Review of Air France flight Tokyo Paris in Economy

Airline Air France
Flight AF279
Class Economy
Seat 46L
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 12:25
Take-off 21 Apr 19, 14:20
Arrival at 21 Apr 19, 19:45
AF   #25 out of 80 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 5334 reviews
By 1582
Published on 1st June 2019

Routing and seats

There is always an end to the best trips, and this looong FR is the grand finale of this routing to Hachijōjima and Aogashima, two islands way out of the beaten track which will identify you as keen specialists of Japan when you mention them in your next social events, especially if you read the corresponding reports and their bonuses, and comment them to have more details about them.

For the grand finale of this trip to Japan, I decided to splurge for better comfort on board. Not as much as AF expected though: my wife agreed that 512 EUR each to have coffee in a china cup rather than a paper one (plus a few minor other goodies) was outrageously expensive.

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Actually, at reservation time, I invested 27 EUR to book a twin set of seats because:

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- I still had then FB-Platinum status, which made my seat free of charge. (My wife is registered on FB, which gives her a 10% rebate off the full 30 EUR fee)
- betting on the neutralization of the middle seat was less interesting on a day flight, because we were not going to sleep
- there was space on the right side, the one which would have correct lighting conditions during most of the flight.

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JI was right to buy them when I booked our tickets because there were no twin seats available at OLCI time. Note also that I would have had the choice between travelling away from my wife or away from any window if I had accepted AF’s offer to upgrade to J. (Having to pay first before knowing if there is an acceptable seat is reason enough to have never done it.)

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Reaching HND

A significant advantage of HND over NRT is that it is much closer to the center of Tōkyō and also that the trip from downtown is much cheaper : 660 JPY, i.e. less than 6 EUR in our case ! Trains keep coming at short intervals on the Yamanote circle line.

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Connection in Hamamatsuchō, where the signage could not be more explicit, both on the stairs up from the platform

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… on the short walk to the other platform,

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…and on the fine art of waiting for a train, Japanese style : the blue signage is for the passengers who are going to board the coming train ; when that line is full (which was the case behind us), passengers wait on the red line for the next train.

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The train is a monorail, shot here when departing back to town from HND

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There is of course space on board for the luggage, and the limitation of the number of passengers boarding at the first station avoids overloading.

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No doubt that we are reaching an airport

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Getting closer

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The first stop of the monorail in HND is the international terminal

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There are regularly ticket checks at the CDG-2 to fine the passengers who with good or bad faith do not have a valid ticket (foreign passengers regularly forget that they can take this line with a standard subway ticket inside Paris, but that you must buy a special one to go all the way to Paris). In HND, like in any station in Japan, there is a machine or a clerk at a counter where you can pay the fare difference without any penalty. I used this facility to top up our travel cards with the minimum amount needed, so that they would have next to zero leftover credit until our next trip to Japan. (Note that it actually has no cash flow impact for me: I have no use either for my leftover Japanese cash until our next trip to Japan).

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HND landside

This is the international departures hall

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A decoration linked to the incoming Children’s Day, know before WWII as Boys’ Day (5 May)

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Checking in for the AF flight is here

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The line is of moderate length for non-status passengers but I still have Skypriority rights

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How do you recognize a good design ? Maybe with a detail such as these sunken checked luggage belts and scales : passengers can effortlessly roll in their suitcases, whereas in all other countries, you need to haul your luggage up on the belt. .

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It’s all the more welcome that our suitcase took some more extra weight during this past week in Tōkyō. I check our cabin luggage too, because we are heading home and it would not be a major problem if it was not there in CDG.

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Anyway, checking in is quick, and we leave the counter with printed BPs and an access map to the lounges airside.

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Departure is this way, under the carp streamers (another traditional decoration for Children’s Day)

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The Skypriority status provides access to a dedicated security check where the waiting time is nil (but there was a curiously inefficient staff after the X-ray machine). Immigration control is very fast too.

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There is a lot of natural light in HND airside, with quite plane spotter friendly windows despite double windows due to the presence of a deplaning corridor.

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This is a first sample, but we have a more urgent task : go to the lounge because my FB-Gold is may not be renewed next year and this may be a last opportunity for us..

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Sakura Sky View Lounge, quickly

Go to the lounge, or rather go to the lounges, because Skypriority passengers have access to two different lounges : the Sakura Sky View Lounge (below) and the Sakura Lounge: I was decided to make the most of my ephemeral status and visit both of them.

