Flight-Report

Review of Air France flight Paris Osaka in Economy

Airline Air France
Flight AF292
Class Economy
Seat 41A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 11:45
Take-off 06 Aug 16, 13:45
Arrival at 07 Aug 16, 08:30
AF   #38 out of 129 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 3816 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 2653
Published on 19th August 2016
Long story made short, the best schedule-price compromise for that vacation consisted in flushing most of my FB account’s airmiles before another "improvement at the customers’ request" devalued them below usable levels. This quasi-red eye schedule looks awful to the naked eye, but we would have a long train ride thereafter, reaching our final destination in Japan in late afternoon, in time to get a bath, have dinner, and then crash to the tatami mats.

Among the recent so-called improvements, “in response to the majority of requests and expectations of its customers, Air France and KLM adapted the standard seat reservation modalities in Economy (…) by proposal the pre-selection of a standard seat for 20 EUR or 6,500 FB miles per flight and per seat” (end quote).

This service was however not available on my flight. Could it be that the majority of customers to KIX were not more interested than us by this extra fee?
photo af - choix du sige a
It was supposed to be possible to book twin seats (in the narrowing back of the plane) at ETD-50h, but only scattered seats here and there were displayed as available.
photo siges aller
The truly Cornelian choice came at ETD-30h:
- Keep the preassigned seats, with a desired aisle seat for my wife but scarifying my wish for a window seat, which was arguably less interesting for a (partly) night flight ?
- Spend 54 EUR for the last aisle+window pair, located next to the rear galley ?
- Try again the neutralized middle seat gamble by selecting a window seat and the corresponding aisle seat of a set of the three?
The upgrade to Premium Economy was a non-starter at 349 EUR, because AF’s seat in that class of travel was never designed for sleeping. The upgrade to business class was out of budget, but arguably cheap when compared to the price of the ticket in J.
photo cabin plan
We are not big spenders on air tickets, so Option 2 was rejected; my wife privileged security with Option 1, but I pushed for Option 3, after checking that the flight was not full in Economy at D-1. It was a risky challenge because the first Saturday in August is a peak travel day in Economy in France, but nothing venture, nothing win.

