My last post, before leaving for Paris, was of the wonderful treatment by WestJet at least once a year to their patrons. My flight to Paris reveals a different story. I am starting this post with Day 1 and Day 10 to get them out of my system. I am not one to complain, but hey I think it is good to know about different experiences and what can happen. I should have suspected something when I started getting emails from Delta well before my departure date. I book flights six months in advance to get the seat I want, so I was surprised that my seat had been changed over the months several times. I really didn’t think too much about it since I had paid extra for the seat and I was sure I would get an equivalent seat. Twenty-four hours before the departure, when I checked in online, I was again offered to upgrade my seat, paying even more money, which I did. Row 10 Aisle was my seat. When I get to the check in gate imagine my surprise when I was told my seat is Row 90 Middle.
“What row did you say I was in?” my eyebrows shoot up. “How many rows are on this plane?” I ask.
“We have seated you on the upper deck, for your comfort,” is the reply.
“How many rows are on this upper deck?” I ask.
“52 rows on the lower floor and 34 rows on the upper deck,” is the reply.
“OMG, what kind of a plane is this?”
“An AirFrance AirBus 380, ma’am.”
When I get to the departure gate I stare at the biggest airplane I have ever seen! There are over 600 passengers getting ready to board this plane. There are four departure gates, two above and two below deck. We snake around the airport in long lines just to board in the right line. On board my seat is in the back door exit aisle, plenty of leg room since the exit door must be five feet wide to allow a quick get away. OMG! There are no side aisles here either. I have lots of space so no problem, let’s get this baby off the ground! We sit another hour in the plane. It takes forever to get all the baggage on. The women next to me gives me the evil eye and then complains she has been bumped from her original seat separating her family of four to various seats around the plane. I am in one of her seats she explains. I tell her my story about seat changes and we commiserate together. I don’t know how Air France knows who is in what seat by now. When we take off, it is flawless. You don’t even know you are flyng it is so quiet and smooth. Six and a half hours later we land at Charles De Gaulle Airport where we taxi for an hour and wait. The plane is so big we land a good way from the airport and then have to slowly, slowly taxi in to a gate that is large enough to take the huge plane. It is another hour to deplane, and another one to go through a maze of buildings and on and on and on through the airport to the baggage claim. It feels like it takes us almost as much time on the ground as the flight time. But, we are here! Hooray!
Day 10: We are on the way to airport at 0800. We get a text saying there is an airplane delay, but departure is as scheduled. We get to the check in gate and are told the plane is delayed…… in Japan. WHAT!!!!!!! Our 1pm departure is now 7:45pm. “Have a voucher for lunch on us madame.” The small food stands will only let us use our “lunch vouchers” on plastic wrapped nasty looking sandwiches. No thank you, Air France. We wait and wait. There are hundreds of us and we are not happy. Again, we are waiting on the Airbus 380. Finally it arrives but there will be another 5 hour delay to clean, restock, refuel and find a flight crew because we are now 12 hours behind schedule! “Have another food voucher madame.” At last at 11 pm we re told we can begin to board. It takes forever; there is only one entrance level for all of us. UGH! When we are seated we are told the head count is inaccurate and they must count again. Everyone stay in their seats!!!! They count again and again. Then the captain says we need more fuel. So we sit another hour. Will we ever leave? Once we are finally off, there are not enough stewards to attend and serve meals properly. No coffee, no tea. The customers who pre-ordered mangoes or whatever meals are served and an hour or so later the crew heads down the rows for the rest of us. What a disaster. We arrive in DC at 3 am in the morning of the following day. That is 9am in Paris. This 6 hour flight has now taken over 24 hours. No weather delays, no break down. Just poor planning. The plane is way too big to handle properly. I am a day behind schedule. So my lesson is this. I will never, repeat never, fly Air France again. I will check the carrier I book with and make sure he has not dished me off to Air France.
Tips for Air France. The plane is way too large. The airports are not equipped to service the plane properly. The gates are not large enough to handle a small city of paying customers. Get two small planes and save us all a headache. We will not forget this disastrous flight. Now to tell you about my great time in Paris!
NOTICE THE SIZE OF THE PEOPLE TO GET AN IDEA OF THE SIZE OF THIS PLANE!!!!!!