Au revoir Air France

The French pride themselves on je ne sais quoi, an indescribable phenomenon that seems to suggest quality but can’t quite be summed up into a single word. What a pity that this did not seem to apply when flying Air France.

It was the first time we’d ever decided to try Air France when we booked our flights back to South Africa for our first holiday in ages. Price wise the flights were reasonable and we booked with zero hesitation on the basis that this seemed a fairly decent airline.

A fairly simple exercise in logistics, the flight hopped from Heathrow to Paris before we joined a swarm of passengers all waiting to board the mammoth Airbus A380 that was parked at the designated terminal at Charles De Gaulle Airport.

The first part was easy, even if we departed a bit late, and it was a painless half hour flight that included a modest goat’s cheese and walnut sandwich snack and a cup of tea. It seemed a bit odd that milk wasn’t offered with tea and figured it had something to do with the fact that this flight was a quick commute. I’ll get back to this point later on.

It never bodes well when passengers are kept waiting and this was the case again when we sat at the terminal waiting to board for the Johannesburg leg of our journey. Being relatively chilled out travellers, and the fact that it was a late night flight, meant we didn’t let it get to us. Whatever, we’d made the connection and now just needed to survive the long-haul leg of the journey.

I’m not a big fan of sleeping on planes, most people aren’t. Ok, except maybe the odd person who snores their head off in the back of economy. It’s for this reason that I’m quite happy to just dive straight into a movie marathon or binge watch some series. Imagine my disappointment when it came time to navigate the entertainment on Air France’s flight.

Just one bad movie after the next. Their series offering involved random episodes of popular series but none that sort of made any sense when it came to wanting to work out what had been happened. Episodes five and six of season four of a detective series requiring a proper trail of involvement throughout. Hard pass.

Now almost 400 words into this post and I feel like it’s becoming a whinge. But I will say that the food was awful, the staff thought it appropriate to laugh and generally be loud while everyone tried to get a bit of sleep and were just generally unwelcoming. It made the 11-hour trip feel like forever. So it’s au revoir Air France. Never again.

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