D-day came. No perturbation warning in the subway and the train, but better take an ample time margin on a peak traffic day. For once, the first train was a through train to the airport beyond Gare du Nord Station.
photo img_6456a
What was usual though was this musician in the train, asking for money after a few minutes.
photo img_6457a
And a beggar laying and recovering this bilingual request on the seats after a few minutes (without music).
photo img_6458aphoto img_6459a
Arrival in CDG station, with its FIDS where only one face only was in operation.
photo img_6460a
Our flight was at the bottom of the list of flights, all announced on time.
photo img_6461a
There seemed to be a traffic jam at the access to the parking lot.
photo img_6463a
The self-check-in machines in the access to Terminal E were more cooperative than usual, but the one I used was apparently out of luggage tag paper.
photo img_6468a2
I tried again, successfully this time, at one of the machines at Terminal 2E's Zone 5.
photo img_6469a
This long line of self-check-in machines with staff with red jackets was after the initial filter (where staff check that you printed your BP and luggage tags) and I wondered in retrospect who would use them. Or maybe the filter was there to steer the passengers who did not have them yet towards these machines.
photo img_6472a
No, I did not check a zero kilogram suitcase
photo img_6474a
Only after validating its departure was it weighted
photo img_6475a
Gate K47, therefore no people mover ride (to Gates L)
photo img_6476a
Yes, check in had been smooth and eventless.
photo img_6478a
It was not very crowded around Zone 5, that dedicated to Economy non-status passengers on long haul flights.
photo img_6479a
We stopped on two of the few seats behind the check-in banks to eat a picnic landside, avoiding all liquid/gel constraints when going airside. (Can you possibly imagine French sandwiches without cheese?)
photo img_6480a
The layout of the toilets has been designed when nobody imagined that a man could change a baby’s diapers, and the child care room is therefore on the women’s side – see on the left. What has changed since, only a few years ago, is that the pictogram no longer shows a skirt wearing figure with the baby, but it is hidden by the plants.
photo img_6483a
Nothing is done to encourage the use of the PARAFE passport self-checking gates: the direct access is closed and you need to go through the general manual passport control path, and then show your passport to a staff to let you to the right like if it was a favor.
photo img_6484a
That, plus the fact that non-French EU passport holders must first register their fingerprints to use PARAFE, results in very few passengers using it, which makes it an efficient shortcut for Economy non-status but well informed passengers.
photo img_6486a
There was nearly no waiting at the security check, which was all the faster that the staff at the control screen was handling some undefined issue and was not looking at it.
photo img_6487a
All in all, we made it airside much faster than I had expected, going past this souvenir shop where everything was at outrageous prices compared to downtown outlets in the tourist areas of the city.
photo img_6488a
My wife settled there with our hand luggage next to the boarding gate (and next to a power port that I was not going to have time to use)
photo img_6493a
Meanwhile, I went for some plane spotting. Terminal 2E is notoriously plane spotter unfriendly, with boarding corridors which makes it impossible to get close to the windows which are covered with black dots anyway.
photo img_6505a
But there are windows at the end of the terminal too, and they have neither corridors nor black dots.
photo img_6495a
There are half a dozen reclining chairs for taking rest in front of this window, which is the only one offering a decent view on planes in this terminal.
photo img_6496a
There are as many more seats about a meter high flight of stairs, with a sleeping passenger and lots of rubbish on the ground. It looked like the cleaning staff would not go down these stairs.
photo img_6497a
Some plane spotting through that window: an AC 77W
photo img_6498a
AA 767-300
photo img_6499a
A Rossiya A320 in front of a Kenya Airways 787
photo img_6500a
A row of AC, AA, CX, KQ and FV tails
photo img_6501a
The terminal from the floor level, going up the stairs.
