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Trip report - a crazy week: DUS-CDG-SIN-HKG-SIN-CDG-DUS on AF P and J, SQ J and CX J

Trip report - a crazy week: DUS-CDG-SIN-HKG-SIN-CDG-DUS on AF P and J, SQ J and CX J

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Old May 17, 14, 1:29 am
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Smile Trip report - a crazy week: DUS-CDG-SIN-HKG-SIN-CDG-DUS on AF P and J, SQ J and CX J

Introduction

olivedel and I made a trip to SIN and HKG in may 2013 during which we had the opportunity to enjoy AF P La Première class, CX J class (and also Y unfortunately ;-) ) for olivedel and SQ J class for me. This trip is already one year old and we apologize for such a delay for reporting here on our favourite forum but it was hard for us to find the time to type this. I want to thank olivedel as he wrote 70% of this TR .

Our itinerary was:
  • For both of us, DUS-CDG, AF1307 10:15 - 11:30, A318, C class
  • For both of us, CDG-SIN, AF256 23:20 - 18:15 (+1), A388, P class
  • For me, SIN-HKG, SQ870 19 :00 – 22 :45, B772, J class
  • For olivedel, SIN-HKG, CX716 18:25 - 22:10, B773, Y class
  • For me, HKG-SIN, SQ863 13h30 - 17h15, B772, J class
  • For olivedel, HKG-SIN - CX635 15:20 - 19:05, B744, J class
  • For both of us, SIN-CDG - AF257 23:00 - 06:10 (+1), A388, P class
  • For both of us, CDG-DUS - AF1606 11:45 - 12:55, A318, C class



The main goal of the trip was to enjoy the great AF service in P . Our AF trip to SIN via CDG started and ended in Germany (DUS) by AF via CDG. DUS-CDG-DUS was booked in J class (A318), while CDG-SIN-CDG (A388) was booked in P. We used the very attractive P rates ex-Germany, so this was a revenue ticket. We booked our flights to ensure long to very long layovers in CDG to have plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful AF 1st class lounge .
Then, we added award tickets on SQ and CX to add the segments to HKG and back.

Table of contents:
  1. DUS to CDG on Air France Business
  2. Air France La Première (P) ground experience at CDG
  3. CDG to SIN on Air France La Première (P) class on the A380
  4. CDG to SIN in AF La Première (P) class on the A380
  5. SIN to HKG with Singapore Airlines Business
  6. SIN to HKG with Cathay Pacific Economy
  7. HKG to SIN with Singapore Airlines Business
  8. HKG to SIN with Cathay Pacific Business (747 upper deck)
  9. CIP Terminal Experience in Singapore Changi
  10. SIN to CDG with Air France La Première
  11. La Première lounge in CDG and flight AF CDG-DUS, Business

Last edited by Goldorak; May 17, 14 at 7:39 am Reason: editing table of contents
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Old May 17, 14, 1:35 am
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DUS-CDG on Air France Business

I arrived the night before from MPL and stayed at the Sheraton hotel in front of the DUS airport. Goldorak joined me at the Sheraton hotel nearby, as he just arrived from CDG.



We were welcomed promptly at AF counters, by a German guy (speaking perfectly French) we think was the AF/KL station manager.

He knew we were flying in P and he proposed us to take the earlier DUS-CDG flight which was leaving within 45 min. We accepted knowing that we would now arrive at the CDG lounge at a perfect time for lunch and it was better to wait at the P lounge rather than in DUS.

AF was also likely interested that we released our 2 seats on our originally booked flight as we knew it was fully booked in all classes.





He gave instructions to the check-in agent to give us the best seats. We asked for 1D/1F and we’re pretty sure that they moved some people that were seated there.

Then the station manager escorted us through security and to the airport lounge (AF doesn’t operate anymore its own lounge there). I was used to the former AF lounge and so this was the 1st time I was going to the Hugo Junkers lounge since AF uses it. We found it quite pleasant but of course the best was to come…




We just had less than 30 min to spend there and the station manager came back to escort us to the plane. We were the 2 last pax to board and we were introduced to the Chief Purser who took care of us for this very short flight.




