Air France | Airbus A320 | CDG-ARN | Economy

This Trip

British Airways | Airbus A321 | LHR-CDG | Club Europe
Hilton, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Air France | Airbus A320 | CDG-ARN | Economy
Radisson Blu Waterfront, Stockholm
British Airways | Boeing 767 | ARN-LHR | Club Europe

Airline: Air France
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Route: Paris de Gaulle – Stockholm Arlanda
Flight number: AF1462
Seat number: 11F
Cabin: Economy
Flight date: May 2016

Check In / Security

Check in here was a little confusing – there was a huge SkyPriority area, although it had a disclaimer saying it was for South American and African flights only – and the area was a little deserted. So instead, I went to the European check in area and there was no Sky Priority area as far as I could see, and only self serve check in machines. So I reluctantly used one of those instead. I tend to avoid them where possible due to the fact they spit out receipt style barding passes. I much prefer a proper card one!

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Security was much more straight forward though. A clear Sky Priority lane and I was the only person using it meant I was through in seconds.

Lounge

The Schengen lounge in the F gates area is located on the lower floor. I wasn’t expecting it to be overly brilliant, but I was pleasantly surprised. As I entered, I was met with an eating area where there was a small, but very decent buffet consisting of a pasta dish, cheeses, sandwiches, cold cuts as well as a couple of dessert options.

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Beyond this was a host of comfortable seats, another eating area and showers and another area with a reserved sign. But it wasnt overly clear what it was resereved for.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding was announced earlier than advertised and Sky Priority boarding was enforced quite well. With Just a couple of elites and a virtually empty Business cabin on this flight it was an orderly affair.

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Once on board, I found a clean and modern cabin. As I had been assigned a seat in the exit row, the legroom was more than generous.

Service

The service took a little while to get started – more than likely due to some turbulence on departure. When it did get going, I was very impressed with the offerings. There was a pack with a yogurt and some fruit in, as well as a warm cheese and tomato flat bread, plus a choice of drinks.

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Arrival

Arrival was made around fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and as this was a Schengen arrival, I made it from the plane to the bus into town in around five minutes – and that included stopping to buy a bus ticket too.

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Conclusions

This was my first time flying with Air France, and I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t hold particularly high expectations, but I found CDG Terminal 2F a great terminal – much like one you would find in Asia due to the large open spaces. The Air France lounge I used was also impressive considering it is no doubt designed as a European lounge. There was a small but decent food offering on the buffet, with a good drinks selection and comfortable seating. On board, the seats were comfortable and the plane was clean – despite being six years old, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was brand new. The crew were friendly, and the onboard service was more than I’d had on an inter European hop in years.

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Alitalia | Airbus A321 | FCO-LHR | Economy

This Trip

Alitalia | Airbus A321 | LHR-FCO | Economy
Hilton Garden Inn, Rome Fiumicino
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FCO-FLR | Economy
Hilton, Florence Metropole
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FLR-FCO | Economy
Alitalia | Airbus A321 | FCO-LHR | Economy

Airline: Alitalia
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Route: Rome – London Heathrow
Flight number: AZ204
Seat number: 27A
Cabin: Economy
Flight date: May 2016

Picking up pretty much straight from my flight from Florence, it was a bit of a race to make it to the gate for my next flight on time for boarding. This is where Fiumicino lets itself down a bit – everything is a little bit too far apart, and it doesn’t seem all that well thought out. Seems as though despite there being plenty of gates, bus journeys are pretty frequent. Due to the rush, there wasn’t any time for a lounge visit as the one in the G gates still isn’t open (I’m sure it said 1st May on my last visit).

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding started around ten minutes after I arrived at the gate, and for the first time on this trip, the agents went through the priority lane and sorted through who was supposed to be there and who wasn’t. Not that it mattered all that much, as once more it was on to a bus. What was more frustrating is that the bus pulled up a couple of planes down from the one that I had just disembarked…

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Service

Service on board this flight was a little slow to get going, but with a 2+ hour flying time, I guess there was no real need to rush. Once more, it was the pre-packaged sandwich along with a choice of soft drinks. One thing to note was that for the third time the sandwich was of a different variety – chicken and cheese this time. So a good deal for frequent flyers.

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Arrival

Unusually for Heathrow, there was no holding, meaning it was pretty much straight in. As we landed on 09L there was a little delay getting over to Terminal 4.