photo img_6503a
Flight AF246 to GIG, departing from the neighboring gate, had passengers of an unusual nationality.
photo img_6508a
Their routing was easy to guess: since PEK is the only major airport with which FNJ is connected, they had flown Air Koryo on FNJ – PEK and did not even need to leave PEK’s Terminal 2 to continue on AF for a loong PEK – CDG – GIG trip.
photo img_6507a
These Croatian athletes unsuccessfully asked for a picture together with the North Koreans. The one with dark glasses had the obvious looks and behavior of a shepherd dog.
photo img_6509a
AF’s newspaper offering was on a stand in the sloping corridor down to the jetbridge itself. There were French titles only (Le Figaro, Le Monde, Libération, Les Echos, L’Equipe). The last passengers did not have a chance to grab a copy. AF also offers to download a much wider offering on your tablet or smartphone, but there is no USB power port in the unrenovated Economy cabins that we were going to fly in.
photo img_6512a
Our plane could have been this one
photo img_6515a
Only that my wife heard that we would be boarding by bus, and the jetbridge indeed ended with stairs down to the tarmac.
photo img_6517a
We were last to board in the first bus, and I had hopes to have an ideal standing location in front for taking pictures on the way, but a staff with two UM teenagers arrived at the last moment and I had to move further back.
photo img_6519a
No major disappointment, because the bus route was between buildings, with little view on the planes.
photo img_6520a
Arrival at the destination. The staff went to the plane to receive confirmation that the cabin was ready, and then returned to bring the kids to the plane.
photo img_6523a
Refueling was on-going, and I feared that a staff might prohibit picture taking (it sometimes happens in CDG and ORY).
photo img_6528a
I should have held my camera straight in order to have a correct panoramic picture of the plane.
photo img_6530 panoa
Easyjet A319 in two different liveries
photo img_6532aphoto img_6533a
Good luck: there was no camera unfriendly ground staff that day.
photo img_6534a
I did not linger much on the tarmac, having a chance to have a view of a nearly empty cabin.
photo img_6535a
The enormous GE90 and the truck catering to its appetite.
photo img_6537a
I first went through the Premium Economy cabin, as seen here while deplaning.
photo img_6946a
And the Economy cabin which was still quasi empty since I was among the first passengers from the first bus.
photo img_6541a
The rear cabin
photo img_6542a
Our three set of three seats
photo img_6544a
The overhead luggage bins were quite worn
photo img_6545a
The corridor in the rear of the aircraft, where the seat layout changes from 3-4-3 to 2-4-2 in the last rows.
photo img_6547a
The rows when still empty
photo img_6548a
Cleanliness check: some dust in the bottom of the magazine pocket, but OK.
photo img_6552a
Marathon cleanliness test: the carpeting was OK
photo img_6549a
Mrs. Marathon’s cleanliness test: failed, with this cheese wrapping stuck on the bag of her blanket.
photo img_6757a
AF’s seat in Economy is not more generous in pitch or width in a 777 than in an A380
photo img_6556aphoto img_6555a
The difference with an A380 is that the window seats are against the wall, which provides at best a centimeter of extra space width when sitting there.
photo img_6558a
The safety card, both sides
photo img_6560aphoto img_6561a
The efficient head rest was a good point in favor of that seat.
photo img_6568a
On the other hand, an 8 inch screen belonging to the Pokemon generation is a joke at the time of the Pokemon Go generation.
photo img_6564aphoto img_6563a
I did not really try the headphones, distributed with a good eye mask.
photo img_6674a
These headphones should have been compatible with a stereo jack plug, but I had sound on one side only.
photo img_6756a
Boarding continues and I cross fingers for our middle seat to remain empty. The FA who was managing our section of the cabin had told my wife that the plane was nearly full (“there may be 5 – 6 empty seats”), and on a summer vacation peak traffic day, there was little chance that these empty seats would be in Economy. The second bus arrives; the cabin gradually fills up and at the last moment, a very polite young man comes to our middle seat. You don’t win each time at the neutralized middle seat lottery, but…

