The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 7 hours and 40 minutes.More information
Welcome to the first report of my summer vacation flights.
We had to attend a wedding near Montréal and as we already knew the Quebec province, we then decided to go to Vancouver and British Columbia.
Flights were booked in February, for about 700EUR we could fly Air France and WestJet on a CDG-YUL / YVR-YYZ-CDG or for about 650EUR AirTransat with OptionPlus and fly direct CDG-YUL / YVR-CDG.
These fares seemed quite cheap, a few years ago, a return flight CDG-YUL in the summer was at least 800EUR.
Service still being better on AF than TS and with the miles and Silver Flying Blue Status we went for Air France.
Our flight to YUL left at convenient time and we got to CDG about 2 hours before take off, I had already checked in online and my seats had be chosen at booking, so no reason to be at the airport too early.
In spite of the peak season and peak time of the day, we didn't wait too long to do the check in by ourselves, printing and putting the luggage tag yourself and then scanning it before placing the luggage on the band.
I don't really like that but no choice when flying Y I guess.
The AF staff was there to help if needed, and they at least, greeted everyone and wished us a safe flight.
Our flight would depart from gates K, I'll never get the opportunity to see the gates M :-(
I reckon it's beautiful from an architecural point of view.
As we reached the gate, the screen showed a 20 minutes delay, no big deal.
A first look at today's plane, a 10 year old 777-300ER registered F-GZNF that arrived in the morning from Punta Cana.
Some AF 777 have a high density config with 468 seats, for leisure destinations like French Carribean, Montreal or Lima.
I went to the end of the pier where there are lounging chairs (all occupied) and a view on Terminals 2C and 2A and a nice tail lineup.
I came back to our gate, only to learn that boarding, initially planned at 12h30 was now postponed to 13h15, our actual departure time…
This was due to the cleaning of the aircraft, which is strange as it arrived 4 hours earlier, which left ample time.
But I did see some technical staff coming out of the plane with neon tubes, so I guess the problem was light bulbs or something.
The queue to board by zone was huge.
Zones 1 and 2 are SkyPriority and Business Class, but then the number of pax in zones 3, 4 and 5 seemed highly unequal, like 50 pax in zones 3 and 5 each, and 300 pax in zone 4.
We were in zone 4 and waited til most people had boarded to join the queue.
At about 13h45 we were finally about to board that beautiful bird.
A friendly FA was welcoming passengers and directing them to their seat.
As we boarded through door 1L we passed the 2 rows of J class and 4 rows of W, all seats were occupied.
When we reached the economy section it felt like public transport at peak time, all seats taken, people standing in the aisle looking for space for their luggage only to be told to keep them under the seat in front of them.
We reached our seat, on the fifth row of the economy, in front of the engine. Not often you get that view in economy class.
Pitch was pretty bad, to think that planes in this configuration does 11 hour flights to MRU or RUN :-(
The welcome announcement from the pilot and the purser had a detailed apology about the delay.
We pushed back at 14H30, more than an hour late. Passing gates M with narrow bodies to non Schengen destinations
I thought we'd take off from the north runway but this would have meant 20 minutes more of taxi, and with our delay we taxied to the south runway instead, something unusual for flights to North America.
In front of us was this 777-200 to Beijing
Seen from the camera on the older IFE screen
Finally at 14h30, after a long and heavy take off roll we took off, this is terminal 2G.
What followed was pure joy for me, a proud Parisian, as we took a sharp right turn, and overflew Paris on a clear day with all landmarks visible. I'm used to look at planes from the ground as they fly over Paris, it was funny being on the opposite side.
I've indicated some landmarks as they're not all easy to spot.
As we headed east, we then passed Versailles
And the bay of Mont St Michel and the long white beach of Carolles where we have a summer home.
Finally, 25 minutes after take off the island of Jersey was perfectly visible
Service started with a thick refreshing towel, but no menu. I guess they were discontinued, which I don't mind as they reduce waste.
There used to be a first service with a drink and a snack, but we were directly served our lunch, I don't know if this is the new service concept or if it's because of the delay though.
Choices were very original (LOL) chicken or pasta. I went for the chicken and took champagne (gotta celebrate our vacations!) and ginger ale to go with that.
The appetizer was some kind of couscous salad, the dessert a prune pie that proved tasty.
Cheese was a camembert, very standard French cheese ^^
Bread was tasty for Y class and refills were offered.
Crew was friendly and efficient but they didn't really personnalize the service, though I can't blame them with such a full flight.
Trays were cleared quickly and hot drinks were offered, digestives were available but not proactively offered, you had to ask, so coffee and a pear liquor for me.
The boring part of the flight then started as we were asked to lower our window blinds.
I watched a movie hich killed 2 hours, then took a nap, but squeezed in as we were, it wasn't easy.
Here's a shot of the creen, the resolution is bad but the selection is decent, even on these older cabins.
I then got up to stretch my legs, but didn't go too far as the 3 packed economy cabins, going from door 2 to door 5 didn't seem pleasant to walk through.
Drinks were available in the galleys.
A shot of the first Y cabin where we were seated.
I was really impatient to see the North American continent again, I hadn't been there in 9 months and I was missing that part of the world which I love.
Finally here it was.
About 90 minutes before landing, a snack was served in this nice paper bag.
The was a small sandwich, apple slices and a yoghurt a. Hot drinks and soft drinks were also offered, though you could ask for alcohol too.
A decent snack better than what LH or KL offers.
Trash was collected and we slowly started our descent to YUL
Crew came aroung passing salted caramels known as Salidou in France.
We landed from the north which gave us a nice view of downtown Montreal with the Olympic Stadium
The Observatoire du Mont Royal
YUL here we are !
We landed with about 70 minutes delay, not a good performance from Air France even if they apologized again in their landing announcement.
We passed the ATR of Air Saint Pierre connecting the French North Atlantic island of St Pierre et Miquelon to Montreal
Reaching the terminal, dominated by Air Canada
We parked next to this AC 777 that would depart to Paris in a few hours
We disembarked quickly and arrived in the immigration hall that was pretty empty.
After using the machine, you've got a small interview with an agent, and no longer get a stamp on your passport, but I requested one and the friendly agent put one in my passport.
However we waited almost an hour for our luggage. There were 4 flights on the same carrousel and many unused ones around, a poor performance from Montreal Airport.
The final impression of the flight is average due to the delay and basic comfort.
The good meals and IFE selection as well as the friendly crew partially compensated for that.
But I would not choose AF for a flight over 8 hours on that configuration.