The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 1 hours and 31 minutes.More information
What do you get if you marry a yeti with a mermaid ? A yuki onna 雪女 (litteraly the "snow woman", very famous in japanese culture).
If in many legends, whether western as eastern, men are hypnotised by the mermaid's death song, I fell on the bewithcing spell of the legendary snow woman, and then find myself in a new trip to Japan. But this time, in winter. This trip shall cover Hokkaido's essentials and Honshu's capital cities.
2020 was supposed to be special for Japan because Tokyo was about to host 2020 Olympic Games… Until a coronavirus messes everything up with the first cases out of Wuhan, China. The pandemic was so out of control that it forced Japanese authorities to postpone the sacred games to next year.
On the Tour Operator's website, there were several airlines that could do the circuit (Air France, KLM, Cathay Pacific or even Japan Airlines or ANA). When I saw the Japanese carriers could do the international flights has been an important fact to do this trip.
Except that the only airline the TO could give for this circuit was no other than Air France and I was forced to accept this otherwise I can't travel while it was completely possible with Japan Airlines !!! I'll explain later on this review.
On the bright side, the AF flight departs to Tokyo Haneda instead of Tokyo Narita. And on top of that, there are three domestic flights included and operated by Japan Airlines, which don't even have a review on the site. Among those, there is the Sapporo New Chitose - Tokyo aboard the Tsurumaru airline's brand new aircraft: the Airbus A350-900. You can find the link in the routing window down below.
Two touristic bonuses of Japan are expected in this saga. You can see on which flight by the same window.
Bad point for AF: Because the booking has been made via a Tour-Opérateur, you must automatically pay if you want to choose your seat, while by passing the normal way, it's free of charge. (this applies if you choose the Flex fee).
That said, by keeping an eye on the booking, I found a free-of-charge seat before the OLCI, the seat 26J. A perfect seat for a red-eye flight, because I won't be able to have good photos from outside, but I'll also be able to walk during the flight without disturbing anyone.
And then, by pure luck, seat 23E become vacant and I'm not wasting any time to select it. I am then right behind Premium Economy class for free.
When the OLCI is finally open, I received an email suggesting an upgrade in Business Class.
If I already know that I'm gonna have AF's Best and Beyond cabin, and though the offer is tempting, I decline the offer for two reasons:
* Because I have a short connection time at Paris CDG, which is 1h40, not too short but not very long either. I wasn't sure I would have time to stop by the AF lounge.
* Besides, I was rather interested to compare this flight with the previous one going to Tokyo Narita (NRT) I did a few years ago as much equitable as possible.
My parents drove me at terminal 2. We arrived 2 hours before and that's perfect because the baggage drop-off opens 2 hours before your flight departure at NCE airport.
We stopped at the kiss-and-fly. Just like the one at T1, once the first five minutes are up, it became chargeable and prices can become quite salty in no time…
As a proof, right after I got out of the car and close the door, my parents left right away while my suitcase was still onboard !! I had to yell to stop them and pick up my baggage.
The airport's bus shuttle, connecting the airport's teminals and the tramway to reach either Nice's harbour or Nice Saint-Isidore.
Air France's check-in counters are in area C, as usual.
The area seemed to be crowded, but it wasn't the case at all. Difficult to believe that one month after this trip, that same area was desperately empty because France has started a 2-month lockdown in March 2020. During that time, there was only one flight for the entire day and it was a flight operated by AF to Paris CDG…
For an unknown reason, I couldn't get my BP on my app. So I have to do the check-in at the machine.
The upgrade offer appeared once again, whether for Business Class or Premium Economy Class…
But the machine gave me only the boarding pass from Nice to Tokyo and no baggage tag, so I went to the check-in desk. It shall be very fast and very friendly.
Bad point for the Tour: I wrote an e-mail to the Tour-Operator about my baggage if it shall be checked-in directly to our final destination and they answered affirmative. But since the booking has the AF ticket number, baggage are automatically stopped at Tokyo ! In other words I have to pick up my suitcase and do the check-in again.
A serious point for Japan Airlines. Because not only I could fly with a national carrier, but my baggage could have been checked-in straight to the final destination.
Besides, JL's departure schedules from Paris to Tokyo (7.00 P.M for Japan Airlines instead of 4.05 P.M for Air France) and their connection time were far much better than AF. (1h40 stop at CDG before 5h40 at HND for the French carrier instead of 2h30 in both stops for the Japanese carrier).
Good point for AF and CDG: The next flight departs from concourse L. In other words, the transit shall be more comfortable than going to concourse M.
Security controls are done very quickly and moving through the gallery and all its shops, still open back then, before everything was shutted down. The security staff was friendly. One of them noticed my destination and asked me if it was the first time I was going there.
Our boarding gate to the capital city is gate A04. Not the nearest one…
A few pictures of NCE airport airside.