But a FA came up ten minutes later and asked our neighbor: "You are Maxime S*** ? Please follow me. “He rose politely, all the more smoothly that his only hand luggage was small daypack, and the FA guided him towards the rear galley to go up the other aisle. I saw them disappear into the Premium Economy cabin.
photo img_6571a
It all happened very discreetly, but we both understood what had happened. How can you raise hell against the upgrade of an airline staff, when that breaking of airline rules provides you an extra wide twin seat set? My seat widened from 44 to 92 cm; well no, I shared that empty seat with my wife for storing all our miscellaneous travel stuff.
photo img_6676a
Remember that my wife was dubious about this seat selection gamble, but it was actually won.
Aigle Azur, Ukraine Airlines and Easyjet planes parked next to ours
photo img_6574a
The tail of the Air Azur A320 is in Orange2fly livery, with an Aigle Azur marking on the fuselage
photo img_6576a
I don’t like much AF’s new safety demonstration – I find it unnatural.
photo img_6578a
Pushback occurred meanwhile, and taxiing began, providing more plane spotting opportunities.

Air Seychelles A330
photo img_6587a
XL Airways A330
photo img_6590a
Adria Airways CRJ 700
photo img_6591a
A jumble of TG, TK, UL and DY tails
photo img_6598a
DY B788
photo img_6603a
QR A380
photo img_6606a
CA A330
photo img_6608a
An Easyjet A32x in fully orange livery takes off above an AF A380.
photo img_6609a
I do not know what these yellow trucks are for
photo img_6611a
Icelandair 757 parked next to the Terminal 1, saving jetbridge fees.
photo img_6615a
Arrival of an Easyjet A32x
photo img_6616a
AF A318
photo img_6620a
AA 777-200ER
photo img_6621a
AF A330
photo img_6626a
Take off would be from Runway 27L, but better be patient, because there was a lot of departing and landing traffic ahead of us
photo img_6627a
Like this AF A330, for instance
photo img_6628aphoto img_6630a
Hop! E170
photo img_6635a
This unusual Turkmenistan Airlines 777 was too far and the air was too hot for a decent picture photo img_6648a
The TG A380 taxies on her long way to BKK
photo img_6652aphoto img_6654a
Taxiing past Terminal 1 during take-off
photo img_6655a
The aircraft with a blue tail at the extreme right is for staff training.
photo img_6659a
Two Fedex aircraft in the freight area
photo img_6661a
The limit of the airport grounds photo img_6663a2
Le Bourget Airport (LBG), dedicated to private business flights.
photo img_6665a
Air-to-air shot of a plane flying much lower
photo img_6677a
This was a Ryanair738
photo img_6679a
The Terneuzen – Gand canal in Belgium
photo img_6684a
Terneuzen, on the south bank of the Escaut River, close to its mouth
photo img_6686a
A sandbank on the Escaut, halfway between Terneuzen and Anvers
photo img_6689a
One of the branches of the Rhine River.
photo img_6693a
The locks at the intersection of Highways 59 and 257
photo img_6695aphoto img_6696a
Hoek van Holland harbor
photo img_6698a
The former Valkenburg air base. It has been disused for ten years, but is curiously still blurred on Google Maps and Google Earth.
photo img_6699a
The end of the Frisian Islands. Wangerooge Island, center, has an airport, but it was impossible to identify it from that distance.
photo img_6712aphoto img_6713a
Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the Elbe River
photo img_6715a
Wittmundhafen air base
photo img_6717a
Brünsbuttel Harbor, at the western end of Kiel’s canal
photo img_6720a
A wider look at the plain of Schwelstig Holstein, with the Kiel Canal
photo img_6722a
Kiel, at the other end of the canal, appearing in the top of the picture
photo img_6724aphoto img_6728a
A short interruption in this European geography lesson with the aperitif (Coca-Cola for me, tomato juice for my wife, plus a glass of water, and 15 grams of something peanut flavored), served exactly one hour after take-off. It was already 21:30 in KIX local time, and setting the passengers in the arrival time zone was obviously not AF’s priority.
photo img_6732a
Langeland Island, in Denmark
photo img_6734a2
AF provides a paper menu in Economy too.
photo img_6735aphoto img_6736a
Tiny Femø Island
photo img_6737a
Kalvehave
photo img_6740a
The meal was served at last. No matter if you think in French time (15:23) of Japanese time (22:53), it was too late for a lunch or a dinner, respectively.
photo img_6748a
I chose the Japanese menu, accompanied by this cup of miso soup (misoshiru 味噌汁).
photo img_6744a
After unwrapping:
photo img_6749a
My wife chose chicken
photo img_6746a
This meal was qualified "average" by both of us, only that my wife did not like the appetizer.

The slices of apple were supposed to be OK until the 12th of August, but all were already decaying, with a bad aftertaste. I am used to eating blemished fruit, but not to the point where they taste bad.
photo img_6751a2
The cabin while still lit in daytime mode
photo img_6758a
And slightly later in night mode, at 23:40 Japanese time: it was high time to go to sleep!
photo img_6759a
The toilets in the back of a 777 are covered with mirrors: the only picture which would not be a self-portrait is this one. It was clean.
photo img_6762a
There had often been turbulences so far, and I found that the cabin furnishing vibrated a lot. During the night, these turbulences and vibrations kept rising; I found myself paralyzed in an increasingly agonizing situation… until my wife inadvertently woke me up, trying to get hold of the camera bag at my feet, triggering this nightmare in an actually smooth flight.

