2nd TR: STR-CDG-ORY-LCY / LHR-CDG-STR On AF In Y

— OUTBOUND LEG —

Hello and welcome to my second trip report!

Click here to read it on Airliners.net.

***BACKGROUND-INFO:***
Before I wrote my first TR in July 2010 which was just a test-run for this TR I read on the General Aviation forums that AF would be deploying the A380 on the CDG-LHR-CDG route, so I was eager to fly the whale on a cheap inter-european flight. As I have never flown into LCY either, and wanted to try it I thought I could combine both flights into one trip. Additionally I have never been to London, so the whole trip seemed to be a great long weekend-trip.
I booked the flights via the AF website and payed 170 Euros for all flights. I didn’t like the fact that I had to transfer between CDG and ORY, but that was the price I had to pay for this “unique” routing.
After booking my flight I searched for a cheap hotel with 3 stars or more and found the Sheraton 4-star hotel near LHR for just above 100 Euros for three nights. Step 3 was to book my train connections in advance, so I booked one Heathrow Connect one-way ticket for Friday evening and two round-trip tickets for Saturday and Sunday. Hotel and HeathrowConnect combined it was still much cheaper than to book a good hotel in inner London.

***PRE-FLIGHT:***
On Friday morning I got up at 07:00 AM, packed and got into my car at about 08:00 AM. I arrived at STR about one hour later and parked in the P2 parking garage for mid-term parking. After a 5 minute walk I arrived at the terminal area on departure level.

I proceeded to Terminal 3 to the AF express self-chech-in and realized checking in online would have been smarter. I only got an aisle seat and could not check-in for my 2nd flight from ORY to LCY.

While checking in an AF agent came to me and told me a had to get a approved-carry-on badge for my bag, so I had to go the AF counters.

Security took me about 10 minutes which is a rather long time for STR. It was the first time they wanted me to put my parfum into an extra bag, so I had to buy one.

After security, view towards Terminal 1 and 2:

Boarding area:

The A318, never flown this type before. Btw this TR will feature 3 new types for me on 4 flights.


Germanwings A319:

Information screen:

***FLIGHT 1:***
Date: 27 August 2010
Airline: Air France / AF
Flight: AF 1409
Aircraft: Airbus A318
Aircraft Reg: F-GUGK
Departure Airport: STR / Stuttgart Airport
Arrival Airport: CDG / Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 10:30 AM
Actual Departure Time: 10:50 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:50 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 12:10 AM
Class: Economy
Seat: 09D (aisle)

Open cockpit door while boarding:

View down the aisle, we had to wait 20 minutes for push-back after boarding was complete because no available slots on the assigned airway. At least that is what the captain told us.

Generous legroom in the exit-row, picture taken after take-off:

Snack and drink service:

MIGHTY TASTY:

After landing we taxied about 10 minutes or longer to arrive on a hard-stand:

Pax deplaning via stairs:

***TRANSFER TO ORY***
Inside busy Terminal 2:

I proceeded to the AF Correspondance desk because I was told in STR I would get a free “Cars AF” ticket their for my connection to ORY. To my disappointment I was told that this is only true for pax continueing on a long-haul flight from ORY and I would have to my for the bus-ticket myself.

I left the terminal to get to the “Cars AF” bus-stop just 2 minutes away. The bus came after 10 minutes, I bought my ticket from the bus driver and searched for an empty row. What came now was an unbelievable scandal. How can AF take 20 Euro for a 40-minute drive from CDG to ORY and offer a seat-pitch of about 25″ ??? I had no room left between the seats, my knees were hurting after we arrived at ORY. I advise everyone to take the metro/tube/underground between CDG and ORY.

That seat didn’t stay empty, bus had a load factor of 100% after we left the last bus-stop at CDG.

Full bus:

Traffic on the motorways around Paris:

***PRE-FLIGHT:***
Self-check-in machines at ORY just printed out a piece of paper which advised me I had to check-in at a check-in-desk. As some hundred tourists to Carribean destinations wanted to check-in at the same time, I first thought about waiting the 20 or 30 minutes in the extreme slow moving queues.

That was when I discovered that there were more check-in desks at ORY “Hall 03” (I was in “Hall 04”, about 100m/yd away). Too bad the desks all had closed already for a flight leaving in about 10 minutes, just one biz-class check-in was open, so I tried my luck and the agent gave me my boarding pass without having to wait an endless time at the economy check-in desks. Strike!