Not a lot of traffic at this moment except this Air France A321 coming from Paris Orly (ORY)…
… or this KLM 737-700 going to Amsterdam (AMS), Netherlands.
The flight is scheduled to be full. The boarding staff made an announcement if passengers are volunteered to drop-off their cabin baggage for free. In return, they can board alongside Sky Priority and frequent travellers passengers. I also received a note on my smartphone.
Boarding started 5 minutes behind the schedule. This is a zone-boarding. Although boarding agents did their best to respecter priorities, passengers don't really know the process and then, we don't board very quickly.
Let's reach our aircraft.
An Airbus A320 Eurowings at NCE's Terminal 1.
At this moment, sanitary measures weren't extreme yet to force the airport to close the terminal 1 to the public (All activities officially ceased on the 15th of March 2020). Since then, everything has been transfered to terminal 2.
When I wrote this review in French version, the news said terminal 1 would be operational again in March 2021, but the current crisis in France may delay its reopening again…
For this flight, our aircraft is F-HBNF.
By the way, this shall be the last Air France's domestic flight in all Economy class : since the 4th of February 2020 (3 days later), the Business Class is coming back on all Metropolitain domestic flights since its deletion 20 years ago. (Except flights from/to Corsica)
We're boarding via a jetbridge, which have some funny advertisements.
My seat for this flight is 7A.
This seat has a big advantage: I have two windows. The big boss has arrived…
The pitch I always knew for this kind of flight.
Clean test. OK.
The AF magazine dating from January 2020. Back then, it was Thaïland on highlights.
My ear plugs as my inseparable travel companions.
An Air Dolomiti Embraer has arrived…
… followed by another AF A320, F-HBND coming from Paris Orly (ORY). To be honest, I would rather board on this one because it clearly shows our destination. (F-HBND for Tokyo Haneda (HND)).
Or perhaps it refers to the cathedral (Notre-Dame de Paris)…
Push-back at 12h54 P.M. At the same moment, QR landed.
safety instructions are given.
Qatar Airways lands in Nice in A319 during winter season, quite the opposite in summer when the Qatari carrier come to the Côte d'Azur airport with its flagship, the A350-900.
Usually, we take-off in direction of Italy. But this time, we took-off in direction of Cannes, France. Terminal 2 is currently hosting the two main airlines ; Air France and Easyjet…
… But also the big boss coming from Dubaï (DXB), UAE, Emirates with its Airbus A380-800. According to the latest news, Emirates plans to come back to Nice Côte d'Azur airport in december 2020. However, instead of a daily flight aboard the superjumbo, it shall fly thrice a week in a 777-300.
Nice and la Promenade des Anglais.
And away we go in the air. NCE airport is well known for quite spectaclar take-offs. Here with a left turn …
… before a right turn soon after. And here we are above a sea of white clouds. White… like the snow.
Snacks are coming.
For this flight, it shall be an orange juice and italian scrocchi…
#AFTakesCare. Difficult to re-use our cup when flight attendants pass only once to serve and once again to collect waste.
Cheers to all members, whether on the ground or in the air while covid-19 is still there…
Last moments inflight before touchdown.
A second AF Airbus landed after us.
We won't have to stop here for our next destination…
CDG's control tower.
We shall pass by AF's head office. But before that, we should say hello to a legend. And not any legend, because it's Mach 2 legend. In other words, Concorde.
It is 2.21 P.M. when we arrive at our parking but the aircraft suddenly stopped. The captain made an announcement that the parking was still occupied and asked the control tower to have another one vacant and he shall have an answer quickly. But for me, it appears that the ground team staff wasn't at the parking station yet. And to prove that, the aircraft was in the parking area 2 minutes after the picture down below has been taken.
PNC dernier virage,
PNC aux portes,
Désarmement des toboggans,
Vérification de la porte opposée.
Something you won't see for long : everyone's up !
Meanwhile, I see this 777-200 (or should I say our next aircraft) being towed to its boarding gate. It's up to F-GSPR to take us to Tokyo.
5 minutes after we arrived, the jetbridge is finally moving.
Our aircraft before heading back to Nice, France.
Let's reach our next aircraft.
And that's the end of this prologue. I hope you enjoyed it. If that's the case, please leave a like and to comment, that would make me happy. As for me, I wish you have safe flights. See you soon for the next flight.
For this short flight, especially to reach AF's hub, is it truly necessary to say it did its job?
NCE is a very operational airport. Despite the kiss-and-fly's renovation work improved the car traffic, it is difficult to drop-off a passenger and his suitcase within 5 minutes. Another point is that there are more shops airside than landside.
Each time I have to stop at CDG, I always have a surprise, both good and bad. This time, the team wasn't here when we arrived. But it wasn't the only one...