What she wanted to photograph was this city in the vicinity of Krasnoyarsk
photo img_6772a
And the lights of the polar day at high latitudes in the distance.
photo img_6776-2a
Since I was awake, I went to the galley where these drinks were available.
photo img_6781aphoto img_6785a
Miscellaneous sweets and disappointing small sandwiches. My wife saw a distribution of ice creams during my sleep.
photo img_6782a
A FA offered to serve me coffee (or tea) in the galley: this was the only personalized interaction that I had during the FAs who seemed to skirt any contact with the passengers. In the rear galley, the two FAs had had a semi-professional conversation while I was there, on their respective learning of foreign languages: it was an acceptable topic (contrary to private vacation issues on my HKG-CDG flight the month before), but that dissuaded from addressing them. In the middle galley, they seemed to always go handle some business as soon as I was approaching. It gave me a very strange feeling.
photo img_6787a
Dawn appeared slowly on the horizon
photo img_6791a
I could see a number of stars, but they do not show in my pictures (there is only the light at the wingtip and a few reflections).
photo img_6793aphoto img_6805a
A FA passed with a bottle of water and a pile of plastic cups from within by her flashlight.
photo img_6818a
The sky lightened
photo img_6821aphoto img_6824a
Sunrise above Siberia, as the planes makes the first of a long series of turns

The route as seen by the airshow
photo img_6836a
Rising sun on a miniature IFE screen – some drizzle appeared on the edges of the window.
photo img_6839a
To the health of Flight Report!
photo img_6842a
My wife was not convinced that AF was really interested in her opinion
photo img_6843a
Because this "program" was not available
photo img_6844a
These were not mountains – we were still at cruising altitude – but clouds.
photo img_6845a
The navigation is especially complex in that airspace
photo img_6853a
Flightradar24 was a lot more precis than AF’s airshow. The plane had to avoid the military airspaces around Dalian 大连 and Qingdao 青岛 (south of Yantai 烟台) which are two major naval bases, as well as the North Korean airspace.
photo flightradar24-1photo flightradar24-3
Breakfast, as served. Like the previous meal, it was nondescript economy food. Nothing wrong, nothing worth raving about.
photo img_6856a
A somewhat hazy view of ICN
photo img_6861a
The international city of Songdo 송도국제도시, an integrated city, lower left
photo img_6868a
And that of Gwangmyeong 광명시, a typical suburb of Seoul infiltrating all space between the mountains. Its white KTX station is on the left.
photo img_6870a
Seoul’s air base (SSN)
photo img_6875a
The South Korean mountains
photo img_6876a
Samcheok, on the eastern coast of Korea
photo img_6879a
Arrival in the Japanese airspace. Matsue 松江, our final destination that day, was just outside the lower left edge of this picture of Lake Nakaumi 中海.
photo img_6886a
We flew across Honshū 本州, the largest Japanese island, then above the Inland Sea, flying above the small Shōdoshima Island小豆島, south-east of Okayama 岡山.
photo img_6897a
That was when I was lucky to have an ideal view on a spectacular phenomenon: the Naruto whirlpools. The east end of Inland Sea ends is a narrow strait south of Awaji淡路 Island.
photo flightradar24-2
Twice a day, the rising and falling tides create powerful currents across these straits, and spectacular whirlpools.
photo img_6901a
It was pure luck that Flight AF292 would take this route, flying just south of the straits at a low altitude, that it was precisely the time of the rising tide, that there were no clouds and that I was on the adequate side of the plane.
photo img_6903a
It was too early for tourist boats around these whirlpools where you would not want to venture in a small boat: I remember the memory of churning water way more than a meter deep.
photo img_6905aphoto img_6907a
A last look at the viaduct before it was hidden by the edge of my window
photo img_6910a
Sceneries seen from a plane are not for ever: the viaduct disappeared on the left of the window. The plane flew alongside Awaji Island, with the town of Minami-Awaji 南あわじ, which true to its name lies at the southern end of the island.
photo img_6912a
And then the east coast of Awaji
photo img_6916a
Naruga Island 成ケ島, little more than a sandspit protecting Yura 由良
photo img_6920a
Landing on Runway 06R – Runway 06L is 500 longer and was already in sight on the left.
photo img_6923a
A CI A330 heads home to TPE
photo img_6926a
Air Asia A330
photo img_6931a
Garuda A330
photo img_6933a
The planes parked at the terminal
photo img_6936a
Japan Transocean Air 737-400 in vintage South West Airlines 南西航空 livery (a former name of that airline until 1993).
photo img_6937a
JAL 738
photo img_6939a
Seen after deplaning: Philippine Airlines A330
photo img_6948a
… and KLM
photo img_6949a
A short trip with a people mover covered with advertising for H.I.S., a Japanese travel agency
photo img_6951a
It will be a long welcome to Kansai (the plain where Ōsaka is located; the other major Japanese plain is Kantō where Tōkyō is): there was a long line at immigration and 53 minutes elapsed between this picture and the recovery of our checked luggage which was already waiting for us.
photo img_6953a
Nothing to declare? The customs officers took our customs forms and waved us through with no further discussion. Once landside, the foreign exchange booths were easy to find.
photo img_6957a
On the other hand, the ATMs in the Arrivals hall are not so easy to locate in a recess, without any signage.
photo img_6956a
There are ATMs at the post office at the upper level, but this post office is well hidden too, recessed at the far end of the gallery. (The Japanese Post Office ATMs accept foreign credit cards, unlike the ATMs of the Japanese banks in town). Once I had located that post office, sending a parcel of food items to Japanese friends (it would not keep until we would meet them) was fast. It was Sunday, but on Monday, they had already received it.
photo img_6962a
No, I was not going to be robbed of my freshly withdrawn yen: these actors were attracting tourists to a stand for taking pictures in Japanese traditional clothing. The Chinese love these pictures in folkloric clothes: that this booth existed here was a sign of the development of Chinese tourism in Japan (Japan started delivering individual tourism visa to Chinese nationals in 2010 only, and they were difficult and expensive to obtain).
photo img_6958a
I went to the toilets which were all the cleaner that there were reminders on how to use them.
photo img_6960aphoto img_6961a
It is usual in Mainland China and Taiwan to dump used toilet paper in a waste paper basket next to the toilet seat, including sometimes in upscale buildings.
We then had a loong line to go through to buy our regional train passes (contrary to nation-wide train passes which must be bought abroad before traveling, regional passes can be bought on arrival – an advance reservation on the internet provides a modest discount) : overall, it took us two hours between deplaning and boarding the train.

