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Some Skyteam's Exclusive's part I

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  • Some Skyteam's Exclusive's part I

    Some Skyteam exclusive’s part I
    Part I: Brussels-Paris-Washington
    Part II: Washington-Atlanta
    Part III: Atlanta-Houston-Amsterdam-Brussels

    06/04/2009: AF 7184 Brussels Midi- Paris CDG Train TGV
    06/04/2009: AF 0026 Paris CDG- Washington IAD Air France Boeing 777-300ER
    07/04/2009: DL 1637 Washington IAD- Atlanta Delta Air Lines MD-88
    14/04/2009: DL 1405 Atlanta- Houston IAH Delta Air Lines MD-88
    14/04/2009: KL 0664 Houston IAH-Amsterdam Privatair Boeing 737-700
    15/04/2009: KL 1729 Amsterdam-Brussels KLM Cittyhopper Fokker 70

    Having around 200 000 miles on my flying Blue account. It was time to spend some miles. For the once in a liftetime I could permit this I started searching for F availibility. Wich as being with Skyteam, only leaves me on Air France to JFK,IAH or IAD. I chose to go to Washington since their afternoon flight departs at 440pm. On the return I wanted to try out the BBJ service from KLM on the route from IAH to Amsterdam. As space being wide open it was very easy to book. I was trying to fit the domestic legs in as a reward ticket. Eventually I could use CO from DCA-CLE-GSP-IAH. Unafortunaly Flying Blue would not let me book this. So I paid a ticket with Delta. Routing IAD-ATL-IAH. Making me leave the next morning after my arrival in Washington. And on the return giving me a four hour layover in Texas. More misery came when KLM cancelled it’s Privatair flight KL663/664 into Houston. I was automaticly rebooked on the earlier 1530 747 flight. Wich was not good since my Delta flight arrived from Atlanta at that time. I rearranged my itinerary so that I had the same flights the next day. A few weeks later came the along waited day 6 April.

    After a long weekend stuck at home because one of the famous bicycle races had to pass. I was gladly to wake up at about 6AM to catch my 830 train to Brussels. As Air France no longer flies from BRU to CDG. They put their flight number on the TGV train services, I took this a few times in 2005 when Thalys served this route. One big advantage, the ride from my home town is now only 45minutes instead of 1hr30mins. An soon at 920 I was in the line for check in. I recieved both boarding passes and a lounge invitation to the Thalys Cybelis lounge. After passing thru this station about a hundred times, it was my first visit to this lounge. However it was nothing spectacular, not even drinks for someone who doesn’t drink coffee. Soon 1000 passed and I was ready to board the train.

    The flight:
    Monday 6 April 2009
    Brussels Midi Rail Station (ZYR)-Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG/LFPG)
    Air France 7184 (TGV 9826 Continuing on to Nice-Ville)
    Train TGV 4512 Coach 1 seat 71 First Class.
    10h21-10h21 (platform 4)
    11h36-11h36 (platform 44)
    Load factor: 100% in F
    Est Riding time: 1hour 15 minutes
    Routing: Brussels-Lille-Paris CDG

    My checked lugage was stored in the bagage compartment. Boarding the train I found my seat 71. Wich was a solo-seat on the train. A few minutes later our train was ready to depart. TGV has recently redone it’s Seats. I personally rather found them uncomfortable. When Thalys did this service we got a small drink at our seat, TGV unafortunaly does not do it anymore. However with a small walk to the bar. You can find much more that what Thalys used to serve at your seat. The rest of the ride was uneventfull. At 11h36 we arrived in Roissy CDG where all the fun started .

    Upon disembarkation I saw a man with two signs. One with La Premiere en another one with my name on. Immediatly I realized that I was into something. When I greeted him he asked wich bag was mine. After I approached my bag het ook my bag and carried it to the upper level. There was a car waiting for me. They drove me to terminal 2E. Once the ride stopped I was awaited by a real red carpet. There I got escorted in the terminal building. After some short securtiy questions. I was asked to sit in a waiting lounge and was offered some water. A few minutes later my lounge attandent came back who checked in my bag. After that we had a nice talk and he escorted me to a special security line. Where there was virtually nobody in line. After that we went together to the new La Premiere lounge. Where my bags could be stored for my stay.

