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This story is about the return flight of an ordinary round trip to a unique airport, in times which were also somewhat unique: I described in detail the administrative quirks of this binational airport and the resulting snafu when you do not quite fit the standard case.
Deplaning in EAP had been some experience; how about boarding in EAP ? It's now !
The E-170 has the advantage of a 2 + 2 seat diagram, but the disadvantage of having a third of the window seats on the wing which is particularly wide at the root. Luckily, probably also by status, we have been pre-allocated seats ahead of the wing for this flight which was not far from being full.
(It has become much more difficult to build a clean seating plan, now that AF's site presents them vertically)
On the morning of departure, drop off at the airport which is very close to an expressway
Not much walking needed between the short-term car park and the terminal
Up to the Departures level
AF check-in counters in the back
A new type of facilities in an airport: a Covid testing centre juryrigged opposite the check in counters.
We did not need it and headed towards the check-in counters.
Our suitcase had put on 400 grams over the weekend
Once the labeling was done, the check in staff was quite congenial, sharing a discussion on the merits of the Alsace region for those like us who had been forbiddent to visit it for several months. No problem : nobody was waiting behind and we were ont on a hurry.
Due to the drop in traffic, there was only one security check in the airport: this escalator in the foreground was closed and we had to go to the other end of the terminal landside, and then backtrack all the way back once airside. [
An unexpected consequence is that we entered the Swiss area of the airport which had become quite meaningless when Switzerland joined theSchengen area, but became meaningful again due to the sanitary crisis.)
On towards Switzerland (well, not quite, actually), preceded by a French military patrol
Even though the airport is entirely on French territory, the French-Swiss border controls used to be there.
The soldiers turned towards the orange zone
Although numbered from 1 to 90, there are "only" 36 gates at EAP
27 flights from 9.45 am until the curfew at 10 pm: this is no longer the traffic of the heydays of EAP. Note that there were no fewer than three different flights, departing from the Swiss sector of an airport located on French territory, to Pristina, the modest capital of Kosovo, a state with a no less complicated status!
On the ceiling, a rather motley assemblage of scrap metal and new parts
The tarmac is visible from the upper floor, but the terrace is closed. The official Gabonese 777 has not moved
Plane spotting is very Easyjet there.
HB-JXA on the left, HB-JXE on the right: the registrations are very similar, but there is a 16 month age difference between two Easyjet Switzerland A320s; the one on the right is equipped with sharklets, instead of the older wingtip fences of its neighbor.
Note that HB-JYA is two years older; this paradox is unrelated to the date of their transfer from Easyjet to Easyjet Switzerland in anticipation of the Brexit: all three aircraft have been transferred 18 to 24 months after their respective first registration dates.
A 787 in the distance, perhaps repainted in white to hide the name of her failed owner
Arrival of an Easyjet Europe A320
There she reaches the terminal, in the background
Access (seen here looking back) to the Skypriority security check was cordoned off. I have seldom seen an employee displaying so openly his tired boredom, slumped in his seat, and waving with the slightest gesture under the barrier
I took off my belt too late: the employee saw the clothespin intended to tighten my pants which were too loose and demanded that it also go through the X-ray check, or rather that should not go throught the metal detection gantry. But now, I am used to putting this essential piece of clothing in the first bin, without anything else, in order to be able to retrieve it as quickly as possible after the gantry.
A lounge in EAP? Yes, there is one, and AF does not hesitate to promise access to the PAX who might spend 139 EUR extra inorder to travel in Business class, but it was actually close for lack of enough eligible passengers in these pandemic time. That made it quite expensive per minute gained at the security check if you have no status.
It did save time, though, because there was a long line for non-status passengers.
walknig past closed shops
… and through an uninspiring supermarket
The French sector's security check, mothballed until traffic would pick up again
The E-170 which would operate this flight
The social distancing reminder masked the marking of Skypriority access…
… but both before the control of BPs and IDs
… or after, the line stalled and social distancing was forgotten<;
Blame it on starting boarding at a time when the cleaning staff has not finished their work on board: there they were boarding their vehicule. The ground staff seemed to apply the recipes of the major local airline: in the LCC industry, passengers are kept waiting as much as possible.
Enter Air 738
The crab approached the nose of the aircraft
She was an Embraer 170 for sure
Door and Playstation shot
The alignment of the seats and, above, the mirrors for checking the absence of forgotten items.
View of the still almost empty cabin
The carpet was clean
I would not write the same about the vomit bag in my wife's seat pocket, which countained the chewing gum of a previous PAX.
Loading the last pieces of checked luggage
Was ours, left on the cart, going to be forgotten?
No, it was eventually loaded on board.
Last in, first out, maybe because of its priority labeling.
The curtain was curiously closed prematurely during boarding.
But no worry about safety protocols: it was be duly opened for take-off.
Like on the way in, the safety cards were a little worn, but not damaged
The distance between the armrests had not changed: 46 cm, which was decent
At 28 cm from the seat to the seat pocket, the pitch was very decent, maybe because we were seated I the front rows.
