Sunday, April 27, 2008

Italy Apr.: Arriving in Paris Charles de Gaulle, Roissy France (CDG) from Genoa, Italy (GOA)

27APR08 Paris Charles de Gaulle, Roissy France (CDG)

As we touched down, on the left, you could see one of Continental Boeing 777-200ER at the gate in Terminal 2A.

Of course there were several Air France jets there as well. Terminal 2D was full of primarily Air France airplanes, plus one Northwest (NW) Airbus A330 and two Delta (DL) airplanes.

As we waited to cross the active parallel takeoff runway, two Air France Regional Embraer ERJ-145 took off as well as a Luxair Embraer ERJ-145 and another Air France Regional Fokker 70. It was pretty cool to watch them take off right before my eyes.

We then crossed the runway and taxied to a hard stand near Terminal 2F.

It still amazes me as despite the size of de Gaulle airport, we still have to get bussed to the main terminal from time to time. Once we all deplaned, we boarded the waiting bus and headed for Terminal D. There were several other Bombardier CRJ-700s as well as an Air France CityJet ARJ-85 in that hard stand area.

At Terminal D, we just went through Baggage Claim and then entered France.

We then headed for Terminal 2A where we checked in a little earlier than normal for our 12:55p flight as we had no bags to check and had already checked in online. Armed with our standby boarding passes, we went towards the French Immigration desk. A friendly airport staff told us to use the other area as it was less congested than the one we were trying to use.

We took the walk down to the other area, going through the congested narrow check-in area of Terminal A. There was no line so clearing French Immigration and security was a breeze. Off we went to the Continental Lounge.

We had a little issue gaining access, but it all worked out in about ten minutes or so. This Lounge used to be an Air France Lounge and was at one time used for Concorde. I can remember using it and seeing Concorde outside the window.

We settled in and had some refreshments as we waited for the flight.

As I waited, I saw Continental’s flight 10 from Houston arrive at 10:48a. I guess it is ontime/early today. Time dragged on very slowly, but it was good to see airplanes coming and going outside the window.

At noon, we departed the Lounge for gate A37, the Lounge and he gate are at opposite ends of the terminal. As we neared the gate, we heard the agent page us to approach the podium. We paid the departure tax and collected our boarding passes. I was lucky enough to get an aisle seat albeit in the very back of the airplane.

I also saw another of my colleague, he was also on the flight on Friday having spent the weekend in Paris, his home. It was time to board so we did, showing our passports and boarding passes as we did so.

Italy Apr.: Aeroporto C. Colombo, Genoa, Italy (GOA) to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Roissy France (CDG)

AF5846 27APR08 Aeroporto C. Colombo, Genoa, Italy (GOA) to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Roissy France (CDG) 7:30a 9:05a F-GRZM CR7 operated by Brit Air

Flight Time:
Seat Map

I walked down the jetway and towards the tarmac. It was great to see the 72-seater twin jet airplane waiting there without a jetway. Once on the ground, I noticed that it was the same aircraft as we had flown the previous day. I wondered if it was the same crew as well. I continued walking slowly behind an elderly lady in front of me so I could take in the surroundings. It was a cool morning and you could see tugs and boats moving around next to the runway in the distance. There was also a yellow helicopter taking off as well.

I waited as the lady gave her tagged cabin baggage to one of the four ramp guys, then she took the airplane stairs and I followed behind her. At the top of the stairs, I was greeted by the same male flight attendant from the night before. I said hello, he greeted me back checked my boarding pass and ushered me in. I commented that I was glad to see him again and he said they came back last night.

As I inched back to my seat in this 2-2 leather seat configured airplane, I noticed that the other flight attendant was also the same one from yesterday as well. My colleague filled me in adding that she had flown back and forth to Paris a few times and had spent the night at the airport hotel.

We got settled in and soon the door closed at 7:30a, after which an announcement was made to turn off the mobile phones. We got pushed back a few minutes later while the manual safety demo was done in French and English.

We taxied down the runway to the end and turned around as there is no taxiway at GOA. We then powered up and took to the cold morning skies. The view was not as spectacular as yesterday as it was a bit hazy, but still made for a good view of the city below. We made a nice left hand turn which allowed me to see the entire airport below.

As soon as we leveled off at our cruising altitude, a meal of croissant and pastry with choice of tea, chocolate juice water or coffee was served at 7:52a. In a few minutes, one of the flight attendants came back through with another croissant and pastry service.

It was a beautiful as we passed over the Alps and saw the clouds just sitting in the crevices of the mountains. Wow.

We started or descent at 8:16a.

At 8:31a, an announcement was made in French about documentation, advising that you may need a visa to enter France.

As our descent continued, I noticed that we were approaching the city of Paris. I had flown into Paris many times, but never over the city, so this was a treat.

Soon, the Eifel Tower loomed into view on this hazy morning.

It was amazing to see Paris like this. It was hard to tell which monument was which though.

As if the pilot wanted the other side of the plane to see the sights as well, we made a right hand turn and now you could see the Eifel Tower through the right window of the plane. I later used an Air France Magazine to decipher where everything was located on the pictures I took. We then continued our slow descent into Charles de Gaulle airport leaving the city of Paris behind. It was fantastic!

I looked off to my left and was able to see a Boeing 737 landing.

I knew it had a blue tail with a yellow logo, but had no idea which carrier it was. It landed before we did on the runway that is close to Terminal 1.

Terminal 1
We landed moments after spotting a few airplanes over by the cargo area.

Italy Apr.: Departing Aeroporto C. Colombo, Genoa, Italy (GOA)

27APR08 Aeroporto C. Colombo, Genoa, Italy (GOA)

We arrived at the airport departure level at 6:00a. We got on the queue and waited our turn to check-in. As we waited, the folks checking in before us had an oversize bag and were asked to pay for it. There was some conversation and finally they went to the ticket counter to make the payment. It was our turn as one of their party waited for the other to return.

We had no issues checking in as the ticket we had although not for the same city pairs was for the same zone. The agent called to confirm that all was well with the tickets and it was.

As the flight was open, we got seats right away. Boarding time was 7:30a. Since I had so much time on hand, I decided to get a picture of the airport from far away. As I did so, I saw an Air Dolomite Dornier at the hard stand and took some shots as it boarded.

Down the way, I saw two other big yellow propellerized airplanes as well as what looked like two experimental ones. Do you know what type of airplanes they are?

I did finally get my distance shot as I stood before the airport Sheraton to do so.
After that I headed back to the terminal and was able to see that Dornier taxi away.

I then rejoined my colleague inside the terminal and we both watched it take off.

We cleared security without any challenges and then headed to the Duty Free store and did some window shopping almost buying things we really did not need. As I left, I noticed the two ladies re-packing their carry-on bags near their gate. I also saw an AirOne Airbus A320 being pushed back and getting reading to get underway.

I then went over to my gate next to which was an Alitalia MD-80 at the gate getting ready to be pushed back. The AirOne A320 passed by and took off right away. Soon, it was time for the MD-80 which actually took off in the other direction so I was able to get some take off shots as well.

It was almost time to board at about 7:15a as I continued updating my blogs. I’ll upload later as I had to pay for Internet access here. I joined the queue, but not before I dropped my camera and later I found out that the lens was now broken :-(. I showed my boarding pass and passport to the agent and then boarded.