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We needed to not waste time, though, because you may have noticed that the Sakura Sky View Lounge is closed from 12:30 to 21:00.

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This is the entrance to the Sakura Sky View Lounge where we are heading first. It is 11:40 am : the friendly staff at the welcome counter warns us that we are not going to be able to stay for a long time .

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"Sakura Sky View Lounge" and "Sakura Lounge" ? The two names are misnomers, since both have windows providing a view on the sky, but only the former provides a view on the tarmac. Only aviation geeks would find it attractive to call it “Sakura Tarmac View Lounge”.

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Of all the planes the gates, only the first one is fully visible

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This KE 777-300 registered HL7534 has bad memories of HND

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On 25 May 2016, the left engine suffered an uncontained failure and subsequent fire on the left engine at take-off which was aborted. There were 12 light injuries among the 17 crew and 302 passengers on board during evacuation.

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The view on the other aircraft is poor (ANA 787-9, Asiana, Lufthansa)

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The least bad view is on this Eva Air A330-300

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You need to wait until the planes push back or arrive, but I can’t afford to do that since the lounge is going to close soon.
ANA 777-300ER, in front of an ANA Cargo 767-300ER

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How about the planes parked in the distance. The problem is with hot air, due to the reactors, not the current weather.
JAL 767-300 JAL, in a special livery supporting the Japanese rugby team for the World Cup which is to be held in Japan in Fall 2019.

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737-800 Skymark airlines, in special livery Taka Girl (the cheerleading squad of the Fukuoka baseball team)

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E-190 of J-Air, JAL’s regional subsidiary

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It’s easier when they taxi alongside the terminal, like this 777-300ER Garuda

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Let’s go back to the entrance of the lounge : it is possible to store your hand luggage securely after the welcome counter

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Discretion when placing phone calls is possible, for oneself and for others

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Fax machines were developed in Japan and spread everywhere including homes, due to the complexity of their writing system, before the time of personal computers and e-mail. I do not know if they are still being used much, in the era of automatic handwriting recognition on touchscreens.

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There are restrooms and a smoking room that I did not visit

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You can take a shower ; it appears they could last up to half an hour, since they close half an hour before the lounge itself closes.

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First Class passengers have a dedicated area with more bulky seats

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For passengers with a lesser status or travel class, this lounge is very far from being crowded at this time of the day.

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There is actually a lot of visual space

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The lounge is at a corner of the building (in the background), which increases the amount of daylight

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There is a tidy flowery table runner on each table

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Shelves with decorative objects

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It masks without hiding the accessories (trays, silverware, etc.) and the first hot meal containers – shame on me, I did not take a picture of their contents, due to the lack of time!.

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Let’s have a more detailed look at what this sign promises

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Vegetables that I do not remember well

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Sausages, onions, vegetables

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Ingredients and seasonings for salads

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Salad Wrap – Kale and Caesar Chicken

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Grilled trout

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Not need to show you the contents of this cooker : rice, of course, which is often as much as you can eat in Japanese restaurants

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Teas and various infusions

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Soft drink dispensing and coffee machines in the rear

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Cold milk, tea, water, coffee and Schweppes

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I tried the green "Sky time” drink on the left and did not like it. There is water and tomato juice too.

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I did not consider tasting these.

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Either I missed a shelf, or the offering of newspapers and magazines is meager.

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We left this lounge before being ushered towards the exit at closing time

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Going through the public airside area

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Obviously Chinese travelers fill their thermal flasks with hot water for tea, a vital need for them.

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I had us head towards the Sakura Sky View Lounge first due to the limited amount of time before it would close, but I cannot defer any more paying the very costly departure tax from Japan. In the olden times, like that of this vintage AF schedule dated November 1988, you had to be careful to keep 2,000 yen in cash to pay for it, and French citizens needed a visa to visit Japan.

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Credit cards can now be used to pay the present departure tax, whose fees skyrocketed.

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My wife tried to explain me again that "it is cheaper than in Paris" or that "it is nowhere to be found in Paris"

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It’s all the difference with the kokeshi こけし (traditional wood dolls) that I bought as usual for a few hundred yen each in flea markets and account for most of the extra weight of our suitcase.

