Review of Air France flight Washington Paris in Premium Eco

Airline Air France
Flight AF039
Class Premium Eco
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 07:20
Take-off 09 Jun 11, 16:40
Arrival at 10 Jun 11, 06:00
AF   #41 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 3969 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 10681
Published on 26th August 2013
Hi Everybody!

For my 60th Flight-Report on this site, I decided to re-work my very first report published back in 2011 and publish it in English.
Here is the original report in French: http://flight-report.com/fr/report-717.html

I'll also be including a little bonus at the end of this Flight-Report that wasn't on the original French version.

For those of you newcomers to the English-language version of this site who don't know me, let me take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Kevin, well techincally it's Kévin ^^ and I'm originally from France (Rodez, Aveyron in the Southwest of France) but have lived in the US most of my life. I currently live in Washington, DC hence my screename KévinDC. I've been a member of this site since almost the beginning over two years ago and absolutely love it! I am now one of the site moderators. Like most members I am passionate about aviation and travel. I'm basically a total AvGeek :-)
I hope that you will enjoy this site as much as I have these past two years!

On to the FR!

This flight was my very first flight on an A380 and I was rediculously excited! I decided to take a half-day from work in order to get to the airport early and enjoy the lounge. A380 flights at Washington-Dulles had only been inaugurated a few days earlier so I was on the 4th A380 departure ever from IAD! My flight was also on F-HPJE, which had been delivered to AF a few weeks earlier. I would be one of the first revenue customers in my seat! F-HPJE was also the first AF A380 to be fitted with a Premium Economy cabin (called Prémium Voyageur at the time).

We had checked-in online the night before so once we got to the airport around 1PM, we just needed to drop off our bags. Because it was so early, there was noone in the Business Class check-in line so we quickly dropped off our bags with a charming agent and received our invitations to the lounge. There was no such thing as Sky Priority yet at that time so the agent stamped PREMIUM on the back of our boarding passes so that we could access the PREMIUM lanes at security.

My Boarding Pass and Lounge invitation

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First sight of our A380 from the concourse.

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Time to go down some Champagne in the AF lounge ;-)
Too bad the glasses are so small. Oh well, I guess having to get up all the time is good excercise, LOL

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The Lounge had recently been opened in this location in anticipation of the A380 flights.

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View of the famous Saarinen Terminal from the lounge.

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jambon-beurre sandwich with some cheese

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Boarding is announced in the lounge about 45 minutes before departure. The gate is right accross from the lounge, which is great. Passengers on the lower deck board at gate A20 and those on the upper deck, which includes Premium Economy, board through gate A22.

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The view from the top of the A22 jetway.

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We are greeted by two very friendly FAs at the boarding door. You can tell that they are pround of this plane, Air France's new flagship.
Aaah, that new plane smell. It's glorious!

The Premium Economy cabin

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Our seats, 85A and B
I'll be taking the window

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The first row of Premium Economy

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The windows are huge but I'm not a big fan because they are thick and double-paned which reduces the view.
Nevertheless it feels pretty cool sitting up so high above the ground in an airplane!

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Convenient storage compartments next to the windown seats. This is a huge advantage of being on the upper-deck of the A380 as opposed to the lower-deck!

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A quick view of the Y cabin. Looks pretty good. Definitely better than the cattle-car 777s ;-)

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The tray-tables are huge in Premium

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…and so is the IFE

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There are two bottle of water between the seats, which is nice.

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The pitch (between 38 and 40)

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I'm clearly super excited to be on an A380, LOL
And yes, I'm a dork ;-)

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The staircase at the rear of the aircraft leading to the lower-deck.

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The rear Y cabin on the lower-deck. Note the very high ceilings–very spacious.

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The amenity kit. At the time, it was exactly the same as the Business Class kit. This is no longer the case, unfortunately. Not to mention that even in Business class these days, the kit does not have this much stuff in it.

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Safety card



In this pic you can get an idea of how spacious it is in the window seats with the large storage bins along the wall.

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The view from my seat

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Despite borading being completed in time for an on-time departure, the captain makes an annoucement that departure will be delayed about half an hour due to ATC delays above New York airspace…wow ATC delays over NYC in the summer, there's a shocker, LOL

And we're off! Pushback



Uh oh…watch out for those BarbieJets!

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The tail camera is turned on during taxi.

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Lining up on RWY 19L

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It took forever for the plane to take off and when it did you could barely feel it.

Here is a short video of the take-off. I recommend turning off the sound on your computer, there was an evil demon-child in Y screaming bloody murder, LOL.


http://youtu.be/p-DLwzB5Oo4

Woosh

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Ok, so at the time I wasn't a seasoned Flight-Reporter like I am now so I didn't take any picture of the meal. But here is the menu of the day.

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I watched a movie after dinner and slept most of the rest of the flight.

Pretty mood-lighting after dinner.

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I woke up in time for breakfast (again, no pics) and watched the sunrise on the IFE and out the window.

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Despite the delay out of Dulles, we landed pretty much on time in Paris.

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We parked at Terminal 2E Hall L (also known as S3) next to AF's first A380 F-HPJA

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Deplaning can be a bit slow when you are in the rear of the upper-deck but it's still faster than being in the rear of the lower-deck since you only have about 60-70 pax in front of you as opposed to 350+ on the lower-deck!

In honor of my 60th Flight-Report and my first FR in the English version of this site here is a little bonus of the inaugural Air France A380 at Dulles just 3 days before my flight. Because I worked for Air France many years ago, I was able to get invitations to the inaugural event and was escorted onto the tarmac to witness the first arival! I was practically on the lead-in line; it was pretty impressive to have this massive thing coming at you!