We decided it was a decent time for our 1st glass of champagne of the day and we were served the cold tray. Back in may 2013, this was when AF introduced their enhanced meals for medium-haul C class. Although limited, this was a great enhancement compared to the infamous plastic white box.



Then, it was already time for descent and arrival in CDG at terminal 2F.
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Old May 17, 14, 1:41 am
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Air France La Première (P) ground experience at CDG

An AF agent from the P lounge was waiting for us at the plane door and the nice limousine was waiting for us at the foot of the plane to drive us to the P lounge.





Our driver enquired about our intentions for the day as she noticed our very long layover and so she was wondering if we wanted to go to Paris rather than staying all day at the lounge. We replied instantly saying that we don’t care about Paris but we do care a lot about the lounge !



After a nice stroll in CDG installations in our limo, it was time to get to the lounge. Our car parked in a small lot close to the red lounge entry.



There is a private security for La Première passengers, and then an elevator to the lounge. Despite we were arriving from Schengen, we had to clear security there as the lounge does not differentiate Schengen/non-Schengen pax. That’s a minor inconvenient when you fly P !!! Our hostess walks us to the seats we picked inside the lounge. As our layover was very long, she waved us goodbye as one of her colleagues will take over for our flight to SIN several hours later.
As we settled into the lounge, one of the very professional waiters came to take drink orders. As catering in the lounge is supervised by Alain Ducasse, all the waiters also work in his restaurants, so you can expect a 3-star Michelin service.
Of course, olivedel and I could not resist a glass of Champagne Rosé along with a set of amuse-bouche and the best saucisson of the world , (olivedel accused me later-on to have eaten the entire saucisson, but this is pure invention, I swear ).

It was my 4th or 5th visit in this lounge but the 1st one for olivedel, so we went for a little lounge explore session afterwards :





After having set appointments for a massage (to leave behind all the stress we accumulated since the beginning of this trip ), olivedel and I seated in the dining area to get lunch. A very nice lunch as you can see below:




The foie gras is just unbelievable. After our appetizer and main meal, olivedel went to his massage appointment while I was having dessert. I then returned to my seat waiting for my massage appointment.



The massage was very nice, gentle but firm. The after shower was very relaxing, optimal before such a long flight.
After getting some work done, I dozed off for a while in the rest area.


After a nice hour of sleep, we returned to the main lounge area, and it was deserted by now:




We went separately in the terminal 2E – K gates to see how was the condition of bad people flying Y, W or J and to make eventually some duty-free shopping. Back in the lounge, we answered a detailed survey on the new arrival lounge AF is considering and to thank us AF offered us a nice AF-branded toiletry kit and a Le Tanneur leather wallet .
It was time for another glass of champagne rosé, and another foie gras slice . We wanted to have a very light snack as we also wanted to experience onboard service fully.
Time went by really quickly in the lounge, and soon our new host and driver came to tell us we would be boarding soon. Our flight was boarding in the L concourse, so it was a limousine boarding again!
We took the elevator to the limo parking lot and got a brand new SUV.



Our driver called the gate agents to board us on the gate computer.

Last edited by Goldorak; May 17, 14 at 2:30 am Reason: correct typo
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Old May 17, 14, 1:43 am
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CDG to SIN in AF La Première (P) class on the A380

Taking the stairs to board an A380 in the night is a nice experience :


Our host leaded us into the 1L door and presented us to the crew. We had the great surprise of having the whole 9-seat A380 P-cabin for the 2 of us!




Our 2 crew members were very friendly and professional. The more senior one was very cheerful, and wanted to make this flight an experience for us, avgeeks. The more junior one was doing her first flight in La Première and she was very professional too. Crew members working in La Première cabin at Air France are specifically trained and are dedicated to this service. I had the opportunity to meet again the more junior FA in a flight to ABJ and she remembered my name and even my wine preferences a few months later !

