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!)
Great pictures to go along with the post and good advice about reserving a seat ahead of time to avoid being stuck in the middle. First hand experience says a longer flight needs a edge seat to feel like business class is work it.