Well after years of silence on the trip report "scene" I am back with a report concerning my latest journey to Asia.
After a long, very long time planning for this trip for 34 Air France employees and their partners the time was coming for me to depart.
My journey would take me on the following route :
PPT-LAX on Air France, LAX-SIN on Singapore Airlines, SIN-CGK on Qatar Airways, CGK-DPS-CGK on Garuda Indonesia, CGK-SIN on Singapore Airlines, SIN-TPE-LAX on Singapore Airlines and finally LAX-PPT on Air France again !
Pheeeew !!! Yes that was a long, very long routing particularly when we could have gone a shorter way via SYD or AKL
or NRT on either Air Tahiti Nui or Air New Zealand. The problem was that none of these 2 airlines replied in time to my fare queries and when TN finally called in October 2006 (I gave them my first call and email in August) they asked me if I was sure that I wanted to go on those dates as they weren't school vacations !!! As if I cared about that so I told them I was sure I wanted these dates as the people who were going to travel had already requested the days off for the trip and that we weren't teachers who HAD to go during the school vacations... anyway, after I had waited enough time, I confirmed my 34 reservations with with Air France and Singapore Airlines.
In February I got an email from TN asking me if I was still interested to go on that trip with my group to which I replied that not only was I still interested but I had already finalized my bookings with other airlines but I still wanted to know what they would charge me for a return ticket from PPT to DPS via SYD with a departure on the 28th of April and a return on the 6th of May. 3 weeks later I got another email quoting me a return fare of 169000 XPF (1700 USD) and that was like 30 USD cheaper than my whole trip on AF and SQ plus the GA domestic fare. What made me really mad was that 3 days later TN had an add in the papers with a return fare to Bali for 154000 XPF for an individual ticket, making it 100 USD cheaper than the group fare they quoted me !!! I couldn't believe that they would charge me more for my group than what they were advertising in the papers... anyway we were going the long way to Asia but we were OK !
I was operating the inbound flight into PPT on the Airbus A343 that would take me back to LAX that day and after an uneventful flight from California we touched down in PPT on time.
After clearing customs I walked back to my new car (bought it in December, a black Toyota Hilux), loaded it with my suitcase and drove home. I was quite happy to only have a 5 minutes drive because after the red-eye transpacific flight I did and contemplating doing the same journey in reverse I was happy to have a quick drive. Anyway, I got home and had to unpack quickly and shower before going back to the airport with my partner Hervé. The two of us were leaving a few days before everyone else. I wanted to go earlier in order to take a few days off in Singapore and then get to the Amasya Villas, where we were going to stay, to check that everything was according to the contract.
as we had full fare tickets on the flight, before leaving LAX the night previous night I had checked us in on the net at www.airfrance.fr. Our assigned seats on on the flight were 18A and 18B.
When we got to Faa'a International Airport we made our way to the "e services" line and found that there was no one waiting in line and we were called to finish our check-in procedure as the airlines have to check that all information entered in your file are exact, than weigh your bags and tag them !
We were pleased to know that we were upgraded to Business Class as we had brought the airline a considerable sum of money through the purchase of 34 group fares ! Nice reward !!!
Anyway we finished our check in, had our bags tagged to LAX as we were spending the night there and they took our bags to the local TSA before heading towards passport control and security check.
After buying my mom's cigarettes we were on our way to board our ride for today.
Date: April 22nd, 2007
Airline: Air France
Aircraft: Airbus A340-300
Departure City: PPT Papeete Tahiti Faa'a
Departure Time: 8:05
Destination: LAX Los Angeles International
Arrival Time: 19:20
Scheduled Flight Time: 8hrs 35min
Class: l'Espace Affaires (Business)
Photo © Dan Valentine
Photo © Francois-Xavier Simon
The flight was called for boarding and we made our way to our aircraft.
It was a beautiful day in Tahiti and Carine AF's leading ground agent for today took this picture of us before we boarded the plane.
Air Tahiti Nui and Air Calin parked next to our flight.
The cabin during boarding with Feriel our cabin attendant for the flight.
Pictures of the seats from our favourite site www.airliners.net
Photo © Christopher Liao - Spot This!