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The Sakura Lounge, slowly

After this step which was painful for our bank account, this is the list of the airlines using the Sakura Lounge

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Friendly welcome at the counter

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This lounge is not called Sky view, but you do get a view of the sky, and therefore natural lighting

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Many facilities are identical in both lounges, like for instance the lockers for hand luggage

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Or the fax at passengers’ disposal

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The baby care room is actually a nursing room

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The toilets are "obviously" clean. Once you tried the Japanese toilets with integrated washlets once, you forever regret not having one at home.

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A small sign in the toilets mentions that you can ask for a toiletry kit at the welcome counter, which is good news because I forgot leaving a toothbrush in my hand luggage. The staff there spontaneously asked me if I wanted one or two kits, obviously remembering that I had arrived with my wife.

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On the other hand, I did not use the showers there either

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There is ample space to move around in the lounge. There are “bar-like” configurations (side-by-side seating, which is very common in Japan).

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We preferred seating in front of each other at one of these tables, admittedly far from the windows, but they do not provide any view outside anyway.

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Power ports on the wall, of Type A only

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Overall view of the buffet

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Various salads

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This rice cooker is the same as that of the other lounge.

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Bowls containing some pre-cooked noodles : you only need to add hot water

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… and miscellaneous small ingredients as desired

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Some pork dim sums

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Herbs Chicken

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Shrimp Cream Macaroni Gratin

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In both lounges, all food is labeled with the number of calories per 100 grams. If you worry about gaining weight, better choose the macaroni (163 kcal/100g) rather than the chicken (290 kcal / 100 g). All what is missing a small scale to weigh each portion.

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Madeleines and other cookies

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Shrimp spring rolls, recommended for their low 27 kcal / 100 g

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Miso soup, of course

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Coffee machine and various teas

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… but the cups have been poorly selected, because they cannot fit horizontally under the spout, to you must be very careful to incline it slightly when it is very full if you want to take it without spilling some coffee

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Wines and spirits

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The refrigerated drinks are the same as in the Sky Lounge

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My first helping

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And the refill

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The choice of newspapers and magazines is really limited in these lounges

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Some more plane spotting airside

It’s time to leave this lounge and do quite a lot of walking in the terminal :

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… logically as much as when we deplaned, at the Arrivals level

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Seen on the way : a JAL 787-8 parked in the distance…

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And a set of aircraft at their gates: Lufthansa 747, Shanghai Airlines 787-9, China Eastern A330-300in Disney Shanghai livery, which I had already seen two weeks earlier at the same place .

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An electric cart brings a passenger to her gate. A sign says behind that it is free and accessible to all (and not only PRM, according to the pictograms), but I do not know where and how you can get one.

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Going down to the boarding gate where there is a lot of seating space left

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The AF 772 is of course already there

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We still have some time before boarding : I leave as usual my wife with our hand luggage to wander around for some plane spotting, heading first to the end of the terminal.

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A crowd of passengers waiting for boarding for HKG

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… for two extra hours

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JAL 737-800

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JAL and Skymark Airlines aircraft in the distance, including a 737-800 in B.League special livery

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Skymark Airlines did not try to use the coincidence of the registration of this 737-800: JA737X

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Arrival of a Delta Air Lines 777-200ER

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ANA A321

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Gulfstream G550, with deployed thrust inverters

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The same, after retracting them

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JAL 777-200

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The Shanghai Airlines 787-9 seen at her gate heads home

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United Airlines 787-9

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Another special Disney livery on this JAL 767-300ER ; this one celebrates the 90th anniversary of the creation of Mickey Mouse

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Boarding of the CX flight is announced at last, two hours behind schedule, and it is time for me to head back to my gate where boarding is going to be on time

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Boarding of the AF flight has indeed just started at Gate 142, with the families with children.

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Water is available at this fountain

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The priorities are respected : going down the jetbridge

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The CX 777 is not ready to go

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PlayStation and plane door

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Going through the Premium Economy cabin whose quality-cost ratio I find very poor

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Twin seat detailed review

Arrival in the rear of a cabin. As soon as I have taken a few pictures, a male FA comes up and sternly tells me that there shall be no pictures of the crew. I do not give him time to elaborate and tell him that I pointedly try to avoid them: his tone becomes immediately congenial, shifting into his “friendly & welcoming FA” mode. In retrospect, this short (and initially somewhat unfriendly) exchange was better than suspicion during the whole flight, especially when I wait with my camera in hand until a FA leaves the frame.

