Once there we were greeted by a totally empty line with only 2 officers at the desks. One was talking with one of the passengers, and the other had nobody she was working with. We approached her desk and were told somewhat rudely that she was going on her break and to wait in line. She then left her desk. Eventually, the other immigration agent left to escort the other passenger somewhere, leaving us just standing there, waiting. Eventually the officer on break returned, and after waiting for her to get set up, she stamped us into the schengen area without even talking to us. We then proceeded to follow the connections signs straight into the baggage claim area, out through customs, and then into the arrivals area. Having already used up a large amount of our 1:45 connection time, we the proceeded to run for the security check point where we had to wait in another long, slow line. Once were at the security machines, the lady who was manning the machine proceeded to repack my liquids bag. She moved all the liquids from one bag to another one- talk about inefficiency!. Afterwards I ran ahead to the gate, to try to make sure it did not close before my parents could get there. Once there I was able to get a picture of our plane before we then got into the back of the line and boarded our flight to Prague. (if someone knows of a better way to do this connection please post below).
My ride for the short hop from CDG-PRG. My apologies for the low quality of the photo- it was a very tight connection.OK 759Onboard
We were one of the last people to board, so I quickly plunked down into my window seat.
The seat was actually quite comfortable, and it had more leg room than my previous Air France flight (but not much more). The headrest was also a very nice touch for a flight of this length.
Shortly after I sat down, we began our push back and taxi. During this period the funny Czech air safety video played in Czech with English subtitles. During the taxi I also got in some spotting.
After a long taxi, we took off and were off to Prague. During the flight the flight attendants came around with buy on board and that was about it. For entertainment I looked out the window and listened to music on my phone. After a short flight, we then proceeded to have a soft landing in Prague. Upon landing in Prague we proceeded to find out that our baggage did not make the connection in CDG with us. Luckily, the airline was able to return it to us the day after.Overall Weighted Score
Overall score 3.7/5
WN, LX, AZ, BA, LH, KL, DL, OK, S5, US, UA, VY, IB, AF, LY, F9, CO, YX x2, PD, AC, AA, OO, PT, QK
A319, A320, A321, A332, A333, A343, B712, B733, B737, B738, B753, B744, B764, B772, B789, CRJ9, DH8D, E145, E190