Review of Air France flight Paris Stockholm in Economy

Airline Air France
Flight AF1262
Class Economy
Seat 9A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 28 Sep 16, 09:50
Arrival at 28 Sep 16, 12:20
AF   #32 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 4725 reviews
marathon
By GOLD 417
Published on 1st October 2016
This report is that of the outbound leg of yet another round trip to ARN with AF. Out of pure curiosity, I checked on the OLCI if there were seats available on another flight: all three direct flights were listed as “Waiting list”, which did not really surprise me from my experience on this line.
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AF had preassigned me Seat 9F, arguably a window seat but on the wrong side for picture taking purposes for a morning flight : I changed to Seat 10A, and some time later for 9A when it became available, because it would be further in front of the wing and of the reactor
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This FR starts really with the arrival in CDG from the train station : at that time on a week day, the road traffic makes it more risky to go there by car than by train, or else I would have to leave home even earlier. I can reassure this escalator : we are very likely to meet again.
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The well known FIDS at the exit of the CDG2 high speed ("TGV") and suburban ("RER") train station
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In the background, the entrance of the Sheraton whose narrow shape is squeezed between the terminals and the ramps serving them.
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Sound proofing must have been high on the design agenda in such an environment, but it was not enough for the technical shortcomings of the SK, the cable people mover which was originally planned for CDG2 : its excessive vibrations and poor reliability led to scrapping it, at a total loss of 1.2 billion French Francs (about 200 million euros in today's currency), and replacing it with a more conventional technology.
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The flight is listed on time
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I did not determine the nature of these things : a work of art in the shape of vents, or vents designed as a work of art?
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Road engineering can be an art too.
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A patrol of armed soldiers, a common sight in CDG since a number of years
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This time, not only does my Eco Flex rate provide me Skypriority status, but I realize it early enough to enjoy it.
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There are few passengers at the #1 Access, but the throughput is low because of the lack of space for recovering one’s belongings : two passengers at a time can do it, because a Plexiglas cover prevents from reaching them at the very exit of the machine.
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The Access #1 saved me the waiting lines of the normal security check, but they did not seem to be long that day.
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My first stop is in the toilets, mostly for drinking some water froma tap, because the water fountains are very few and hard to find in the terminal
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How many Western passengers have detected the massive rise in the number of Chinese visitors in Paris at the sight of this sign 欢迎来到巴黎 (Welcome to Paris) ?
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And how many detected the inclusion of a new family of credit card in the list of those which are accepted in the airside shops ?
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Union Pay (银联) is no other than Mainland China’s interbank credit card association, which has a specific standard (in Mainland China, a credit card, an ATM or a shop’s terminal is always compatible with Union Pay, but not always with Visa / Mastercard).
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At the far end of Terminal F dedicated to the Schengen Zone flights, this is the access to Terminal E, dedicated to Skyteam long haul flights.
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When there is no staff to stop you from going a few meters in the wrong direction, the windows on the left provide a view on some of the birds parked at terminal 2E, like this AF 777
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AZ A320
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Easyjet A319
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The jetty is not too crowded : waiting is mostly for buying croissants at the lower level.
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The PS4 stations located on the left of the jetty have customers
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This shop area downstairs is undergoing renovation. The stands for newspapers made available by AF to its passengers are on the gangway connecting both sides of the jetty.
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There is an ample supply of copies of Le Monde, le Figaro and (behind the supporting pillar) Libération. On the other hand, there has been a raid on the other newspapers ((Les Echos, La Croix, l’Humanité, L’Equipe, le Canard Enchaîné), of which only a few copies remain.
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The only foreign newspapers are the International New York Times, Die Welt and El Pais.
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The plane will be F-GKXM, but she is not ready yet.
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Gate F50 is at the end of the jetty, which is good news because that is where there is the best view on the planes taxiing to/from the runways. The weather is badly overcast and the windows are very dirty, so I had to use Irfanview to reinforce the contrast and the colors of the ensuing pictures.
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The seats in the tip of the jetty are in high demand and only just before boarding can I sit for a last check of my messages and displaying FR’s home page, thanks to the free wifi connection, while keeping on eye on the tarmac in case a UFO taxies alongside Terminal 2F.
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KLM 737 in front of AF A32x
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Cityjet BAE Avro RJ85
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DL A330
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Boarding begins, with Skypriority passengers first
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AZ A320 in a special livery
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An AF 777 decorated with the logo of the Paris project for spending 6.2 billion euros on infrastructures to be used during one month. Taxpayers like me would pay for it, and AF would get extra traffic from the event, so you can guess the respective amount of support for this idea.
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There she was parked at Terminal 2E
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AF A318
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The catering si not fully loaded yet, which provides me an usual view through both opened front doors of the aircraft. I masked her face, but the FA has a big smile after understanding the kind of picture I wanted to take and moving aside.
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A general view of the cabin behind the curtain. I put my suitcase in the overhead bins, then starting taking a newspaper from my laptop case while remaining standing at the aisle seat. A FA rushed and told me in French: “Do not place two piece of luggage in the overhead bins, place one in front of you!”. The flights, and therefore the overhead bins are usually full on the CDG-ARN flights, and she seemed to stress about it. A bilingual announcement was broadcast over the PA about this later during boarding.
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F-GKXM is already ten years old, but its cabin fittings are in such a good condition that they must have been changed recently. On the other hand, scratches on the windows show their age. The bad news is that the windows are not aligned with my seat.
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Not all passengers know that it is possible to fold these headrests to keep the head from falling sideways when dozing or sleeping.
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The seats in the emergency exit rows do not have hooks for a vest like that in the foreground.
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The seats in this cabin are wider (46 cm vs. a typical 44 cm between armrests) at the expense of the aisle width.
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The armrests give off a clunky sound when hit, but the metal is at least .6 mm thick, and the support on which it is riveted is even thicker.
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On the other hand, tall passengers may object to the seat pitch.
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Carpet cleanliness test : passed
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No need to comment upon the screen size of the IFE on AF’s A32x
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The safety card both sides