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Conclusions

The final of four flights with Alitalia on this trip and on all four occasions, flights were reasonably full the crew provided a decent enough service and the on board food on the two flights where I received it was tasty enough. The only issue was really Rome airport – where everything seemed to be miles away from everything. In future, I’ll definitely leave more than 90 minutes to connect when using this airport.

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Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FLR-FCO | Economy

This Trip

Alitalia | Airbus A321 | LHR-FCO | Economy
Hilton Garden Inn, Rome Fiumicino
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FCO-FLR | Economy
Hilton, Florence Metropole
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FLR-FCO | Economy

Airline: Alitalia
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Route: Florence – Rome
Flight number: AZ1678
Seat number: 18A
Cabin: Economy
Flight date: May 2016

Check In / Security

Check in was a little busy as I had arrived a little later than usual. There wasn’t a queue in the priority line however, and I was seen within a couple of minutes.

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Lounge

Alitalia don’t have their own lounge here – instead its just the one third party lounge, which caters for all. It was before security and not the greatest – small, dark and basic. It didn’t even offer Wifi – you had to use the airports, which was pretty slow.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding was made a little late, due to the inbound aircraft arriving a little late from Rome (although isn’t that always the excuse?). When it did get under way, it was done in what appeared to be typical Alitalia fashion – there was a priority line, but it wasn’t enforced in the slightest. Not that it really mattered anyway, as all flights are boarded by bus in Florence.

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On board, I was met with the standard Alitalia cabin.

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Service

Not an awful lot can be said about the service on this flight – mainly because there was none, except for a tray of wet wipes handed out. Seemed a bit of an odd thing to hand out, especially as there wasn’t anything else given out food or beverage wise.

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Arrival

Despite the late start, due to some nicely padded scheduling, arrival was made more or less on time. Having said that, we then ended up being put on to a bus gate, which in turn took an age to get over to the terminal. Not what I needed with a shortish connection…

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Conclusions

Not an awful lot to say about this part of the trip really, due to the thirty minute flying time and the almost complete lack of service on board, third party lounge and contract workers in Florence.

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Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FCO-FLR | Economy

This Trip

Alitalia | Airbus A321 | LHR-FCO | Economy
Hilton Garden Inn, Rome Fiumicino
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FCO-FLR | Economy
Hilton Florence Metropole
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FLR-FCO | Economy
Alitalia | Airbus A321 | FCO-LHR | Economy

Airline: Alitalia
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Route: Rome – Florence
Flight number: AZ1675
Seat number: 2A
Cabin: Economy
Flight date: May 2016

Check In / Security

As I had already been given my boarding pass, there was no need for me to pay the check in desk another visit. Instead I headed straight for the general security. I did enquire about the SkyPriority lane, and the guy said one did exist but as it was at the far end of the terminal I’d be better off using the general lane as it wasn’t too busy. As it was, it took me no more than ten minutes to pass through.

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Lounge

The Schengen Alitalia lounge is located in the D gates – as I was due to depart from the B gates, it was a bit of a walk from where I was. When I arrived, it was a little busy. There were decent enough catering options and plenty of smaller seating areas.

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Boarding / Onboard

When it came to boarding, there was some priority boarding announced – however it wasn’t enforced at all. The three people ahead of me had no status on their boarding passes, and as there wasn’t a business class cabin operated on this flight it cant have been that either.

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On board was the typical Alitalia cabin.

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Picture taken after arrival

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Service

Service got underway shortly after departure. As this was just a thirty minute flight, water was all that was offered.

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Arrival

Arrival was made more or less on schedule – there was a slight hold up for an unknown reason when the doors were opened, but once disembarked it was straight out to the taxi rank.

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Conclusions

As mentioned in the previous part of this report, I wasn’t originally booked on to this flight. However, everything went flawlessly (as expected) and once more Alitalia did a reasonable job on this short flight. Although I’d say their lounges in the particular area of Fiumicino needed a bit of a refurb as despite being comfortable enough, they are starting to show some wear in areas.

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Alitalia | Airbus A321 | LHR-FCO | Economy

This Trip

Alitalia | Airbus A321 | LHR-FCO | Economy
Hilton Garden Inn, Rome Fiumicino
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FCO-FLR | Economy
Hilton Florence Metropole
Alitalia | Airbus A319 | FLR-FCO | Economy
Alitalia | Airbus A321 | FCO-LHR | Economy

Airline: Alitalia
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Route: London Heathrow – Rome
Flight number: AZ207
Seat number: 34F
Cabin: Economy
Flight date: May 2016

Check In / Security

The check in desks were relatively quiet this afternoon – I was able to walk straight up to the Business Class desk, grab a boarding pass and be on my way within a minute or so.

