The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 10 hours and 34 minutes.More information
The holidays are now over for good and it is time to fly back to France. The shuttle drops us off at the arrival level, not really handy with our 5 big suitcases. All shuttles have now to drop off and pick up passengers at that level.
We head upstairs to the Air France counters.
The check in process was completed in no time and the friendly agent informs us that AF has terminated its agreement at the Korean Lounge and uses the One World Lounge instead. She says that the change is great since the new lounge is much better. Even if I have not seen it yet, I could only agree as my last visits at the KAL lounge never impressed me. We then went straight to TSA:
One World check in zone:
TSA is upstairs:
It didn't look very busy and we were sent to the priority lane. The problem is that this lane also receives also all kind of assistances, from families with babies to wheel chair as the dedicated assistance lane was closed for the time being.
This meaning that each time a passenger or family seeking assistance comes, the priority lane gets stucked. During a good quarter, the line didn't move a lot, only when the agents noticed that the priority lane was moving slower than the general lane, they decided to re-open the assistance lane.
After 15/20 minutes it is our turn and that was the moment that the belt to the X-Ray decided to stop and nobody had any idea on how to make it start again. It took them another 15 minutes to get someone to restart the thing. It wasn't a big deal but when you wait in line for more than 30 minutes in a priority lane it can be annoying.
That being said, the TSA agents were all very friendly.
On the other side there is a flag of honnor in memory of those who lost their life on 09.11. God bless them all.
Let's go to the terminal:
I really like how they renew the TBIT.
The entrance of the lounge:
The lounge attendant was super friendly and wished us a nice stay here.
It was still early and the lounge was pretty empty, later in the evening it was fully packed.
Here the bar:
The hard drink choice is big:
I noticed that all drinks where free of charge, from cocktails to liquors. I didn't see any champagne though, but I also didn't ask.
Wine was self service:
I also didn't see any french wine.
A lovely coffee machine, coffee was also to be ordered at the bar:
The lounge has no views over the tarmac but to the terminal only or via screens to LA:
A very nice atrium:
A fake fire:
Lots of spaces to lounge, relax or work:
And the food:
Chicken with olives and indonesian pasta:
Some of our plates:
Only the chicken was really good, the other dishes were pretty bland, sad as the lounge and the presentation of the buffet are top notch.
Showers are also available. Shortly before boarding we went to the gate area.
I really liked the FIDS:
Boarding started on time but the lines were not materialized despite the screen indicating general boarding left and business class right. Meaning people queued everywhere and the agents had a hard time making the process organized
We had the surprise to fly with the three men that neutralized the terrorist in the Thalys train between Amsterdam and Paris in 2015. They were heading to Paris for the premiere of the movie that was telling their story. A big thank you to this guys that didn't think twice to protect people.
The aircraft door:
The purser was standing at the door and was super warm and friendly. Unfortunately she would not be working in Business class, where the cabin attendant working would be a whole different story.
The cabin is the "Best' cabin, this is why I choose that late flight vs the earlier A380 one:
I really like this cabin:
There is lots of storage area, this one being my favorite:
The main concern with that seat are the controls, their location is not good if you lay your arm on the side, you always touch them.
2 windows for me tonight:
The welcome drink together with the safety card:
Then the purser came to introduce herself to all business class passengers. She was a delight: happy to be here, happy to listen to the customers, a joy to fly with!
I always like this slipers kit:
But I always found it strange to put the headset covers on it:
At that time I realized we didn't get yet the comfort kit as they were already handed out on the other side of the plane. I asked the cabin crew that was in charge of our row and she abruptly answered that she will do it "soon".
Since we arrived on board she wasn't particularly friendly nor smilling. We pushed back and took offshortly after.
Service started with a hot towel:
As the aperitive carts are being rolled out, I ask again to the attendant if it would now be possible to have the kit. She answers : "You did not get it?" I answer "No, otherwise I wouldn't be asking". The passenger on the other side of the aisle overhears it and says that she wants it also now since she wants to sleep and needs the mask and the earplugs.
The hostess then, eventually, gives the kits to our side. I didn't get why she didn't do it earlier.
I was also a bit sad to see that it was the old model, the new one looking much better and with a Air France pen in it. My mother received the white one:
Then the aperitive starts, the other side of the cabin had been already served a while ago :)
I took a Campari Orange:
Together with a lovely appetizer:
The hostess simply put it next to my drink and I had to ask what it was. She answered that she had no idea. I then asked if we can have the menu card as this was also not being distributed. She answered they were not loaded but she will explain the choices at the time she will serve the entrees. If she explains it the same way she does for the appetizer it will be fun :)
A quick look at it and I can tell you what it was (she could have simply done the same) : shrimp with guacamole and tomato. Very nice.
This is the IFE:
The tray table:
Then comes the purser to check that all goes well. I tell her that I was a bit disappointed not having the new kit with the AF pen. She took my adress and promised to send me one as soon as possible. I got it 5 days later. This is what I call customer service!!
I also tell her that our the very cold and unfriendly attitude of her colleague, she takes note and deeply apologizes for it. She said she will make sure it will improve.
Follows the starter
As she hands the tray over, the cabin attendant simply asks "What do you want to drink?" Absolutely no explanation on what she is serving, nor any smile or something like this.
