Constructive Criticism of La Premiere

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Old Mar 7, 19, 5:15 pm
  #556  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
Thank God I kept one ;-)
Looks pretty neat! Thanks for sharing
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Old Yesterday, 6:00 pm
  #557  
 
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Just finished up my first flight in La Premiere. It certainly was a wonderful flight, and I'd be happy to fly La Premiere again. There were several reminders, however, that even La Premiere can't prevent all disruptions or headaches related to air travel.

The flight was a family trip for spring break. Mom and my youngest son few out on a separate set of flights to Madrid. The husband and I went out to Dulles to catch AF55 to CDG, which would connect to AF 1600 to MAD. The first surprise was that there was some type of governmental delegation checking in, and more than 10 people were crowded around the La Premiere check in counter. The last thing I expected to see was a line for La Premiere. After checking the Sky Priority line (which was longer) I came back to the La Premiere desk and finally one of the staff pulled us over to another check-in desk. Really not the experience I was expecting. To add insult to injury, I forgot to check on our trusted traveller numbers, so our boarding passes didn't have TSA pre-check. So, we had an escort take us to security, but the security experience was the full-on wait in line and take out all your electronics and liquids. It's been years since I've had to do that, so it was a really disappointing introduction to La Premiere.

The AF lounge is still under construction, so we were led to the Virgin Clubhouse, which I've always enjoyed. It was a bit crowded, but tables were still easy to find. We quickly got some champagne cocktails and a light "lunch" from the wait staff.




Wonderful lounge, and I hope the new AF lounge can compete with this experience. Boarding was a bit delayed, but we were soon escorted to the plane. IAD only uses two jet bridges for the A380, so we were boarding with the lower-deck Sky Priority passengers and (of course) turning left. Now things were looking up -- we had started the *real* La Premiere experience! I knew to expect no champagne at this point, so I settled for an escorted tour around the plane, with a quick stop in the cockpit. Wonderful!

Just to prove (again) that La Premiere cannot fix all things, our departure was delayed by some storm showers, and we were about 90 minutes behind schedule. The takeoff (my second in an A380) was exciting as expected -- if not a bit bouncy. And we quickly settled into dinner time. Now the champage (Taittinger) came out and I started with a cream of butternut squash soup -- delicious. After that, I moved on to a rack of lamb, a salad, some cheeses followed by a caramel cake.

After dinner, the bed was more comfortable and more private feeling than I expected. I slept soundly and missed breakfast (as I had planned).

Our delay was long enough that we really couldn't make our connection -- we only had 1:35 to begin with, and we exited the plane 11 minutes before our connection was scheduled to depart. But, how much can you complain if the alternative is that you have several hours in the La Premiere lounge? To their credit, AF had us re-booked on the next flight out, and we were able to keep our (Euro) business seats.

My first visit to the lounge (Salon) was wonderful, and much longer than we would have had otherwise. It was disappointing that the spa was fully booked for the day. I had been told to book in advance, and that's clearly good advice. So, I did make a booking for our return flight while I was there. The buffet selections were impressive, but we did sit for the restaurant service, and were impressed as so many others have been. For some reason, the immigration officers were not available in the lounge, so we had an escort take us down to passport control so we could be "processed". Once that was done, were were driven off to our A320 for our flight to Madrid. (And, we were late enought that our overhead bins were already full.)

There were plenty of activities in Madrid and Barcelona, but this post is really about the flight. So, for the return....

We had an early flight from BCN to CDG. I picked this because the price was better, and we would have more time in the lounge. The first hop (in Joon!) was good enough. Of course, the best part was the agent greeting us at the jetway and driving us to the Salon. This time, we had three of us (my youngest was joining us in economy). And, he was able to get guest privileges in the lounge. The lounge was decorated for Easter, and even had a brunch special for the holiday -- leg of lamb carved table side.




Our plane was delayed, and we also had the dreaded SSSS on our boarding passes. Fortunately, the did the security processing in the Salon, so it was about as painless as possible. We were finally off to the plane, and really enjoyed our drive around CDG. On the way back, we had another wonderful fight with some naps, great food, and superb drinks.



At this point, I was stuffed.

The final touch was our arrival at IAD. Air France had a staffer meet us again on the jetway and drive us to the IAD Arrivals building. I was *so* happy to skip the Dulles moon buggies!

Unfortunately, I'm still fighting for the correct posting of the miles. Even though I had my Delta SM number on all the boarding passes, my flight posted to Flying Blue. Wish me luck getting that corrected.

So, that's a mini trip report on La Premiere. To recap:

Pros - Excellent service, wonderful food, top-notch lounge
Cons - Lines at IAD, miles posting incorrectly
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Old Today, 1:21 am
  #558  
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Did you try the corn soup on the flight from CDG? I had it a few days ago and it was way too salty to the point it was barely edible. Huge deception.
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