Photo © F-ILIP
Our pre-flight orange juices.
Marina our l'Espace Affaires purser handing out newspaper.
Feriel and her international selection of US, French and Tahitian papers. She then came through the cabin to give out oshiboris.
Making our way towards the end of the runway before turning towards the west and take off.
Christelle during the safety demo.
And we're on our way !!!
This is around the area where our famous Boeing 747-400 F-GITA dubbed the Gitanic ended up in the water.
The lagoon and reef barrier of Tahiti with our "crevette" adorning the engine.
Beautiful clouds outside my window... so peaceful
Tahiti Faa'a International airport.
Our menu resting over the central armrest of our seats and the controls for the seats
Feriel serving the aperitif before the meal. Note the beautiful tahitian "purotu" dress inherited from the merger with UTA in 1992. Air France is proud to still fly the original dress on its south pacific route and keep a tradition inherited from its predecessors in Tahiti UTA, Air Polynésie and RAI.
Marina about to pour a glass of single malt scotch.
Feriel sporting her beautiful "purotu" dress. This pattern was introduced in March and is available in yellow, blue and red. Every year sees new colours and every 3 to 4 years a new pattern is introduced. You can see other models of our tahitian dress on www.uniformfreak.com
This is my apéritif, a mango juice. Each passenger in l'Espace Affaires is offered a Gardenia Tahitensis or tiare tahiti flower during the apéritif service.
Shortly after the drinks service Feriel, Marina and Jackie the chief purser came in the cabin and cleared the glasses and any trash we had. While they were clearing the cabin Ronan the galley attendant was preparing the trolleys for the starter course that came just after.
I had the scallop ballotine and shrimp on red bell pepper jam and green salad. The other starter was foie gras. I continued with mango juice and still water.
Following was the main course and I had the chef's special, Guinea fowl in pepper sauce served with potato croquette, vegetables and chestnuts.
I skipped the cheese plate which had a slie of camembert, fourme d'ambert (blue cheese) and some other cheese I forgot the name.
Dessert trolley was as usual on Air France, amazing ! There was 3 sorbet flavours, mango, pineapple and raspberry, a basket of fresh fruits where you could pick anything like pineapples, melon, watermelon, kiwis, strawberries, grapes, raisins, apples, pears, papaya etc... The two cakes on the menu were lemon meringue pie and chocolate hazelnut crocquant cake.
After such a great meal the crew came through the cabin with coffee and Fauchon teas. They were also offering liqueurs such as Pear Williams liqueur, Cognac, Armagnac and Calvados. Espresso coffees were also available on demand. The hot drinks were presented with a Valhrona chocolate
The crew cleaned the cabin and picked up all remaining cups and glasses and offered duty free in the cabin.
I didn't buy anything and decided to watch a movie as I had just finished watching The Queen during the meal service. I elected to watch "la Môme", a french movie about Edith Piaf featuring the amazing Marion Cotillard in the role of the famous french singer. I never finished the movie as I fell asleep. Everybody complains about the slanted seat but I slept like a log ! and I didn't feel like I was slipping down.
I woke up 2 hours before we landed and finished my movie. Thrity minutes later the lights were switched on and the crew handed out hot towels before the snack was served.
Feriel then came and picked up all the trays on her side while Marina did the same on her side.
They then came through the cabin to hand out the police and customs forms for arrival into the USA.
We then descended towards LAX and the weather wasn't really good...
The 405 before touchdown.
Landing in 10 seconds...
We were parked on the remote stands and took the bus to get to terminal 2. Unfortunately the remote stand is happening very often and in order to avoid it AF has decided to re-schedule its departure from Papeete. All flights leaving Tahiti will depart at 7:30 in order to avoid being parked on those dreaded remote stands.
We headed out after going through immigration and customs and caught our shuttle to Advantage Rent A Car to pick up our rental. We then drove to the Hacienda hotel where we would spend the night before catching SQ 36 the next evening. The Hacienda is not the most glamorous hotel but it has great deals for airline employees and it is close to the airport.
Next is my transpacific flight on the second longest flight in the world LAX-SIN.
AF Cabin Crew.