As I told you before in the intro of the BOG-PTY flight, I got the chance to study in Switzerland for the summer, and was free to choose amongst all possible offers between BOG and Switzerland. As I had already flown transatlantic on AV and LH, I was eager to check AF/KL's product, specially when it gave me the chance to try KLM, which doesn't fly to Colombia and AF. Although AF's flight to BOG is operated in the now aging A340-300, for me it was really important as they are somewhat a childhood dream for me. I was also looking forward to fly to the much dreaded CDG2.
As the flight to BOG left CDG at 10 AM, I had no other option than to take the 8AM flight to Paris. As I wanted to play safe, I wanted to be on the airport around 6AM. I had booked a hostel in Zurich, and had all neatly calculated to use the S-Bahn into the airport ASAP on the day of the flight. But then one of my friends from the course told me she was also leaving on that same morning, but she wasn't able to book a hostel that night in Zurich and she was leaving at 7AM anyways, which would render the public transport useless for arriving at 5AM. So we agreed to spend the night at the airport.
The previous day was the Zurich Streetparade, total madness. I was feeling a bit low about leaving my newmade friends and having my great summer over, so I didn't join the party. Instead I took one final stroll around Zurich. At the last possible time I went to the airport and took advantage of one of Switzerland's greatest services: previous night check in. Procedure was really effective, the lady was really attentive. Nice first impression with AF (even when it was with a contractor rather than AF staff themselves). Having my bag sorted out I went to the observation terrace, but as everything in Switzerland, it was already closed. Still I managed to get these shots:
Nice architecture to say ade Schwiiz…
I got yelled by an electronic voice you are going in the wrong direction whilst trying to take this pic
I found these deco really interesting, one can find it on other spots of the airport, not with airplane-geeky stuff though
The Check-in area, rather empty
Not so was the mall over the train station
My friend was spending the day with some relatives in Milan and would arrive at night. We arranged to meet at the HB, at a point I got really worried when I thought I wouldn't be able to meet her and being forced to spend the night alone, as I had already surrendered my key at the hostel. Fortunately we managed to meet amongst the huge crowds returning after the heavy partying during the day. Unfortunately e got on the last plane to the airport, it was totally packed. People even had to travel standing, something I wouldn't have ever expected over there. It was a complete mess, but we made it mostly unharmed.
I had expected to have a last dinner with my friend on the mall, but everything was already closed. Even the check-in counters, so it was impossible for us to get airside for that night's sleep. Finding somewhere to crash was really hard. At one point we attempted to sleep on the starbucks, which was cordoned off, but we where barked out by a rent-a-cop who didn't speak the littlest bit of English (surely a funny situation for a third party…as we didn't speak Schweizerdeutsch at all) and so we roamed around till we found a pseudo-private place to crash. We spent the night chatting and talking bs until we got even tired enough to ignore the hard cold floor (but those are the times one remembers really fondly).
As soon as it was possible, we made line on the Swiss check-in, I would have expected a more Swiss efficiency start for the shift, but it was a rather sunday lazy start. Rather enervating when having spent a night on the floor.
Since it was really early we managed to pass through security hassle free, and soon we were greeted by the most expensive airport shops I've been to.
Price shock nuanced by good architecture
Last time I went to ZRH I didn't have enough time to explore the A pier, and since my friend's flight was leaving from there I wouldn't miss the chance to explore. I found the moving belt system to the far gates really clever. I assume this was the international arrivals pier in the old days before Pier E.
Traffic consisted of the local LX airbuses along with other LH group planes
Soon it was time for me to head to the other side of the airport, my gate was on the B-Pier bus gates…and so was goodbye. I found it weird that LX parked a pair of widebodies on the B/D Pier
B-Pier's bus gates were much better than the A-Piers IMO
In no time, we were called into the bus. While we were boarding it, the Singapore A380 arrived…but I wasn't able to take my planned picture…bummer.
We rode around 300metres into our Junglejet (Latin pride IMO)
Aircraft Interior looked somewhat worn, but the blue leather seats still were confortable. Cabin got filled around 80-90%
From my window, a smart IB A319 could be seen
These present day and old days long haulers were also visible
Then we passed by one gorgeous A340-600
As we taxied into RWY 28, the heavy guys at Pier E were visible
A nice LX in *A livery RJ taking off
After a relative rush hour in the early AM, A-Pier was rather empty now
Take-Off allowed for a gorgeous view of Zurich and surroundings
I found those plastic coverings falling off somewhat…preoccupying
We crossed Switzerland with the Alps on my side, a Balloon can be seen…unluckily for them and us, the morning was rather cloudy.
What is this?
What I assume is Biel/Bienne (?)
Heading on to France
Service commenced…rather dissapointingly it consisted of a Croissant (it was delicious though) and only water/coffee/tea (what the….not even OJ?!) The FA tried to cope for the lame offering trying to get me filled with croissants, but it is impossible to swallow those guys without proper drinks ( I only drink ice cold water, and if I am really thirsty).
I assume this is Besancon (?)
After that, I dozed…couldn't cope with the tiredness by the time I woke we where about to land
Landed in one of the 26 runways, aaanddd…welcome to Codebar land
We raced this 747F most of the way to terminal 2G
Terminal 2G is hopland…our plane being the weird kid
Our Brazilian chariot after the flight
I got to the Terminal expecting one smooth transfer and shopping experience while in Paris…but I was rather entering the wolf's layer, how naive.
To be continued…
Air France Hop
Zurich - ZRH
Paris - CDG
This hop between ZRH and CDG could be summarised as: bleh.
Air France: As I had said on my FR on the LH flight between FRA and GVA, LH's product was better. Catering was an immense let down, even when the FA was kindly attempting to have me filled on buttery croissants, those things are uneatable without OJ for me. The rest of the product was OK. The views made up for the lack of IFE, I was really tired anyways.
ZRH: Spending the night there wasn't the coolest thing I've done, if it wasn't for my friend it would have been a horrible experience. It is practically impossible to get on time to the place if your flight leaves earlier than 7AM. Check in on the previous day is a great idea, and security is really efficient still. Can't complain.
CDG Terminal 2G: A dump...more on it on the next FR.
Thanks for reading, see you next time reporting my flight back to Bogotá.
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