The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 11 hours and 6 minutes.More information
Hello all, welcome back to the continuation of this flight to Madagascar capital, Antananarivo.
I was going there a few weeks and the plan was to volunteer at my friend's charity to build up a new school but also to enjoy whilst we are there and do some sightseeing.
We were 3 going from the UK and booked together with Air France, as Air Madagascar at the time was blacklisted by the European Union (Yes I am a risk averse person!)
As mentionned on my previous flight report, there was a huge strike by Air France staff at the time when I flew, cancelling my first leg LHR-CDG that was replaced by a British Airways flight, landing about 15 min later.
Before the program changed to a revenue-based model but this is how much you would get
Flying blue Miles earned with this flight: 1788
Status earned: 12 XP
I remember calling the call centre for a good hour, awaiting for some time.. The lady on the phone was professionnal but she couldn't find any other flight.. The best option was another AF flight departing from London 3 days before..
Two things I must say:
1. I didn't want to change my long haul flights, as they were confirmed and she advised me to do so.
2. My friends were there and we agreed that someone (!) they know will pick me at the airport and I will see them the following day in a nearby town. And there wasn't much of data nor coverage and I didn't manage to let them know about the drama..
I pushed the lady on the phone to book me with BAW and she agreed to do so.
The problem was however, that I could not check in my second leg, CDG to TNR, neither
on the app
online on the AF website
on the phone with an agent
Because the first leg wasn't an AF flight (!).
I was told to manually check-in at the counter in CDG. What I did back then was to book an emergency seat and pay for it, to make sure my spot was safe.
From my previous flight, you remember I landed where British Airways usually parks: terminal 2 D.
I landed with about 1 hour late because of the fog in Paris, so at 10.44am and this flight was at 11.20am .
-I rushed at the gate, running as fast as I could to leave the international zone.
-Got through 2D security again
-Got at 2D transfers.
-Waited for the bus at the bus stop
- Arrived at 2E hall K
- Jumped on the train transfer
- Running the last metres to the gate at hall L terminal and without water nor applause!
Behind this very Little Britain quote, you'll understand that this is what happened to me.
I arrived at the counter, just before boarding time, and the lady told me I wasn't checked in (i knew) and so I couldn't board.
I asked to talk to her boss, which told me in short that since my first leg wasn't checked in, I couldn't be on this flight.
I really got upset at this point and told her "why, according to you I wasn't checked in"? Showing her all the process, the fact that I was rebooked on a BA flight, and that THEIR system wasn't letting me checking in.
Clearly another Monique/Karen
She talked to another lady that told me to follow her, and we arrived to a much further Air France customer service point. Over there I had to re- re-re-re explain everything again, the crew member that told me to follow her disapeared.
That person at the counter said that she can re-book me later today to Mauritius and from there, there will be another flight to Madagascar.
This was the point of no-return. I suddenly left her and went back to the gate counter.
I lost it at the monique/karen.
I told her, it is not my problem if AF is on strike, not my problem that YOU rebooked me on a BAW flight, not MY problem that the app nor THEIR system wasn't letting me checking before and that NO WAY I was going to suffer the consequence of being in between their stupid processes.
I was that loud that it attracted 3 other passengers going to Antananarivo and that were in the flight from London with me too!
She told us the same, the computer wouldnt let her do it etc etc… Even quoting the fact that the captain made its calculation on the weight of the plane and the fuel required accordingly..
I told her look, your B777 weights around 160tons empty, plus fuel and pax so maybe 250 tons and you're telling me 70kg will jeopardise the captain's math??
I am not sure what, in my presentation made her change her mind… She finally gave us a Boarding Pass and the 3 of us rushed to the plane.
And the worse is that everyone else were waiting for us, you know that feeling when the crowd is looking at you because you're making them late!!
Aircraft: Boeing 777-328ER
Engines: 2x GE90
Age: 14 Years
Layout: J14 W32 Y422
Observation: The aircraft was with the old cabins - now fully retrofitted
And I remember this boarding music so much.. For me it reminds me how happy I was to have made it onboard!