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My half row remained empty for quite a while. The middle seat remained eventually empty and the aisle passenger and myself shared it courteously for our respective personal items. This small comfort bonus is unusual on this usually heavily loaded route.
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Superstitious passengers, be reassured : there is no Row 13 is any AF plane.
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A detail of the overhead lights and ventilation
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The curtains separating the business and Economy classes are on sliding supports, because the seats are identical; the only difference is in the neutralization of the middle seat.
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Some more plane spotting. The Dash 8-400 is a somewhat unusual aircraft type in CDG
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She is flying back to Luxembourg
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AF A320
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Hop!E170
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Air Europa 738 with an unexpected advertising for Puerto Rico. I checked and Air Europa indeed serves San Juan, but certainly not with a 737.
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(this is a close up from my seat in the aircraft)
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Taxi to the runway past maintenance buildings with long haul aircraft (VN, AF and ME)
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Three AF aircraft on the other side, one of them in Skyteam livery
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A small Hop! E-170 behind a United 777 (N788UA)
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Did I mention that I "slightly” improved the pictures? This is the actual raw picture :
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The UA 777 United departs
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The next aircraft in line is an LX A321
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A Smartwings 738 leaves next
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An Air Transat A330 seen while she was taxiing after her arrival
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4200 meters of runway is a lot more than needed for an E-170
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Take off and view of two satellites of Terminal 1, with TK, CA, TG, B0 (La Compagnie) planes, plus an unidentified Star Alliance one. In the background on the left, this is probably one of the two French Air Force A340.
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The safety demonstration for an aircraft without IFE has been the same for many years, but there is an additional bilingual (French / English) announcement forbidding the use, powering or charging of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones. The announcement was actually quite unintelligible, especially in French; only because I was aware of the issue did I reconstitute the message.
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The Ursel air base, also used by a flying club, close to Bruges.
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The harbor of Zeebrugge
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The image processing is quite heavy handed here, but Bruges was easy to recognize despite the low contrast in real life
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The Delta Plan dam in the Escaut estuary
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Upstream, the bridge on the Escaut crossed by Road N256
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The food was served like this on the tray table of the unoccupied middle seat. I do not criticize the FA for this presentation: I was busy taking outside shots and did not help her deliver it. I wish she had smiled more, though.
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The same after unwrapping. The three cheeses wrap won’t make it in a future retrospective of French airline gastronomy. Some grapefruit and a plain yogurt: this is not a lunch, and I bought myself a sandwich in an outlet in ARN, belonging to a chain claiming loud and clear to be opened from 7:00 to 23:00.
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I had coffee and water with this, in cups which were different, but compatible with the cup holder.
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Do you recognize this city?
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Yes of course, this is Amsterdam!
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The historic center’s concentric canals are easy to recognize.
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The west end of Almere, a new town built on a polder next to Amsterdam
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The Almere Poort neighborhood
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A geometric array of windmills, facing fields which are no less geometric, with no surprise since they are on the Noordoostpolder, gained on the sea in the 50-60s.
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Lemmer, a small town near the Noordoostpolder, bottom.
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This race course in the immediate vicinity of Lemmer is presently nowhere to be seen on Google Earth / Maps, where the picture is dated 2005.
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The cloud cover after this point dissuaded me from continuing this lesson of European geography. If I had been both attentive and lucky, I might have made air to air shots, but all I can offer you is the shadow of contrails on the clouds.
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The left reactor, about halfway to destination
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During the descent, the captain calmly announced (in French) something like this : “From the cockpit : FA seated and belts on, turbulence area”, and two minutes later “Exit of the turbulence area, thanks”. There was actually little to worry about, and there was even less during the minimal turbulences earlier in the flight which triggered standard turbulence warnings to the passengers. Even more than when serving the food, smiles would have been welcome when the FAs checked that the passengers had their seat belts on, especially inasmuch all passengers, at least in my area in the plane, appeared to play by the book.
This is all I saw of the center of Stockholm (Södermalm Island below, and Kungsholmen facing the reactor)
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A quarry
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It is separated from Lake Uvan by the E18 motorway
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Touchdown at 12:26, i.e. ETA+6 minutes.
During the taxi, a FA announced that this was their purser’s birthday and suggested to whoever felt like it to congratulate her while deplaning. I completely forgot the wording, but it was worded nicely, and said in a friendly manner without giving the impression of forcing passengers to say anything. The English version was much shorter and less easy to understand: I suspect the crew did not master English well enough to depart from their textbooks.
Two vintage planes on ARN’s tarmac : VP-BHM, a Douglas DC-8 built in 1969, with VIP fittings inside (see the pictures here)
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She is twice younger, and is still in commercial operation : this venerable Iran Air A300 is nearly 25 years old.
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Terminal 2, patronized by AF, KL, AY and BA, among others. Air Berlin
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Several Nextjet Saab 340 in diverse liveries are parked nearby.
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Nextjet BAE ATP
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Two of Amapola Flyg’s Fokker 50s. The left one (SE-LIR) is a passenger version, that on the right (SE-LIO) is a cargo version.
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The AF A320 which brought me here
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Going through the luggage delivery room; the advertising on the wall shows the time in minutes until the departure of the next buses to three destinations.
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I take time to detour to the access to Terminal 3, in my opinion the best place in ARN for an interesting view on the tarmac : there are usually only SK 737s to be seen through the wide windows of Sky City (the shops area between Terminals 4 and 5).
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And since there is an SK 737 here too, no need to go any further
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SK ATR72
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Nextjet BAE ATP
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A Finnair E-190 taxies to the runway
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You will understand that I end the report of this flight with this Norwegian Long Haul 787 …
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… because her vertical stabilizer is decorated with the portrait of the late Grete Waitz who was the #1 female marathon runner in the eighties.
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All the pictures in the ensuing tourist bonus were taken over a quasi straight line walk of a few hundred meters.

