FLIGHT AF1063
CLASS OF SERVICE Economy
SEAT NUMBER 18A
AIRCRAFT Airbus A320
TAKEOFF 17-02-10 6:35 p.m.
VIEWS 365
LANDING AT 9:15 p.m.
marathon
The 13th February 2017

Photo review of Air France flight from Stockholm to Paris in Economy

If you clicked on this Flight Report on the basis of the title picture, you fell into a shameless trap to get you to read the report on yet another flight on an AF A320. No two ARN-CDG flights are alike though, and if you are patient enough (or fast enough with your mouse), you will reach the bonus to which this title picture belongs.

It was clear at the OLCI at ETD-30h that as usual, my return flight on Friday evening would be full. AF had preassigned me Seat 17F, a window seat which was a good point. Seat 10A was available; against conventional wisdom, I chose to not take this seat further in the front, because that is where all Skypriority passengers gather. The result is that you need to join the Skypriority waiting line early to find space in the overhead luggage bins. Having a seat further back was a guarantee to have space for my hand luggage, while being among the last Skypriority passengers to leave my seat at the boarding gate. I even chose 18A, where the wing would be less in the way, but it was going to be a night flight anyway.
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Out of curiosity, I checked the situation on the morning of departure: there was only a single other seat available in Y, Seat 18E. (There were already zero seats available behind Row 18 at ETD-30h.)
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Going to the airport with the Arlanda Express: the days are becoming longer each week at an incredible pace at this season.
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Two FIDS, for departing flights on the left and incoming flights on the right are at the end of Track 1.
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Flight AF1062 from CDG was listed late, with an ETA set back to 18:10
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But Flight AF1063, mine, was by default listed as departing on time at 18:35. Would you have believed it? I did not.
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Note that a Flight AF1062 on time is somewhat of an anomaly. Since they did not have any more information, Flightradar24 was listing it as being on time that evening, which had been the case only once in 5 times in this sample which I did not tamper with. My record so far is that at the bottom of the screen shot; I reported it in French here.
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There are quite a lot of passengers in the Arlanda Express on a Friday evening, but it was not full though: the fare is expensive enough to reduce the ecological impact that it claims having.
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It is a 20 minute train ride to ARN – running a train at 10 minute intervals at rush hour is no feat.
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I detoured as usual to Terminal 3
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It was still winter, and therefore night at that time in ARN, even if there was a particularly bright full moon. An SAS ATR72 was being the focus of the attention of many ground staff.
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Unlike a Nextjet Bae ATP which was left alone
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Much like this other Bae ATP Nextjet on the other side of the terminal
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It was not crowded at Terminal 4: two Norwegian 738, with unusually white tails, without the portrait of famous Norwegians,
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And an SAS 737
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On the Terminal 2 side, there were a Privilege Style 757, a KLM 737 and a Finnair A319
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And then there was the de rigueur Ethiopian Airlines twin aisle, which was a 77 that day, parked in the freight area until her flight back to ADD.
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That was it for landside plane spotting: I could re-pack my camera, but did not use this heavy duty adhesive tape graciously offered by ARN. I could have printed my BP at one of the machines behind.
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Arriving at Terminal 2 which is just nearby. There was a long line at the security check, extending beyond the zigzag of movable barriers, but there was no need to worry because it moved fast.
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Fifteen minutes elapsed between these two pictures: this line airside in front of the exit of the security check was that of passengers boarding on KL to AMS, and it was moving fast. Having access to the Skypriority shortcut would have saved me at most twelve minutes. What I like about this security check for ordinary passengers is that unlike that in CDG, you do not receive boring instructions for newbies from the staff: in ARN, Economy passengers know about flying and are always very efficient at going through the security check.
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Behind the line of passengers boarding to AMS, there was the local specialty which is instrumental in the acceptance of my weekly shuttles (two six letter words beginning with S), especially when I am home later than scheduled.
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After buying this souvenir which works wonders at home, I saw again the 757 operated by Privilege Style, a Spanish charter airline.
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The Finnair A319
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I could not see the KL 737; on the other hand, this the LHR-bound BA 767
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In front, this Amapola Flyg Fokker 50 was difficult to photograph due to the lack of light.
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Plane spotting is always quickly done with here, at least when it is too dark to catch taxiing planes, because it is a small terminal; see the map:
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And there is not much traffic, as displayed by this FIDS which still assumes that Flight AF1063 will be on time.
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That there was still no staff at Gate 67 at ETD-60’ (which made it possible to take a picture of the BA 767) and it was not a good sign for the punctuality of my flight.
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Swedavia, the operator of ARN, dutifully has handicapped people in their staff
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Or maybe they have valid staff comfortably waiting for the arrival of the two handicapped passengers on Flight AF1062. They remain seated and they are right to do so.
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Unlike the passengers – Skypriority or not – who started lining up at ETD-30’ because they did not check Flightradar24 and discover that their plane is still somewhere south of Stockholm.
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The Swedes are punctual people: time is up and the gate is therefore posted as being open.
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Only at 18 :19 did a tail bearing a well-known blue and red barcode immobilize at the gate, and six minutes later was for the first time a 25’ delay announced in the terminal, because the plane had left CDG late due to “cabling problems” (quote, I did not enquire beyond that information).
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Asking for passports is OK (national IDs are accepted too for EU nationals), but first let the passengers of Flight AF1062 deplane, which took longer than usual because to a jet bridge problem, they had to leave by the rear doors and then down and up again stairs – that was announced at 18:39, i.e. ETD+4’.
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Only when the first passengers started to really entered this gate which had been listed as « opened » for at least forty minutes did I rise and join the end of the Skypriority line, at 18:57.
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They had presumably solved the jetbridge problem, which must have made deplaning of the two handicapped passengers easier, because boarding was the usual way.
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Could it be that all Skypriority passengers chose their seats with the same reasoning as mine? The overhead bins were empty at the level of Row 10, and already full above Row 18 on the left. So much for my tactic to find space in the overhead bins.
The carpet was clean.
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The seats do not recline much, but with a seat pitch reduced to 20 cm (from the edge of my seat to the magazine pocket in front), it was a definite nuisance for using my laptop.
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The terminal’s wifi can be caught from inside the plane.
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In the distance, a KL 738 to AMS and an Air Berlin A320 to TXL.
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The captain and the purser apologized for the delay of the aircraft at several opportunities, including when the captain informed the passengers of the need for de-icing. No surprise to me: I had already seen this waiting truck.
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A Nextjet Saab 340, shot before my window would become dirty
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De-icing, at the expense of the cleanliness of my window
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Taking off: the lack of sensitivity of my camera plus scattered clouds prevented me from showing you the lights of Stockholm, on the other hand this is the wing, shining due to the de-icing fluid under the full moon.
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The meal as served all at once about 40 minutes after take-off
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Mr. PAX18C, elegant French speaking greying Briton, did not really feel like having dinner, nor was he interested in the hot meal, but the FA really put pressure on him to take the whole tray (« just taste it…”). I think he hardly touched it, and then was unable to use his laptop until that useless tray was removed by the FA.
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This was the whole thing after unwrapping
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This hot meal was not new to me : these are three vegetarian raviolis (my best guess is spinach and ricotta), stuck by excessive heating which dried the tomato sauce and the little of ground cheese which was on top, together with green peas. It does not look very promising when described like that, whether you could see the green peas in my neighbor’s meal or you hardly could in mine, but it was compatible with most tastes (except British gentlemen) and it provided enough food to keep you from being hungry in flight: the requirements for a meal in Economy seldom extend beyond that.