I went through security and wanted to take a picture from the small check-point, but a police officer told me that it is forbidden in France. So I bought something to drink and searched for a seat near the windows to watch the arriving and departing aircraft as I had to wait short of 2 hours till departure.

The Fokker 50 of AF CityJet opr by VLM which would take me to London later this day:

Both boarding passes:

More spotting pics:







Seating area for gates 30, 31 and 32 (and subsequent sub-gates like 32A etc.):

More spotting:









***FLIGHT 2:***
Date: 27 August 2010
Airline: Air France Cityjet / AF operated by VLM
Flight: AF 5022
Aircraft: Fokker 50
Aircraft Reg: OO-VLN
Departure Airport: ORY / Paris-Orly Airport
Arrival Airport: LCY / London City Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 16:45 AM CET (on-time)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 16:50 AM BST (on-time)
Class: Economy
Seat: 09D (window)

As you could see in photos above it rained for about 30 minutes, but while boarding the sun came back out:

Unique nose of the Fokker 50, the “Spirit of Reenstar”:

Good legroom, I think about 32″:

Cabin:

Taxi out:

Take-off:



Climb:


Paris from above, can you spot the Eiffel tower?

Flight:

Snack (ham-sandwich, a good one!) and drink service:

Over the Channel:

Descend:




Approach and landing:






***POST-FLIGHT:***
In contrast to my flights with C9 (Cirrus Airlines) between MHG and TXL you don’t get your larger hand-luggage back after deplaning, despite the “delivery at aircraft” tags, so I had to wait for my luggage to arrive on the belt like normal checked bags. Afterwards I proceeded through the small LCY terminal to the DLR station.

Terminal with some construction going on:

DLR station London City Airport, from here I took the DLR to Monument, from there Circle Line to Paddington station and onwards with Heathrow Connect to LHR and last but not least the free bus to the hotel:

Hotel room:

— LONDON 1 / SATURDAY 1 —

I drove back into London on Saturday and Sunday and I went everywhere by foot.

This is route I took on Saturday:

With Connect to Paddington and Circle to Notting Hill Gate:



Notting Hill / Portobello Market / down Ladbroke Grove:


































With Circle Line and Picadilly Line to Picadilly Circus:




Me having lunch in the Devonshire Arms Pub:



— LONDON 2 / SATURDAY 2 —

Saturday continued…

From Picadilly Circus via Regent St, Conduit St, New Bond St, Oxford St to Hide Park:























Through Hide Park via Wellington Arch, Constitution Hill, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Marlborough Rd, St James St, Picadilly back to Picadilly Circus:


























— LONDON 3 / SUNDAY 1 —

Sunday Route Part 1:

From Picadilly Circus via Leicester Sq, China Town, Long Acre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Market, The Strand to Trafalgar Square:
























Down Whitehall via Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Westminster Bridge, to the London Eye:






















— LONDON 4 / SUNDAY 2 —

Sunday continued…

After Lunch at a Turkish restaurant up the Thames’ eastern waterside via Waterloo Bridge, Strand, Middle Temple Ln, Tudor St, up to Ludgate Hill and St. Pauls:




















Sunday Part 2:

Down Cannon St via Queen Victoria St, Bank, Cornhill, St. Mary Axe, The Gherkin, and back, down Gracechurch St to The Monument:








From Monument down to the northern Thames waterside and eastwards till Tower of London / Towerbridge:


























— INBOUND LEG 1/2 —

***PRE-FLIGHT:***
Monday came too fast, I really wanted to spend more time in London, but as I had to be back to work on Tuesday this had to be a short trip.