The Västerbron ("Western Bridge"), built in 1935, is a major axis connecting the north and south parts of Stockholm. In this pedestrian and bicycle friendly city, it of course has a dedicated track for them on each side.
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It only take a look at the way the supports are arranged to understand that these cables have been installed a long time after the bridge was built, namely in 2012-2013. This was when the city decided to do something about the dark reputation of this bridge for being a favorite suicide location, by jumping into the sea 26 meters below.
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The number of suicides dropped dramatically, but those who are determined to die can still to it, as this anonymous remembrance of a recent death reminds it.
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It would of course have been possible to make scaling the parapet infeasible, but that would have ruined the dubious aesthetics of the bridge, and much worse, the superb view on the city center from its top.
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From left to right, the steeples of Storkyrkan, Riddarholmskyrkan and Tyska kyrkan
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The very thin steeple of St Clare Church, behind the bildings bordering the north shore of the Riddarfjärden.
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The Kaknäs TV tower, completed in 1967 is 170 m tall at the tip of its antenna.
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The Västerbron reaches on the south side Långholmen Island, from where I took the first picture of this bonus. Very close to the ramp reaching to the bridge and to the first pedestrian exit, there is a small monument on the site of an air crash which could have made countless victims.
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On August 8, 1993, during a street festival which was gathering hundreds of thousands of spectators, a JAS 39A Gripen fighter crashed there after stalling at a very low altitude. It miraculously crashed in the one location where there was nobody, and only one person was wounded (she was treated for three weeks in a hospital for burns) – the pilot had been able to eject safely despite landing in trees.
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Thanks for reading me!
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Verdict

Air France

7.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering7.0

Paris - CDG

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access6.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Stockholm - ARN

9.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

A quasi-spotless cabin, with a comfort above average due to wider seats, but the seat pitch can be a problem for tall passengers.
The friendly note at the end of the flight was unfortunately offset in flight by the scarcity of the smiles of the crew.
Entertainment is limited to the generous supply of newspapers, on paper ex CDG and in electronic version on tablets and smartphones.
The quality of the food was OK, but there was too little of it.

The fluidity at the Access #1 security check in CDG is hampered by its constrained layout.
The poor accessibility of CDG is exemplified at this time of the day : in order to avoid traffic jams by taxi, you must leave early, but then, you can just as well take the train which is uncomfortable, but five times cheaper.

Reaching the exit is fast in ARN; the rail link is fast, comfortable and horrendously expensive.

Information on the route Paris (CDG) Stockholm (ARN)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 75 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Paris (CDG) → Stockholm (ARN).


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

The average flight time is 2 hours and 43 minutes.

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