Welcome to a new bunch of flights to and through the US:
Basle - Paris CDG AF/ Y, ATR72: Won't be reported as nothing special to write about.
Paris - Washington IAD AF/ Y, A380: Right now!
Washington DCA - Detroit DL/ F, CRJ 900
Detroit - Las Vegas DL/ Y+, B737-800
Las Vegas - Los Angeles DL/ Y+,CRJ 900
Los Angeles - Paris CDG AF/ Y, A380
Paris CDG - Basle AF / Y, ATR72
This trip was a Christmas gift for my parents and my brother, his wife and their 3yo little princess. I used AF and Marriott points to organise this trip which came as a surprise under the Christmas tree last year.
Unfortunately the trip started in a very bad way. To cut short a long story, we were booked on the first morning flight ex-BSL to CDG to transfer onto the IAD flight of 11:05. The day before departure, late afternoon, I received a SMS to inform that the IDA flight would leave at 02:00pm, a few minutes later, another SMS informs me that we have been rebooked onto a flight leaving Basel at 11:00a. Could be a nice gesture to reduce our layover, the problem was that a booked a taxi to the airport. It was 07:00pm when I have been informed about the change, so I called the taxi hoping they would be able to come back later. Thanks God, it worked.
A few minutes later, a new SMS comes to inform the flight to IAD is now delayed to 04:00pm due to technical checks. OK so far, we will have a couple of hours to spend in the AF lounge.
At 01:15am (yes your read well), new SMS informing me that the early morning flight would now leave at 09:37am. Then, minutes later, that the early morning flight is back on time.
As we have been rebooked onto the 11:00a flight, those SMS should not have reached me. I stand up, check my files, and see that we have been rebooked back to the first flight in the morning!!!! I call the 24/24 Platinum hotline, and explain my problem to a very friendly agent who first did not get it at all, as the AF desk totally messed up our reservations.
He eventually solves the problems after 45 minutes on the phone. He tells me that I am really lucky to have been waken up by the SMS as if I hadn't reacted we would have been no show on the early morning flight. 6 of us with special meal requests, special seating upper deck. That would have been a mess!!!
When we arrived at check in, I was still in doubt that everything would go fine, but it did. Happy :)
I won't describe the BSL CDG flight, very common and nothing to write two words about, but it was on time. The transfer from 2G to 2E went well, we even received some lily of the valley flowers (sorry if my translation is not correct, it is called muguet in french), a flower that we traditionally give for 1st of May.
As we took the lift to go to the lounge, we were discussing who is going to use its miles to pay the entrance fee, as both my mother and I are platinum, we have four free passes, but there is still one to pay, and maybe one for the child. A lady behind us was an Air France Lounge employee and overheard our conversation.
She tells us that the lounge over full is, and that they don't accept paying passengers. I tell her that this is sad, as we already had lots of troubles with this trip. In a few words I explain it to her, she asks us to follow her to the reception and allows everybody in, without any fee to pay. This is a very good service!
In fact, the lounge is more than crowded, luckily we are able to arrange a space for all of us, which is good. Here after my selection, the soup and the roastbeef were lovely:
Time to go to see our whale:
Will be Juliet Golf today. My little princess is very excited and as she sees the plane she sceams: 'Waouw, that's a big big plane, godfather, isn't it big?'
Speedy boarding thanks to sky priority and the stroller, here is the J class:
Home for the next 8:00+ hours:
Scree, seat pitch, PSU and note that the Emergency Exits have individual vents, there are the only seats in the plane to have that feature:
My princess receives some games, that will entertain her for at least two and half minutes:
Soon after t/o an aperitive is served, and after it, our special meals, tradition meal and child meal are served:
Shame on me, I forgot to take the lid off for the picture. I think this never, never ever happened to me!! But this is the same meal as here: à celui ci
Streching my legs a bit after the meal, note the very nice socks on the wall:
Upper deck rear galley:
The thing at the back of the galley is a liquid waste container. Note that access to the stairs is closed during service to prevent trolleys from falling down the stairs. On the last picture you can spot the trolley lift.
We will land at around 07:00pm, and use the mobile lounges to reach the terminal building, as usual.
As we arrive to immigration, a TK 773 just arrived, plus our fully booked A380 and 4 open desks!!! We will need 02:30 to get through. No special lane for families with young kids nor elderly people. Our child was calm and we have been very happy about that as she usually needs to do something and hates waiting for nothing. At 3 yo, waiting is a pain.
We saw at least 4 time the cleaning time come to clear up liquid on the ground, as there were some people/child that could not hold themselves for that long. The way the queue and the waiting time was handled was an absolute shame for IAD and USA in general. Letting people stand like that and pee on the floor should never occur, neither in the US nor elsewhere.
After us, Lufthansa, Air Iceland and a Japan Airlines flight landed, and they opened an additional 4 counters. But still this was not sufficient.
Air France Lounge - 2E, Hall L
Paris - CDG
Washington - IAD
We had a lovely crew that paid attention to details and had lots of interaction with pax: 10 Cabin is okay, much better than the 777: 6.5 Very good meal, dessert was average though, snack was below average, total: 6 IFE good, but no newspapers (bank holiday in France) and no WIFi: 7 On time performance: 0 (would love to give a -20) Lounge crowded and overheated: 3 No newspapers, WIFI very bad: 3 Dirty and noisy, no massages, but very nice attention from the lady: 5 Good food offering but not to write a book about: 6 CDG access and services were top notch: 10 quite clean: 7.5 IAD immigration: -50 (0) Access and services: 10 Not that clean: 5.5
Stay tuned for the next reports :)
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