Bluespotter95
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:05 pm

My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:03 pm

This is my first trip report here in airliners, I always wanted to make a TR here and this is the right time to do it since I had the best trip of my life a few days ago.

I am half italian and half venezuelan, thanks to the political situation I had to transfer from Venezuela to Italy on Febraury, I was expecting to return on April for a two months trip to finish my documents and other issues, since I am a SUMA member (Air Europa's frequent flyer program) I only use Skyteam carriers to earn miles, found a good fare at Air France to go to Caracas, 530€ round-trip, unfortunately I was expecting to do a TR of the first leg but sadly my phone has deleted all the photos, So I lost the chance, I had to do it from the return.

My return flight to Italy was expected on Monday June 26, I went to Caracas 4 days earlier to do some issues, I live an hour away from Caracas on air, so I had to go and return home to return to Caracas on monday, I had the return flight to home for that Friday but lost it thanks to schedule changes, so the race to find a new ticket begun, the economical crisis is also affecting the Venezuelan aviation and the carriers has a little amount of planes flying, Imagine that the route from Caracas to Maracaibo, the second biggest city of Venezuela has only ONE flight on Saturdays, of course that flight was fully booked, after a lot of attempts found a ticket for Sunday at 10am, so I had only less than 24 hours to prepare myself, my bags and everything for the long trip, let the game starts.

After all that madness at my home preparing the bags and everything, went to bed almost at 2:0AM, woke up at 4:00AM since I live and hour away from the airport, so I departed at 5:00AM and arrived close to 6:00AM, I was traveling with my grandfather and grandmother, my grandfather has a handicap condition and requires a wheelchair all the time, so I made the web check-in and only had to drop the luggage, then went to have breakfast and after a few minutes went to customs, and five minutes later I was boarding

Laser Airlines is one of the biggest airlines at the country by the moment, has a fleet of 13 MD - 80's and flies to Aruba, Panama, Santo Domingo and also Miami, so I was boarding another MD-80 in less than a month (4 flights on June) I had the first aisle thanks that I was flying with my grandfather, after 50 minutes we were landing at CCS, sorry for not taking any pictures, I was really tired and slept all the flight.

This is a sad picture for me, this would be the last time I saw a United Airlines plane on Caracas (ceased operations 4 days later at CCS) I used this flight to Houston a lot of times on Continental days.

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We disembarked the plane and went to take our bags, we were carrying 5 so it took a few minutes, this is the national terminal of CCS, very outdated but at least functional.

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After that I went to Eurobuilding hotel, my grandparents would stay a day at the hotel since they were going to fly with TAP Portugal to FCO via Lisbon next day (I booked my ticket two months before, a month later they decided to go to Venezuela and we didn't found tickets for the same day) and I would have the chance to rest a few minutes, take lunch there and go to the airport 3 hours prior departure since I made check in on the Air France App, I wanted this trip to be the most relaxed as possible, I wanted to just check and go straight to the plane if possible.

Air France AF385
CCS-CDG
ETD: 16:25 (19:20 Actual)
ETA: 07:40 (10:07 Actual)
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Reg: F-GZCL (14 years)

At 1:30 I took the shuttle to the Airport, my mother was at the airport to say goodbye, she called me to tell me that she started to make the line for me at the check in since the Air France system had a failure and they were checking passengers manually, even those who checked online had tl make the line, no way! My dream of having a relaxed trip vanished.

CCS International Terminal, screen showing arrivals.

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After two hours I was still on the line, of course the plane would have a big delay, I gently asked a Air France asked about upgrades since I was interested on paying it if it wasn't too expensive, she told me since the system had failures it won't be possible to manage me an upgrade, I was sad, but continued on the line, at least I passed a great time with my mother and my sister, we are so close that was hard for us to separate, as known the Venezuelan situation made the youngest to leave the country hoping for a better future abroad, it's my situation now, I didn't wanted to leave, but life change plans.

