I’m on my way to Bogota to give a course. The flight from Paris departs at 15h40 on Monday. However, there either is no connecting flight from Basel or it’s already fully booked, which means that I end up spending Sunday evening at the Pullman Hotel at Paris airport.
Check-in at Terminal 2E
Terminal 2E is Air France’s non-Schengen terminal. From the SkyPriority check-in area passengers have direct access to the priority lane for immigration.
I think they have a rather clever process in place in Terminal 2. In addition to the main concourse K, there are also the two satellite terminals L and M. While immigration is centralized for all passengers leaving France on the K concourse, security screening for departures from the L and M gate is done directly in the satellite, which clearly helps to better manage the queues.
The view from the train is rather nice too…
The security screening is done on the ground floor, the main airside area is then one floor up.
Le Salon Air France in satellite M
The Business Class lounge is busy when I arrive. Not that it makes a difference, because it’s only once I’m in the lounge that I remember I forgot my belt at security, so I leave again and make the schlepp back down there to retrieve it.
Once I get back to the lounge again just after 14h00, the peak is just over. It’s still busy, but not full. During peak hours there is a second, smaller food station available in the lounge. However, once the mad rush is over they close this one down.
I rather like the archiecture of 2F. The terminal is spacious and with plenty of seating opportunities.
On my way to the gate I’m distracted by this gorgeous looking aircraft. How can anybody not like the A 350? I really need to get myself on a flight with one of these.
Unfortunately, I’m not so lucky taking photos of my own ride to Bogota. The way the aircraft is parked means that I only get to take the photo below.
Boarding is by zones, starting with SkyPriority and Business Class passengers. There’s also a Covid check for connecting passengers.
Air France does not have a First Class cabin on the Boeing B 787-9. The Business Class cabin is located between the L1 and L2 doors and comprises of 32 seats in a reverse herringbone configuration in a 1 + 2 + 1 arrangement. I’m on 1A, which I think it just brilliant because it offers a lot of privacy. Because the seats are staggered, there is no seat on the other side of the aisle. I don’t find the proximity to the galley bothersome and the curtains block out all the light.
A cushion and a proper, thick blanket are already at my seat when I arrive.
There is more than enough storage space in the seat. Morover, there’s a small compartment that houses the earphones and that can also be used to store smaller items.
There’s also a multi-purpose electricity plug and usb port.
The crew on this flight are a friendly, chirpy bunch. Once boarding is completed, the lead flight attendant in Business Class comes to welcome me aboard and introduce herself to me. I notice she and her colleagues consistently address me by my family name.
The service begins with a welcome drink – there is water, champagne and orange juice on offer.
Next comes the distribution of the vanity kits, which feature Clarins cosmetics, a toothbrush and Signal toothpaste, eye shades, socks, and earplugs.
The crew also offer sanitary kits for our arrival in Bogota, where it is mandatory to wear face masks inside the terminal building.
The menus are also distributed. I notice that the crew first take orders from the Platinum members before asking the other passengers for their meal choices.
And finally, a very hot towel is distributed to passengers.
We take off in a Westerly direction , which takes us past the Musé de L’Air at Le Bourget and then the city of Paris with the Eiffel tower and then Versailles. The flight time to Bogota is just over ten hours.
The meal – first service
There are four choices for the main course. I go with the vegetarian couscous.
The meal begins with an apéritif. At the flight attendant’s suggestion, I try the Vermouth with Perrier, which is not bad. With that, there is a small box of cashew nuts and cranberries.
The tray arrives with the salad and the first course. The foie gras is an Air France staple, and probably a reason to order an Asian vegetarian meal in future… The other starter is an asparagus salad. I don’t touch the foie gras, but the mango chutney it is served with is nice. There is a selection of rolls on offer too.
The salad comes with pine nuts and a small bottle of olive oil and balsamico.
Once the first course is removed, the crew bring the cheese dish and more bread.
And then comes the main course: vegetable couscous with lemon. And very nice it is too.
For dessert there is a choice of vanilla ice cream, coffee ice cream, strawberry sorbet, or a selection of pastries – or any combination of all.
The service is unrushed but efficient. There are no long waits in between courses, and once I’m done my tray is quickly removed. For the rest of the flight I reline my seat and read. Outside there is nothing much to see except the vastness of the Atlantic ocean.
Ninety minutes out of Bogota, the second service begins. There are two options available – fish or pasta.
I go with the ravioli filled with cheese in a cream sauce with champignons, which is a really excellent and rather substatial dish for the second service. In addition, there is also a bowl of pear compote and a buttery piece of cake.
By the time we land in Bogota at 19h15 it’s already dark outside. The crew come to say good bye, and then it’s already time to disembark. Immigration in Bogota is easy and very quick. Within twenty minutes after landing, I’m already through customs and on my way to the taxi stand.
At Bogota airport you can either take a regular yellow taxi from the taxi rink outside exit six. However, this may not be the safest option. Alternatively, you can ask for a taxi and the taxi booth near exit five. They will log your journey with your name and passport details and those of your driver. You also pay directly at the counter, and not the driver.