Welcome to the next Flight-Report installment of a trip I took this January. This report will cover an Air France flight from Paris to Amman. Eventually, my Flight-Reports will cover:
DL 1625; BWI-ATL; F Class; 5/1/2014 DL 5324; ATL-YUL; F Class; 5/1/2014 AF 346; YUL-CDG; J Class; 5/1/2014 AF 3886; CDG-AMM; J Class; 6/1/2014 (Current Report) RJ 344; AMM-TLV; J Class; 9/1/2014 AZ 809; TLV-FCO; J Class; 17/1/2014 AZ 610; FCO-JFK; J Class; 17/1/2014 DL 2914; JFK-DCA; F Class; 17/1/2014
We arrived at CDG at least close to on time. I made my way outside of security, as my layover was long enough that I thought I was going to go into Paris. After seeing the train cost, I decided it wasn't worth it. But, at least you can see the lovely FIDS at CDG, right?
Some of the architecture is interesting, to say the least.
The airport is hopping.
On the way to one of the satellites in Terminal 2E, I got several lovely views of sundry planes. Here are a few of an AF A380.
On the other side is a VN 777.
Here's an AF 777 in Skyteam livery. (Admittedly, I'd have rather flown this instead of the A340—I'm an unabashed Boeing fan.)
I took a break from plane watching to head to one of the AF lounges. It was rather disappointing: crowded, poor food options (although better than DL's domestic lounges, to be sure), et cetera.
Back to the main terminal, I make my way to the gate. The inbound, unfortunately, is an hour late getting in. This means we're at least an hour late getting out. Right now, the gate is pretty empty.
I spy a DL 767.
A Cathy Cargo 747 is landing. Now that I look closely, the nacelles suggest this is a 747-8, which makes this the first of its kind that I've seen.
All our ducks are in a row.
At least it's not Ryanair, right?
Here's a taxing AF A320.
And here's another on takeoff.
Oh, look what decided it wanted to show up!
Finally, we board. I don't have any memories of the boarding process, which means it was probably pretty straight forward. Because this is an Air France medium-haul flight, there's not a true business class. Instead, AF blocks off the center seat of however many rows of economy they need. That renders a J cabin that looks like this.
The flight attendants moved me to the bulkhead, assumedly because they feel sorry for my nearly 2m frame and the ~80–81cm pitch. Legroom looks like this.
During taxi, a quasi-oshibori is distributed.
And with AF's true grand dame behind me, cheers.
I'm not sure if an amenity kit was distributed. I don't have any photos of it. If there was one, it was the old-style, non-anniversary, disappointing version. Entertainment consisted of the flight map.
The menu, however, is clearly an anniversary edition. There's one choice for dinner: smoke-dried chicken to start, a mushroom risotto, and an assortment of small desserts. The wine list looked like a paired-down version of my previous flight. Unsurprisingly, I had the smoke-dried chicken, the risotto, and the desserts. I wish I could tell you which red I had. I believe it's the Bordeaux, as I think I had the Languedoc on the previous flight (even though it's not mentioned there, I remember having one red there, and I believe I remember trying to pronounce Languedoc from YUL to CDG).
Everything was presented on one plate, yet again. While not as, shall we say, unfortunate a choice as the last flight, I still would like to see individual service. This flight was nearly as long as JFK-SFO, and the airlines there certainly do separate service for individual courses. Notice how small the desserts are. Tiny. Super, super tiny. (Yes, I realize that there's a stereotype of the bovine American who needs a liter of ice cream and soda a day. Yes, I realize that it's often rightly deserved. But please note that whilst I'm 1.96m, I'm only about 73kg, so I shouldn't fit that stereotype.) The smoked chicken was lovely. The risotto and wine were fine.
The dinnertime cloud cover was lovely.
Unsurprisingly, the Alps and the sunset were, too.
Finally, we are over the Mediterranean. Landing and customs were uneventful.
Air France Lounge - 2D
Paris - CDG
Amman - AMM
While foreign airlines generally best U.S. airlines on long-haul flights, U.S. airlines' short- and medium-haul service is a notch above AF's, except for catering.
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It is sad to read that the result of the surcharge on train tickets to/from CDG is that PAX with a long connection are discouraged to visit Paris. That tax on the most environmentally friendly means of suburban transportation is a complete nonsense.
I find it interesting to read a report on AF by a foreigner living abroad (and that prompted me to read the report on the preceding flight, that I had overlooked).
Yes the dessert is tiny, but wait... I can't believe that you had blue cheese (there are several very different kinds, so I would not venture to name the one you had) ! Having a single kind of cheese is definitely against basic French cheese etiquette, but then this is an AF meal...
Again, I like your creative use of B&W settings.
The CDG-AMM is one of several much decried AF routes to eastern shore of the Mediterrean Sea : too long for the short haul catering and comfort offered on board. I am not surprised by your ratings of that flight. That lounge is also well below international standards. Thanks for this FR !
Admittedly, the black-and-white setting is because ... the window made the colors look all funky otherwise. Unfortunately, there aren't many Skyteam options to AMM, especially given DL's new MQD program. I flew AZ back (but from TLV); TLV-FCO was much the same, although FCO-JFK was a lovely, lovely flight.
To CDG's credit, it at least has respectable public transit into and out of the airport. LGA and LAX (along with quite a few other American airports) come to mind as examples of public-transit disasters. But this is America, and we need our cars, you know.
PS : the flight should be referenced AF3886, and the seat was apparently 1F
I think we might have a different view of what a rating of 6 means. I take a 5 to be average. I bumped AF down a notch for one-tray service and dessert, and up two notches for the chicken and generally being tasty. Hence, it gets a 6. If it were not good, I'd have put it at something like a 2 or a 3.
thanks for this FR. How long time was the late?
I believe an hour to a hour-and-a-half.
As Marathon said, it's interesting to have the opinion of a non-AF frequent flyer on this very particular long short-haul flight :)
I totally agree with your opinion of the crowded lounge.
Thanks for sharing !
Thanks for this FR :)
Pictures don't show for me, is that normal ? (I got an ERROR 404 when I try to open them in another window too)
Evrything seems to be working now. I think there was a short-lived issue with the site earlier.
Thanks for sharing this next leg in the series. I'm not a fan at all of Euro-Business class. It really should just be called Premium economy because that's essentially what it is. As a frequent Delta and Air France flyer, in my opinion, DL does a way better job on medium haul international and transcon than AF does on there types of routes. With DL you get a real wide First/Business seat, even flat beds on some routes, and catering that's served by hand from the galley in several courses, not all on one tray. I recently did several flights to Mexico (MEX and PVR) with DL in J and it was hands down better than AF on a flight of similar duration, like this flight.
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