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After one hour I was close finally to the counters, a thing that normally would take 30 minutes, I had the idea to check the Air France app to control the departure time, BUT WAIT, what's this? I saw a change, I no longer had seat 34K as I selected on the check-in, I was mad, but all passed when I saw seat 6A, business and Skypriority, no way, this is an error, let's open agan the App... still 06A, no, no, no... THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING?

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I went again to the air france agent and asked, they told me why I didn't passed through the business line first, and said I didn't booked this ticket on business, then another agent came by and said that I was a fortunate winner of a free upgrade to business class, I ALMOST STARTED CRYING, my dream was always to fly business class, I didn't have the chance on my 21 years of life, and finally, the sad fact of leaving my country for a long time was calmed by this AMAZING gift that Air France gave me, I know this person won't read this, but whoever is that Air France agent that authorized my upgrade, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

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I said goodbye to my mom and my sister, it was a sad-happy moment, but no problem, good things will come! Went through customs in less than 5 minutes, I went directly to the gate and said that boarding would start at 17:15, so I had half hour to celebrate with some good Venezuelan beer the fact that I would be flying business class.

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Boarding, Skypriority line, OMG.

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Here's my plane, F-GZCL

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Welcome onboard to your first business class experience!

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I have looked before at Seatguru that seat 06A had no window, but actually has one, wasn't a problem for me!

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This Air France kit consists of a pair of socks, slippers and a eyemask

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The amenity kit, amazing!

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So this is how it feels to be on a full flat seat? Hmmm.... AMAZING.

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After twenty minutes my last name sounds on the plane, I was called for a security inspection of my bag, so I had to go downstairs the plane, I was mad and happy on the moment, first time on a ramp, but mad because the national guard of Venezuela are a bunch of criminals who forces you to pay them, you can see how they kill innocent people during the protests on Venezuela, but fortunately the guard that opened my bag seemed to be a nice person, he asked me to open my bag, he started controlling everything inside, opened a whisky bottle that I was carrying, and he asked, what are you taking to Italy? And I answered "The need to eat a lot of pizza" He started laughing, closed my bag and wished me a good flight, this is what it is, if you're not nervous, you're respectful and nice, there are no ways that they can bother you!

So I went back to the plane at 19:00, about to be a 3 hour delay, this is the first big delay since I started following this flight since the day I arrived to Venezuela two months ago, I wasn't preoccupied, I have a 5 hours layover at CDG, and I wasn't mad at the Airline after that big gift I received, although it wasn't his fault, at the morning happened a power blackout that affected all the internet and systems through the airport, that's why it was a big delay. Once seated again, flight attendants passed with some orange juice and champagne, I selected the orange juice, sorry, I was thirsty, couldn't wait:

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After 20 minutes we were taking off, at 19:21, the plane had a fast climb and after an hour the service started.

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I decided to take a walk, this is how Premium Economy looks, then started to watch Logan, the movie, but got bored after 15 minutes, so I decided to use my tablet and watch a series episodes that I downloaded before.

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A small snack, I asked for Coke since I do not like wine or any other alcoholic beverages.

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The entrance was some shrimp and duck, I do not like actually shrimp and duck, I had a try just to see how it tasted, I liked, but I felt guilty, poor duck, I skipped it.

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There were 4 options for main course, sorry but I didn't took a photo of the menu, I asked for the chicken, actually was great! Not dry and had a great taste, also the cheese was amazing.

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After a few minutes the dessert came.

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After that I decided to sleep, I haven't slept well since Saturday, since it was 3:20AM at France (I always change my clock once I board the plane) I was planning to sleep for 4 hours, so let's get this seat full flat and... good night!

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After 4 hours, good morning! 7AM local time, I slept very well and I didn't felt tired, the seat was actually comfortable.

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We were 2 hours ahead of CDG, I decided to enjoy the IFE and one hour prior arrival the breakfast was served, an option of omelette or cakes, I chose the omelette, it came with bacon, bread, butter, some fruit, coffee and juice.

