My previous report ended at the fork between passengers ending their travel in CDG (like my wife, and also passengers connecting to a TGV high speed train or another flight from ORY), and those connecting to another flight from CDG like me. I had to first go through a security check where there were few people, but they were probably sleepy after an overnight flight, which meant slow and inefficient.
Six minutes between these two pictures was no disaster.
Shuttle buses to the isolated Terminal 2G are to the right; the corridor to other terminals and in particular Terminal 2F is straight ahead.
A welcome message on the left, on mirrors, and windows on the other side
I had envied passengers taking this corridor linking Terminal 2E (Skyteam non-Schengen flights) to Terminal 2F (Skyteam Schengen flights) for a long time because unlike Terminal 2F, it is ideally plane spotter friendly, with large windows facing north to the taxiways leading to the north pair of runways. Even smokers can consider taking pictures (although they have to do with two window panes, plus the tobacco smoke).
My flight from HKG had been an hour late and the lighting was insufficient, but I was not going to waste this unique chance (connecting in CDG to another destination is unusual when you live in Paris!).
(If you are allergic to plane spotting, please prepare for extensive scrolling)
I was always seeing them when leaving CDG on ARN-bound Flight AF1262 that year, but I had arrived earlier than usual this time: this is the arrival of the Singapore Airlines A380
… of an Air China A330
… and of the Eva Air 777-300ER, in Hello Kitty livery. If you want to know more about the in-flight experience of that flight in J, refer to my TPE-CDG FR here
(Shameless promotion pitch #1)
The row of long range AF aircraft on the West side of Hall L of Terminal 2E
The second one is an aircraft which is still uncommon in AF’s fleet: a 787-9
AF A320, in wingtip fences version
Departure of another A320
The landing gear safety pin has been removed.
Arrival of a DL 757
I can’t identify this one from its front view, but I like the aesthetics. I bet a Swedish krone on an AF 777, though, and maybe the same as above.
AF A320, in sharklets version
The sun was beginning to illuminate Jetty 2 of Terminal.
AF 777 in Skyteam livery
Skyteam livery too for this AF A321
Its front view was indeed different from that of the previous plane seen from the same angle.
Departure of a Hop! E190
WDL Aviation Bae 146-300
And last, arrival of an AF A380.
I could have stayed there much longer, but I did not want to skip breakfast in the lounge. One of several PARAFE automated passport reading gates opened me the gate to the Schengen Area in no time.
The lounge signage overhead is nearly impossible to spot by a newbie: you need to be a frequent user of Terminal 2F to see it, at which time you no longer need it. Quintessential poor design…
It was early and the shelves of newspapers offered by AF were still quite full.
The fountain at the far end of the jetty was operational (it had been dry all winter).
But the windows at the tip are as dirty as usual (sigh…). Anyway, my flight was from Jetty 1 and it’s the end of Jetty 2 which provides decent plane spotting opportunities.
It is usually so crowded there one hour later that I did not remember about the presence of the game consoles.
Since it was earlier than usual, the automatic BP reading machines at the entrance of the lounge were idle, but this time, I went to the human staff facing them.
The reason was that I had seen months before that there are showers in this lounge and was decided to try them after an overnight flight. No problem: the welcome counter staff gave me this alarm similar to that used by some restaurants to warn me when it would be my turn. If you compare with the picture in the FR of the flight HKG-CDG from which I had deplaned a couple hours before, you will notice that the security check staff has scribbled the gate number (F26). (Shameless promotion pitch #2)
I did a summary inspection of the buffet meanwhile.
There was no muesli this time, at least not at the main level of the lounge.
I don’t like having my breakfast before washing, so I initially continued the original version of this CDG-HKG report which I recommend reading (Shameless promotion pitch #3), but after half an hour had elapsed, I decided I may eventually not have time to eat anything. I actually may not have anything to eat, because other passengers had raided the buffet for all matters of animal proteins.
It was of course just when I had started to take a bite of this piece of bread that the buzzer rang and flashed discreetly. The advantage of a cold breakfast (coffee excluded) is that you can leave it temporarily without any second thoughts.
The three shower cabins were at the end of this corridor, identified by this discreet signage.
There was no luxury, but everything was in mint and spotlessly clean condition.
Aficionados will note the presence of Clarins branded supplies.
What I noted was the presence of an excellent disposable razor, in contrast with the shamefully low quality of shavers often offered by hotels which were not low end.
The breakfast in the lounge was a distinct status-related plus In my weekly CDG-ARN shuttles that year, because I was leaving home earlier and reached the airport before the worst of the rush hour traffic. On the other hand, taking a shower in the lounge would have been a waste of time compared to home, but it was conversely appreciable this time, having just arrived from an overnight long haul flight.