Leaving my hotel:

With the free bus service around LHR to terminal 1,2,3 central bus station:

With the free Heathrow Express from terminal 3 to terminal 4:

I used the self-check-in machines and got an aisle seat for first flight and an window seat for my second flight. Passing through security:

Inside terminal 4:

Arriving in the 4-Deck-Lounge, I had booked the ticket in advance for a 50% discounted price. All cereals and cofee/tea were empty, a/c was not working, except for the main floor and the quite-zone on floor 3. I first watched the arriving and departing aircraft from the 4th floor, then proceeded to the quite-zone on 3rd floor, to drink some coke and eat pretzels:



















15 minutes before boarding time I started my long walk to gate 6A at the other side of the terminal:

***FLIGHT 3:***
Date: 30 August 2010
Airline: Air France / AF
Flight: AF 1981
Aircraft: A380
Aircraft Reg: F-HPJC
Departure Airport: LHR / London Heathrow Airport
Arrival Airport: CDG / Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 12:50 AM BST
Actual Departure Time: 13:05 AM BST
Scheduled Arrival Time: 15:05 AM CET
Actual Arrival Time: 15:15 AM CET
Class: Economy
Seat: 33A (window) (checked-in on 32C)

Boarding:

Still empty cabin, but the purser told me later only 9 seats remained empty:

We had to wait 15 minutes for missing passengers, as they didn’t show up the row behind us stayed empty. “Us” in this case is me and the french couple I already met the day before at Tower Bridge. The world is really small. Btw, nice a.net-anecdote, the guy was totally surprised that I had chosen to fly via CDG just to fly on some special airplane. Why on earth would someone do this? A.nutters…

Waiting for missing pax & push-back:



Waiting for line-up and watching other aircraft take-off:



See the Olympic a/c passing by on the TV screen:

And taking-off afterwards:

Take-off and climb-out:




In-Flight and playing with the IFE system:





Drink and snack service:

Generous long-range economy leg-room:

And really comfortable seats:

In-Flight and visiting all economy sections of the whale:



Approach and landing (we overtook the AF 747 which had just started its take-off roll and then it overtook us again):






Taxi:



Me in business class:

Staircase to the upper deck:

— INBOUND LEG 2/2 —

*** CONNECTING IN CDG ***
They offered everyone the chance to get into the cockpit and to visit the upperdeck, but I had no time as I had to get my connecting flight from the other end of terminal 2!!! About 25 minutes by foot and I only had 15 minutes left. On my way I passed an AF agent and told him I had to get my plane to STR, he told me should not worry, took his walkie-talkie and called the departure gate to wait for me. Till this point everything seemed to be going fine…

After deplaning:



I don’t know at which part of terminal 2 I had arrived, perhaps you can see it by the photos, everything I know is I had to go through some sort of security check-point and had a very long way to Terminal 2D. And as luck wasn’t with me that day, there was a bag without an owner and French soldiers were stopping everyone between my part of Terminal 2 and Terminal 2D. I asked the nearest AF agent for help and she said there is nothing she can do, I should try to take the Inter-Terminal bus to Terminal 2D. I had to wait 10 minutes for my bus and when I arrived at Terminal 2D boarding was closed already. So I went to next AF desk and they rebooked me without problems on the next flight to STR in the evening.

Here my new boarding pass:

I proceeded through security and relaxed in some kind of angled-lie-flat-seat near my boarding gate.

More than three hours passed and it was time for boarding:

***FLIGHT 4:***
Date: 30 August 2010
Airline: Air France / AF
Flight: AF 2508
Aircraft: A319
Aircraft Reg: F-GRXC
Departure Airport: CDG / Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Arrival Airport: STR / Stuttgart Airport
Scheduled Departure Time: 19:00 AM (on-time)
Scheduled Arrival Time: 20:20 AM (on-time)
Class: Economy
Seat: 18F (window)

Boarding:

Push-back:



Taxi:

Take-off and climb:





In-flight:


Near the French-German border it got darker with every minute, large stormcell cloud-formations could be seen:

Approach and landing:





Cockpit, thx to the crew for letting me in:

And so I finish thir TR where I started it:

***FINAL WORDS:***
It was a pleasure to fly with AF. Their service was good on all four flights, the cabin crew was friendly and very talkative on the A380 flight. Would I fly AF again? Yes, without question.
Problematic is the transfer with “cars AF” between CDG and ORY, I would not use these busses again. And selling a connecting flight with a transfer time of 35 minutes is no problem if we would have arrived on-time and at the planned Terminal. But as we arrived at Terminal 2E or 2F I had no chance of getting my connecting flight, even without the abandoned bag this seemed to be a bit over-optimistic.

And I am sorry for the huge number of photos. I had 1500 pics and deleted more than 1000. So this is already my best-of collection and I am far above my own set maximum number of 150 photos for a best-of collection.Click here to read it on Airliners.net.

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