Bonjour from Paris! I just arrived in Paris on Air France Flight 17, which departs New York’s JFK at 6:20pm and normally arrives at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) at 7:30am – but we arrived 17 minutes early! Flight time was 7 hours and 40 minutes and the flight was easy and smooth. Here’s a play-by-play from my arrival at JFK to my arrival at CDG, as well as some photos.
-Since I was leaving Manhattan at rush hour, I saved some time and money by taking the E Train from 53rd street to Jamaica Station (35 minutes) and jumped on the Air Train to JFK (10 minutes). Total cost: $7.25. TIP: If you can take public transportation to the airport, do it! You’ll save yourself a lot of money in cab fare or parking costs. You’ll also save time and not have to worry about getting caught in bad traffic.
-Air France departs from Terminal 1, which is one of the nicer JFK terminals.
-I arrived 90 minutes before my flight and there was no line at the business class counter.
-The security line was long but those with a premium class ticket don’t have to wait long, maybe 10 minutes.
-The Air France lounge at JFK is comfortable, has free drinks (including bottles of water), snacks and most importantly, free Wi-Fi; they stamp the passcode on your boarding card when you check-in. The lounge was crowded because they also had passengers from their SkyTeam partner Aero Mexico.
-The flight boarded an hour early and it was a good five-minute walk from the lounge to Gate 7.
-The general boarding line was long but short for business and first class passengers.
-We pushed back 10 minutes early and our taxi was surprisingly short, just 15 minutes. We took off at 6:24pm.
-When I first sat down, I thought my seatmate wasn’t cool because he put his shoes in the overhead bin (that’s a safety hazard and it’s dirty, too) and didn’t give me a friendly hello in return to my greeting. But he turned out to be an awesome guy, originally from Latvia.
-The configuration in business class is 2-3-2, which is not ideal. Most 777-200 planes have a 2-2-2 business class configuration, so if you are traveling alone be sure not to get stuck in the middle. TIP: You can reserve your seats in advance to avoid this. I pre-reserved 3A, the bulkhead window, ahead of time online.
-The flight crew was friendly, attractive and attentive.
-Flight service began and ended with hot towels.
-Before takeoff, amenity kits, menus and drinks (Champagne, orange juice or water) were all offered.
-Right after takeoff they served drinks again with delicious cheese crackers I could easily become addicted to! (See photo gallery below.)
-Then came the dinner tray, which had a fantastic presentation, probably because of the cheese plate.
-Main entrees choice was either beef with risotto and sugar snap peas or fish. TIP: If you’re a vegetarian, be sure to pre-order your meal.
-The bathrooms were kept clean throughout the flight, which always makes for a more pleasant flying experience.
-The entertainment system has more than adequate choices to keep you busy and I just left mine on the flight path for the duration of the flight.
-The seats are not lie-flat so it’s tough to sleep – I kept sliding down.
-There’s a snack bar set up in the galley with fruit, sweets and drinks.
-The flight attendants turned the business cabin lights on and began serving breakfast one hour and 30 minutes out – we were just below Ireland.
-We were offered orange juice, tea/coffee, fresh fruit (two watermelon balls, cantaloupe and delicious mango), yogurt, apricot jelly, the best butter, and choice of pastries – I had just one mini croissant.
-At that time, the sun was rising and the colors of the sky were beautiful – a variety of shades of blue and orange.
-The seat belt sign didn’t go on once (except for takeoff and landing of course) so the flight was as smooth as could be!
-Since I was a guest of Air France, they gave me a first class perk when we landed. An agent was waiting by the airplane door with my name on a card and escorted me to immigration. I cleared in 10 seconds and then she walked me to the waiting car outside. Talk about easy breezy.
Check out more about my behind-the-scenes tour of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Hyatt CDG and the InterContinental Le Grand. (COMING SOON!)
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