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So, with nobody in sight, neither FA nor passenger since I was among the first to board but seated in the rear, this is the cabin from one of the last ranks

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The narrowing of the fuselage in the rear mandates the presence of the four twin seat sets on each side already seen in the cabin layout map.

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Cheap headphones, a rather comfortable eye mask and a cushion are on each seat.

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The seat width between armrest is standard

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With a larger than usual bonus space between the armrest and the wall for the window seat, though.

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The pleasant surprise is in the seat pitch which is 5 cm longer than that measured in an ordinary row. It may not look like much, but it is not negligible at all. In particular, it remains possible to keep using my laptop when the passenger of the previous row reclines his seat, which for me is a significant plus, since I always spend most of my flying time doing that.

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The difference between these twin seats (on this flight, left) and a standard three-seat set (on the way in, right) is evident.

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Multistandard power port

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The narrowing of the cabin in the rear mandates a 2-4-2 seat layout there : this seat without an IFE screen in the back is the first 3-4-3 row from the rear.

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A clean carpet ? My initial impression did not last

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Because in front of my seat, the contents of an aperitif bag have not been cleaned.

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Safety card, both sides

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Plane spotting during taxiing

Seen through the window : the tails of the planes at their gates : CX, CI, DL, UA, AA

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The departure of the CX 777-300ER unveils a China Airlines A330-300.

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It’s our turn to push back

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The exhaust of the CX APU, for fans of this item

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This is as usual the time for the safety demonstration, and in this report the time to say again how much I dislike it.

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No, a non-smoking flight is not "simply chic", according to that safety demonstration, it is simply a legal obligation, and it has been one for two decades!

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Some more plane-spotting during taxiing:
777-200 JAL in OneWorld livery

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ANA A321

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The elegant all black livery of an A320 of Star Flyer, a Japanese LCC

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Firemen play firemen games

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The quite ugly control towers behind

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In flight

Imminent take off Runway 16L

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We are in flight at the level of the taxiways connecting Runways 16L/34R and 16R/34L

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There is no terminal on this side

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The double bridge supporting the taxiways to/from Runway 05/23

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Crossing Runway 05/23

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The ventilation infrastructure of the tunnel of the Aqualine (the bridge-tunnel crossing the Bay of Tōkyō).

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A glimpse of the harbor facilities in Anegasaki 姉ヶ崎 ("Elder Sister Cape"), in Chiba Prefecture, on the other side of the Bay of Tōkyō

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Tega dam lake (slightly to the right) and the Tone River. NRT is some forty kilometers beyond the lake, under the clouds top right in this picture

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The stadiums in Kashiwa-no-ha柏の葉Park, next to the campus in Kashiwa 柏 of the prestigious Tōkyō University.

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The air map provided by Air France was no help for localizing : it is much too imprecise by design, which I find especially frustrating.

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On the other hand, AF finds it relevant to provide me the precise location of the Eiffel Tower, without asking me if I’m interested, by shifting the air map into a cyclic display mode as soon as you stop touching the screen. It is especially annoying.

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Wrapped oshibori and printed menu

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The menu in French, English and Japanese

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And the drinks on a single trilingual page

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Apple juice for my wife and I.

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This is ten times what I ate, since this bag only contains 10 grams.

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The IFE begins with an ad for a hotel chain which is possible, but not very easy to halt. My wife’s IEF got stuck when she tried to start a game : the only remaining operational control was that of the individual light. The meal service has just started, with FAs going up and down the aisle bringing all kinds of special meals: the crew is evidently too busy to bother about a passenger’s FA call button. My wife eventually stops a FA on the way, stressing that she is in no hurry: he quickly rebooted her IFE back to operation from the galley.

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I triggered the FA call by mistake well before, and found no way to cancel it. Not a problem : the FAs did not react whatsoever. This FA call on the IFE was no more than a placebo button, as far as I was concerned.

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I actually find it rather inconvenient to have to use the IFE screen in order to adjust the individual light (or to have to “wake up” the IFE if you want to call a FA, even in the dead of the night), but they call it a progress.

What more can be said about this seat, once in flight ? I keep sliding forward, and have to tighten my seat belt to stay in place. Maybe this was designed on purpose, to make it easier to leave your seat and to have passengers fasten their seat belts, but I find it uncomfortable. The cabin fittings vibrate and the noise level of the reactors is somewhat high.

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The first meal, as served

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My wife and I chose as usual a different hot meal and neither was satisfactory. I chose salmon and it is very disappointing, due to its soggy breading.

