Welcome to this report of my recent flight from Guangzhou, China to Paris CDG. This report is the long haul part of my journey back from Nanjing to Manchester. You can find the details and reports of the previous flights below:
My previous flight had arrived 2 hours late from Nanjing so now I had to do a bit of rushing round CAN despite the remianing 2 hours before departure. Having arrived in the domestic terminal I now had to make my way to the international terminal via a very long tunnel.
At the end of the tunnel I was deposited landside (without seemingly much to prevent people going in the opposite direction). I couldn't seem to see any departure boards near this exit and I was looking round around a little lost until I came upon a help desk to direct me to the AF check-in desks. (My luggage had been checked-in all the way through to MAN, but for some reason I wasn't, so needed to check-in again).
There were no other passengers at the check-in desk. I walked up with my passport and destination. The lady typed some things into the computer, looking confused she turned to her colleague. They discussed whatever it was and left me waiting. After a while I asked if everything was ok and I was told to just wait. I have no idea what the problem was and got no explanation despite having to wait quite a while. Eventually I was given my final two boarding passes and was told that boarding was due to start in about 10-15 mins! It was still well over an hour before the departure time but I still had to pass through security and boarder control and I knew there wasn't much time to spare.
I headed off to the boarder. Luckily there was a special queue for business passengers but it was still moving very slowly. This was followed by another business passenger queue for the security check and x-ray which was also moving very slowly.
Finally I was through and there was still about 15 min left before the gate closed. I decided to quickly check-out the lounge. At the entrance I was told that my plane was boarded, I said yes I knew and I was going to be very quick - they didn't seem amused. Walking in, again I was asked if I was going to Paris and that my plane was boarding.
I chose to grab a small plate of noodles that were on offer. I wasn't really expecting much at this time of the evening, but the noodles were edible enough.
I even managed to check out the toilets before leaving.
Time to go to the gate.
As I approached I realised the gate lead to a bus. I passed the economy passengers joining the skyproirity queue and got on the bus. It seemed strange to be heading to a 777 on a bus and not via airbridge.
But arriving by bus gives a good chance to have a look at the aircraft. All the other passengers were clambering to get onboard having their tickets checked at the bottom of the steps. I just walked up the dedicated business steps.
It seemed that I was the last business class passenger to board, there was no welcome onboard and nobody to show me to my seat - disappointing. I took my seat 2L and saw that this really was the old style cabin layout that I had been expecting despite AF flying this route with the new cabin.
As expected for a business seat there was plenty of leg room, I could only just reach the Ottoman seated upright.
At the seat were the usual magazines and safety card.
I was then offered a drink of champagne.
And I put on the AF slippers.
I didn't notice at this point which I should have done, but after we had already landed I realised that I was given no amenity kit on this flight. I'm not sure if it was just me that didn't get one possibly due to being the last business passenger to board or is other didn't get one either but this seems a bit of a short-coming.
It was time for departure.
I now checked out the IFE. The screen seemed very small but there was a decent selection of films available. Getting to the films however, with the very clunky unresponsive controller was a pain.
The menu was soon handed out.
I think you have to like beef on this flight as both the western and asian food selections were beef. I had pre-ordered my vegetarian meal so had no idea what I was to expect. Another glass of champagne was served. No nuts to go with it here.
I decided to make myself more comfortable now we were up in the air. My seat controls differed from those of my neightbour, which was strange. Stranger still was that of all the buttons for me to press the only ones that did anything were the two big ones that moved the whole seat into the bed position and back again. It didn't seem possible to either just move the back of the seat or to have a foot rest like on my outbound KLM flight.
Time for dinner.
It seemed I wasn't to get a proper starter, just salad and bread. Everybody else was tucking into a proper starter.
Then the main course arrived.
Some potatoes, green beans and some breaded mushrooms. I wasn't impressed. It seemed like they put the least effort possible into this meal. It didn't even have a sauce, so it as dry potatoes, beans and mushrooms.
Looking over I saw others had what looked like a really nice cheese board for dessert while I had the unimaginative fruit selection. After being in China for nearly 2 weeks I REALLY wanted cheese. I asked if they had any spare, luckily the flight attendant was very friendly and helpful and I managed to get one.
I had the fruit too, the kiwi was quite possibly the hardest one I've ever been served.
After dinner I watched a film and then it was time to sleep. I lowered the bed to the flattest position (not quite completely flat) and tried to sleep.
As the flight was long there was plenty of opportunity to have a sleep although I find it very difficult to do and only close my eyes and try.
After enough of the attempted sleep I began to watch another film around an hour before breakfast was served. When it came I was shocked again.
Seriously, this is a breakfast?? Who has broccoli, celery, baby corn and courgettes for breakfast? Luckily there was a criosant and bread to go with it (followed by more fruit, why can't I have a yoghurt like everybody else??)
We landed on time very early in the morning at a very foggy CDG airport.
I managed a couple of cabin shots before leaving the plane, showing the dated cabin layout.
And here's our 777 again in CDG.
China Southern Business Class Lounge
Guangzhou - CAN
Paris - CDG
This flight was a shocker.
I had very little time in Guangzhou to look around as the check-in and security process were really slow. The staff in the lounge weren't particularly friendly but at least there was still a good selection of food out despite having no time to sample it.
The Air France crew were generally pleasant and helpful but food on board was really bad! They really can't be bothered with vegetarians on AF. I ended up a very dated cabin, I would be really annoyed with a middle seat in business class. The IFE was old, the screen small and the controls really unresponsive.
Would I recommend AF buisness after this fight? No.
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