Thanks for reading!
Leave a message below if you have any questions or comments :-)
See more

Verdict

Air France

8.8/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering8.0

Air France Lounge

7.4/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services7.5

Washington - IAD

6.8/10
Efficiency7.0
Access4.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

Paris - CDG

7.2/10
Efficiency6.5
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

A very pleasant flight with Air France!
The A380 surpassed my expectations. It is a quiet and spacious aircraft.
The crew was exceptional and did a great job. Every FA I talked to was very pleasant and enthusiastic. In the several times I have taken the A380 since then, I noticed this to often be the case on A380 flghts--that pride in working the Flagship. I have taken the A380 several times since and it is always a pleasant experience, although I imagine if I were in Y with no status it probably would not be nearly as pleasant.

Information on the route Washington (IAD) Paris (CDG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 32 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Washington (IAD) → Paris (CDG).


Useful

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

11 Comments

  • Comment 85165 by
    KL651 TEAM 4433 Comments

    Thanks for this FR!
    Though I read the one you did in french 2 years ago it's still nice to read it again, as one can clearly feel the excitment.
    Those pics you took for the inaugural flight to DC really are impressive, although I bet you're used to have impressive things comin' at ya :-p

  • Comment 85178 by
    LAX BUD 61 Comments

    Come on Kevin you re not à dork.
    Having worked so much to update this FR you would even deserve an american flag onto your FR and not the british one. Awkard.
    Was this AF 380 the first of that type to land in IAD, or just the first AF?
    Thanks for this great FR

    • Comment 280418 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4857 Comments

      Thanks! I know right! The flag should be American, LOL. Or at least half American/half British. The only A380s that had visited IAD before this one was the Airbus prototype several years earlier during the A380 world tour. F-HPJE was dedicated to IAD until F-HPJF was delivered since they were the only two with Premium Voyageur.

    • Comment 280422 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4857 Comments

      Thanks! Technically, I didn't directly translate; I just looked at the pictures and re-did the FR from memory, but in English this time. Sorry to hear about your experience in Y. At the time I took this flight two years ago, the A380 was still new to the AF fleet and you could feel the pride and excitement of the crews. It is very possible that the A380 has become just another plane for the crews today. I certainly hope most of them have maintained their positive attitudes and enthusiasm--they should always be that way anyway. I hope you have a better experience on the way back in W! Have a good trip!

  • Comment 85193 by
    marathon GOLD 9443 Comments

    Welcome to the FR Translators' Club ! I had missed this report in its original version, so this is a discovery. I'll be flying Y+ in an AF A380 this Sunday, and I wonder if the crew will be better, because, on the way in in Y, they were just handling the cattle like in any widebody. They did their job (or rather, they did the job of an AF Economy FA), period.

  • Comment 85215 by
    Denzee 1783 Comments

    2 years for writing a TR, it's quite long, isn't it ?? :-)

    Thx for posting it again in English.

    • Comment 282622 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4857 Comments

      Thanks! It was an exciting moment. Since then I've flown the A380 many times--it's noth quite as exciting but still very cool. I believe SFO had the A380 during the summer after the Tohoku quake when they took the A38 off the NRT route for a while. I love Catherine Deneuve as well; those are two of my favorite movies.

  • Comment 90011 by
    jetsetpanda 2296 Comments

    What a pleasure to read this exciting and festive report full of superb pictures. Nothing compares to the excitement of stepping into a new plane with the crew sharing the same feeling. When that happens it translates into a memorable trip.

    The picture of the A380 surrounded by all those UA Express little guys reminded me of Gulliver and the Lilliputians. SFO used to have the A380 for some time but that is no longer the case. My trips to CDG on AF have been on 744, A340 and 777 so far.

    I see you were watching a Catherine Deneuve movie. She is my favorite actress and I love her movies, especially Belle de Jour and Indochine.

  • Comment 98480 by
    mrbookend 1 Comments

    Thank you for such an insightful report. So helpful to those of us that aren't frequent flyers.

    I am planning a trip from IAD to BCN in October on AF A380-800 with first leg on AF039. I will be paying for this flight as am not a FF and can afford either a economy or premium economy seat. I do have some back/sciatica/neuropathy issues so being able to get up and stretch is important as is an ergonomically comfortable seat. My question is: Is a PV seat better than a handpicked seat in economy such as 91A/B/K/L that has more legroom; for the additional approx $500?

    I am not that concerned with whether the meal is better or the tv is larger rather mostly the comfort of the seat and ease of stretching out. Of course using the priority checkin line would be a plus to reduce standing in line, hopefully.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated......

    • Comment 288041 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4857 Comments

      Hello, sorry for the late response,

      To answer your question, yes, I do believe a PV (actually PE now...rebranded as Premium Economy last year) seat is better than any Econony seat. It is a wider seat and has extra legroom. If you need to get up often, I would suggest the first row of PE on the A380 as there is a lot of legroom there. I will say, however, that if you have back problems, some people find the seats to be hard and may not help your back situation. Of course, it would be even worse in Economy. If your back problems are severe, business class may be the only option for you (but that's for you to decide). Otherwise, I've found that using an extra blanket for more lumbar support makes the flight more comfortable. Also, if you get a seat in the first row of PE, there is no footrest so I use my roller-board carryon as an ottoman and find that way better than the footrest in normal rows for stretching out. And yes, you will get priority lane access at security and boarding. If you have no status, with a PE ticket you can access the lounge at IAD for a fee of $50 (I think). In CDG you will be able to access the lounge for free because your flight to BCN in European Premium Economy gives you access...yes, I know that makes no sense (short haul-PE gives access but not long-haul). Hope that helps!

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