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Next up was security. Unlike my last time at Heathrow T4, this again was very quiet – I was the only person there. In fact I made it from kerbside to the lounge in just seven minutes.

Lounge

As a top tier Alitalia status holder, I was entitled to use the Etihad lounge, due to the tie up between the two airlines.

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When I first arrived, it was a little on the busy side, however due to the fact the Etihad flight departed shortly after my arrival, it emptied out considerably to just a few people.

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The only minor issue was that once the Etihad flight did depart, the lounge staff cleared away a lot of the buffet and started hoovering, dusting etc. Its great that they take such pride in their lounge, however it did make the remaining few Alitalia customers feel a little in the way. I was still able to order from the menu however in the restaurant area.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding was made around 40 minutes late, due to the late inbound arrival of the aircraft from Rome. When it did get underway, it wasn’t the best I’d experienced. Whilst priority boarding was called, it wasn’t enforced all that well – I overheard the gate agent say more than a few times “bear that in mind for next time…”

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Even once on board, it still took an absolute age to complete the boarding process. And once it was complete, a load of bags then had to be taken downstairs to be loaded into the hold. This meant pushback was eventually 1h15 behind schedule – not what I needed with a 1h25 connection time in Rome…

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Service

Service didn’t get underway all that quickly, mainly due to the aisle being blocked with people waiting to use the wash room. Once it did get underway, the standard Alitalia on board offerings of soft drinks and a sandwich was distributed.

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Arrival

Arrival was made around an hour later than scheduled. Being put on to a bus gate didn’t help matters with my connection either, and despite my best efforts I missed my connection by a matter of minutes.

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Conclusions

Once again, Alitalia providing a good enough flight for a decent price. Yes, the flight was delayed, but this was down to ATC issues at LHR – I had tracked the incoming plane on flightradar24.com for most of the afternoon and everything had been running to schedule until it ended up in a holding pattern. It then took an age to cross runway 09R at LHR to get over to T4 and finally it took a good 45 minutes to get everybody on board. Once we did get going, again, LHR was very busy and it took a good while to finally get airborne. So I really can’t fault the airline for the late running. If anything, they handled everything perfectly with regards to my misconnection – apologetic, proactive and well organised. By the tim I had turned up to the gate, I’d already been rebooked on to the next flight, and as it was the following morning a hotel and meals had been arranged too, so all that was needed was a new boarding pass.

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Alitalia | Airbus A320 | FCO-LHR | Economy

This Trip
KLM Cityhopper | Fokker F70 | LHR-AMS | Economy

KLM | Boeing 737-800 | AMS-FCO | Business
Hilton, Rome FCO
Alitalia | Airbus A320 | FCO-LHR | Economy

Airline: Alitalia
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Route: Rome – London Heathrow
Flight number: AZ204
Seat number: 29F
Cabin: Economy
Flight date: March 2016

Check In / Security

Upon arriving at Fiumicino, I was a little unsure of which terminal I needed to use. A quick check of the FID showed that Terminal 1 was where I needed to be.

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I walked up to the Alitalia desk and was asked my destination. I replied London and was sent to another desk. I was checked in without any fuss, but then told that the flight would actually be departing from Terminal 3 – how confusing! As such, I had to clear security there. No big deal as it was right next door, but how hard can it be to send you to the right place to begin with?

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Security was an absolute breeze. I used the fast track and was met by an official with a hand held scanner. I saw that the scanner came up with a red cross and said I wasn’t eligible, however no mention of this was made and I was given the all clear to proceed anyway. Thumbs up for the use of common sense and not just using the “computer says no” approach. Upon reaching the x-ray, I was the only person there and I was processed in just a couple of minutes.

Lounge

Alitalia have a handful of lounges at FCO. The one I used was to the right as I exited security. There was a boarding pass check before heading up the stairs. Next door was the recently (as of March 2016) reopened British Airways lounge.

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Into the lounge itself, and it was a little on the small side, spread out over two levels. There was a manned bar and a small buffet area which included pasta, pizza and other small snacks.

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Whilst most occupants decided to stay on the ground level, I headed upstairs which was virtually deserted, and therefore quite peaceful.

