Air France Economy Class Review AF65 – the second flight
Help me plan my upcoming trip to Africa (Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Zanzibar, Dakar, Marrakech)
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This was my second (and final) trip that I booked when the mistake fare was available in June 2014. I wrote a review about my Air France flight here.
I had booked hotels in Rome and Tel Aviv for my layovers that would eventually get me to Addis Ababa - a backbreaking 10,000 miles in economy across 5 flights. Not something to look forward to :(
However, on the day of departure, Alitalia cancelled the flight from Paris to Rome. By the time I checked my emails just a late evening flight was available - giving me 10+ hours in Paris on top of all the other stops. I contacted Priceline and Air France and after some back and forth they waived any change fees (since it was a cancellation on their side) but wanted a $1,300 refare fee from me. No thanks!
I contacted Air France on Twitter @airfranceUS and got immediate feedback. Minutes later, I was re-booked on the direct Paris to Tel Aviv flight. I'd still have 5+ hours in Paris instead of just a couple of hours as it was originally booked. Oh well.
Check-in at Los Angeles International was super quick in economy and VERY friendly again. The boarding pass showed a receipt of the total fare paid (EUR 240) - I was a bit worried that the agent would find that a reason to be grumpy, but not at all. The agent helped me select a great window seat (the online check-in never worked for me) that would ultimately give me a complete empty row on a new A380.
TBIT has gradually become my favorite US terminal, but more about that in another post.
Security was quick and after a great meal at Umami Burger I made my way to the Korean Airlines Lounge. Unfortunately, the lounge attendants make sure that no photography is allowed inside. I like the new Oneworld lounge at LAX much more, but the Korean Air Lounge did the trick with fast internet and some snacks. Both LOUNGE CLUB and Priority Pass allow access to the lounge (or when flying Korean Air Business or First Class).
Boarding started early and just 5 minutes after the initial announcement I heard the final boarding call. There was still a huge line snaking through the terminal. This was not very well-coordinated (unlike my prior flight), but boarding was quick since economy was just about 60% full.
Departure was pretty much on time and we were on our way on a very southerly route (towards Oklahoma City and way south of Greenland) to France. I also learned that I wasn't the only Mighty Traveler on this flight - a reader was flying on the same flight and had booked the same fare - cool!
As in my prior review, I liked the alcohol on offer (champagne, red and white wine) and the food options. The flight attendants were very friendly and did not appear to be rushed (which is more good news about a 60% load factor).
The IFE had a ton of new movies compared to my last flight about 2 months ago. I had trouble deciding what to check out first.
After passing Boston, I fell asleep pretty quickly since I was actually able to pull up all arm rests and lie down flat on the whole row. I feel I slept much better than in an angled-lie flat business class seat.
I woke up refreshed just before arrival into a very gray, rainy and cold Paris. I find it amazing how pilots can safely steer these huge planes down to 300 feet with zero visibility and keep cool hands. We had just about 10 seconds from emerging from the low clouds until touching down on the runway - not much room for error there.
My next flight would leave from Terminal 2F and it was just a quick train ride away from 2E...
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