AF3046 – CDG – LOS

I had flown in to Paris from Edinburgh on AF5051 that had clearly been allocated the cheap landing space.  The bus ride to the terminal (2E) took 15 minutes which gave me less than 20 minutes to get on my flight to Lagos which departed from terminal 2F.

There was a mass of people waiting for the bus and I wondered if I would manage to get on the first one.  I did indeed manage, albeit just – I was last on and had the door against me.  The bus took my fellow passengers and I to terminal 2C first.  Nobody got on here and no one got off.  Talk about wasting time when it’s such a commodity!  Eventually the bus got to terminal 2F, although it took a lot longer than the three minutes that was displayed on the board back in 2E.

A security check welcomed me to the terminal, which luckily I breezed through and before I knew it I was at the departure gate – with a whole three minutes to spare before the departure time.  I wasn’t quite last on the plane but I was pretty close!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect on this journey; I hadn’t travelled with Air France in business before (short hops from EDI to CDG don’t count) nor had I travelled in business with anyone for the 6-hour duration of the flight.  I don’t really class 6 hours as ‘long-haul’ but thankfully my client did…which allowed me to travel in business in the first place.

I recently travelled with Emirates in business to Singapore and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Emirates really have things just right.  I think that perhaps, I was a little spoiled by this and thus my expectations of Air France were high.

Seats were OK but they had a silly shelf that prevent me from stretching my legs out properly.  There was a blanket on the chair but it took me until we were landing before I found the bottle of water and earphones.  The water would have been helpful during the massive delay in departure.

Goodie bags were distributed once all passengers were seated and they contained the normal stuff; eye mask, earplugs and toothbrush.  There was certainly nothing in the bag that was worth getting excited about.

Around 15 minutes after we were due to be in the sky, I was served my pre-flight drink.  Choices were water, champagne and a red-wine-looking fruit juice.  I opted for champagne but was disappointed to note that the glass was dirty.  It looked like the last passenger had pretty tough lipstick on.   Trying to remain positive and not immediately annoy the staff, I simply turned the glass around and got on with it – after all these things happen sometimes.

I was reading a pretty good book and was fairly involved in it and wasn’t really paying attention to the time.  I was alarmed to discover that my glass was empty and yet we still hadn’t taken off.  It seemed there was a commotion around a missing passenger who had ‘boarded’ the aircraft but could no longer be found.  I have no idea what the outcome of this situation was as my French is terrible.  I can only confirm that nobody was taken off the aircraft.  We took off at 14:10 – some 40 minutes late.

Menus were distributed along with my aperitif.  I opted for some more champagne but declined the figs and cashew nuts.  The choices for main were Veal, Hen, Calamari pasta and some vegetable thing, which clearly wasn’t very memorable.  The starter was salmon and salad, which isn’t my thing at all; I would have much preferred a soup but such is life.

Second round of drinks was distributed when the salmon was dished out; at least there was  plentiful bread to go with it.  I asked for some water (to go with my champagne) and yes you guessed it – the glass was dirty.  A long and complex conversation ensued which resulted (eventually) in me getting a clean glass.

I was seated in row 4 of the plane for this journey.  One would think that row 4 is close enough to the front to have a full choice of the food options; alas this was not the case.  There was no chicken available by the time the service got to me.  I found this more than a little disappointing and opted for the veal instead.  The veal was probably pretty good as veal goes – it just didn’t excite me very much.  It was served with puréed carrot and cumin (which was pretty tasty) and asparagus spears with lime (similarly, pretty good).  A fellow passenger sat one row behind me kicked off about the lack of chicken.  He came across as very rude, which clearly wasn’t the way to go, even though his complaint was justified.  It made me laugh later in the flight when the purser came round and handed out Service Quality Questionnaires ‘at random’ that he certainly didn’t give said passenger the opportunity to complete one…  He didn’t give me the chance either but then I clearly wasn’t his average business passenger… more on that later.

Desert came and went – there was an adequate selection available along with the normal selection of digestives.

I was informed shortly after take-off that the entertainment system had been restarted to allow the pilot to do something important (can you tell I wasn’t really listening?) and that it would take about 20 minutes to restart.  It did indeed restart however the only channel I was interested in (the one that shows the planes progress) didn’t work throughout the flight.  After a brief post-lunch nap, I had no real idea how long was left of the flight.

I did some work for the remainder of the journey (and had a beer or two to help, they served Heineken), which passed without incident.  As we were on our decent, the purser made a big effort to thank each of the passengers in turn, although he spent a lot longer with those who were old or French than those who weren’t; all he could manage to say to me was ‘Thank you’ and offer a fake smile.  I did wonder what the point was…

We landed in Lagos about 35 minutes later than scheduled.

My first Air France business experience was not as good as it could have been and certainly not worth anything like the price that was paid for it.  I hope the return journey is better.


Departure Gate: Terminal 2F, Gate 56

Arrival Gate: um… this is Lagos!  I didn’t see a gate number however it took about 5 mins to march to the security checkpoint

Aircraft: Airbus A330

Class: Business

Price: From Edinburgh the flight was a corporate special and came in a £3665.  Economy fares are currently available on a promotional fare of £515.

Departure time: 13:35 (scheduled), 14:10 (actual)

Arrival time: 18:40 (scheduled), 19:15 (actual)

Air France Website

Check out my thoughts on Lagos as a first time visitor here.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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