I usually try flying Star Alliance (*A), especially with Air India (AI) on board. But there are still quite a few sectors where *A lacks good connections – like Portland for example. I’ve been consciously avoiding Air France (AF) after reading about their mistreatment of Indians. We did try booking easterly via Japan, but with just a week’s notice, even that was sold out. I was left with no option but to fly Skyteam all through BOM-CDG-SLC-PDX-AMS-BOM with AF-DL.
The to & fro journeys happen to be my longest 2 ever: a whopping 32 hours end-to-end to Portland, and 25 hours on the return. It also has the highest meeting-to-journey (MTJ) ratio of 28.5 hours of travel per hour of business meetings The previous record was 15 hours. CDG-SLC also happens to be my longest sector this year – 5072 miles.
BOM-CDG on Air France
Without airline lounge access, I used the Clipper lounge which seems inferior to the new CSIA First Class lounge. We had an on-time departure around 2am. On board the A330, the crew seemed very pleasant. They distributed headphones and a night kit with an eye mask & ear muffs. The light midnight snack was the largest served by any airline that operates flights post midnight. LH, LX, VS, DL all serve a puff roll with drinks. Apart from the hot snack, AF served fruits – really help keep you hydrated on long flights – and a granola bar to munch later in the night. They used an older In-flight entertainment (IFE) system Continue reading
I’ve been to small towns before. Quite a lot of European cities, and Melbourne, can be explored on foot (maybe, some tram). But last week, I visited the smallest of them all – a town named Sønderborg in East Denmark.
Sonderborg, like many other towns in Europe, is the home of a manufacturing giant, for which it is best known. Corporate presence helps create employment opportunities and develop local infrastructure of these smaller towns that would otherwise be neglected. A local airline, Alsie Express, operates a few flights to Copenhagen everyday with their ATR aircraft in jet-black livery.
Shortly after takeoff the hostess came out of the front door to serve coffee, chocolate or nachos. We initially thought it was the pilot making good use of the auto-pilot, but later realized it was the ATRs cargo hold. The aircraft is an all business class configuration with the kind of leg-space that my friend Hriday needs, but hardly gets. Each seat stretching two window panes speaks for itself.
The approach served us a beautiful view of the area – lush green islands in the sea. The airport was a tiny little building – the size of a petrol pump (or smaller actually). The bags were loaded on a cart and then pushed into a gutter in the building. The 4 table cafeteria was empty, and there was free coffee and WiFi in the 8 seat waiting area.
There was a single, large common washroom. In the time that my friend took a smoke, people had moved out in their cars and the airport door was locked. The few taxis that were there had gone and we kept waiting. A lady realized we were new here Continue reading