The captain came to check if everything was OK. We asked him if it was possible to visit the cockpit, and he said that is was possible right now before pushback. All the pilots welcomed us but we left pretty soon as we felt they were quite busy.

After another glass of champagne, we finally pushed back from the gate and, after a short taxi time, took off from runway 26R.






Once airborne, just after lights went back on, the crew came to present us the amuse-bouche :


Afterwards, the menu:





... And the wine list:




We both had window seats (2A & 3A) but, as we had the whole La Première cabin for ourselves, we decided to have dinner in 3E/F. The flight attendant came to set our tables. We took this opportunity to use the changing room and bathroom to put our pajamas on!


The service was really customized to us, they kept an eye on us to check whether we were done, if our glasses were empty or if we were in need for bread.

The cauliflower soup and foie gras were really awesome



The lobster risotto was excellent too, and very generous.


The desert was so-so to my taste, the chocolate sauce did not bring a lot to it.


While we were having dinner, one of the flight attendants prepared our beds for the night with a comfy pillow and a mattress pad.


As soon as we were ready to go to bed, the flight attendant came to wish us a good night and prepare a small fresh fruits and snacks buffet in one of the 7 unoccupied seats (seat 2L). The small buffet that was dressed for us was made with top-notch products of course.


Goldorak slept for the next 8 hours straight. I woke up a couple of times, and always the junior flight attendant came to give me a glass of iced sparkling water and lemon.


As we woke up, one of the FAs came to serve us an expresso along with a freshly squeezed orange juice.


They also set the table for breakfast on the same pair of middle seats we used for dinner.
Goldorak chose the crepes while I went for the eggy option, and both were great, with a slight preference for the famous F crepes!





Soon, it was time for landing in Singapore. We settled back to our seats and safely landed in SIN. We got to the gate on time.
Two ladies were waiting for us at the gate holding placards with our names. They took our hand luggage for us and loaded them into a buggy. We crossed all the airport terminals with our buggy, among duty-free shops and pax walking around


Soon we were at a dedicated immigration checkpoint in the CIP terminal (Commercially Important Persons). They stamped our passports and we were welcomed in the JetQuay CIP lounge, to wait for our bags to be retrieved from the carrousel by the lounge staff. We were given an enveloppe AF-branded with instructions for our return flight : we have to go directly to the CIP terminal for private check-in and the name of a local AF agent + phone number was provided for any question or service needed for our return flight).



Our bags were loaded in a taxi and we were off to the city! Very nice arrival service for Air France P PAX at Changi!
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Old May 17, 14, 1:48 am
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SIN to HKG with Singapore Airlines Business

I had already flown SQ in « regional » J class from SIN to DPS several years before and enjoyed the very attentive and professional SQ service . So, as I still had enough UA points to redeem a J class ticket, no hesitation on the carrier to choose (UA is also flying this sector, but I don’t know why I did not hesitate 2 seconds in my choice ! ). SQ is flying this route multiple times a day, including with the A380, but unfortunately only Y award seats were available on this flight . Y not being an option …I took the B772 in J.
Arriving at Changi, the taxi first dropped olivedel at his terminal for his CX flight and then me. Check-in was done in less than 5 min, as well as immigration, so direct to the lounge. Some views of the check-in area of the impressive Changi terminals



Very nice lounge, quite large and it was far from being crowded. Large selection of newspapers and magazines. Very impressive food offering, cold and hot. Nice view of the terminal from above

















It was time for boarding. It was a long time since I have been to SIN so I forgot about the long walking distances to gates (and I had no buggy to drive me this time…what a decline !). So it took me a while to reach the gate and, in SIN, you clear security at the gate (something I find very annoying), and so I was one of the last to board (at least for the J cabin). I was seated at the 1st row, left window seat. The J cabin was full. My jacket was promptly taken. But after that…nothing for the pre-departure drink while all other people in the cabin had a glass in hand . So imagine that I had to ask for something (guess what ? )…where is the nice SQ service ??? Jokes apart, this was the only « negative » thing I have to say about the crew. The menu was distributed before departure. As you can see, not too bad for a 4 hrs flight. I wish we could have this kind of service in Europe (we can dream…).