    It was now about 1215. First i was offered a tour of the lounge. Wich I gladly excepted. After the tour I settled me in for a exclusive meal prepared by Alain Ducasse. Wich was the best meal I have ever remembered eating in my lifetime. After that I went took a 45 minute rest in the lounge chairs. In matter of fact to have tested everything I took a shower. By now it was 1445. I decided to use the computers and make a few phone calls. At 1530 I went to explore the terminal

    Paris CDG and Terminal 2E has changed alot since my last trip thru CDG back in 2005. After seeing the shops I tried too look at the traffic. Our 77W to Washington had already parked at the gate just across from the lounge. F-GSQK would be my ride today. Other at the concourse there was a 772 to Los Angeles and a 747 to New York JFK. Both departing at around the same time as us. At the far end of the concourse, there was a Delta 767 N155DL being prepared for the afternoon run to Atlanta. On the way back I noticed at our gate that Air France stopped putting info on like who’s the captain etc. What a pitty, I always liked that board. By 1600 I was back in the lounge where I settled a nice conversation with the lounge attendants. At 1615 me and another person (sitting in 1L) where escorted to the plane. We had priority acces but I was suprised to only see 1 jetbridge attached to door 1L while the second jetbridge remained unused. The lounge attendant wished me a good flight and gave me over to the cabin crew. After a short bonjour I was escorted to my seat 2L.

    The flight:
    Monday 6 April 2009
    Paris CDG (CDG/LFPG)-Washington Dulles (IAD/KIAD)
    Air France 0026 (Delta Air Lines 8296, Alitalia 3566)
    Boeing 777-328ER F-GSQK. La Premiere 02L
    16h40-16h46 (Gate E38; wheels up on runway 27L at 17h06)
    18h55-19h13 (Gate B41; wheels down on runway 1R at 19h07)
    Est flying time: 7hrs50mins.
    Cruising Altitude: FL 360
    Load factor: 50% in P

    Once seated I was offered a drink. I choose a new kind of juice. Wich I would be having during most of the flight. Today 4 of the 8 seats would be taken. With the 3 other passengers sitting in row 1. I had row 2 for myself. L’espace Affaires (J) was about 50% full and Economy was full. The door closed on time and soonly therafter the saftey video was shown. Forgot that with Air France the flight attendants stand actually in the aisles. Wich one noticed me filming. Being used to fly with us-based carriers, this kind of freaked me out. However, the FA smiled, when they showed the saftey card she waved to draw my atention. At the end we even joked about it. After a long typical CDG-taxi our engines spooled up at 1706.

    Soon after liftoff the main purser came to Greet us al in F. our meal orders where taken.
    Meal service consisted the following.

    L’espace Premiere
    Air France 0008 Paris CDG-New York JFK
    Air France 0026 Paris CDG-Washington IAD
    Air France 0347 Paris CDG-Montreal

    Dinner a la carte.

    White radish and vegetables with lime juice, salmon and italian parsley on a sweet potato galette, brochette of pineapple, sheep’s milk cheese and smoked breast of duck, beef salad flavoured with sesame

    Choice of Hors d’oevre
    Foie gras with King crab accompanied by date with lemon zest.

    Balk salmon complemented by hazelnut blini with tarama

    Green and white aspergus served with Aquitaine caviar.

    Fresh seasonal salad

    Choice of main course
    A light tomato sauce flavored with lemongrass accentuates this filet of beef complemented by celery and tapenade.

    A fine fillet of monkfish with fennel sauce accompanied by crisp vegetables enchanced by a subtle touch of anise.

