Review of Air France flight Paris Toronto in Economy

Airline Air France
Flight AF356
Class Economy
Seat 21A
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 08:00
Take-off 20 Jan 19, 14:25
Arrival at 20 Jan 19, 16:25
AF   #41 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 3971 reviews
wop
By SILVER 1130
Published on 27th July 2019

Hi,

Today, we are flying to an exotic overseas French island. It is not in the Caribbean nor in the Indian Ocean, but in the North Atlantic: we are going to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon islands! Located between Canadian Nova-Scotia and Newfoundland, these two tiny islands are part of France, and count as low as 5000 inhabitants on Saint-Pierre and 500 on Miquelon.

The easy option to reach this destination from Europe would be waiting for the summer, during which ASL Airlines operates a 737 once a week from Paris-CDG. But we won't do that. We'll go there right in the middle of winter, when wind blows and snow falls heavily. The first objective is then to reach Montreal, Halifax or St. John's which are the only airports with flights to Saint-Pierre between October and May (1, 4 and 3 flights a week, respectively). All these are operated with a single ATR42-500 by Air Saint-Pierre, the local airline which also flies daily between Saint-Pierre and Miquelon with a small Cessna F406, an 10 minutes flight that we'll try to catch as well.

All Montreal - Saint-Pierre flights were already fully booked a few months in advance, so we are going to stop in Toronto and Halifax while going there, while using the "direct" Montreal route for the return. The routing is supposed to look like this:


photo routing

This first flight is a classic Paris - Toronto, featuring a few novelties on the ground and inflight. Fasten your seat belt, and let's go!

As often, the work begins with the booking and the choice of a seat. The 100 minutes connection in Toronto is quite tight since we need to go through immigration, luggage collection, customs, check-in, security and find the gate for the next week. That means that each row counts (for 10 people exactly). I manage to get a 21A seat in front of the economy cabin. Will I get a neighbor? We'll see!


photo capture-decran-de-2019-01-19-12-15-39

12.30, Paris-CDG still has its impressive departures list. I also still have that magic remote control, and as I press a button, my flights blinks. Splendid. ;) Our flight is expected to leave at 14.25, on time.


photo dsc_1060r

My FlyingBlue Silver card offers priority check-in, but not in the Sky Priority area at CDG 2E terminal. I struggle to find the "Silver" check-in desk among the numerous check-in areas. Can you find it on this photo?


photo dsc_1062r

Here it is! On the sign on the left, below "kids solo", a small "Flying Blue Silver" line. And to the right, a single screen with the SkyTeam Elite logo.


photo dsc_1062-1r

I'm not sure that this "priority" counter made me save a lot of time since it is quite hard to find. At least, the staff at the check-in desk is very nice and on my request, checks and confirms that I'll need to clear my suitcase through customs in Toronto. It is however labelled to Halifax.

My boarding pass also lists the two flights to Halifax, where I am (supposed) to spend the night before leaving at 14.00 (supposedly, again) with Air Saint-Pierre.


photo dsc_1488r-94508

13.00, security and police controls are seamless and we reach CDG 2E hall M.


photo dsc_1063-67732

We'll cross the Atlantic with F-GSPP today. Nothing special to declare, besides the fact that it still wears the old livery, more than 10 years after the introduction of the current one. As all of Air France 777-200ERs, it was delivered new to the airline between 1998 and 2002, in this case in February 2001.


photo dsc_1064rphoto dsc_1065r

A little further, an A340 operated by Royal… hum no …by Air Belgium, preparing for a flight to Africa on behalf of Air France.


photo dsc_1067r

We still have some time before boarding, let's visit the "Economy class Lounge" ;) and its wide range of fresh drinks.