This is the end of this FR, and the beginning of a rather eclectic tourist bonus

Let’s begin with Matsue 松江, a middle-size city away from the major tour routes. It is interesting though, with its castle which is one of the twelve authentic castles in Japan (all others are post WWII concrete reconstructions)
photo img_5458a
It’s impressive wood structure survived four centuries of history
photo img_7129a
… capped with these stylized dolphins which in Japan protect a building from fires.
photo img_5461a
Matsue is also associated with the memory of Lafcadio Hearn, known here under the name of Koizumi Yakumo小泉 八雲, which is the name he took when he became a Japanese citizen. This journalist of Irish and Greek descent arrived in 1890 as correspondent of Harper’s, the American magazine, and never left. His writings made a lot to get the “Rear Japan” 裏日本, i.e. the western side on the Japan Sea, to both foreign and Japanese readers, especially its tales and legends.
photo img_5519a
He lived only five months in this house, but this is the one which has been preserved, with this very tall table made on order for him: he was of short built, but extremely short-sighted, and that table brought the paper closest to the eye.
photo img_7210a
From Matsue, a day trip to出雲 is a must. That is where one the oldest Shintō shrines is located. What better means to get them than ride on the Sunrise Express? This night trains leaves Tōkyō 東京 at 22:00 and ends there in Izumo – the single track line is not electrified beyond this station.
photo img_5743a
The reason this station master so obligingly takes pictures of the tourists is that this train is the very last surviving night train in Japan: all others have been eradicated by the competition of faster planes and cheaper night buses. Only this one remains today (for how long?), with its luxurious single or double berth first class compartments.
photo img_5735a
And this dormitory car, similar to the ones I saw thirty years ago, but with much more fancy furnishing of imitation light color wood.
photo img_7451a
The Great Shrine of Izumo is one of the oldest in Japan, with a history beyond human memories. Recent archeological finds gave credence to the tradition that it was much larger and taller in a distant past.
photo img_6122a
Like in all Shintō sanctuaries, the commoners do not have access to the inner part, reserved to the top dignitaries and to the gods.
photo img_6172a
The gods gather in Izumo each year in April to decide about the year to come, and our hosted in these side buildings around the main sanctuary.
photo img_6146a
Beyond Izumo, it is worth going to Iwami Ginzan 石見銀山, literally Iwami’ Silver Mountain. This was the main silver mine in Japan, from its initial discovery in 1526 to its exhaustion in 1923. It made the fortune of Japan in the 18th century, at the time when this country produced one third of all silver mined in the world.
photo img_5817a
The town in a narrow valley has been preserved, because no other activity replaced mining until tourism revived it.
photo img_5915aphoto img_5911a

