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Old Jun 15, 09, 11:33 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 300


Hello all, this is my first 'real' TR-- comments are appreciated, but go easy on me

First some background... I just graduated high school and am heading to university in the fall. I read FT all the time and am a huge commercial aviation fan. My dad, who is traveling to Paris for the Air Show, invited me to come along sort-of like a graduation gift. Loving to travel, I jumped at the chance. I decided to take the opportunity to visit a friend who lives in northern Germany as well. I wanted to use miles for the ticket so my options were UA and US. Naturally, I would have flown US because of 1) I am SP and 2) last time I flew them TATL to FCO it wasn't too bad, and they have AVOD. When I checked, I laughed at the price tag of 100,000. Not worth it. I went over to UA they were 100,000 as well. Hope dwindled as I started to look at buying a ticket outright. Prices of $1500 made me have that sinking feeling that this trip was not going to happen. About two weeks later, as I was brushing my teeth @:-) I remembered that AC was *A. I called almost immediately and they had a ticket for 50,000 miles! I didn't really care where I had to go through, so I hung up, bought a few US DD miles, called back, and booked it! A few weeks later I booked CDG-HAJ with LH for $117 roundtrip. I paid about $600 in taxes/fees/miles for the IND-CDG flights. Not bad for Paris in June. I had been extremely excited for the trip because this is my last international trip for awhile as I'll be a poor college student and my US SP would expire during the trip. Now the actual trip...

The trip started on Saturday, June 13. We left for IND at 11:30am. We live about an hour away from the airport, but light Saturday traffic only made the drive 45 minutes. After being dropped off at the terminal from the parking shuttle, we made our way to the Premier Desk at the UA counter. Because I had three different record locators, the chicken couldn't check me in. So the surly UA staff-- err Skywest staffer checked me in. (Side note here-- UA pulled mainline operations out of IND so we now have Skywest staff. I miss the UA staff.) After getting our bags tagged, we made our way to security. After going through the full body scanner, my Dad and I had lunch at the Wolfgang Puck Express. I had some sort of pesto chicken sandwich and it was very good. Later we headed down to the gate after buying some water.

United Airlines 7848
Dep: IND 2:29p
Seat 7A - CRJ

Boarding started on time and I was the first on the plane. Our aircraft had the new UA livery. When I walked onboard, the FA was sitting in a seat but sprang to life when I greeted her. Everything was on time, FA was nice, and we even got a beverage service. The plane was only about half full. After landing at IAD (I have never been here before) 25 minutes early, my Dad and I set out to find our connecting gate because we only had a 40 minute connection. Another side note-- I am very thankful for the IND airport. IAD is a dump. I thought those terminal bus things were funny-- I wondered what would happen if one crashed with a plane. While walking through the concourse, a kid probably 13/14 stepped in front of me and I nearly smacked into him and I fell down. I looked back to see him dancing and was annoyed for him to be horsing around in a busy terminal packed with people. Shortly after we found our gate and had a sit. I decided to go spotting in the B terminal with all of the international aircraft. As I made my way back in the opposite direction, there was a circle of people crowding in on someone. I looked as I passed and saw that it was the kid who ran into me earlier. He was passed out and there was a pool of vomit on the floor. I then realized he had had a seizure. I hope everything turned out OK. My plans of spotting were squashed by the lack of good opportunities. I couldn't see much of anything from any angle. Oh well. Maybe at YYZ. I went back to the gate and waited for the flight to begin boarding. That time came and went. About twenty minutes later, they announced the aircraft was late from New York. We boarded 15 minutes after that. We were at gate A4 and I must say it is a mess calling 5 or 6 different flights for boarding at the same time and same gate!

United Airlines 7849
Dep: IAD 5:00p
Seat 5A - CRJ

This plane was exactly the same as the last one. This flight was fuller as well. Another beverage service. I got some good shots of Niagara Falls from the air as well. The FA was good looking. She was very nice. We landed about 30 minutes late at YYZ but had a comfortable 3 hour connection.

This was my first time in Canada. YYZ was an excellent experience. AC staff, security staff, and immigration staff were all friendly. Modern and clean as well. Different from when I usually connect in PHL. We made our way to the international terminal in no time. I thought those express walkways were great! I went to the AC service desk and asked them to reprint my BP as I wanted it on AC stock. They happily obliged but I was disappointed to get it on plain, white stock with the *A logo-- no different than UA at IND. We went to have dinner at some Casey's Via Della something rib joint. I had a good bison burger. I tired to get my first legal beer here-- but was denied when they saw my ID and realized that I was only 18. Oh well-- I can wait till France. After dinner, we had 20 minutes until boarding. After it started a little late, our section was finally called. We were both in Y and my Dad's *Gold status expired a month earlier, so no priority boarding/lounge access. As we were waiting to board in the long lines, a GA came over and pulled us out. She said she saw our Gold UA Ticket Jackets and said we could priority board.