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My wife is curter in her assessment of chicken : “it’s not good”.

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The bread has a pleasant texture but a stranger after-taste, confirmed by my wife. The butter is provided by a New Zealander brand which seems to have captured most of the Far-Eastern market and is OK.

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All the wrappings are easy to compress together

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… and store them in the seat pocket before the FAs gather them, so that I can sue again my laptop.

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We start with flying above Siberia

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Localization does not matter much there since there is no trace of human activity – I won’t see Khabarovsk.

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Most of the Siberian landscape is unfortunately going to be hidden

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Some classical music to kill time

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An advantage of being two passengers on twin seats is to be able to move around easily. We see here the change of seat layout from 2-4-2 in the rear to 3-4-3 beyond.

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The toilets are always very narrow in Economy class ; those at the rear of a 777 are no exception.

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Do not smoke in the toilets, but in the unlikely case that you forgot it, there is an ashtray. It is also possible to dispose safely of used syringes.

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This warning and the adhesive tape sealing cavities which could be opened out of sight are mandatory in any aircraft serving the USA, which this 777 is obviously doing at times.

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Door and emergency slide shot.

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The cloud cover dissipates partly, unveiling snowy summits,

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… and frozen rivers

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Distribution of a small (retrospectively vanilla) ice cream.

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After careful measurement of the dimensions of this ice-cream, including the lost volume of the wooden stick, I come to the conclusion that its volume is exactly 50 cm3, which translates into a probable 25 grams of ice cream : you can’t get sick with that little. (My wife wondered about my own mental sickness, watching this millimetric measuring sequence. ^^)

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Unequal sharing of four central seats by two passengers : the woman remained seated on a single seat fat left and her companion lied down on the other three seats.

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A good point, or rather no demerit for AF : nearly all passengers have lowered their window blinds, but no FA has asked me to do the same. My readers may remember that this issue is the reason why I do the utmost to avoid Korean Air: their non-negotiable policy is to maintain the whole aircraft in the dark on long distance flights, even if it is a day flight.

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The passenger in the previous row progressively lowers his window blind. What a shame (for him) to not look at this landscape!

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We are now there into the flight

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Breaks in the ice shelf

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And a break for us to walk around a little

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Set of self-serve soft drinks in the rear galley

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As well as small sandwiches

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"Small" means a 6 cm diameter for this one

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Unanimous evaluation by the Marathons : it’s not very good.

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Instant soup for Japanese reading passengers : pour 150 ml of hot water and wait 10 seconds.

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We are approaching the north cost of Norway

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The inaccuracy of the airmap and the scattered cloud cover conspire to dissuade me from localizing these fjords.

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I have to shut the window blind to take a picture of the IFE screen, otherwise the reflections are unmanageable.

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Norway under snow

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How can you determine where you are with better than 100 km precision with such an air map ?!

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Ice crystals came into the party to hamper my recording of the landscape

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The coast is a hopeless maze of islands and fjords

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I wrote down that 20 minutes before the second meal arrived, at 13:40 Paris time, therefore 00:40 Tōkyō time, I start being seriously hungry, which means that despite a plentiful lunch in the lounge, the quantities of the first meal on board were not enough.

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After unwrapping

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Let’s say charitably that it made it possible to survive until arrival

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Compacting the wrappings is easy

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I keep this cheap milk chocolate (more cost cutting) to eat with coffee after the meal

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Europe in adverse lighting conditions

The schedule of this flight is such that you can’t avoid adverse lighting, either in the Far East and above Siberia, or during the last third of the flight above Europe. There is no way I can locate the grass runway of Texel International Airport (EHTX) which contrary to what its name hints has no scheduled flights, but does have customs officers for private flights.

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Den Helder harbour, facing the south end of the Dutch Frisian islands.

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The mouth of the canal joining Amsterdam with the North Sea

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The last docks of the harbor, between and the sea

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AMS, easy to spot even in adverse lighting conditions.

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The Meuse River downstream from Rotterdam

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The Beerenplaat drinking water processing plant, in the lower third of the picture, and the harbor of Rotterdam in the background.

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Zoom on Rotterdam’s harbour

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Descent in the Greater Paris area

Since the lighting is too unfavorable, I take pictures again in Compiègne.

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The ponds in the meanders of the Oise River at Verberie

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Railway geeks know Verberie for its viaduct with which the high speed train line towards London and Amsterdam crosses the Oise River.

