The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 34 minutes.More information
Without much originality, I am back with a trip from Paris to Tunis on Air France back in summer. Nevertheless, as you can see, this flight is more atypical since it will be operated by an Airbus A330-200, an unusual aircraft for a medium-haul line on AF. The current circumstances now make this kind of strangeness possible.
About 10 days before my flight, I noticed that AF was deploying an A330-200 between CDG and TUN all summer long on certain days of the week and on 2 of the 3 daily rotations. This was notably the case for my flight, so I decided to explore the possibilities of an upgrade so that I can test the new J cabins on board AF's A330s - now all retrofitted - that I only know about through Flight-Report.
A first call to AF's customer service on that date resulted in an upgrade offer (only for the CDG-TUN segment) for 214 euros, which I refused. No mileage upgrade was available.
Four days before the flight date, I reiterated my call to the customer service and this time the upgrade fare amounted to 430 euros, which I also declined of course. The agent on the line invited me to check out the last-minute upgrade offers at check-in which are often cheaper and assured me that there still were J seats available.
Therefore, 30 hours before the flight, I tried to check in and ended up buying an upgrade, offered at the rate of 89 euros and paid in miles.
So here is the final routing (the return being booked separately on another ticket):
Having 3 pieces of baggage that day, I opted for the taxi option with G7 (which has the advantage of offering fixed fares when Uber increases its fares due to high demand, as was the case that morning).
Arriving by car at CDG.
Terminal 2E was pretty full, but when I got to the Sky Prority check-in area I was quite happy to see that there is hardly anyone there. I will however wait 20 minutes to be checked in due to the very low number of agents; it is was quite disappointing to be honest.
Once registered, the rest of the filters are passed fairly quickly (with or without Sky Priority). Affluence at this time of the day in the airside zone was really very low, quite disturbing for what used to be a rush hour, especially at Terminal 2E.
I passed all the filters at record speed.
I noticed that several months separate this passage from my last passage to 2E, and I note the new features that have appeared, particularly at security. Automatic boarding pass check is performed thanks at the Sky Priority gates.
I also note (without having the time to take a photo) the new passenger processing system, where several stations are accessible at the same time to drop off one's belongings, making the passage more fluid and the experience less rushed and more comfortable for the passenger.
Arriving at Hall K, a tight schedule of flights, which had however grown considerably compared to the previous weeks.
It is getting busy at the boarding gate. No priority boarding, the zones are called successively to board the plane from the back to the front. Passengers in J are therefore the last to board.
Checking the identity and origin of each passenger and systematically taking their temperature is rather time-consuming, but the AF agents accompanied by the border police have had a good grasp of the situation. Boarding is naturally a little delayed and I will be among the last ones to board at 3:55 pm.
Our ride of the day, F-GZCM.
Additional identity checks at the gate.
A closer look to our aircraft from the jet bridge.
Our left neighbour is F-GZNU.
Two jetways were connected to our aircraft, but there was no particular indication for the passengers as to which one to use according to their class. I would take the first one (although the second one might have been quicker to reach my seat).
A friendly welcome at the door, then I finally discover this cabin which leaves a very pleasant impression upon entering. You can feel that the seats are still new.
My seat 4A for today's flight, located in the last row of the first J cabin. The seat to my right will remain free, adding to the already-upgraded comfort of this flight.
An overall view of the cabin from my seat. The first J cabin would be filled at around 50% today.
I spend some time getting my bearings and evaluating the design of the seat.
First remark, the IFE is really big, which is really appreciated. Like many I think the screens would have gained from reflecting less light. But having used the IFE less on this flight, it did not bother me that much.
All the electronics are stored on the side of the seat, including the remote control. Not much storage space on the side, though, as the space is reserved for the helmet.
A pretty large tray table that folds out from the armrest.
The seat comes with an additional mini shelf underneath the screen, which also reveals a small storage space (that is actually the only storage space this seat offers).
My best guess is that this part serves to hang small belongings like phones.
The pitch is obviously very good, but I hav not tested the seat in full flat configuration.
Distribution of disinfecting wipes by the FA "in case you want to clean your seat, screen and armrests for example".
The attention is welcome but the wording is a bit clumsy, implying to the passenger that the seat has not been cleaned before boarding. I think another message would be more effective.
I regret the absence of the oshibori, which is therefore replaced by this wipe.
Boarding ends but our captain tells us that our departure will be delayed due to the unloading process of the luggage of passengers who do not meet all the conditions to be accepted on board.
The jetways are eventually disconnected at 4:25pm and we are ready to go.
Push back and safety demonstrations video (on which we can now hardly hear any background music).
Air France is promoting its WiFi "Air France Connect" offer that is available on this flight but that I will not use.
