Date: September 22, 2017
Flight No.: AF1695
Route: Budapest F. Liszt to Paris Charles de Gaulle
Airline: Air France
Type: Airbus A320-200
The first flight that I took on my way from Europe to Japan back in September was from Budapest to Paris Charles de Gaulle onboard an Air France A320.
Since the flight was scheduled to depart at 6:15AM, my family drove me to Budapest the night before and I stayed the night at a pension near the airport.
On the morning of the flight, I arranged airport transfer for 4AM, and just five minutes later, I arrived at the airport.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Checking-in at Budapest Airport
When I got to the airport, the Air France check-in counters were not open yet. However, there were some check-in machines and so I decided to at least get my boarding passes.
While doing so, I was offered the option to upgrade the short intra-European flight into business class.
Interestingly, the picture showed Air France’s long-haul reverse herringbone seats. Of course – given that intra-European business class is just economy class with a blocked middle seat, there was also a “non-contractual pictures” note at the bottom of the screen…
The check-in counters opened exactly two hours before the departure time, and by the time I got into the line, there were already quite a few people waiting.
It took me about ten minutes of waiting in the Sky Priority line before it was my turn. I handed over my bag, and with the formalities done, I was sent to Sky Court lounge which is also accessible to Priority Pass members.
Clearing the security check was a breeze, and so I made my way to Sky Court lounge. When I got there, I realized it was still closed as it opens at 5AM. I thought that was something the check-in agent could have mentioned, but no big deal.
Instead I sat down in the food court area next to the lounge and worked a bit. At 5AM, I went to check the lounge – but the queue to get in was too long to be worth the wait. Instead, I went back to the food court which was well-equipped not only with seats, but also power outlets.
If you are interested in the Sky Court Lounge, you can check the review I’ve written previously. At that time it was overcrowded too…
Boarding the Air France A320
I left the food court area around 5:35AM, making my way to gate 8 where my flight was departing from. By the time I got there, a line was already formed with people eager to get onboard.
Boarding itself started only a couple of minutes later – at 5:43AM. First, passengers with Sky Priority, followed by non-Sky Priority passengers, and ending with a passenger in a wheelchair.
One of the Sky Priority members did not like the fact that the passenger in wheelchair was left to wait at the gate to board last – and was quite vocal about it.
While I wasn’t exactly excited to board before the gentleman in wheelchair, I understand that each airline has different policies when it comes to boarding disabled passengers, and so I headed down the jetway.
As I stepped onboard the Air France A320 registered F-GKXI, I was welcomed by one of the flight attendants, as well as a box of wet wipes.
I headed past business class – with no reverse herringbone seats to be seen – into my seat, 9D.
Another Laptop Incident
In my Finnair A350 business class review, I wrote about a laptop incident that happened to me. This time, I was not part of the incident, but there was another “laptop incident…”
While waiting for departure, one of the passengers placed her laptop in the overhead bin. Another passenger that boarded later opened it to place his bag in it – and while doing so, the laptop fell on the person sitting in front of me.
He was, understandably, irritated and went to the front galley. While I thought he was going there to complain to the flight attendant, he returned with his finger wrapped in bandage and red with blood.
Around the same time this incident happened, one of the pilots came on the PA mentioning our expected flight time of 2 hours and 5 minutes, as well as the 15 degree cloudy weather in Paris.
While the pilot was French, he also did an announcement in Hungarian – which the Hungarian part of the passengers seemed to have a little giggle about.
Departing Budapest Bound for Paris
With the finger taken care of, and announcements finished, it was time to depart. We were pushed back at 6:18AM, and started taxiing to the active runway less than five minutes later.
Once we reached the runway, we had to wait a bit as we were number two for take-off and there was an UPS 757 landing as well.
We took off from runway 31 at 6:34AM, and ten minutes later, the seatbelt sign was switched off.
Air France Intra-European Economy Class Service
Given that it was a short intra-European hop, the flight itself was fairly uneventful. However, about 30 minutes after take-off, a light breakfast was served.
For the rest of the flight, I mostly worked on the JAL 737 review that I posted a couple of weeks ago, and I also took a short nap.
The only two other things I will mention about the flight is the fairly tight leg room. And, the surprisingly stylish black lavatories.
Arriving at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
At 8:00AM, a bit less than an hour and a half after take-off, the cockpit crew announced that we started our descend and that we would be landing at 8:30AM – arriving in blocks ten minutes later.
The reality was not much off, since the seatbelt signs were switched on at 8:19AM, and we landed at 8:33AM.
After taxiing a bit, we came to a full stop at gate F95 at 8:42AM. I got off the aircraft and headed to Terminal 2E Concourse M where my next flight was departing from. But, more on that later…