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Apremont and its golf course

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The city of Creil

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Air Base #110 in Creil (CSF). There are no military flights any more since 2016, only a private aviation club.

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Another view of Creil

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Distribution of a very small sweet during the descent

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The Seine river at Les Mureaux, downstream from Paris

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Zoom on the grass runway of Les Mureaux (LFXU). I very seldom see it when landing in CDG

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The Peugeot works in Poissy, lower left in this picture

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The forest of St Germain en Laye

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Center right, the castle of St Germain en Laye which houses the remarkable National Archeological Museum, with in particular the exceptional Venus of Brassempouy.

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The very long terrace of the castle of St Germain en Laye

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Paris and its suburbs from the sky

The plane lines up on CDG from very far west, which provides a beautiful panorama of Paris and its northern suburbs. The dark area in the center is the Bois de Boulogne

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The skyscrapers of the La Défense business area, in front of the Bois de Boulogne park

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Zoom on La Défense, with in particular the Grande Arche

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Zoom back

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The Arc de Triomphe, in the center of the picture

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The unusual shapes of the Louis Vuitton Foundation’s building emerge from the trees of the Bois de Boulogne

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The Tour Maine-Montparnasse Tower (center) is widely considered as the most beautiful place in Paris, because it is the only place where you are sure to not see it

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It was far from generating unanimous acclaim when it was being built, but has nevertheless become the quintessential symbol of Paris : the Eiffel Tower

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In the distance beyond the, the Meudon forest, south-west of Paris

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The docks of Gennevilliers, much closer to the air route

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Between Expressway A86 at the lower edge of the picture and the Seine River in the middle, the housing projects of Gennevilliers, compressed by the perspective

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Very far from Gennevilliers, from the social class point of view only, the posh suburb of Neuilly sur Seine, the Bois de Boulogne and the skyscrapers of La Défense business area.

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Nearly all of Paris with Montmartre Cemetery (the green space lower right) and the Sacré Coeur Basilica surrounded with small parks on the left .

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In the background of the above picture, and below, the tall housing buildings of the southern suburbs around the (former) Fort of Vanves, and part of Orly Airport (ORY) at the top edge of the picture below.

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The turn of the Seine River at Gennevilliers, easy to identify with its long, narrow and curved island in the middle. Immediately to the left, the railway tracks leading to Gare du Nord station.

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The Grand Stade and the Canal St Denis on the left

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La Courneuve park, under the wing

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La Courneuve park

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Le Bourget Airport (LBG)

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The branches of the expressway toward CDG

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The Carole Circuit, created in 1979, named after 18-year old Carole Le Fol, one of the last victims of the wild motorcycle night races at that time in the southern suburbs of Paris.

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The white triangle is a tiny park for the travelling community, similar to that located north of CDG, in the least desirable place with regards to air movement noise.

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Landing under the gaze of plane spotters whose cars are parked alongside the road skirting the airport’s limits.

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E-170 Hop ! and WDL Aviation BAE-146 in the vicinity of Terminal 2G

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Fire trucks Special

Funny, a wandering fire truck!

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And another on another taxiway

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Korean Air A380

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Two fire trucks and a light fire brigade car on the taxiway behind us

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One more on the parallel taxiway

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And yet another car. There must be something going on somewhere.

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We meanwhile approach Terminal 2E, with three AF A319 surrounding a Tarom 737-800 in Skyteam livery.

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The fire trucks keep trailing us

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There is no other aircraft taxiing in the vicinity : could it be that they are here for us, and why then ?

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They are certainly there for this Air India787, anyway

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An AF 777 AF takes off in the background

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Last turn

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These fire trucks are really for us. What is going on?

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A yellow Robocop approaches

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Only now does the captain goes on the PA : "You may have noticed the fire trucks next to our planes. There has been a suspicious smell in the rear of the aircraft in the past two minutes ; they are going to check the holds. You have nothing to worry about ; deplaning will start as soon as we receive the OK.”

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Deplaning and arrival landside

Going through the Y+ cabin

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And then the J cabin

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We have reached our gate 5 minutes ahead of schedule : no qualms about punctuality

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The fire trucks are still there, and I won’t know anything about their possible findings.

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Arrival in the luggage delivery room

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The first pieces of luggage appearing on the delivery belt are labelled B (standard passenger checked luggage: no respect of priorities ?

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No, this very long belt is actually fed by two separate luggage arrivals: the priority bags including our own promptly appear at the second one.