    Eggplant reinvented in five different ways

    Plat du jour: Free range chicken and fennel jus with chorizo.

    Our special selection of French cheese
    Carambert, Roquefort, Pérail, Langres, Beaufort

    Fresh bakery selection

    Dessert cart

    Miniature pastries
    Strawberry cake, served with cookies
    Sherbet served with cookies
    Assortment of fresh fruit

    Light meal
    Canapé of smoked salmon and cucumber with cumin, farmer’s cheese with dill
    Home-style yoghurt
    Mango and rasberry salad with verbena

    While the meal service was in progress, I started to play with the IFE system. I notice Air France has switched to AVOD aswell, wich is a nice improvement. I watched Madagascar 2 and High School Musical 3.

    Once the meal service was completed I was offered a turn-down service, Well, I knew I wasn’t going to sleep but, for once I’m in F I really wanted to know what it’s like flying completly “lie-flat”.

    Halfway thru the flight I walked and chatted with the crew. As alot of other trip reports said, Air France crews can be hit or miss. In this case, as most of my Air France crewsets where a hit. I talked alot with the crews, they even let me walk thru the J and Y cabins (a big no on similar routes from us carriers). This was my first impression of 3-4-3 on a 777 in Y. Personally the older 3-3-3 configurations looked much more inviting than this configuration. I tought the J galley was nicely designed with it’s 2 galleyparts. Back at the 1L-1R door the crew even showed me the crewrest above the F section.

    Taken around seat 8A I believe.

    By now we where entering the US-airspace. And our pre-arrival snack was served. But we hit some severe turbulance, so severe that my water and wine litterely spilt over.

    After the meal tray was stowed I started making pics of the F cabin and prepared myself for the landing in Washington. When retracting my seat, I felt a latch was broken. That made the retraction impossible. After some hard efforts (with 4 F/A’s) I could retract my seat but the latch was still broken. Soon therafter decent started in Washington and after a few turns we where on the ground. While we where taxing in a FA thanked me for flying and said they enjoyed the talk. On our way there where some United express jets. Besides us there was a Privatair 737. I wonder where this was going to? I pressume Frankfurt or Munich.

    At 19h10 we docked of and jetty’s attached to door 1L and 2L, Soon we where led to the mobile jetty’s wich brought us to the custums area. Personally I found this more to be a better system than in Atlanta, especially if you are terminating your travels in DC, you do not have to reclear security. Immergration was very smooth, as we where the only one arriving togheter with a united flight from London. However finding the hotel shuttle was a different story. But after alot of searching I found the hotel shuttle. And by 2030 I was being checked in the Best Western Dulles Airport.

    As a bonus I would like to give a list of regs I spotted in CDG and IAD.



    My Total travel time was about 18hours and 20 mins.

    Thank you for viewing and stay tuned for part II Washington IAD-Atlanta on Delta



  • #2
    That was a great flight review, it's awesome that over in Europe you can catch a train like that from your hometown and ride to the airport directly, and then connect to your flight. And did you get the special service at CDG since you were travelling with an award ticket or since you were in the La Premiere class? By the way, how was that dessert cart, looked pretty good.

    On another note, 10-abreast seating in Y, uh no thanks. That Y looks like a sardine can, it makes Southwest's look like business class!


    • #3
      Originally posted by Foxtrot View Post
      That was a great flight review, it's awesome that over in Europe you can catch a train like that from your hometown and ride to the airport directly, and then connect to your flight. And did you get the special service at CDG since you were travelling with an award ticket or since you were in the La Premiere class? By the way, how was that dessert cart, looked pretty good.

      On another note, 10-abreast seating in Y, uh no thanks. That Y looks like a sardine can, it makes Southwest's look like business class!
      Thanks for the comment.

      It is very usefull indeed, leaving tomorrow again on a plane trip and doing the trip from my hometown again. In CDG I recieved the full F service, The desert cart was delicious.

      About the Y-seats I can only agree with you, It looked very uninviting to sit in.