There are only 130 km as the crow flies, but it takes around four hours b train to reach Hiroshima 広島, which illustrates the geographic separation between the Sea of Japan and Pacific Ocean sides of Japan. There are many foreign and Japanese tourists in Hiroshima, but very few foreigners go to Kure 呉, an easy half hour train ride away from Hiroshima. The signage is excellent from Kure station though, and the staff at the local tourist office as friendly as anywhere else in Japan. I do not know if their level in English was any better than that of that sign, though.
photo img_6743a
Yamato Museum
History Museum of the Self-defense naval forces
Kure tourist office
Service center for the city inhabitants


I suspect that most of the 10 million visitors (1000万人) of the Yamato Museum in 10 years were mostly Japanese (including many school groups).
photo img_6747a
The 500 meter walk from the station goes through a supermarket – nothing unusual for a Flight Reporter used to going through duty free shops to be airside.
photo img_6751a
The point here is to be seaside: Kure was and still is a major Japanese Navy and shipbuilding port. Kure was of course severely bombed in the spring of 1945. The very didactic History Museum of the Self-defense naval forces (i.e. the post WWII Japanese Navy) is mostly focused on its mine-sweeping activity, with the visit of this submarine (provided by the US when Japan rearmed) as a bonus.

photo img_6468a
All Japanese school children know the name of the Yamato 大和, which with her sister ship the Musashi 武蔵 was the most powerful cruiser in the world. She was sent on a suicide mission without any air cover towards Okinawa which had been overrun by the Americans, but was sunk by the American planes before she could reach her target. This museum recalls her history and that of the arsenal.
photo img_6685a
This carefully restored Mitsubishi A6M Zero had crashed in Lake Biwa琵琶湖, near Kyōto 京都. This carrier based fighter bomber which surpassed all its opponents has also been used at the end of the war for kamikaze 神風missions, loaded with a 250 kg bomb without a launch mechanism, instead of two 60 kg bombs for a normal mission.
photo img_6668 panoaphoto img_6673a
This museum also displays a rare Type 10 Kaiten 回天, a miniature single use submarine for suicide missions, which was little more than a human guided torpedo. The Kaiten sank fewer ships than their aerial counterparts, partly because a kamikaze 神風 pilot who had not found a target could fly back to his base, whereas a Kaiten was irretrievable after launch. They did not have the same psychological impact on the Americans either, because they could not be told from ordinary torpedoes.
photo img_6663a
Kure is still an important naval base in today’s Japan, as shown by these moored ships. photo img_6723a
The local peculiarity, which may not have an equivalent elsewhere in the world (at least not in Japan) is that it is possible to legally have an excellent view on these submarines that most navies in the world try to hide from the public.
photo img_6729a
It was even possible to watch the sailors come and go.
photo img_6727a
Even more surprising, the walk which provides this view on these submarines was duly mentioned in the brochure and the map provided by the tourist office at Kure’s station !
photo img_6739a
Until when will these submarines dissuasive only ? On the day of our arrival in Japan, a flotilla of no fewer than 230 Chinese fishing boats, escorted by six of their coast guard vessels, entered the territorial waters of the Senkaku 尖閣 islands, claimed by China under the name Diaoyu 釣魚. This provocation of unprecedented magnitude was another step forward for the Chinese naval adventurism, which does not bode well for the future.
photo img_6734a
Thanks for reading me!
See more