Air Canada 880
Dep: YYZ 9:00p
Seat 33K - 77W

After passing through the C cabin with jealousy, I found my seat near the bulkhead. The seat itself didn't look that bad. I settled in and got comfortable. The legroom, while not generous, was much better than US's A330's. Width was comfortable too. Boarding didn't take long and soon my seat mates arrived-- a couple teens back packing through Europe-- and we had nice conversation. I explored the seat some more and was surprised to see a USB port (which I used to charge my iPhone) and power port at EVERY SEAT (but not my window seat)! The AVOD worked perfect except the map was not accurate about halfway through the flight. Every FA I met was friendly and nice to talk to. They really seem to be enjoying their jobs. They provided excellent customer service-- especially for it being Y class-- and I know good customer service when I see it (I've been a front desk agent at a Hilton for 3 years now). The meal was not bad-- I've had MUCH worse on US. I had the pasta with meat sauce. The rest of the meal consisted of corn/lima bean mixture, a ciabatta roll with butter, and chocolate mousse. It also came with a water bottle. AND--- FREE WINE! US, did you hear me?! I had my first legal glass of wine on the plane and it wasn't bad. I was mostly surprised to see it was free-- AC is just one pleasant surprise after another! After dinner, I used the lavatory and it was clean, AND pleasant smelling. I returned to my seat to watch "Taken" and then put on the noise canceling headphones to get some rest. I only got about two hours sleep and passed the rest of the time with some "30 Rock" episodes. AC kept its promise of water runs every 30 minutes, as well. There was some light turbulence halfway through and the seat belt light was flipped on. Prior to landing, we were given a breakfast box of a muffin (halfway frozen), yogurt, and orange juice. They also came through with a drink run. Overall, this being my first time flying AC, it was an excellent experience throughout and will go out of my way to fly them again-- even if it is a paid ticket.
sletohdarnoc is offline  
Old Jun 16, 09, 6:48 am
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Nice report. I'd love to see the corn/lima bean mixture, sounds like a winner!
sobore is offline  
Old Jun 17, 09, 2:16 am
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Sounds like good flights on AC.

Thanks for your report.
MatthewLAX is online now  
Old Jun 17, 09, 11:19 am
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Nice write-up.

Enjoy the air show. I went to the 2003 show and it was great. Does your Dad work in the industry or was going as an enthusiast.

These days, I don't get to go to the show, but I getthe pleasure of seeing a lot of the deals I've worked on over the past year get announced at the show.
PresRDC is offline  
Old Jun 18, 09, 8:39 am
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: TSV, Australia
Posts: 2,373
Thanks for the report. A nice group of flights there.
camsean is offline  
Old Jun 20, 09, 2:42 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 300
Originally Posted by PresRDC View Post
Nice write-up.

Enjoy the air show. I went to the 2003 show and it was great. Does your Dad work in the industry or was going as an enthusiast.

These days, I don't get to go to the show, but I getthe pleasure of seeing a lot of the deals I've worked on over the past year get announced at the show.
He works in the industry. He's there every year-- I think it alternates between London and Paris.

Sorry everyone--- I'll finish the report in a few hours.
sletohdarnoc is offline  
Old Jun 20, 09, 3:03 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 300
Lufthansa 4321
Dep: CDG 8:55a
CRJ200 - Seat 10A