We pushed back, still in view of the 738 near which a second staircase has arrived.
Parking space for the general aviation
The ATR42 assigned to transport Swiss soldiers assigned to KFOR, the UN's multinational interposition force in Kosovo, already seen there on the way
Alignment on the track at the level of the plane spotting hill
Flying over Runway 08/26
The airport's maintenance area
The plane turned sharply to the right, barely entering the Swiss airspace, in which she would fly for real a little later
The route was far from being straight (thanks to Flightradar24)
General view of EAP during the turn to take the course for CDG
Zoom on EAP
Saint Louis, and the Rhine in the background, and a very small strip of urbanized Swiss territory at the bottom of the right edge of the photo.
The cloud cover unfortunately quickly hid the landscape
The crew distributed a form for tracing the PAX in case of detection of a case of COVID-19, but did not show excess zeal to collect them later.
I did not see this form on the outbound flight (this was a flight to Switzerland for almost all passengers, but not us), nor on a subsequent ORY-NCE round trip.
Good news post-flight : this passenger apparently did not test positive later on and the contact tracing forms were not use..
But do not worry: this passenger did not remove completely his mask all that long thereafter, because the crew announced, in a commendable zeal for protecting the passengers' health, that they would serve only one drink by PAX (therefore these two cups of coffee for my wife and I).
Any hint of cost cutting would be sheer slander.
The landscape was very cloudy during most of the flight
Descent under the cloud cover: we were only about 20 miles from CDG
Vincy-Maneuver, in the center of the previous photo
Acy en Multien
Lagny le Sec and Le Plessis Belleville, bypassed to the west by the deviation of Road N2.
Dammartin en Goëlle and Road N2
Bad news: it was raining around CDG
This was not the best day for admiring the paintaing on the Mauregard water tower, located near the northeast end of the CDG perimeter
Touchdown and thrust reversers deployment
The difficulty of plane spotting at CDG was confirmed
Did you all recognize F-UJCS, one of the three A330-200s of the French Air Force?
They are going to replace the two venerable Air Force A310s, both almost 35 years old: F-RADC
Enter Air's 738s are chasing us
Overview of this car park located in front of Terminal 1.
Humid taxiing towards Terminal 2
Air France and Easyjet A32x at the parking area opposite Terminal 2D
A320 AF at the terminal
Arrival at the terminal next to an AF A320
Did you say "diplaning one row at a time for sanitary reasons"?
Or scrambling up as soon as the plane had reached the gate ?
The Fas reprimanded the undisciplined passengers who sit down…
… and all stood up again as soon as the plane's door was opened.
They did not even have the excuse of a tight connection due to a late arrival, because we had arrived 3 minutes ahead of schedule.
Going through the jetbridge decorated with sanitary recommendations for illiterate travellers
Limited traffic facilitates social distancing
A car for first class passengers – I hope the umbrella is provided in case of rainy weather!
Unlike on the way in, there was no policeman with a poor understanding of applicable travel rules and political geography who might question the domestic status of our flight.
The sas before going down to the baggage claim area
General view of the very, very empty check luggage claim area
For good reason: there have only been 10 flights "delivered" there in the past hour
It was not crowded at the carrousel for our flight: a family, two passengers traveling alone and ourselves.
We deplaned through a jetbridge, but our checked luggage was under the rain when it was unloaded from the plane's hold, and it was soaked when we recovered.
Exit landside, with trilingual French-English-Chinese warnings against illegal taxis.
This is the filter, on the way between the train station (behind the photographer's back) and the check-in counters, baggage drop-off, etc.
Some A32x at the terminal, seen on the way to the train station
Luckily, a through train to Paris' Gare du Nord was the first to depart
Almost no one on board, unsurprisingly on a Sunday late morning.
Commuters eager to travel this summer as the European borders reopen would have been wise to read these notices stuck on the doors' window panes. SNCF (French Raiways) is completing work on Line B this semester.
They will continue this summer. In short :
- CDG stations were closed during the July 3-4 week-end
- CDG will not be served after 11 p.m. in July-August
- The line will be closed from CDG to Denfert-Rochereau during the August 14-15 week-end.
You've been warned!
Embraers benefit from a comfortable 2 + 2 diagram, and also from quick boarding and deplaning thanks to their limited capacity.
The crew did their job, a not exhausting one since they could serve only one drink per PAX. I have come to appreciate the availability of digital magazines and newspapers, perhaps in part because I now have a phone with a screen larger than that of the previous one.
The limitation to one drink betrays cost cutting (and possibly a compromise with the cabin crews' unions)
The fluidity at EAP was only good for passengers with Skypriority privilege, and that access by sheer negligence.
Access is quick for those coming by car; I don't know about public transport.
The very neglected attitude of the employee supervising BP scanning destroyed the good image given by the friendly employee at the check-in.
Smooth deplaning at CDG, and faster train ride to the city thanks to a through train (they only run during off-peak hours), but beware this summer! The closure of the line for maintenance works will mean a hassle for the improvident and those who are reluctant to pay for a taxi or a hired car.