It was no time to leave the lounge and get closer to Gate F26
Summer vacations were over: the Skypriority line for the flight to ARN was longish again, but since boarding hadn’t started yet, I could just as well look around.
For many avgeeks, traveling airline staff are beneficiaries who receive complimentary upgrade and exclusive attention from the FAs at the expense of fare paying passengers.
They can also be volunteers who as members of the NGO Aviation Sans Frontières (= Aviation Without Borders) use their flight privileges and their time to convey children from poor countries requiring emergency or heavy medical treatment funded or donated by other NGOs.
For many casual travelers, frequent flyers are privileged VIPs travelling comfortably in business class at company expense and then flying on airmiles to dream destinations for their vacations.
They can also be generous donors of these very same airmiles, which allow ASF to obtain seats on board for these sick children and their accompanying volunteer when no airline staff quota is available.
In fame there is no virtue, in virtue there is no fame …
Arrival of an Air Serbia A319
A rainbow which was a not a promise of good weather at take-off .
And a dramatic lighting on part of the aircraft parked at Terminal 2D :: Bulgaria Air, Czech Airlines and Air Mauritius
Departure of an Easyjet A319
Going down the jetbridge, letting voluntarily the previous passenger get well ahead of me.
Door shot, with a Servair (catering) staff bringing what seemed to be the hot specials meals (Kosher, halal, vegetarian, etc.) ordered by passengers on this flight. There wouldn’t be one for me this time.
Air traffic control was not planning to delay us
My favorite seat for my weekly flights on AF to and from ARN was 6A : - away from the sun’s direction flying to ARN in the morning, and back to CDG in the evening. - with a correctly aligned window - sufficiently in front of the wing so that I had a full landscape view - not just behind the J curtain (there were a variable number of J rows, typically three)
The carpet was clean
This overhead consoles may look out fashioned, but they had a distinct advantage on more recent fittings : it was possible to close the vents (or, in an aggressive mood, to direct them towards an obnoxious passenger^^). More recent aircrafts provide no ventilation control to a hapless inexperienced passenger who neglected to bring a woolen cap to protect himself from an ice-cold ventilation.
Nothing is more similar to an AF A321 than another AF A321 parked behind it.
Except when the latter has been used as a testbed for biofuels – this is mentioned on the fuselage.
The jetbridge retracted at 9:49 : the departure was not strictly on time but there was enough margin in the schedule to make it on time on destination.
Stormy sky above Terminal 2D with, from left to right: Easyjet, Air Serbia, Finnair, Air Malta, Air Baltic, Austrian Airlines, and an Air Mauritius A340
Full view of the Air Mauritius A340 after some taxiing
British Airways, Easyjet and Air France, opposite the terminal
Several AF 777 AF in the Skyteam long haul aircraft parking lot, on the left
There was some Airbus / Boeing / airline variety on the right.
… with an AF 777-300ER in Skyteam livery
… and a China Southern A330-200
United Airlines 767-400ER
Arrival of Fedex 777
And of a Belavia E-175LR
Flight attendants, prepare for take-off
Shouldn’t we wait until the United 767 is airborne?
A Flybe E175 was waiting patiently behind
And so did a Swiss A321 on another taxiway
Adria Airways CRJ-700
Take-off, with a view on an American Airlines 757 which has just landed
… as well as the Belarussian Embraer.
An AF 777-300ER which has just landed
Turkish Airlines A330, Eva Air 777, Thai Airways A380 and United 777 parked at their gates of two of Terminal 1’s satellites
The freight area
The cloud ceiling was low : I would see nothing more of LBG
Standard FA announcement ending with:
You can now use the USB port of your seat to power your portable electronic device.
What USB port ? He mentioned again hypothetical USB port when approaching ARN.
This was not the best day for identifying land-based infrastructures.
I used to order a special meal on that flight that I was taking nearly each Monday, in order to not eat the same food week after week, but vacations usually interfered with that, as mentioned in these reports CDG-HKG and HKG-CDG (Shameless promotion pitch #4), and I received therefore the standard menu.
The same after unwrapping
The presentation of this small tart was not perfect, but it tasted good.
This was a decent Economy meal on a short haul flight where the competition only proposes BOB, and an expensive one at that. It was easy to compact the wrappings and place them in the seat pocket without messing it, in order to leave space on the tray table to continue writing this CDG-HKG report (Shameless promotion pitch #5)
I’m not a great fan of the Servair version of Chicken with pesto rosso and risotto, though, and I quickly ordered a special meal for the next week as soon as I had arrived.
Which one would I choose ? I used as a reference the bonus of this ARN-CDG report (Shameless promotion pitch #6), and if you read French, you will guess what my choice has been.
