TRIP REPORT: Air France, Seoul - Ljubljana via Paris

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Written by Matjaž Nose

Flight Seoul (ICN) – Paris (CDG):

Flight number: AF 267
Flight date: 5 January, 2020
Aircraft type: A350-941
Aircraft registration: F-HTYB
Departure time: 09:55
Arrival time: 14:20
Flight duration: 12h 25m


Flight Paris (CDG) - Ljubljana (LJU):

Flight number: AF 1186
Flight date: 5 January, 2020
Aircraft type: E170STD
Aircraft registration: F-HBXD
Departure time: 15:20
Arrival time: 17:05
Flight duration: 1h 45m

My first trip to South Korea 15 years ago was aboard Air France's Boeing B777-300ER. Until recently, this SkyTeam carrier utilized this aircraft type for its flights between Paris and Seoul. In the beginning of December 2019, Air France deployed the Airbus A350 to substitute its Boeing aircraft used on the Paris - Seoul route. The Airbus A350-900 is a new addition to Air France's fleet with the first airplane delivered in September last year. Currently, there are three A350s in the fleet serving Cairo, Toronto and Seoul. As the new phase in its fleet modernization Air France plans to acquire a total of 28 Airbus A350-900 by 2025. On the other hand, sadly, its entire A380 fleet is scheduled to be phased out by 2022.

My Air France A350 flight was the second flight (out of three) on my way from Ho Chi Minh City to Ljubljana (I have introduced my experience with the Vietnamese flag carrier in my previous trip report). Air France's A350-900 is equipped with 324 seats in total, 34 in the Business cabin, 24 in Premium Economy and 266 in Economy class.

Now, let us move to the gate No. 253, our plane from Paris has just landed. We will take a shuttle train from terminal 1 where our B787 from Vietnam is parked, to terminal 2 where my Airbus to Paris takes off.

Shuttle train from ICN terminal T1 to concourse

Destinations in native languages

Incheon Airport's Transit Hotel

Inside Incheon Airport

Korean Air planes ready for departure

Our Airbus A350 upon arrival at the jet bridge

Boarding gate number 253

Boarding started on time and aboard Lyon (name of the aircraft) we were soon airborne and bound for Paris. Before pushback, I took a photo of the aircraft's winglet with the company's historic symbol, the winged seahorse, a legacy of Air Orient. Air Orient was the main founding airline of Air France in 1933. Did you know that the winged seahorse represents the combination of power and speed, air and water? Well, back in the 1930s, seaplanes had a very bright future and water was as important as air.

Vintage Air France route map

Technical details of our A350-900

Boarding

Business class seats

Premium economy class seats

Standard economy class seats

Winglet with the winged seahorse symbol

The in-flight entertainment was great and watching a safety demonstration video with 'très chic' actresses was a pleasure. The amenity kit comprised of a colourful sleep mask and surprisingly good headphones. The screens showed an exterior live camera view, so I was able to take some photos of pushback, taxiing and takeoff - of course I will share them with you!

Safety card



Safety demonstration video

Headphones and a sleep mask

Ready for pushback

Start of our taxiing

Taxiing

Turning onto the runway

Accelerating

Takeoff

After we were airborne, we took a detour to avoid North Korean airspace and headed towards China. We were given wet refreshing towels and menu cards. I chose French Cuisine and a very good Syrah-Cabernet French wine – the meal was very tasty! It was a long flight, I had a lot of opportunities to explore the airplane, including the IFE content. You can select one of 12 languages to browse the contents of the IFE menus. The screens are very responsive and there is something for everybody’s taste. Since the flight was so long, there were self-service drinks, snacks, ice creams and soups available at the rear galley during the flight. We were served another meal, dinner, around two hours before landing. It was an enjoyable flight. The crew was great as well. I must highlight that this was a completely daytime flight and therefore, it was much easier to spend almost 12 hours inside the aircraft and still enjoy the flight.

Avoiding North Korean airspace

Navigating towards China

Menu card

Beverage selection

First meal with a small bottle of French wine

Language selection matrix

Rear door

Rear door window

Rear cabin

Economy class cabin

Self-service cart with drinks and snacks

Blue and white harmony

Our ICN – CDG flight path

Dinner

Descending

Final approach to CDG airport

Parking position

We landed approximately 20 minutes ahead of schedule. This was much appreciated as my scheduled transfer time was only one hour and I was concerned I might miss my flight to Ljubljana in case of a delayed flight from Seoul. We landed at terminal 2E, my Air France HOP flight to Ljubljana departed from terminal 2G. I had to take a shuttle bus between the two terminals. The transfer between them was fast, faster than what I had expected. Since my CDG-LJU flight was a Schengen flight I had to clear immigration at CDG airport, terminal 2G. This terminal is nothing special, I was rather disappointed with it but anyway, I did not have much time to spend there. Boarding gate numbers for Air France HOP flights are announced 30 minutes before the flight departure, until then you can wait in the waiting area.

Transfer

Shuttle bus to Terminal 2G

Departures screens inside 2G waiting room

Embraer aircraft parked at terminal 2G

Waiting room

G32 boarding gate
Embraer 170 aircraft (76 seats) was used for the flight to Ljubljana. From the boarding gate we walked to the aircraft and boarded using movable stairs. During the flight we were served madeleine cakes, I additionally ordered a can of beer. It was getting dark when we landed at Ljubljana airport. I just had to wait for my damaged baggage before I headed towards the nearby counter to acquire a damage report. I was almost back home now, healthy and full of great impressions from my trip to Vietnam, while my suitcase suffered a major injury – its wheel had been amputated somewhere between Ho Chi Minh City and Ljubljana airports.

Our airplane bound for Ljubljana

Boarding

Front of the Embraer 170 plane

Cabin

Taxiing

Madeleine cakes & a beer

We overflew some mountains

Approaching LJU airport

Shortly before touchdown

Ljubljana airport – going down to the baggage claim area

Selection of Slovenian souvenirs

Baggage claim area with two conveyor belts

Comments

  1. Nice reports. Air France's A350 cabins look great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, much better than Lufthansa's A350 product.

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    2. Yep, in deed it looks inviting. Also first food tray looked good. Hvala Matjaž

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  2. Very nice. What was the load like from Paris to Ljubljana?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was around 80%

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    2. Thank you for another great trip report. We also had Adria Airways flights scheduled as our connecting flights from/to Zurich for Phnom Penh Cathay Pacific flight via Hong Kong. Changed to LH flights to/from Frankfurt. It looks that AF is doing fine in LJU, our LH flight to FRA was more or less full, however flight back on 07 Jan was almost empty with just around 30 pax. And both Vietnam Airlines and Air France product seems far superior than Cathay that was quite disappointing.

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  3. So if you're thirsty or hungry you can just get up, go to the self service cart and take anything you fancy and go back to your seat? Or are you charged for that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everything on the self service cart was for free, drinks as well as various snacks, instant soups (mushroom, miso soup), also ice cream.

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  4. Detailed trip report with many photos, thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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