The AvGeek bit
Air France is one of the largest operator of the type in Europe, if not the largest. Air france has 43 B773ER, split into three groups: Best and beyound, lignes touristiques and COI standing for Caraibes Ocean Indien. The latter which groups 12 of them, is designed mainly for french overseas where the demand is way higher for economy class - hence now the 472 seats configuration (unlike the other 296 and 381). There are also assigned to lower income countries (i.e. Madagascar, Maurice, Cuba, Punta Cana..) combined to a high proportion of tourists where a large number of business and premiere seats wouldn't make sense.
The seat in economy un COI was ok, I think not particularly comfy - at least a bit more than BAW. There was a pillow, blancket, headset and sleeping masks provided.
Finally on board!!
Whilst the aircraft started to taxi, the old safety video was displayed on the IFEs.
Took off happened from runway 08L and soon we were above the Alps.
Look at this wingflex!! Almost like a dreamliner!!
First service started about 1 hour and a half later, and the crew was super nice. Not only they offered the usual wine but also as a liqueur some Rhum from Martinique (I figured I needed to relax!!)
I walked a bit around the economy cabin to stretch my legs. I found that the rear of the aircraft, looking at the window of the exit is a good spot. Nobody bothers you. And you can view the landscape on the other side of the plane..
The rhum arrange bottle - that is a item from the Allizees service… Sorry it is the one from the way back.
After having watched another movie, I realised we had crossed all Africa, we were now above the Indian Ocean..
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.
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 0
16 ERJ170 nowadays 15
10 ERJ190 nowadays 13
4 CRJ200 nowadays 0
15 CRJ700 nowadays 10
13 CRJ1000 nowadays14
13 ATR42 nowadays 0
10 ATR72 nowadays 5
Interestingly, Air Corsica was counted as part of the Air France fleet…
And still above the ocean but at dusk.
And soon the approach on Tanave..
Landing happen in a complete full dark night, with a few lights from the capital nearby..
The aircraft made a U-turn at the end of the runway and we parked a few hundred meters away from the terminal building.
We were leaving the aircraft by the rear door.
Back in 2014 there was an outbreak of Ebola in Africa, every passenger had to have their temperature measured before going to passport control..
At the passport control… Where the lady was asking everyone to fill in forms… and where your passport was given away from you to 2 or 3 different agents until you finally have it back
and your passport that many stamps on it!
I was finally in the country and what a beautiful one! The famous alley of baobabs in Morondava
I sat there fro the whole duration of the sunset and it still remains one of my most vivid memories.
We went to help a charity called SPV Felana, that is providing education to the children with fairly high paid teachers. The money used to maintain the school comes from the farms also owned by the charity and the carpeting training to adults.
On the way to the school in Antsirabe
A visit of Antsirabe with the church, market and main avenue
Our favorite local bar, chez mamy - not to be confused with our favorite karaoke venue!
I remember to be very impressed by the cow market.
Sqiling dozn the Tsiribina river was a magical experience.
We were stopping at small villages with our guides - not to be alone at night that would be too dangerous.
Someone likes carrots!
The famous Tsingy
And our final stop of this river trip at Belo Sur Mer
After a good hour of waiting, I realised my luggage went missing..
My bag was delivered to me on the next day, back then I was already in Antsirabe. And I was very surprised to have seen my luggage intact being delivered to me 3 days later.
When Back at home I made a claim on both my luggage being missing for 3 days, and the treatment I received at CDG.
The process was that Air France would give me some money back with credit card receipt or invoices… And they were understandable that it is not the case when you buy things off the shelf at the market..
Air France was really professional handling the situation; they gave me 1000eur and 5000 miles.
I don't have that many pictures of the way back as I was deeply asleep, just my stamped boarding pass..
CDG crew was difficult
The crew onboard was professional
Customer Service was professional too, I did have to insist a bit with my "angry" letter but eventually the 1000euro and 5000 miles given was really appreciated.
Without it, I would have ranked the company less than 5, but I guess they were professional about it.
CDG: really messy to change terminal from 2D to 2E
TNR: Small airport but really not efficient especially at passport control. It took for ever to deliver all the bags.