Transfer in Paris Roissy
Immediately behind the immigration booths in Terminal 2G is the exit to the bus stop for the airside busses that connect to the other terminals. Terminal 2E M is served by the red line. Frequencies vary depending on which terminal they’re serving.
The journey by bus from 2G to 2E M take about five minutes.
I haven’t transferred through the M satellite before. But I have to say, it’s a very nice facility. The main lounge area is on the first floor.
I think Air France has put a lot of effort into updating, expanding and modernising the lounges at its hub in Paris in recent years. And this one here is no exception. The lounge has a very nice, spacious feel to it and it’s also rather quiet and stays like that for the duration of my stay. It’s a far cry from the horrific Lufthansa Business Class lounges in Munich and Frankfurt, which are somehow always too small.
The lounge has a business area with desks to work on, a kid’s playing area and a quiet zone where passengers can lie down and have a rest. There are showers that are available on a first come, first serve basis, as well as a Clarins ‘Spa’ for passengers to get a complimentary facial treatment.
As far as food options are concerned, during my stay the lounge is serving breakfast. The dishes change according to the time of day, obviously. There are scrambled eggs and bacon available, in addition to a large selection of pastries, fruit, cheese and hams.
And of course, there’s also a few eternal alcoholics helping themselves to the hard booze at nine o’clock in the morning. ‘It’s the jetlag, darling…’.
Boarding for the flight starts one hour before departure from gate M 28. Boarding is done by zones, with zone 1 and zone 2 for the SkyPriority passengers boarding first.
And it looks like there’s been an aircraft change. And what a nice one it is too! Originally, when I booked this flight, it should have been operated by a Boeing B 777-300. But outside, staring me in the face in all her glory, in an Airbus A 380! I mean, I know the Business Class on this bird isn’t quite as fancy as that on the B 777-300, but I also have to say that since Airbus announced the end of production and Air France and Lufthansa announced that they were downsizing their respective fleets, every flight I can snag on one of these aircraft is a bonus. Of course, it also means that I’m determined to make sure I fly with every airline that operates the A 380 before they go out of service. Luckily, I don’t have too many left on the list.
The cabin is in a old fashioned 2 + 2 + 2 configuration and admittedly, there isn’t much privacy in the setup Air France has. There is no divider in between the seats and all the six seats in a row are aligned.
Storage space is also limited in comparison to the B 777 seat of Air France. There is obviously space to put things, but somehow most of that space is not really in a convenient position.
The seat is slightly angled, but it is still possible to sleep on your side or on your stomach without having to make any serious contortions.
One of the biggest problems of the Airbus A 380, which I think should be considered a design flaw, is that the aircraft is just so bloody quiet, even with the engines on take-off thrust. I mention this here because there are two Frenchman on this flight that are obviously determined to talk all the way to Dubai, which is six very long hours away. Throughout the flight, various passengers tell them to done it down, but apparently, it’s to no avail…
The crew are what I have come to understand as being very typical of Air France crews. There friendly and efficient in their work, but there’s not much warmth in them – the service and their interaction with the passengers seems quite formal.
When I reach my seat, a big pillow, a thick blanket and a pair of slippers have already been placed at my seat. Once boarding is completed, the service on the ground begins. First, there is a drink service with a choice of champagne, water or fruit juice.
Shortly after, the vanity kits and the menus for the flight are distributed. And then eventually, thick hot towels are passed round and orders for the main course are taken.
The meal service is always a highly enjoyable experience with Air France in that the quality of the food is normally very good and you certainly needn’t worry about going hungry. And today’s flight is no exception.
For a pre-meal drink I have a Coke Zero, which is served with a small box of packed cranberries and cashews and a small ramekin with a beet mousse and cheese crumble.
The first course is a plate of sautéd shrimps with a mango tartare and a couscous with flowers, grapefruit and vegetables. The first course is served with a choice of either brown or white bread.
There is also a salad with pine nuts, served with a small bottle of olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar.
For the main dish I have the poached pollock with a curry and coconut sauce and Camargue rice.
And finally, for dessert I go with the apricot tart and vanilla ice cream.
The meal is very enjoyable and flavourful. The mango tartare goes nicely with the shrimps and the pollock is flaky and juicy, and complemented nicely by the rice.
The Second Service
About one hour out of Dubai, the lights come on again and the second service begins. It’s really just a small snack and consists of a small plate with a small vol au vent, a piece of apricot pie and a chicken wrap.
We touch down in Dubai at 23h05, twenty minutes ahead of schedule. We park on the non-Emirates pier, from where we have to take a shuttle train to the arrivals hall. Luckily, I reach the immigration just ahead of the rush hour, so at least I don’t have too long to wait there.
But there seems to be a problem with the baggage delivery. Or rather, it’s a bit unfortunate that they put the Air France flight as the same baggage carousel as the Lufthansa flight, because it means there are the combined bags of a whole A 380 and a B 747-400 to delivery onto the same belt.
Eventually, my suitcase arrives after a wait of 45 minutes. And then I head outside to grab a taxi to my hotel.
Here in Dubai I’ll be giving a course for Flydubai, which has become the newest airline to use the English language test for pilots I developed.