Push back with some views on nice SQ birds



I finished some work after take-off, before the dinner service and, when finished, I stored my laptop in the special compartment SQ has in J (below the central armrest, along your seat). Dinner was served and I watched a movie while eating followed by a good nap.
Pictures of the dinner service (I took the halibut).


Everything was very good. Singapore girls constantly refill your glass until you say no !

We landed under pouring rain in HKG, but unlike olivedel (see next post), I disembarked by a jetway so rain was not a problem. I joined olivedel, who arrived a few minutes before me, at the baggage claim and we took the express train to reach HK island. In the middle of the 30 minutes trip to downtown, I suddenly had a flash and jumped to my briefcase to realize…that I forgot my work laptop on-board SQ plane . I was completely devastated as you can imagine. I simply completely forgot about this side storage compartment when disembarking (I’m not used to this storage place). In the train there was not much to do. We checked-in at the Novotel Century around midnight and I told my story to the guy on-duty at the front desk. He immediately called the airport and SQ offices at HKG but, at midnight everything was closed so he told me they would sort this out in the morning. I had an almost sleepless night due to this but also due to a huge storm with black rain that lasted almost all night. I finally fell asleep around 4 am and when I woke-up, the red light on the phone was flashing. I called the reception to collect my message which was that my laptop was found and was wating for me at the Lost & Found offices at HKG . I was feeling so relieved and I was thinking that I would have never retrieved it in CDG or in many aiports in Europe or in the USA. So time now to enjoy HK, but first let’s read about the CX flight of olivedel…in Y.

Last edited by Goldorak; May 17, 14 at 2:37 am
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Old May 17, 14, 1:51 am
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SIN to HKG on Cathay Pacific Economy

To pay for this trip, I decided to empty my BA Executive Club account from all its Avios, and I had just enough miles for a one-way in Y and another one in J, so this was the Y leg.

After having left Goldorak for his premium SQ experience, I arrived to the terminal where CX departs at Changi.
The check-in area was deserted so I was able to check my bags in no time. I did check in online. However, due to an equipment change, my seat assignment changed and I could not get my seat preference anymore (aisle seat in one of the two sides).
I headed to the emigration checkpoint and crossed it almost immediately. As I had almost two hours to kill before boarding time, I decided to explore the other terminals of the airport, using the airside train and also walking.
The terminals are huge, boarding areas have a lot of seating space, there is an endless selection of brands you can shop from.
I finally settled at a Starbucks location within Terminal 1, close to my boarding gate.
When boarding time approached, security started to screen passengers of my flights and I went through.
Boarding started on time. CX ground staff was very strict in boarding by group.
It was a cold welcome onboard by one of the Cathay FA.
The seat itself was pretty good, almost as good as AF W seat. As it was built in a hardshell, it would have been pretty hard to sleep on it as legroom is limited when you « recline » (you just slide in the shell, in reality).




The service, however, was pretty slow and not equivalent for everyone. The FA forgot to ask if I wanted coffee afterwards for example, and I had to ask a couple of time.





After a few months, the flight was not too bad but after having experienced the awesome P class service on AF, it was kind of a shock
When we landed in HKG, and as the plane parked on a remote stand, the disembarking had to wait for the heavy rain to stop so we could board the buses.
Immigration and baggage delivery were done in no time.
I waited for Goldorak in the baggage delivery area. As I bought a large scale A380 model in SIN (in Little India), he could not miss me close to the luggage belt
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Old May 17, 14, 2:04 am
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HKG to SIN with Singapore Airlines Business

Time to leave HKG for SIN to connect to AF for CDG. I took the train back to the airport and made my check-in at the central terminal in HK island. What a nice facility. As I was travelling on separate tickets, I asked the SQ agent to check my luggage until CDG. It was a young agent who never did it before, so he asked for some help but, at the end, it was no problem . HKG is one of my favourite airport. The terminal design is just fantastic.