The 46 gram chocolate cake is one of Flight AF1063’s most trusted values, and the 10 grams of chocolate with 70% cacao content are good too.
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It was overall a meal which as included in the airfare, with more food than a standard BOB on SAS. The wrappings had the added advantage of being compressible after eating their contents.
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… and entirely stored in the cup holder, with the tray in the magazine pocket
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… so that I could keep working for Flight Report (my company frowns upon working for it in places with so little confidentiality).
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Due to the time, I was tired, and so was Miss PAC19Abis, and when you are less than 2 years old, you let it known that you are tired in a noisy manner, despite all soothing efforts of your parents.

Soft landing in CDG, without using the reverse. Last turn
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Being at row 18 rather than row 10 did make me waste more than three minutes at deplaning. The sign in the center of the picture displays the verdict
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Exactly one hour late at block arrival (Flightradar24 recorded landing at 22:07).
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A last look at the A318 parked at a gate nearby
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And at F-GKXT which was not in the best of her shape that day.
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Welcome to the 19th century? No, this was a tourist promotion poster of museums dating from that century.
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The sas at the arrival into the luggage delivery room behaved this way and hindered the flow of passengers, because the rear door had to be closed before the front one would open.
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The luggage on conveyor #25 weren’t those of this flight
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Luggage delivery should begin at AIBT + 20’
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I did not have any checked luggage and headed directly to the exit.
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Nobody with blue « taxi information » jackets (these are taxi drivers who donate some of their time to shoo away illegal taxi touts), and the said touts were not too aggressive this time.
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I believe it was new: the passenger loading area at the taxi stand was divided in two areas
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One downstream where the taxis accepted credit cards
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And another one upstream where it was cash only. A staff, here far left, oriented the passengers according to their preferred means of payment. It’s pure bad faith that my pictures show no car accepting credit cards, and several taking cash, but I did wait an extra two minutes or so in order to pay by credit card.
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One day will come when under the pressure of Uber, all Paris taxis will accept credit cards. They will be only one generation behind their Nordic counterparts.

Thanks for reading me!

Oops, I had promised you an avgeek bonus …

There are days when the cloud ceiling is very low in Stockholm like on Monday that week, but the weather was great in the middle of the week, and a great weather means stunningly blue skies, including inside the city. It was a good reason to skip lunch and have a walk from Solna Strand subway station. Like everywhere in Stockholm, there is a cycling and hiking lane along the shore of the fjord,
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… crossed by a high road viaduct
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…from where there is a good view on the central channel cut by an ice-breaker.
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The office and industrial buildings in this area are not fascinating, but there is on in the background on the left which justified going there: avgeeks will have recognized a control tower, that of Stockholm’s nearly exclusively domestic Bromma airport (BMA),
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… with a biturboprop in final
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Although this picture had been taken at maximum 20x zoom ratio, I felt the urge to have a closer look, and that is of course what I did, especially since my friend Google had slipped a map of BMA’s planning spotting areas in my pocket.