13.40, boarding starts with clearly delimited zones. It is quite efficient, and after a dozen of minutes there's almost nobody left. Let's board! We are warmly greeted as we step in the plane.


photo dsc_1071-36274

Will I get a white dots or a newer red line seat? Both! The bottom seat is oddly different from the other seats, and quite wrinkled. Would a sick passenger have occupied this seat before?


photo dsc_1072

Cushion and blanket are already here, along with the amenity kit reduced to the headset and the new collectible eye-shade. Both will stay in their plastic packaging. The pitch is decent, no more.


photo dsc_1073

And here is the screen. Both it and the interface are recent. The seat lacks some storage, but the hook over the screen is nonetheless usefull to hand headsets.


photo dsc_1074

14.00, "bording complete", but we are still waiting for some luggage to be loaded. The seat next to mine will remain free, yeay!
8 hours and 10 minutes of flight are announced by the captain, winds are not in our favor today.


photo dsc_1075-90714

A little surprise: the buckle of my seatbelt is mounted backwards. Not only coiled but completely opposed to the part supposed to fit in. I'll completely remove it to place it again correctly.


photo dsc_1076

The pushback is made on-time, at 14.28. The wing of our 777 is really huge.


photo dsc_1077

Safety demonstrations are performed on the screens. "France is in the air" dance is still here, but without the original music. It feels a little strange with the very sober new music. But I am maybe too much used to the first version.


photo dsc_1078photo dsc_1084r

Take off at 14.40 with 3589 meters of runway that should be plenty enough. You may notice that runway lighting is very "white": as in other airports, CDG has installed LED lighting on all its runways.



5000 ft, we are above the clouds.


photo dsc_1085

Seatbelt signs are quickly turned off, and power sockets on. We have started sharing the middle seat area with my neighbour.


photo dsc_1089

Menus and thick white tea perfumed refreshing towels are distributed.


photo dsc_1090

Let's save some paper and have a look a the menu on the screen. "Tomato sauce chicken with rice" or "penne gratin in butternut sauce".
I'll have the pictured prawn spaghetis, please!



Service begins some  30 minutes after take-off with drinks and salty snacks.
After the middle seat space, we continue the sharing with its screen, on which I select the moving map.


photo dsc_1095r

10 grams. That's almost 4 biscuits.
The glass could contain Champagne that was offered, but fearing it could be warm and of a poor quality, I'll only ask for some Ginger Ale.


photo dsc_1097

16.00 Paris time, 10.00 Toronto time, here is the tray. It used to include a fruit (sliced apples or clementine) on Transatlantic flights, but cost cutting apparently made its work.


photo dsc_1098

I choose the pasta gratin, that is produced in the West of France by a famous French manufacturer of fresh products (Fleury Michon), according to the label.


photo dsc_1099

It is far from being gastronomy, but still fairly eatable. I would dare to say it was even good, as the tray attests.


photo dsc_1100

Cabin ambiance after the meal. Lights are dimmed and most window blinds are closed.


photo dsc_1103

On-board literature. Halifax is part of code-share destinations, but Saint-Pierre is not listed.



80 minutes before landing, lights are turned on again for the second service. It has changed since my previous flights to Canada: the breakfast style snack (orange juice, brioche, yoghout, cheese and biscuits) has turned into this little bag.

It contains an Italian-made chicken sandwich, a portuguese fruit puree and a French madeleine. But not a single towel, which could be useful since the sandwich filling is quite liquid. A steward will need to go to the toilets to find some as I ask one. Other passengers will imitate me.

The salted items are a nice addition, but I'm unsure this bag that is going to be thrown away is really useful.


photo dsc_1104

During that time, the ground begins to be clearly visible. There's little doubt we are over Canada.


photo dsc_1105photo dsc_1107

The previous days included heavy snowfalls, but the sky is now clear over Toronto. Between two cloud, we get a nice view over downtown.