I write this leg of the report while on the TATL flight back to Toronto. Were currently 1746 miles out with just under three and a half hours to go. Anyway... I left the hotel early to catch the shuttle to CDG. The Novotel shuttle does not go to terminal one, so I was left to fend for myself. I Walked about 10 minutes to the CDGVAL train, the tram that goes to all three terminals. It was pretty empty that time of the morning and was in terminal one in about 14 minutes. After making my way to the Lufthansa check in and seeing the monstrous economy lines, I decided to use the machine. I was checked in in no time and just needed to drop off my luggage. I entered the queue with only one person ahead of me. While waiting, I was ushered over to the First Class line to drop off my bags. I had my boarding pass reprinted-- issues with the hotel printer -- and while I didnít get a lounge invitation or fancy boarding pass/jacket (I wasnít expecting one), I still thought it was pretty cool to use the LH First Class line. I made my way to the moving walkway where they check for your boarding pass before heading to your concourse. After getting on that I went straight to the underground walkway to security. After clearing that with the rude staff, I went to go sit down. OK, mistake number one: going through security. There was nothing except for a couple of shoddy internet kiosks and and overpriced Ďcafe.í I powered up the MacBook and found that I could pay 10 Euro for WIFI. I wonder when the world will realize that WIFI should be free... I bit the bullet and found that half the sites I wanted to go to wouldnít load... including FlyerTalk, CNN, or my college site. Great. I took that time to look around the holding area. I found it to be old, dirty, and smelly. Oh well... Boarding time came and went. With no announcement or screen information. Just after 9:15, they made the announcement that the plane was late coming in from London or somewhere and that boarding would begin in 15 minutes. That time came and I boarded my CRJ200 that had maybe 10 people on it. I had two seats to myself. We packed up and sat on the ground for a little while with the pilot explaining we lost our slot. He told of a 10 minute wait. After his announcement, we started to move and he came back on and explained of immediate departure. We took off with a powerful roll and were soon into the clouds. I saw that in Ďbusiness classí he was serving breakfast. I was surprised-- this was only a 52 minute flight. I listened to some music and was jolted awake by the FA offering me a sandwich and drink! I thought I was dreaming! I had the turkey sandwich and it came with a mini Twix bar. After that, time passed quickly and we started our decent into HAJ, or Hanover/Hannover/Hanvore (I saw it spelled three different ways.). While looking out the window upon touchdown, I saw some huge rabbits in the median of the runway with some airport staffers trying to catch them. Is this common? Anyway, I laughed at it and we went to our remote stand where we were bussed to the gate. I didnít realize how huge (compared to IND, anyway) HAJ was. Plenty of airlines and it looks like TUIfly has some operations there. I was impressed with the size, cleanliness, and friendliness of everyone. My FT priority tagged suitcase was number 2 on the belt-- luggage started running no more than 15 seconds after my arrival. Anyway, I was extremely impressed with Lufthansa and HAJ. This was my first trip with LH and intra-Europe flight. I was ready to start my first trip to Germany.
Lufthansa 4326
Dep. HAJ 6:05p
CRJ200 - 10A

After a brief but great trip to Germany, it was time to head back to Paris. I was dropped off back at HAJ about 4 hours before my flight due to my host unable to drop me off at a closer time. I started my long time by grabbing an ĎAmericaní burger and fries at some 50s themed joint. The meat was a little questionable, but other than that it was good. I then had heard about (over the PA) some sort of observation deck. I first went to some internet cafe (I had left my converter at the Novotel) and checked email, credit card stuff, and chat with some family via Google Mail. I left there and took the elevator up to the observation deck and paid 1,50 Euro (other than 2,50 for being a student) for entry. I went up there and got some good views; however HAJ isnít the busiest airport. For the hour and a half I was up there, I only saw 3 planes take off (including 2 private jets). The weather was still really nice so I just read and enjoyed my time. I went back downstairs to the main terminal and decided to head through security. Here at HAJ, there were eateries and shops beyond security. It wasnít much, but it was something. I had a couple of beers while reading some more (have to enjoy the legal drinking age while I can ). We were delayed a few minutes again and were bussed out to another CRJ200. This flight was much fuller and I had a seatmate this time. Another sandwich with mini Mars bar was offered and I tried the cheese this time. Gotta love that pretzel bread! After a quick flight, we made our way into CDG. We landed on time and made our way to terminal one. I deplaned and went inside the terminal. I proceeded to the underground walkway and went to baggage claim. Of course, the CDG ground staff decided to use one carousel for three flights: HAJ, Kuwait, and BKK (I think). Yeah, I get to wait for my bags in a crowed, cramped, and smelly baggage hall! Luckily enough, HAJ bags came out first (even though we came in last) and I was on my way. I went to catch the CDGVAL again but first I needed to use the payphone to call my friend in Germany to let her know I was safe. It must have took me 20 minutes to figure out how to call from those stupid phones. I finally got through to her voicemail and left a message. After riding the CDGVAL (much more crowded this time) I started my long walk back to 2A door 8 to catch the Novotel shuttle. It only took 20 minutes this time, and was soon back in Roissy.

Anyway, another pleasant experience with LH (not so much for CDG) I was glad to be back at the hotel. Iíve just finished those Lemon-Chili Rocket Chips on the TATL flight-- they are delicious. Anyone know where to buy them? Iíll wait to finish the rest of the report until I finish the trip. Only 1293 miles until we land in YYZ! I hope youíre enjoying the report.
sletohdarnoc is offline  

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