Verdict

Air France

6.4/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew6.5
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering6.5

Paris - CDG

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Osaka - KIX

7.5/10
Efficiency6.0
Access9.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

The narrowly won gamble on the neutralized middle seat warps the comfort rating, because even though this empty seat did not provide extra sleeping space, it did provide space for our miscellaneous stuff and being separated from the aisle by my spouse only made moving around much easier.
The food was quite nondescript, apart from the bad apple slices for dinner.
It was again the same technically outdated IFE system, in terms of airshow program and screen quality and dimension. The paper newspaper offering was certainly not enough for all passengers, but we did get what we were interested in since we were among the first to board.
The FAs did the job in a friendly manner, but avoided any interaction with us at all other times, which gave a rather strange impression.

For once, there was no significant problem in CDG, even though it was a peak traffic day.

The waiting time was excessive in KIX, both at immigration and railway pass delivery. I did not expect such a poor efficiency.

Information on the route Paris (CDG) Osaka (KIX)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 12 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Paris (CDG) → Osaka (KIX).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.

The average flight time is 11 hours and 43 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 363554 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4742 Comments

    Barely home from a trip to China and back to Asia again! This was definitely one of those occasions where a staff upgrade was a good thing! It certainly makes the awful cattle car 3-4-3 configuration more bearable.

    The cabin, aside from looking cramped is really starting to look old, especially with those old IFE screens. I'm not sure how much of the 777 fleet AF still has to update, but I imagine over 2 years after the introduction of the new cabins, they must have a fair percentage of the fleet completed.

    Thanks for the lovely aerial tour of Norther Europe. Perfect timing to be arriving in Osaka at the time of the change of tides.

    • Comment 363718 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9333 Comments

      We have some kind of a love affair with countries using ideograms. ^^

      I did not relish the prospect of flying in an AF 777, but that empty seat made it comfortable. That was a unique case where a staff upgrade of dubious legitimacy makes three people happy.

      I was disappointed to find again these last century IFE screens. Together with the 3-4-3 layout, they look terrible compared to the competition.

      I was lucky with the weather, and extremely lucky with the timing for making the best of my window seat.

      Thanks for your comment !

  • Comment 363931 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Great spotting shots at CDG, a huge amount of variety.

    I'm glad you won the seat lottery at last, an empty middle seat makes a significant difference on a flight of this length.

    Nice air-to-air shot with that FR 738!

    Beautiful aerial shots and thank you for the wonderful geography lesson.

    Wow, what a beautiful sunrise!

    Absolutely fantastic shots prior to arrival at KIX.

    It's unfortunate you got a 772 with the older cabin, I guess they around 10 or so frames left (772, not for all 777s).

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 364002 by
      marathon GOLD AUTHOR 9333 Comments

      Google Earth/Maps and Flightradar24 are very useful tools to identify landscapes seen while flying, but it takes some patience too.
      I have yet to fly in a renovated AF 777; they allocate them by routes and KIX is unfortunately not in the list.
      Thanks for your comment !

      • Comment 364035 by
        Rl 777 812 Comments

        "Google Earth/Maps and Flightradar24 are very useful tools to identify landscapes seen while flying, but it takes some patience too."
        - Definitely agree but you seem to have much more patience than me judging from this FR :).

        I hope you get to try one soon.

        "they around 10 or so frames left"
        - Should be "There are around 10 or so frames left", my bad.

  • Comment 363932 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Fantastic bonus as well :), thanks for sharing.

  • Comment 364430 by
    ID_Flyer 24 Comments

    Thank you for your FR!
    AF needs to work on improving their overall experience, from catering to their crew.
    On the plus side, the crew seemed to be better and there were no air conditioning issues.

Login to post a comment.