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A long walk alongside all these luggage delivery belts to reach the exit

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And a long walk in the reverse direction on the other side of the glass partition, once landside

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The access to the RER train station is nearly at the Departures level

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A380 of an airline whose external growth was badly misguided.

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Zero waiting time at the train ticket machines because this is Easter Sunday and Monday is off in France : the foreigners arrived the day before, the French will come back the next day.

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We now only need to board the RER train, from the platform which is raised to train floor level at the ends only, like they tried to minimize PRM accessibility to the legal minimum.

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We have reached our destination, and if you still have some time and patience, I propose a bonus on Tōkyō

Bonus : Wandering in the streets of TōkyŌ

Bonus : Click here display
See more


Air France

Cabin crew8.0

JAL Sakura Lounge - International


Tokyo - HND


Paris - CDG



The fee for travelling on twin seats has a good quality-price ratio thanks to the increased seat pitch which allows using a laptop even when the passenger in the previous row reclines his seatback. Being among the last to deplane could of course be a problem if you have a tight connection, which was not our case.
The crew did his job ; the initial warning about pictures on board could have been made with a softer undertone.
Once you’ve played with the 3D simulation of the aircraft, the air map is both disappointing and frustrating, because it is much too inaccurate and goes into a cyclic mode alternating between views of zero interest for me as soon as you stop touching the screen.
You don’t travel by plane for a dining experience, at least not in Economy, but AF sets the attractivity of the food served on board at an unacceptably low level.

Fluidity was optimum in HND thanks to the Skypriority access, but it seemed OK at the regular security control; immigration was the same for all passengers, and it was fast.
No matter your status and class of travel, the accessibility of HND is excellent for all passengers.

Fluidity is OK in CDG, but the walking distance is excessive; the access is hampered by the inadequacy of the RER train for serving a major airport.

There is no significant difference between Sakura Sky View Lounge and Sakura Lounge, apart from the very significant view on the tarmac. It’s too bad that the former is closed in the afternoon. There is ample moving and visual space in both; the crowd was moderate in the Sakura Lounge (this criterion does not apply to the other lounge which was soon to close).
The catering is not overwhelming, but it is satisfactory for a Japanese lounge.
Entertaining in a lounge is for me the view on the tarmac which is good in the former and absent in the latter.

Information on the route Tokyo (HND) Paris (CDG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 23 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Tokyo (HND) → Paris (CDG).


The airline with the best average rating is Japan Airlines with 8.1/10.

The average flight time is 12 hours and 36 minutes.

  More information


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 505301 by
    sotto_Deactivated 82 Comments

    What a boring FB: Eternally long pictures of the Duty Free Shop. Boring photos of planes of other airlines. Highlight: Review of trays and ice cream. Ha as a passenger his impressions or a bean counter described his desire? I would rather save such a FB. As a precaution, I refer to the FB with KL AMS to LIS.

    • Comment 505305 by
      marathon AUTHOR 9834 Comments

      Eternally long pictures of the Duty Free Shop.

      There are three pictures in duty free shops, four if you include that of the water fountain where a duty free shop appears partly in the background. Is that really too long ?
      Boring photos of planes of other airlines.

      This is an aviation geek website. Why didn't you use the summary and skip Chapter 6 ?
      Ha as a passenger his impressions or a bean counter described his desire?

      These are the impressions of a bean counting passenger ;)
      What a boring FR

      I do admire your perseverance. In your position, I would have closed this 332 pictures long report somewhere in the second lounge.Thanks for your comment ! :)

  • Comment 505436 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Salut François,

    It's always a delight to read your FR's. Although I have not been been around in a while that doesn't mean that I do not return to check on the experiences of some of the most talented contributors.

    I agree with you 100% about the convenience of getting to HND from downtown TYO and vv.. I don't know how people managed on previous times when only NRT was available. Times have changed and this is a positive one that we can all enjoy and take advantage of.

    Smart move to get the 2 seats in the back. I would have done the same thing if I was traveling with someone.

    Good investment on the kokeshis. I find them really pretty and such an unique souvenir.

    "Once you tried the Japanese toilets with integrated washlets once, you forever regret not having one at home."
    - Just like once you had champagne you will never go back to beer? :P

    Overall I find Japanese lounges (JL and NH) to be more functional than anything else. Catering is decent but nothing to be truly impressed. Having said that, I appreciated the temporary sushi service at NH NRT airport. Another thing that I dislike about Japanese lounges in general is the lack of privacy in the seating areas. Everything is so open and with a neighbor. It all feels very "communal" and perhaps it is a cultural thing over in Japan where any display of non conformity and standing out is not really looked upon positively.