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Hot towel

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After a few minutes we began our descent.

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About to land.

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Welcome to CDG monsieur! I was expecting to arrive at terminal 2E Lounge L, but we arrived at lounge K, another terminal to visit, great!

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Finally I disembarked on the preferential passway for business class! There's only one at a Caracas A little control and then straight to customs.

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After a little walk I was at terminal 2F, first passed a security control and then European Passport line, it was empty, so after 15 minutes I was at terminal 2F. First of all lets look for a Starbucks coffee, I don't understand why Italy doesn't have Starbucks.

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Flight AF1104
CDG-FCO
ETD: 13:05 (13:35 Actual)
ETA: 15:10 (15:08 Actual)
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Reg: F-GKXM (11 years)


I went to the AF lounge at 2F, the lady said that I couldn't access, because I didn't pay for the business ticket, it was a free upgrade, I said sorry, I was said at Caracas that I could go in, said goodbye and was about to leave, then the lady said: go in, no problem! Must been dreaming seriously! First and upgrade to Business and also the access to the VIP Lounge! I decided to rest and take a little nap, then have something to eat, and take a shower too.

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About 20 minutes prior to boarding I left the lounge, said thanks again to the beautiful french lady that gave me the access to the lounge and head straight to change some Dollars I had to Euros and buy a portable charger, then came back to the gate where I made the Skypriority line, I was the first boarding the plane! I was no longer travelling on Business class but still had the Skypriority option.

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Service for passengers travelling in a connection flight from La Premiere class, maybe?

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I love AF new seats and interior!

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The honeymoon between me and the plane came to an end when I discovered there was no charging spot on my armrest! Two months before I flew FCO-CDG on a AF A321 and had those, I was joking, still in love with the plane!

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We began taxing and passed next to the terminals, and also saw the Concorde! Didn't have the chance to see it on its glorious days but at least had the opportunity to see it in person, here I have the look of some heavies.

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I have followed this flight on Flightradar24 two weeks before my flight and discovered that the plane passes over the centre of Paris, so, choosing a window seat on the left side would allow me to have a great view of Eiffel Tower, but guess what? We took off on the opposite direction, I was soooo mad! Eiffel Tower, in other occasion!

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After we reach our final altitude the service began with a little of turbulence, the service was a chicken or vegetable sandwich, not a vegetarian guy, give me the chicken one! Also I asked for a coffee since I was getting sleepy.

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After one hour we saw the Italian coasts with Genova at the bottom.

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Twenty minutes later we began our descent to Rome, just at the moment I decided to go the lavatory, need to wait and go on the airport... then we were landing, living in a tropical zone where you only see dry and rain seasons, makes me a little bit difficult to understand the four seasons, but on this day last year I was here in Italy, and it was more greener than this photo.

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Benvenuti al Aeroporto di Roma Fiumicino, si prega a I passeggeri di rimanere seduti con la cinta di sicurezza aggiustata.

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We disembarked at Gate B3, great! luggage belts are closer from this gate, I was really hurry to arrive to the restrooms, finally at the belt, I went, and a few minutes later my bag was the first to come out since it has a Priority tag, I walked outside to take my shuttle to the hotel, I had to wait my grandparents on Rome, they arrived the day after and then we have gone together to our town.

This is my first Airliners report, I hope you friends like it and hoping to have another lucky free upgrade to business class and share another amazing Report with you hahaha.

Saluti da l'Italia!
 
User avatar
eastafspot
Posts: 975
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:19 pm

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:14 pm

Bienvenue Mr Bluespotter and thank you for sharing this very good TR with us!

You were lucky to fly upfront for "free" :)

" I don't understand why Italy doesn't have Starbucks."

Funny comment from an Italian poster :D

"I was said at Caracas that I could go in, "

Maybe Caracas staff referred to the Lounge in CCS? Btw did you have time to go there before your flight? how is it?