SQ lounge was OK, but frankly, nothing to write home about as it has no windows and is quite dark. But, as in SIN, quite a sympathetic food offering.











Time for boarding. This time, I didn’t have to ask for my pre-departure drink. Some nice birds (CX B777, SA A340, and TG A380 !) from my window seat.




Here’s the lunch menu. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the lunch.


Some fantastic views of HK bay just after take-off





Another excellent flight with perfect service. After a good lunch, a movie and of course a nap, it was already time for descent above Singapore bay with, as usual, plenty of cargos everywhere. I checked at least 3 times all storage places before leaving the aircraft .


Upon landing in SIN, some more A380 (EK)


Before leaving HKG, I called AF P service in SIN, to ask for a pick-up by the CIP lounge staff at the SQ flight arrival. So a man with the buggy was here to take care of me . He drove me to the CIP lounge where I waited for olivedel who was supposed to arrive 1 hr later.

Last edited by Goldorak; May 17, 14 at 2:43 am Reason: correct typo
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Old May 17, 14, 2:07 am
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HKG to SIN with Cathay Pacific Business (747 upper deck)

While Goldorak was using the Airtrain, from Hong Kong island to get to the airport, I used the Limousine Service from the Sheraton Hong Kong Towers in Kowloon.



After a 30-min drive, I got to the terminal and directed myself to one of the Business Class check-in desk.


I asked my luggage to be tagged to my final destination showing my AF e-ticket to DUS. This was done immediately without trouble. (AF this is an example of what you SHOULD do, especially for Elite Plus travelers!). I was invited to use one of the CX lounges airside.

I quickly crossed security and immigration and had a quick stroll around duty free before heading to the lounge.

http://www.flyerplan.com/wp-content/...9840324752.jpg

The CX lounge I used was in a basement location. It featured a very long bar and a selection of hot and cold items.





The lounge itself has been covered in a couple of TRs, so I will only post a couple of pictures below.




After 2 hours, an announcement was made in the lounge to board my flight to SIN. I got to the gate and they just started boarding premium passengers.




I was one of the first onboard and quickly went upstairs to reach my seat. It was the old config, with the Cirrus Herringbone seat.



The load on the upstairs J class was around 30%.

While it was reasonably comfortable, the fact that I had to turn my head 90° to see outside was really bothering. Also, even if there is enough legroom, the flat position is not OK for my big feet!



The IFE was good, content the same as in Y though, but the screen was way bigger:



Service was good and relaxed as I liked it. They came with several rounds of welcome drinks while we were waiting for boarding to finish.


The menu:





The wine list:




They first served drinks with warm nuts. I chose a Chivas whiskey:


Then came the Halibut appetizer, very fresh:


Afterwards, I chose the chicken entree. It was pretty bland, lacking taste:


Ice cream was very much welcomed as a desert, with the appropriate Port & Coffee:


After service, time went by really quickly and after a short nap, we were already in the middle of our descent to SIN.
As I called the night before the local AF desk, a buggy was waiting for me at the gate to drive me to the CIP terminal. I had to cross immigration to reach the lounge as it is airside. I joined Goldorak who came in one hour before.
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Old May 17, 14, 2:08 am
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CIP Terminal Experience in Singapore Changi

We had the opportunity to try the CIP Terminal when we got in SIN a few days before. The service was quick as we expected after a long flight.
We were a bit disappointed by the food offer and the level of service.
There was no one to be seen in the lounge after the first drink they served.
The lounge is nice but the food on offer was minimal and of average quality. Unlike after our lounge visit in CDG, we were very hungry getting on our flight back to Paris this time!
Boarding time coming, we enquired staff to know at what time we would be boarding our flight to Paris. They told us somebody would come get us.
Nobody came soon, and the person came only 15 minutes before departure time. The FIDS was already displaying « Last Call ». We waited another 5 minutes at the small emigration checkpoint and we crossed again the entire airport with our buggy.
We were the last ones to cross the security checkpoint at the gate and almost the last ones onboard. Other P PAX were already there.
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Old May 17, 14, 2:11 am
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SIN to CDG with Air France La Première

We soon saw that we would be 4 PAX on the P cabin of the A380 this time, so it would be a less private experience than the inbound to SIN.