Planes climbing from BMA kept flying overhead while I was on the way, against the sun at first, like this Braathens Regional ATR72-600.
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If you read French, you may already know what the cabin of SE-KE looks like because Flight Report has revealed it its report of Farnborough 2016 here.
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Photo Flight-Report / Flavien

So, once I had crossed (at a distance) the axis of the runway and seen a sign providing the direction of BMA (better be safe than sorry)…
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… I had confirmation that my friend Google was directing me to the correct location for mid-day plan-spotting when Runway 30 is in use, because the lighting was optimum on the ATR72s.
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No need of a very detailed map to reach this slight hill overlooking BMA’s perimeter, with an ideal view on the runway if you have a good telelens.
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The radar on top of the hill was here precisely behind the control tower; I later moved to another spotting place slightly further along the fence and the control tower does not look like a giant ice cream cone on another picture. That ice cream would not have melted: it was 2°C below with a 20 km/h wind which was refreshing.
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I am not going to show you absolutely all the planes seen that day, because nothing looks more like a Braathens Regional ATR72 than another Braathens Regional ATR72. But here, this was SE-LTV, a Braathens Regional Saab 2000, in final
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… while SE-DSP, a Braathens Regional Bae Avro RJ100, was waiting for her turn to take off.
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Side view of the Saab 2000
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And the RJ100 at take-off
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Braathens Regional, the local regional airline, has the lion’s share in BMA, but they are not the only ones operating there. There are business charter airlines like Waltair Europe which operates among other aircraft this Beech Aircraft King Air 350 (SE-LLU). She used much less runway than the other heavier aircraft.
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Another Braathens Regional Bae Avro RJ100 (SE-DSY)
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Arrival of an AgustaWestland AW109S helicopter with a VIP cabin configuration, operated by a business charter airline (Grand - Svenskt Industriflyg AB)
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Arrival of a foreigner: this ATR72-500 (OH-ATF) belongs to Nordic Regional Airlines
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Note that BMA’s runway is not flat
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What next? Braathens Regional ATR72-600, again (SE-MKH)…
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… and again (SE-MKD)
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For a change, a review of the private jets parked that day:
Cessna 680 Citation (D-CHIP), left
Cessna 560XL Citation (SE-RHJ), right
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SE-RHJ lost the top part of its right engine’s cowling during the approach of Farnborough on 29 November 2015, suffering substantial damage on the tail’s leading edges. The lower part of the cowling was nearly ripped off too. The enquiry concluded that the quick release fasteners had not been tightened correctly during a previous maintenance operation.
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Left: Gulfstream 550 (SE-RDY), European Flight Service
Right: SE- Hawker Hawker 800XP (SE-RLX), Grafair
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For those nostalgic of the flying club years, a Cessna F182P Skylane II (SE-GZR)
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And when I was already on the way back, I was taunted by this Brussels Airlines Bae Avro RJ100, operating the longest of the few scheduled international flights out of BMA.
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Thanks (again) for reading me!

Verdict

Air France 

Cabin 6.5
Cabin crew 7.0
Entertainment 6.5
meal/catering 9.0
TOTAL 7.3/10

Stockholm - ARN 

Efficiency 10.0
Access 9.0
Services 5.0
Cleanliness 10.0
TOTAL 8.5/10

Paris - CDG 

Efficiency 10.0
Access 7.5
Services 8.0
Cleanliness 10.0
TOTAL 8.9/10

Conclusion

Flight AF1063 is chronically late, and this one was no exception.
The consequence of this delay and of the densifying of the cabin is a reduced space for using one’s laptop: the table tray was not an option, requiring using it (true to its name) on the lap when the passenger ahead of you is tired and reclines his seat. As usual too, space was missing in the overhead bins, since AF encourages their passengers to not check in luggage with fares which does not include that.
The FA pressured my neighbor to accept a tray that he did not want, and was in his way when he wanted to use his laptop. The meal on that flight was not gastronomic, but it provided a decent amount of food; the competitors who only propose an expensive BOB can’t rival with that.
No entertainment to my liking (the offering of magazines or videos on a tablet or a smartphone does not interest me, neither does the in-flight magazine).

A bad failure of ARN which did not warn passengers that their flight was going to be late when it was obvious. Only an avgeek could avoid waiting endlessly and needlessly in line for boarding which was nowhere near beginning.

The fluidity at the arrival in CDG was excellent, but the accessibility will never deserve a good grade as long as the only rail link is the infamous RER-B line. The Parisian taxis slowly enter the 21st century by progressively accepting credit cards.

The fluidity at the arrival in CDG was excellent, but the accessibility will never deserve a good grade as long as the only rail lik is the infamous RER-B line. The Parisian taxis slowly enter the 21st century by progressively accepting credit cards.

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