    "Going through the Premium Economy cabin whose quality-cost ratio I find very poor "
    - I never found this cabin appealing on AF. Those seats that slide forward instead of reclining are a big turn off for me. In addition the lack of metal utensils for the meal service feel rather cheap.

    "a male FA comes up and sternly tells me that there shall be no pictures of the crew."
    - Talk about an aggressive first impression. Good that you did not let him elaborate further and stopped him on his track. A rude interactions deserved to be diffused right away.

    "Because in front of my seat, the contents of an aperitif bag have not been cleaned."
    - I'm surprised that the Japanese cleaning crew missed this.

    "and in this report the time to say again how much I dislike it."
    - Perhaps it's the long association with DL but AF can use something better than humor in producing its safety videos.

    "Wrapped oshibori and printed menu"
    - The design of the menu could be more appealing. What happened to creativity?

    "I chose salmon and it is very disappointing, due to its soggy breading."
    - When will airlines learn that anything with breading is not fit to be served as airplane meal? Stews are so much better in that respect. At least your dessert looked decent and like a proper dessert, not an industrial packaged cookie or cake.

    Great plane spotting and gorgeous aerials of Paris upon landing.

    Thank you once again for sharing your inimitable perspective and pointing us the sights of interest along the journey.

    • Comment 505545 by
      marathon AUTHOR 9834 Comments

      I don't know how people managed on previous times when only NRT was available. Times have changed and this is a positive one that we can all enjoy and take advantage of.

      Much to my regret, I’ll fly to NRT next time: the flights to HND were much too expensive at time of booking.

      Smart move to get the 2 seats in the back. I would have done the same thing if I was traveling with someone.

      Betting on a neutralized middle seat is an option too.

      Good investment on the kokeshis. I find them really pretty and such a unique souvenir.

      Kokeshis are cheap, unbreakable, come in all sizes and design variations… the perfect souvenir IMHO.

      Just like once you had champagne you will never go back to beer?

      This comparison is purely theoretical to me, but I get the meaning ;)

      Catering (in the lounges) is decent but nothing to be truly impressed.


      Another thing that I dislike about Japanese lounges in general is the lack of privacy in the seating areas. Everything is so open and with a neighbor. It all feels very "communal" and perhaps it is a cultural thing over in Japan where any display of non-conformity and standing out is not really looked upon positively.

      I guess that is where my Japanese culture kicks in. The more privacy the designers try to provide in lounges and airplanes, the more oppressed I tend to feel.

      Talk about an aggressive first impression. Good that you did not let him elaborate further and stopped him on his track.

      I know when to remain silent in front of an aggressive cop, and when to stop dead in hit track someone who should not behave like an aggressive cop.

      I'm surprised that the Japanese cleaning crew missed this.

      I hope for whoever was on duty in this aircraft that his supervisor does not read Flight Report.

      AF can use something better than humor in producing its safety videos

      Humor is tricky to handle in international settings, and becomes stale if it is not renewed often. AF’s safety video is like Uncle Archie telling the same jokes again at the same moments in each family gathering year after year: it’s plain boring.

      The design of the menu could be more appealing. What happened to creativity?

      Cost cutting again

      When will airlines learn that anything with breading is not fit to be served as airplane meal?

      Either this meal has not been tested in flight, or (worse) it has, and been deemed good enough for steerage.

      Thanks for your detailed comment!

  • Comment 505777 by
    ThomasDutch BRONZE 597 Comments

    I am definitely not impressed with the catering Air France delivers to passengers in Y class. It looks unappetizing and it may taste even worse if I read through your comments. KL's catering reduced in quantity for example, but quality is improved... I'm still not entirely sure why AF is not really adopting to newer standards instead of pointing fingers.. and the way the food looks, I can hardly believe that it was from a Japanese catering company.
    Thanks for your detailed report. It was a pleasure reading through it.

    • Comment 505787 by
      marathon AUTHOR 9834 Comments

      I ate what AF paid for, but AF sadly acquires the stingy reputation they pay for.
      It was indeed unworthy of a Japanese catering : does AF really care ?
      Thanks for your appreciative comment on my report (but not on the food served on board^^) !

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