The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 13 hours and 28 minutes.More information
A good argentinian friend of mine from Paris was getting married and she invited me to her wedding in december 2013 in … Mendoza in Argentina!
I have always been curious about this country and I was super excited as it was my First long haul flight.. and what a long haul flight! For almost 14 hours !
I was that enthousiast about this holidays that I asked my boss 3 weeks off as soon as I knew; about 10 month ahead and I booked the flight at the same time - I didn't realise at the time booking a flight 10 months or 2 months ahead doesn't make any difference ;-)
I looked at British Airways - a direct option and I was flying more regularly BA than AF at the time, but both Iberia and Air France came cheaper on the search engine - all the people I asked were telling me to avoid Iberia as the planes were old, durty and didn't have IFE - so it was a good excuse to get my flying blue mileage boosted and fly AF!
Flying blue Miles earned with this flight: 2021
(before the program changed to a revenue-based model)
I booked on the website directly and in economy Air France offers a cabin luggage and a 23kg checkin luggage. As it was my first long haul flight, I also paid for a extra legroom and chose for 35K as 35L was unavailable for some reason. The cabin was featuring 316 seats at the time-before the retrofit of Best and Beyound so i had the old seats for this trip.
I arrived in Charles De Gaulle Terminal 2 E Hall L, and walked downstairs to jump to the driverless shuttle connecting the three halls K, L and M.
I arrived in the vast Hall K through a specific corridor that avoides another security check to the main semi circular hall and walked through Hermes to be in the red carpet terminal itself.
The terminal is remarcably well designed: there are loads of different seating areas, sofas, food stores; free charging points, and almost full flat sofas here and there.
It was a quiet evening as you can see as I think my flight was the last to leave that day.
We heard the announce of the boarding being prepared and I left my sofa to go to gate K47 to board the triple 7.
Here was our tripple 7!
Aircraft: Boeing 777-228ER
Engines: 2x GE90
Age: 14 Years
Layout: C28 W24 Y264
Observation: The aircraft was one of the first to be retrofitted in Best and Beyound shortly after my trip.
The business class and premium economy boarded first and I went to board through the economy jetway. The staff at the gate was really professional.
I was welcomed by the crew in the economy cabin
The seat was a bit old and felt quite tough, and it has the particularity to have the IFE screen under the left arm rest. The tray table was too. I booked the middle seat 35K but after boarding I moved to 35L as nobody came to claim it!
There was a blanket, the famous red pillow, a pair of headseat and sleeping mask - so not too bad for economy.
The cabin is configured in a 3-4-3 format, standard for the economy class for the majority of airlines on their B777s.
As my seat was on the emergency exit; it had extra room and so I could have extended my legs at my leasure and put my stuff on the large racks on top of my seats - way larger than most of the planes of the time.
Air France played their usual calm boarding music:
After push back we had the regular announce by the captain telling us there would be some turbulences towards the end of the flight in themorning - not good for breakfast!
The IFE displayed the old Safety Video.
We taxied some time passing by Terminal 2E, D and B and the freight area. We aligned on runway 8L and took off from there.
After take off and the seat belt switched off passed 10,000 feet, the crew very rapidly started to serve aperitif - champagne and the meal.
The food service was of 3 course meal menu, with an option of two wines to choose amongst the reds - i chose a Côtes du Rhône and you could choose a white wine.
the Starter was some sort of cold ratatouille, the main meal was chicken with patatoes grattin and mushrooms and the dessert an apple tarte. There was also a quite big baguette, water and the possibility to have a liquor after the meal (chartreuse for me!).
The Air France magasine is quite elaborate with 330 pages, a first section about world's statistics, travels, Air France fleet presentation and a presentation of films.
The AvGEEK bit
On the fleet presentation, as you can see these were the glorious days for the short and medium haul fleet - the planes were doing less rotations per day hence more planes, also there was no Transavia so the regional fleet was much larger. In the case of Hop, the benefit of having that many different types of aircraft is the flexibility for lower demand routes but the cost of maintenance is huge for such complexity. A quick comparison with the change with today's fleet
43 A319 nowadays 33
60 A320 nowadays 43
25 A321 nowadays 20
25 Avro RJ85 nowadays 0 - Cityjet was sold by Air France.
20 ERJ145 nowadays 13
16 ERJ170 nowadays 15
10 ERJ190 nowadays 13
4 CRJ200 nowadays 0
15 CRJ700 nowadays 11
13 CRJ1000 nowadays14
13 ATR42 nowadays 0
10 ATR72 nowadays 5
Interestingly, Air Corsica was counted as part of the Air France fleet…
After watching a movie, i reclined my seat and despite my slightly better seat than my other co-travellers in economy, I could only sleep just a few hours..
After a couple of hours, the sun finally rose as we were over South America.
We were served breakfast two hours before landing which included orange juice, coffee and i a pastry. As expected the turbulences started at the same time; some of time we very impressive - enough for the crew to stop the breakfast service for a good 10 min.
The descent started whilst over the south of Brazil, with an announce from the captain telling us we were running a bit ahead of schedule.
We landed on runway 35 and arrived a few minutes later at terminal C, just next to a British Airways B747 arriving from London Heathrow.
We soon after deboarded through the jetway after the business class and I remember the passport control being very very slow.
In conclusion it was a very good first long haul flight for me.
The B777-200 is a good plane on average to travel on, however the seats were old before the best and beound retrofit campaign.
Cabin design: 8/10
Seat comfort (upright): 6/10
Seat comfort (bed position): 6.5/10
Food (quality): 7/10
Food (quantity): 8/10
Inflight entertainment : 8/10