Oh my god I have never been on such a rubbish air carrier in my life I will never travel with Air France AGAIN ever!
What on earth am I on about?
Well recently I had the unfortunate experience of taking an Air France flight from the UK to Charles De Gal then on to San Francisco. In this last year alone I have flown from Manchester to Schipol, Schipol to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Beijing, Beijing to Xining, Xining to Chengdu, Chengdu to Beijing, Beijing to Schipol and Schipol to Manchester. Yes I know that is a lot of miles and yes my carbon foot print looks more like a carbon flipper - plant trees sort that out. So I dare say I have experienced the gambit of air companies and flying very, very recently. I know that Air France and KLM are skyteam members and that as you may be able to tell the long haul flights were with KLM and all very nice. I had over my 30 odd years avoided Air France like the plague. My friends went on a three day holiday to Prague flying with Air France and they got their luggage back some six weeks later in the UK after spending three days hunting for the Air France office and staying in the same clothes. I did not want to take Air France. But as this was a work trip I had to.
Back in the day my fiancee and I would travel on KLM we had, still have, a flyblue card but then she got a BA credit card and we started to travel BA. Brilliant. I do not care what you say the service was always brilliant the planes always clean and the on board facilities good. So the last time I made the trip to San Francisco it was easy I went via BA. Just like last time we went to Japan/China we went via BA. But O’NO BA was not having any of it this year and decided to go on strike instead. Or at least threaten to so my fiancee and I went back to KLM and with BA’s actions my fate was sealed to suffer 11 hours on an Air France plane.
So firstly how come BA can go on strike. In my world there are a few things that should be set in stone. Police, army, fire brigade, nurse & doctors and teachers should NOT be allowed to strike. There should be a written rule saying we as a country and them as a government will always pay you a good wage one that is better than a traffic warden, one that is better than being on benefits. We will provide you with clean good living accommodations, we will make sure you have a safe working environment and where you are risking your lives or expanding ours and our childrens we will make sure you have the right tools and all the supplies you need to do the job. A pact between society and the people who act to support it. And in return you will NOT strike. After that list which is in no particular order is airlines and airport staff. You too should not be able to strike and leave passengers stranded leave families separated and worse of all force me to fly arsing Air France because you are not getting your free flying privileges. Yes I know it was more complicated than that and that BA was not paying you any money but does striking help? I could not fly with BA for two return long haul flights. How many others left? Money lost, money you can not get paid with. It is not as if your bankers now is it. You have some degree of morality some compass that guides you not to spill boiling hot coffee into everyones lap?
I digress somewhat but to be honest, I don’t care I should sue BA for making me fly Air France and suffer the mental torture of the whole thing. I like flying from Manchester to Heathrow terminal five. Yes that does make me sick some sort of nut case but I prefer it to flying to Schipol which I can just tolerate as normally I am running full speed from terminal A to F. But what Charles De Gal airport - what? I landed and walked off the plane. Which I must stress I had my reservations about when I saw that the carpet was thread bare on the floor - not the best sign. Then it hit me. I thought it was a joke that France spells like a sewer. But the airport actually smelt like pooh!
The bathrooms had no cubicles in them (which I will explain one day why I hate that) and generally I really just was not impressed. Follow that with a WiFi service that would not work with my phone and all in all I hated the airport. But thankfully I was not there too long and was then on to a plane bound for San Fransico.
Now I and my colleague (update who is called Simba) were not sat near the front of the plane. We were in the cheap seats, the seats which you would expect to come with peddles perhaps but still we were not at the very back, there were people behind us and at first I thought that perhaps it was just the short haul flights that were a joke, run down planes etc.
Then we had a delayed departure as they needed to unload food for people not on the flight and replace it. What with I have no idea and I suspect that it more likely that they were actually just still loading the food fullstop. So a moderately nice French air stewardess bought around a little bag with ear plugs, eye mask and headphones for the in-flight video system. Which I am sorry was so small and so low quality especially after whoever had been on before me had decided to “key it” probably in protest to the utter crap that was available or perhaps they thought that it was still in a wrapper of some sort I do not know? She also gave us this small piece of card which contained one of the best works of fiction I had ever read. Well I say work of fiction, but when I read it I thought it was a menu with meal choices and drinks and deserts and etc,etc. I can tell you now that the hype about French cooking if based on the Air France meal is all hype, actually it is shit.
"Excuse me sir it is time for your meal" - said in a French women's voice. "You have I am sorry only the fish" - same voice "What" simultaneous German and English voices in alliance "We have run out of beef, it is just the fish" - women - followed by some statement that it was nice - CRAP
So both Simba and I looked at this and thought - erm who in their right mind serves fish in a small sealed aluminium vessel travelling 600 kmph 4 km high (do you like the use of the metric system there!)? Also who serves cold fish in wallpaper paste? So there was a gazpacho soup with the meal which worked wonders to warm up the fish (yes I know and those who don’t it is a cold soup - I think should be served ice cold?) and made it taste all tomato and not fish. I actually love fish but not in a plane, not when I have to breath it for the next 11 hours.
To be continued…..