And we finally land on a quite snowy airfield, under a very low light at 16.55, 5 minutes later than we were supposed to reach the gate. Our Halifax flight is supposed to take off in 95 minutes…


photo dsc_1111rphoto dsc_1112

The taxiing in the blowing snow is very low. The taxiways are barely recognizable at some places.


photo dsc_1115photo dsc_1117

Terminal 3 finally appears and we pass by several WestJet 737s. One of them may be the one with which we are to continue this journey. The airline owns more than 120 of them: C-FGWJ, C-GWSJ… many registrations include "WS" or "WJ".


photo dsc_1119

We finally reach the gate at 17.05, next to this British twin. Next flight in 85 minutes…


photo dsc_1121

…except that there are apparently some issues with the jetbridge, as we are told by the flight crew.

We finally leave the aircraft at 17.25. The purples marked connections circuit goes through the same steps as arriving passengers: a long walk to primary immigration kiosks, then passports control, luggage collection, customs… which brings us with our luggage in front of this sign at the entrance of re-checkin area at 18.05. Take-off in 25 minutes, with still the security to go through. Will it work? ✈️


photo dsc_1125
See more

Verdict

Air France

7.6/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering7.0

Paris - CDG

7.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Toronto - YYZ

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

An overall good experience: nice crew, very decent cabin, modern IFE with power and USB sockets. Regarding food, pros and cons: the second meal has improved, but the first one continues its diet. On-time departure but a 30 minutes late arrival, that's enough to stress a bit connecting passengers.

Information on the route Paris (CDG) Toronto (YYZ)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 30 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Paris (CDG) → Toronto (YYZ).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 8 hours and 13 minutes.

  More information

4 Comments

  • Comment 513409 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4857 Comments

    What an exotic routing! I've always wanted to go to St. Pierre & Miquelon just for the novelty of it, but never had a chance.

    I manage to get a 21A seat in front of the economy cabin. Will I get a neighbor? We'll see!

    Looks like FB silvers only get a discount in seat selection? That's a shame...especially that it's just a normal seat and not like a Siege+ (or whatever the extra legroom seats are called). Guessing it's free for Gold and Platinum?

    "Nothing special to declare, besides the fact that it still wears the old livery, more than 10 years after the introduction of the current one"
    - Wow...that's nuts! AF are soooooo slow at painting aircraft (and installing new interiors). And I believe it's been 12 years since the "new" livery was unveiled....craziness!

    Cushion and blanket are already here, along with the amenity kit reduced to the headset and the new collectible eye-shade.

    Have to say it's nice that AF provide a small amenity kit in Y. So rare these days, especially on TATL.

    The seat next to mine will remain free, yeay!

    Yay! That always makes a trip in Y sooo much more tolerable.

    The glass could contain Champagne that was offered, but fearing it could be warm and of a poor quality, I'll only ask for some Ginger Ale.

    Still it's awesome that AF serve real champagne in Y...again, very rare

    As usual the catering looks good in Y on AF...the pre-arrival meal looks improved compared to the days I used to fly AF.

    Thanks for this well-written and interesting report!

    • Comment 513643 by
      wop SILVER AUTHOR 234 Comments

      Looks like FB silvers only get a discount in seat selection?

      That's correct. However, it seems that you are also granted access to seats in front of the economy cabin, that cannot be selected by non-Elite passengers. This includes the whole mini-cabin in the 77W depicted in the return flight, and increases the chances to have a vacant seat nearby. Nothing about this is official, but I travelled several times with colleagues that could not select seats in the 6-7 first rows of "normal" economy.

      For sure, AF product is still above average on these transatlantic flights, and one of my favourite choices. Even when not top-notch, Champagne is still many times more expensive that soft drinks!

  • Comment 513459 by
    757Fan 532 Comments

    Thank you for for sharing. As Kevin mentions above, the catering for Y looks really good. That entree looks delicious! I flew on AF back in 2014 from Rennes to Marseilles, and I had a really nice flight. Yes it was a short haul flight, but service was great. Looking forward to your next report!

Login to post a comment.