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Boarding / Onboard

When boarding came, it was over to the satellite. A few minutes before boarding was announced, the ground crew sorted the mass pile of gate lice into something a little moe organised. Most were sent to the general boarding line, where as a few remained in the Sky Priority lane. Although it made virtually no difference, as it was downstairs on to a bus anyway.

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On board I was pleasantly surprised. I had expected to find a cabin that was a little long in the tooth, however this one appeared to have been recently refurbished.

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Legroom was reasonably good and the seat reclined miles. An added bonus was that the load was very light on this Easter Sunday so I had plenty of room for myself.

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Service

The service was a little strange. When dishing out the main snack (an aubergine roll, along with soft drinks) the crew member serving the rear of the cabin couldn’t look more uninterested.

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However, as previously mentioned, I was flying on Easter Sunday and Alitalia had an extra surprise up their sleeve. A pretty big tray of mini easter eggs were handed out and the same crew member couldn’t have looked happier. I grabbed a couple and they shook the tray and gave me a look as if to say “take more”, followed with another big grin. I obliged.

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Arrival

As is normally the case at Heathrow, there was quite a bit of holding involved – pushing the flight time to around two hours thirty minutes.

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Touchdown was made on to runway 27L, meaning a short taxi over to Terminal 4. There was a bit of a wait at border control as one of the many fail KLM shuttles had just arrived, but I still made it from Terminal 4, to Heathrow Central and over to Terminal 5 within 25 minutes.

Conclusions

Admittedly, I had some reservations when I booked this flight. However none of them were justified and I actually had a decent enough flight. Sure the cabin crew were a little surly but all the other staff I met at the airport were fine. The lounge could have been a little bigger, but I guess its taking the strain until the one in the satellite opens in May, which I should be trying out when I fly through Rome then.

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KLM | Boeing 737-800 | AMS-FCO | Business

This Trip
KLM Cityhopper | Fokker F70 | LHR-AMS | Economy

KLM | Boeing 737-800 | AMS-FCO | Business
Hilton, Rome FCO
Alitalia | Airbus A320 | FCO-LHR | Economy

Airline: KLM
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Route: Amsterdam Schiphol – Rome
Flight number: KL1609
Seat number: 1A
Cabin: Business
Flight date: March 2016

Check In / Security

As I was transferring from LHR, I didn’t use either the check in or security. Instead I headed straight to the lounge. As Amsterdam is one large terminal, it was quite a walk from where I emerged to the non Schengen KLM lounge. As there was an upgrade offer upon check in, I figured I’d take advantage of this to see what KLM business class was like.

Lounge

Upon arriving at the lounge, I was amazed at how big it was compared to other airlines flagship lounges.

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The food offerings were a little disappointing however. These were quite literally the only options.

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Nearer the time of boarding, I moved along to the Schengen lounge – the offerings were the same, however the lounge was a lot smaller and much, much busier. So busy in fact that there was an overflow area in use.

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Boarding / Onboard

Boarding wasn’t brilliant. As mentioned earlier, Amsterdam is one big terminal, despite leaving the lounge in plenty of time I arrived at the gate as boarding was in full swing. There also was no SkyPriority lane in use, so no option but to queue up. A little disappointing.

Once on board, I was the first to enter the business cabin. There were three rows today, and every seat was full. Most other business passengers were among the last to board, so clearly a priority boarding issue. The cabin was set up in a typical European Business layout, with window and aisle seats in use and middle seats left free. As the doors were closed, newspapers were handed out.

Service

Service began shortly after departure. The single meal option was a beef salad. There was a menu card on the tray – which seemed a little odd to me considering you have to accept the meal in order to find out what it was. I ordered a G&T with this, which caused a little confusion. When it did turn up, I suspect was actually vodka and tonic so I stuck to water for the rest of the flight. The crew were quite pro active in offering drinks throughout the flight.

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Arrival

Arrival was at the Schengen area of the terminal, so it was simply a case of disembarking and following the signs to the exit.

Conclusions

I must admit I was a little disappointed with this. My previous experiences with KLM in economy had been pretty good, so I had reasonably high hopes for them in Business. From the basic overcrowded lounge, to no priority boarding and the single meal service I feel they could have done a little better. Other airlines offer a choice of meal on sectors of similar length within Europe, so for KLM to offer a quickie salad and nothing else seemed a little cheap to me.

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