I decided to play it the opposite way and smile to her with asking: "Which white wine would you suggest to go with this Maine lobster and his mango tartare, served with a lemon mayonnaise?". (after years of reading Flight-Report and having flown a lot between the US and France, this starter is a served roughly on 80% of the flights)
She gives me a surprised look back and had to concede :) She then answered that the Pouilly Fumé would be good choice. I was more than happy to have played my game :)
The next highlight of the game between the CA and me was when she came with the entree choices. She said : "I have beef, lamb or chicken"
I asked her to elaborate a bit more since we don't have any menu and she said earlier she would explain what the entrees are. I see that she is clearly annoyed but answered "beef with mash", "Lamb with semolina" or "Chicken with vegetables".
Then it is a bit too much for me. I answer in the same annoyed way that this doesn't help and if she can't elaborate more, then she will have to show me the dishes. She starts with the beef and this is what I took:
I asked my mother seating behind me what she took, she said, "the raviolis". I tell her that I wasn't even offered that choice. The hostess hears our discussion and tries to kind of apologize by saying that she only had one ravioli. OK but that isn't a reason not to offer it.
My mother asked then my father, also seating behind her what he took and he said … "the fish" !!! That means another option that I haven't nor my mother be offered. Again, she hears it and comes back and says she messed it up as she took the fish for chicken.
I asked my father to show me his fish dish. If everyone here tells me that looks like chicken, I will gladly buy a pair of glasses.
The beef was ok, not overcooked (but also not medium), my mom liked her ravioli while my father enjoyed his chicken fish :)
Then came the dessert service, no mention of any sherbets that Air France always serves together with the dessert. I asked if they had any, she answered "Yes" but no mention to what kind of. Had to ask again to get it. Unbelievable.
Here the dessert with a mango sherbet:
It was good.
After this good meal and wonderful cabin crew interaction, time to brush my teeth and sleep to forget this.
A 777 door:
The fwd galley:
I then slept almost until breakfast.
Before it, the purser comes to check if things went better with her colleague. I said no and told her what happened earlier. She is, again, deeply sorry, she said she had spoken to her but she is in a bad mood and there would not be anything to make her change. She said it is not acceptable and that such behavior should be banned but there is nothing she can do apart filling a report.
This is the breakfast, there was choice between a hot savoury egg dish, a cold cold cuts and cheese dish and pancakes filled with fruits. I took the later:
The breakfast was really nice. I then played "Who wants to be a millionnaire" and made it to the million:
I am still waiting for my money ^^
The flight reaches its end:
Outside it is a grey winter day:
A last hot towel:
I was more than happy to leave the plane and "my" cabin crew. Upon de-boarding the purser once again apologized for her behavior. Sad to see that such people are allowed to be in contact with passengers.
A last bonus of Kaua'i with the must do if you are there, Waimea Canyon.
We spent a whole day there, sightseeing, walking, discover, doing nothing. The Canyon is beautiful and as beautiful as the Grand Canyon, albeit completely different.
Just love it!
I was often speechless:
Hard to not fell in love with that place!
In distance, when the weather cooperated, you can spot Ni'ihau island. That island is strictly off limits. Only people that leave there are allowed to go to it
The island is private, owned by a family and the people who leave there (around 100 people) have no power, phone, running water. And they seem very happy like that.
The view was perfect, someone told us that for the major part of the last two weeks, it was cloudy everyime.
Pu'u O kila lookout is the last point you can drive:
From there you can walk to Wai'ale'ale, known as one of the wettest spots on earth: (but not that day^^)
The first clouds arrived:
This is the trail down to the valley:
Some more views of the Canyon:
To access Waimeo Canyon, there are two roads: before Waimea the road 550 and after Waimea the Kokee Road. We choose going up via Kokee Road and go down via 550. This is Kokee:
But this is road 550:
We were glad we took 550 to go down, since it has steep turn and descents and its much more fun that way.
Both waterfalls are worth a visit, easily accessible.
This is the Wailua river:
And to finish, Mc Arthur Park :
One of the biggest beach in Kaua'i:
Kaua'i is a wonderful island. You can discover most of it very easily, the people leaving there are super friendly and happy to show you around. I found them ways less stressed than on Oah'u.
What I loved the most on Kaua'i is that you find almost everything: big beaches, small lagoons, sheltered bays, waterfalls, rivers, rain forests.
I had the chance to visit 4 hawaiian islands: Oah'u, Big Island, Maui et Kaua'i. I am unable to tell you if it is Big Island or Kaua'i my favorite, both come as number one in my heart, Maui being very close behind.
I am happy I visited Oah'u at first as if I had seen the other islands first, I would have hated it. This way I saw the most crowded island first and then the others. I will not say I hated it because there is a lots of things to see there, the north of the island and the east are more authentic and have beautiful spots. Not to mention Pearl Harbour.
Maui has the most beautiful beaches and the Haleakala is a must see. The road to Hana is also awesome. But there might be a bit too much tourists
Big Island and its volcanos, the lava fields, the beautiful black sand beaches and the incredible amount of small hidden beaches is a paradise. Not to mention the Mauna Kea, you can go to the top of the volcano that reaches a whooping 13'000 feet. And see the snow.
But Kaua'i is and will be Kaua'i :)
I am really looking forward to going again, this time to discover Lanai and Molokai
Hard to rate the crew: our hostess was a disaster while the purser was a dream. The other crew members were also very nice.
The food was good but without menu it is hard to guess what you are eating.
LAX access can be messy, specially the drop off zone at arrival level that is absolutely not convenient with suitcases.
As usual a big thank you for reading, I hope you liked it as much as I liked writing it.