Tried & Tested

Air France A320 Voyageur (economy) class

25 Sep 2009 by Tom Otley

First impressions This Air France flight AF1680 to London Heathrow departs from Paris CDG's Terminal 2E. It's a modern, light, airy building with a curved wood-covered ceiling – a very different experience to the soon-to-close, claustrophobic Terminal 2 at Heathrow, where my outbound flight had departed from. (Click here for the review).

I headed straight for security, where I was directed to the “orange” queue (I'm not entirely sure what the difference was between this and the other colours). Security and passport checks were swift, and after a quick look around duty free I headed to departure gate 32. Just past this gate, there is an area with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on to the apron, with half a dozen very comfortable-looking leather lounge chairs, all of which were unfortunately taken. Boarding commenced at about 1545, but once on board the captain announced that there would be a delay in taking off because the vehicle used to tow us to the runway wasn't working. A new one was found and we took off at 1640.

The aircraft Air France is unusual in that it still offers a three class product on this short-haul flight – Affaires (business), Premium Voyageur (premium economy), and Voyageur (economy). The seat is the same throughout this Airbus A320 aircraft, but in Affaires the middle seat is kept free. On this flight the first five rows were Affaires, followed by a curtain, then four rows of Premium Voyageur, then another curtain, then Voyageur class. For a seat plan of this aircraft, click here.

Where to sit? I was sat in 12D in a busy Voyageur cabin. Rows 11 and 12 are emergency exit rows with extra legroom, so this aisle seat was perfect for me at six foot tall. Indeed, had I been booked in Premium Voyageur I would only have been looking back wishing I could be downgraded a few rows back.

The flight Not a great deal to report on such a short flight (about 45 minutes in the air). Customers in Voyageur receive a free drink and snack (in this case a couple of coconut biscuits or a packet of crisps). The flight was smooth, and we touched down on time at 1625.

Arrival Disembarking into Heathrow T2, I used the Iris recognition system (there were two people in front of me in the queue), and was at the central bus station by 1645.

Verdict Great departure terminal at Paris CDG, and friendly service on this short flight.


Mark Caswell

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