Grazie mille
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
 
Bluespotter95
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:05 pm

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:33 pm

Thank you eastafspot!

Actually I asked for the 2F Lounge at CDG, the lady said that I could go in without any problem just presenting my business ticket, at Caracas they have a lounge shared with other airlines, but didn't asked for the access cause we were close to board!

Saludos!
 
User avatar
Robisintheair
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:51 pm

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:07 pm

It seems like the Business Class has smaller screens than the Premium Economy Class :P :lol:
 
azstar
Posts: 413
Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 5:25 am

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:38 pm

Buen informe. Siento la situation en Venezuela, pero te deseo buena fortuna en Italia.
 
HimalayanFlyer
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:40 am

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Thu Jul 13, 2017 2:10 pm

I don't understand why Italy doesn't have Starbucks


I think Starbucks would be considered a crime against coffee in Italy! Not that many European countries aside from the UK have many Starbucks, too many local competitors I guess.
 
User avatar
cybergus
Posts: 430
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:50 am

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:03 pm

Great report! It is sad in what my hometown airport had become. Once the "Door to South America" is now on the verge of getting closed :(
LAN Excellence in Flight
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1707
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:06 am

I am impressed by your guts to request upgrades. And it seems to work. You must be a very likable person. My father had friends who emigrated to Venezuela in the 1950s and he used to say that maybe we should have emigrated there. How things have changed. I also had to leave my country and it's tough but you are young. Good luck in Italy / Europe.
 
flyforever
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:36 am

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:32 am

HimalayanFlyer wrote:
I don't understand why Italy doesn't have Starbucks


I think Starbucks would be considered a crime against coffee in Italy! Not that many European countries aside from the UK have many Starbucks, too many local competitors I guess.


Grazie for understanding :)
 
User avatar
fallap
Posts: 822
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:36 am

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Sun Jul 16, 2017 1:44 pm

Wonderful Trip Report! :)

That food certainly looked delicious, and I chuckled a bit by your "poor duck" comment! I guess I need to try flying upfront on Air France some day.
Grease monkey buried head to toe inside an F-16M
 
eielef
Posts: 561
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:07 am

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:48 pm

Buen reporte, gracias.
I expected a sort of boom of Venezuelan domestic flights, as you could well find flights (at least to PMV) for 20U$S return, just in a travel agency.
La Chinita with just one daily flight to Maiquetía seems weird, like too little. How full was your flight out of CCS? Which percentage you think were Venezuelans? Many leaving for ever? How do you pay a ticket there? Do you need to go to the airline office and pay dollars cash? Do they still accept local currency? Do credit cards work?
Not many people writes from CCS lately.

My best wishes
A latino expat in Moscow
 
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aerorobnz
Posts: 7801
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2001 3:43 pm

Re: My first Business experience! CCS-CDG-FCO on Air France

Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:37 am

Thanks for sharing your life changing trip, I'm sure it was bitter-sweet leaving, but you have plenty to look forward to. Congrats on the

eielef wrote:
Buen reporte, gracias.
I expected a sort of boom of Venezuelan domestic flights, as you could well find flights (at least to PMV) for 20U$S return, just in a travel agency.
La Chinita with just one daily flight to Maiquetía seems weird, like too little. How full was your flight out of CCS? Which percentage you think were Venezuelans? Many leaving for ever? How do you pay a ticket there? Do you need to go to the airline office and pay dollars cash? Do they still accept local currency? Do credit cards work?
Not many people writes from CCS lately.

My best wishes
A latino expat in Moscow


Yep. what he said. I also would like to know. I'm hoping for a flying trip of Venezuela next May. I heard a rumour, if you trade currency on the black market first you can get a trip for very much less than $20 converted into VEF, more $1-3. Last time I did that it was about 6-7 x official rate, now it is 80X.
Flown to 126 Airports in 47 Countries on 80 Operators. Visited 56 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.

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