This Flight Report will disappoint fans pictures of airports seen en route, because the only one I managed to see has been that of Borkum, the westernmost German Frisian island.
You actually needed to know that BMK’s runway was there, in the shade of an unfortunate cloud.
« Good weather in Stockholm », the captain had announced; he had an optimistic evaluation of the weather at destination.
You need to be a frequent ARN user to recognize it here in the center.
The motocross circuit which signals an imminent landing Runway 19L.
The extremity of Runway 08/26
And just before the threshold of Runway 19L, Parking K where an MD8x painted in a Swedavia livery (that’s the airport operator), as well as two Caravelles and three CRJ100/200.
A Norwegian Air Shuttle 738 climbing
The firemen’s building and one of their trucks.
The Caravelle used for their training (the section of another Caravelle wreck is in the background)
The 747-200 transformed into a hotel - the fake reactors are actually as many individual bedrooms offering Japanese capsule hotel comfort.
These two DHL 757 DHL are parked as usual opposite Terminal 2
The Kid (TF-KID, a Wow Air A321) was still at her gate, which meant that Flight AF1262 was on time. When deplaning, I stopped in front of the cockpit door to mention the absence of USB ports, despite repeated announcements allowing or not their use and the purser answered with hearty humor that the whole crew would whip the guilty, in front of the equally smiling captain. He had understood that I was not in aggressive mode and also pretended that I had not looked right ;) This interaction was in a very friendly mode, and left a very good memory of this crew.
Remember that I had checked a piece of luggage this time, with two separate tickets at an empty check-in desk - if you do not remember it, read again this HKG-CDG FR (Shameless promotion pitch #7)
I had another ten minutes before the predicted start of the luggage delivery
With or without checked luggage, there was no way I could have caught an Arlanda Express which would depart in zero minutes; the next one would be 15 minutes later.
In the absence of checked luggage, the bus to Brommaplan would have been the best option for me that day, but by the time my luggage would appear, I would have to take the next one whose travel time would make it noncompetitive compared to the train.
I took the following pictures from the mezzanine overlooking the luggage delivery room
… because it provides an excellent view on the tarmac, with the Thai Airways777 which had spent the night in the freight area next to the DHL 757 and would soon be towed towards Terminal 5.
The Wow Air A321
The AF A319 which had brought me there
Norwegian Air Shuttle 738
Nextjet Saab 340
Luggage delivery started at the time announced. I do not know if the priorities were fully respected, but mine was: like the winner of the Olympic Marathon, it entered first in the stadium, and unlike in the Olympic event, it could not be beaten in the last dash to the finishing line.
I then passed landside, and went as usual to Terminal 3, the best landside plane spotting area in ARN: Nextjet Saab 340
The same, with a Danish Air Transport ATR72
Another ATR72, but in SAS livery and registered in the UK, because operated by Flybe for SAS.
This one on the other hand was pure SAS metal (737-600)
The Kid pushes back
It was time for me to leave the terminal too : the Arlanda Express would arrive in three minutes.
Thanks for reading me !
Air France Lounge - 2F, F1
Paris - CDG
Stockholm - ARN
The passenger in the previous row did not recline his seat, so the comfort was adequate for a size M passenger like me. The newspapers provided by AF in the terminal were more than enough for entertainment during the phases of the flight when I could not use my laptop and there was nothing to see outside. The catering was not breathtaking, and it is even boring if you are a frequent flyer, but there is one and the quantity is decent, and the competitors can’t claim that. The purser made up with humor the minor mistake of the FA about USB ports, leaving a friendly image of the crew. In short, it was yet another shuttle flight on a route I knew by heart.
The main privilege in having access to the lounge 2FA this time was the shower, which was not luxurious but functional and flawlessly clean. It is safe to guess that this would have been true at Lounge 2F2 too. I do not penalize the waiting time for using it: it was of course the rush hour and I was not on a hurry. The catering was not resupplied quickly enough ; the lack of space for sitting AND powering your favorite electronic device in the apparent 8-9 am rush time slot is a perennial problem in this lounge outside vacation period. (March’18 edit note: the April 2018 change in the Flying Blues status thresholds is going to reduce the crowd in the lounge. Rather than enlarge the facilities for its frequent flyers, AF reduces their privileges).
Excellent fluidity in CDG in transit from Terminal 2E, thanks to PARAFE passport reading gates (and manual gates where there was not much waiting either), and a reasonably short walk between the two terminals.
Flawless services in ARN where my suitcase was delivered in record time. If my only way out had been the Arlanda Express, I would not even have wasted any time waiting for this suitcase, since there was no way I could catch the previous train, even though I had been seated in the front rows. My lingering reproach is that this train is much too expensive for what it is (and that is unlikely to change soon).
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