Long minutes will pass after the end of the push back during which my only view will be the following one.
After 15 minutes of waiting, the captain finally told us we had a technical problem: engine 2 would not start. He informs us that we are going back to the gate to find a solution.
More fear than harm, since 30 minutes later we push back again, the problem with the engine having been solved.
I will not use the IFE except for the geovision display (of very good quality and which will be fully functional until the landing).
We pass by the gates L satellite which looked really empty at that time of the year.
On the following picture you can see through the windows one of the new installations made by Paris Aéroport in this satellite (namely the giant cat sleeping on a pillow).
Take-off from runway 26R with a 1h20 delay on our initial departure time.
Usual view of le Bourget.
We quickly reach our cruising altitude of 39,000 feet, and the FAs begin to distribute a health form to be filled out and handed to the Tunisian authorities upon arrival.
Shortly afterwards, a cabin crew comes to note each passenger's choice of hot meal.
At that time of the year, TUN was one of the few destinations on AF's medium-haul network where a choice of hot meal is offered to J passengers.
Today it would be "couscous with vegetables" or "beef". In the absence of a menu, no further details will be given as to the accompaniment of each of these meals. Couscous was therefore today the vegetarian option. For my part, I will choose beef.
The service begins.
I will be one of the last to be served in the Business cabin, 30 minutes after take-off, which is a rather good timing for my taste.
Here is the full tray as served by the cabin crew.
You can see that due to Covid restrictions only one pass is made, and the hot drinks are served at the same time as the rest of the drinks and the meal tray.
I have not tried to request a refill, but this leads me to believe that it was not possible to get one for the same reasons.
The bread is served cold and under plastic. It was quite spongy be honest.
The tray without plastic covers :
Starter and dessert.
The starter was not very appetising, and in small quantities, but would prove to be rather tasty. The sweet and vanilla dessert worked but was not of much interest.
The whole dish was really delicious. The meat however was unfortunately overcooked.
The rest of the flight is uneventful.
I finish sipping my tea, which is no longer very hot but now lukewarm since the beginning of the service.
I spend time exploring the IFE out of pure Flight-Reporter duty. The screen is really nice and the selection of movies rather extensive.
I would even have time to slightly recline my seat over Nice and fall asleep for about ten minutes.
For a long sleep I do not know, but this seat was comfortable enough for me to fall asleep for a few moments during this 2-hour flight.
The FAs are preparing the cabin for arrival.
You can see the coasts of the northern suburbs of Tunis.
It will be an approach on runway 01 which will give us a beautiful view of almost the whole city.
Very nice aerial view of TUN from the west around the airport.
Then we fly over the southern suburbs of Tunis as the sun sets.
A beautiful approach punctuated by a soft landing at 6:26pm, 50 minutes late on our theoretical arrival time - largely due to the technical problem encountered at CDG.
People standing up is a must despite the crew's warnings. We would disembark by jet bridge.
I will be the first to disembark the plane and comply with the health control measures.
Nice effort to brighten up the galley by AF at the level of door 2.
A last photo of today's bird.
Arriving in Tunis, the controls are rather serious with a taking of the name of each disembarked passenger, measuring the temperature once again and handing over the health card given on board by the cabin crew.
Passing through security was quite long due to the crowds. At least that gave my luggage time to arrive on the belt.
I leave the terminal as the sun continues to set over Tunis.
Thanks for reading me, and see you for the return flight!
Such a modern and spacious cabin for such a short flight is an excellent point for Air France. This seat that I had only discovered through the FRs left a very good impression; the only flaws for me were the lack of storage, the IFE reflections and of course the 2-2-2 configuration. But if you do not stop at the cabin, you have to see that Air France makes the effort on this route to TUN to offer a real service with a choice of hot dishes despite the difficult conditions. A dish, what is more, very tasty and offered on long-haul flights. Nevertheless, the absence of a lounge (work in progress in the lounge in terminal 2E Hall K at the time), even though a lounge is proposed for Schengen flights, is for me a shortcut taken by the company which cannot be justified by the sanitary conditions (especially with regard to what is done by competitors). Finally, the sanitary protocol strictly followed by the cabin crew reduces on the one hand the service offered to the passenger (absence of refill, only one service), and on the other hand it undermines the cabin crew-passenger relationship that can sometimes be created, especially in the front class, and constitute a real plus in the passenger experience. In other words, I could not say whether the lack of effort or special attention of the cabin crew was more due to their service or to the very strict sanitary protocol.
Nothing to report, the low attendance at certain hours allows a lot of fluidity at the filters.
The sanitary measures are rather well orchestrated but degrade the fluidity which was already very limited.