We were welcomed by two friendly flight attendants. Of course, we accepted the usual champagne offer as a PDB. Then, they proceeded with menus, pajamas and amenity kits.
At that point, boarding was completed, and we were soon taxiing to the runway.
Soon after take off, one FA came to ask us if she could set the tables in two of the central seats so we could seat together for dinner. They proceeded, and we went for the full option being super hungry after our almost-no-food lounge experience at SIN!
The menu:




The wine list:




After dinner, we went back to our seats, as they have been prepared for the night.
We slept during the next 9 hours like babies!
Feeling rested and pampered, we went for a light breakfast, waiting for another nice La Première lounge experience at CDG.
Soon, it was landing time.
We got to the gate on time. We were welcomed by a nice agent with our names on a panel, and our limousine waiting for us to go to the lounge.
Our A380, from the limo, in a cold foggy early morning at CDG
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Old May 17, 14, 2:16 am
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La Première lounge in CDG and flight AF CDG-DUS, Business

The lounge was a bit busy at this early time (of course nothing comparable to a J class lounge), so as soon as we arrived, we booked our massages . We ordered a full breakfast and enjoyed very good eggs, sausages, ham, potatoes, etc.


After breakfast olivedel went for his massage followed by shower. Same for me after him. Some rest at the lounge. At 11:00, so about 25 min before boarding, we decided it was time for our 1st glass of champagne rosé of the day but the last one at the P lounge . Some saucisson was of course ordered to go with the champagne . Our hostess then came to bring us to our limo and we were driven to terminal 2F to our A318 to DUS.

You are probably a bit fed up to read this TR, so we will be very brief about this last medium-haul flight in C. While waiting at the runway threshold, an A380 was landing on the parallel runway. Knowing the time, it was likely the flight coming from IAD.



We were not really hungry but we ate just a bit of the cold tray (see picture – not too bad for such a short flight) but, of course, we had our last glass of Champagne to celebrate the end of this fantastic trip . We’ve been very impressed by AF performance and service. We’ve been treated like kings from the beginning to the end and…we can’t wait for the next trip (in the same conditions of course and hoping we can have the new P cabin).

And we hope you had a good time reading this TR.

your reporters : Olivedel and Goldorak
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Old May 17, 14, 3:01 am
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WOW... This is by far the best TR I have ever seen anywhere

I love the fact that it's a shared report alternating between the two of you, very well put together. You just brought the whole concept of TR to a different level, and it now goes without saying that the two of you are now my favourite contributors here in FT.

Thank you so much for sharing olivedel and Goldorak

Mods, please give these two gentlemen a badge of outstanding contribution
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Old May 17, 14, 3:34 am
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Originally Posted by Cupart View Post
WOW... This is by far the best TR I have ever seen anywhere

I love the fact that it's a shared report alternating between the two of you, very well put together. You just brought the whole concept of TR to a different level, and it now goes without saying that the two of you are now my favourite contributors here in FT.

Thank you so much for sharing olivedel and Goldorak

Mods, please give these two gentlemen a badge of outstanding contribution
Thank you Cupart for your kind words
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Old May 17, 14, 3:43 am
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Indeed, a very nice trip report! Must have been a really nice experience

Maybe the AF/KL/FB board should have a top trip report award like the BA forum too
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Old May 17, 14, 4:30 am
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Originally Posted by olivedel View Post
We decided it was a decent time for our 1st glass of champagne of the day
If I understand well, it seems to be anytime a decent time to drink champagne

Great report
Thank you
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