The Last Push! The Final 700 Tier Points to BA Gold!
Off to the Airport, Air France AF1565 Birmingham Airport to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport
- Why do I do this to myself? (The introduction)
- Off to Birmingham Airport, Air France AF1656 to Paris CDG
- Ibis Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport
- A Rushed Check in, AA Lounge
- AA45 Paris CDG to New York JFK
- A Delayed Transit, AA85 New York JFK to San Francisco International
- Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
- Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
- One Time Special – Around the Bay and Under the bridge
- Two Time Special – 3 and a half miles. Across the Golden Gate Bridge and back
- Escaping San Francisco to the Crowne Plaza
- Early Morning San Francisco Airport, AA24 San Francisco to New York JFK
- A Dash Across Manhattan and NJ, Newark Airport
- BA Galleries Lounge, EC8004 OpenSkies Newark Airport to Paris Orly West
- Paris. City of Dreams, Romance and Pickpockets?
- Eurostar 9013 Paris Gare du Nord to London St Pancras, Chiltern Railways London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill700TP: Job Done
Off to Birmingham Airport, and to Paris
With a 19:55 pushback from Birmingham Airport, I was not in my usual office – but I was in deepest darkest Kings Norton (a suburb of Birmingham)- where we pick up this adventure (I was on a training course…). Whilst Kings Norton is in the South West part of Birmingham, I need to in the South Eastern part of Birmingham.
Of course, this being Birmingham, the quickest way around this issue is to go back into the city centre and out again on the railways.
Yes. A joined up city – wonderful concept and as usual, bad execution.
Believe it or not – I do enjoy travelling light sometimes. With all of that in a small 30ltr rucksack, it makes it easy to carry, whilst not acting like a burden (which, if we’re all honest wheel cases can be a right royal pain when they encounter their natural enemy: STAIRS).
With the course finishing about 4:30pm, I headed out of the venue, and off to Kings Norton station to pick up a local train to Birmingham New Street. This put me early into Birmingham New Street – enough time to get some dinner before setting off to the airport.
A local train for local people!
Thankfully, for £3.30, it’s a 10 minute to Birmingham Airport.
Switched to a Virgin Trains service for the 10 minute hop to the airport.
After clearing the train station and the play-trams, it was time to find the check in counters… and that’s a bit more difficult than usual for me as Air France check-in area is in what was the old BA EuroHub area of the terminal.
The old T1 area – Thomson and Monarch Airways area
Ryanair, Flybe and Air France check-in area.
Check-in itself was a bit of a faff as the machine refused to check me in for the flight as a FlyBe, the Air France flight refused to check in initially using my passport. Finally, after a bit of bullying, and entering alternative details, I was presented with a screen to select seats and such.
Unhappily, the machine spat out a boarding pass indicating I had checked in successfully. With that done, I headed up to security.
This way up!
Security was a quick afair – even with a baggage check – where I cleared it within minutes (Birmingham Airport seems to always clear this in minutes as opposed to tens of minutes).
With that done, it was off to run the risk via Duty Free, and into the main termianl area.
Run the risk!
As I had no access to lounges, I took up residency near Dixons Travel (who’s music could be heard from a comfortable distance, and did some admin.
I also checked into the Birmingham Airport “free” wifi… that they’ve now limited to 30 minutes a session.
Oh well. It was a good freebie whilst it lasted. Still, this gave me time to do what I needed to do, and kill some time before boarding.
After grabbing a copy of The Telegraph (which comes with a free large bottle of water – so buy the paper, throw the paper away, grab a large bottle of water for £1.20 vs £1.99 for a bottle), a boarding gate had been confirmed for my flight. With that, I carried my stuff over to Gate 48.
My boarding pass was scanned, and I was accepted into the gate pen. Waiting outside was the Air France A319 that was to take me to Paris.
As the gate pen filled up, the Emirates crew went past on the way to their 777 to Dubai.
Boarding commenced, with SkyPriority and Business passengers first. Of course – everyone went to board, with the gate agent actually doing a good job of batting away those who didn’t have the right credentials or boarding pass. After few minutes, general boarding was announced, and I took my leave of Birmingham for a few days.
AF1565 Birmingham Airport to Paris Charles De Gaulle 2E
Air France Airbus A319, sold as Flybe BE3011
Seat 21F ,Economy Class
288 miles flown 0 earned.
I was welcomed aboard with a Bonjour, and headed to my seat down the back of the plane. As I had no connections, the back suited me.
The loading cabin
Boarding was a sedatory affair, and the plane begun to fill up. Thankfully, on the row I was in I had a spare seat next to me… with the passenger next to me claiming the seat space, and me claiming the floorspace.
For a 1 hour flight, I’m not concerned, even in economy.
However, the lack of a safety card is slightly worrying. Good thing there was a spare in the next seat.
Legroom – Note the missing safety card. Pour votre securite indeed.
Once boarding was complete, the A319 pushed back on scheduled. The safety demo (like everything) was done bi-lingual, with the safety demo rushed through as we begun our taxi out to the runway.
Eventually, everything was buttoned down, and soon enough, the A319 roared into life and barreled down to runway, lifting us into the sky.
The plane climbed out, fighting through the rain clouds and into clearer air as the flight to Paris begun.
Looking at the plane, it’s nothing special – your average A319 with old style seats (not the hellish slimline seats that have zero padding and back support. This is not a bad thing as it means the seat is comfortable. Legroom isn’t that bad either – your typical Euro 31″ Seat pitch throughout.
And it even had an ashtray in the seat. How quaint.
During climb (it was black outside…)
Seat content. Lack of a safety card here too…
As the flight continued, I needed to prepare something I was writing for my friends RunwayGirl, so this necessitated the building of something I haven’t done for some time.
Can you guess what it is yet?
Yes, It’s a GhettoIFE system (Patent Not Pending. Compatible with most phones, though not tablets… have you tried sticking a 7″ tablet in a sickbag? Doesn’t work)
As there was no map or anything, I could only guess where we were. In addition, it was dark and the clouds were abound. So at some point the drinks service finally made it to my row – with service both from the front of the plane and the back.
Service today was drinks and a bagged snack. I went for a Coke and the prescribed snack.
Well, the coke was coke…. served in a diddy can (My favourite sort in the world… not). The snack was… well.. different.. Olive Oil/Pesto sticks. Not bad, but certainly… different.
Still, there wasn’t much time to drink, as the flight deck had notified we were about the commence our descent into Paris CDG. So there was a quick drink up as the crew begun cleaning up and checking the cabin was secure.
With that done, the plane descended through the heavy cloud layer, with the plane buffeted as it begun to land.
After landing, there was a protracted taxi as the plane had to cross an active runway.
Air Austral Boeing 777 commencing take-off
Once the traffic had passed, the plane was allowed to taxi over to CDG 2E, where our plane docked.
Taxing to the gate
The plane docked at the terminal, and a jetbridge was attached to allow us to disembark. A quick Merci to the crew, and it was off for a new adventure.
Overall: Nothing special at all. It’s better than a LCC service, but not by a lot. A competent service, delivered fine, although the crew could do with NOT rushing the safety demonstration, and ensuring there were safety cards at each seat…