I have booked this trip months in advance with much anticipation for a total of USD 560.90 on DL and my schedule was from SFO-GOT with the SK and LH portions added separately. Originally I was supposed to go from SFO-ATL on DL and then connect on AF from ATL-CDG on the 744. I was looking forward to sitting in the upper deck since I was able to reserve seat 60L in the bulkhead for free. Unfortunately this was not meant to happen.
I arrived at SFO early and checked in at the DL self service kiosk without any problem. Since I am a collector of boarding passes, I wanted to ask the gate agent to reprint my boarding card and hopefully get a hard version. However, the agent run into some trouble issuing it and discovered that my AF ATL-CDG was cancelled. She then asked me to wait and a supervisor took over to reissue my ticket. She was very apologetic about it and I tried to see if she would be able to put me on AF or KL out of SFO. She said that both of those flights were full and protected me on DL SFO-SLC-CDG. Funny thing is that earlier while I was waiting at the gate I saw the AF A380 land and taxi to the gate and thought to myself that it would be nice to fly that big whale one of these days.
So I resigned myself to my DL fate and found out that the SLC-CDG was operated with an A330, so chances are that this was an ex-NW crew. That flight looked full but I was assigned an aisle seat so it was not too bad. I had lunch at Perry's and feasted on a very Californian grilled vegetable sandwich with not so healthy crisps.
So I returned to the gate and found out that the SLC flight was delayed for some unknown reason. The agent and the supervisor that helped me earlier were frantically protecting the intl passengers with connections and I was the second person in line. I overhead the supervisor said that the Paris passengers will be booked on LH and this was confirmed by the agent who assisted me. I asked if I could go on BA instead since they had two flights later that day and I recently switch my mileage earning to their Executive Club recently. The agent checked and said that those flights were full, so no luck there. She handed me a copy of my new schedule on LH and asked me to run to the intl terminal because the flight was going to depart within 1 hr. I hurried myself to LH and upon checking at the counter, LH refused to take the DL ticket because there was not enough information about the fare, so they asked me to return to DL. Let's just say that I was not the happiest person in the world at that moment.
Back at the DL counter, an agent asked a supervisor for guidance and she told her to contact AF and request to put one more passenger on their flight. AF accepted and I went back running because the flight will leave within 1 hr. At the AF counter, an agent told me that my seat assignment would be given at the gate. I knew that this flight would be full and prepared myself to sit in a middle seat squeezed by giants on each side.
The dreadful boarding pass that the counter gave me.
Your Highness at the gate.
I arrived at the gate and it was chaos with a huge crowd getting ready to board.
I approached the gate agent and asked her to please find me something decent. She gave me a choice between a middle EMERG exit seat in the upper deck OR a window EMERG in the lower deck. Of course I chose the window in the lower deck and it turned out to be a bulkhead instead.
A better boarding pass.
Intl. newspapers before getting into the jetbridge.
I was welcomed by 2 FA's posted by the door and while walking to the back was greeted by 2 more FA's in the aisles. I was happy with this seat.
Welcome message and camera view.
But I continue to find dirty seats everywhere I go.
Once everyone boarded we taxied to the runway for take off. I have to admit that I had one of the smoothest take off's that I have experienced in my life. It was a gradual ascend that was very quietly and felt more like I was gliding upwards. There were a lot of boats on the water because it was Fleet Week.
Once airborne headphones and menus were distributed.
The windows and engines were huge.
Flight attendants were professional and very polite. I ordered an orange juice as a starter.
The dinner tray as presented by the FA. By the time the FA got to my row only chicken was left.
Main dish with a few pieces that were hard which shouldn't happen.
A dry chocolate cake.
At one point a FA passed by the rows offering a second helping of breads from a basket.
Entertainment was pretty good with a decent selection of films in my opinion. After the meal service FA's offered tea or coffee. This cabin was not conducive to relaxation because there was a crying baby on the other side and a group of loud passengers behind. At one point during the meal service they were shouting Bon appetit to each other and after the meal they congregated in the buffet area talking and laughing.
View of the last cabin in the lower deck.
Time to do some walking and go upstairs.
A self service buffet was set with drinks, sandwiches, snacks and ice creams. I must say that this is pretty generous from AF because some airlines wouldn't offer this much in their J class cabins, let alone in Y. So kudos to AF for providing a buffet service on an overnight flight.
At about 1.5 hrs before arrival into CDG breakfast was served. There was a hot dish that consisted of sweet cheese crepes.
Landing in CDG.
A last look at my seat. If you are flying as a couple then seats 65KL are best because you can raise the armrest in between, something unusual on bulkhead seats.
A380 at the gate.
San Francisco - SFO
Paris - CDG
Sometimes things happen for the better, and I believe that this was the case with my experience. I had the chance to fly on the AF A380 and in the process obtained a comfortable seat. One minor complaint is that when the tray table is extended, it is a bit close to the body and I wish it could be pushed further away. Otherwise this seat has plenty of leg room to stretch and I was able to get out of my seat without disturbing my neighbors.
The crew was professional and smiling. At one point when I went to the upper deck and inquired about some AF souvenirs, the FA showed me free stuff for kids and invited me to take whatever I wanted. He also suggested some items on the Duty Free that had the AF logo.
Meals were fine and the buffet was one thing that I found very generous. I was glad to receive an appetizer that was different from a green leaves salad. The taste of the chicken was good but as I mentioned before some pieces were not the most tender. The chocolate cake was a bit dry.
A personal video on each seat can really help time pass by quickly and AF had a decent selection of films.
Flight was on time.
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