Mileage Run to Copenhagen
SEA-BUR-SEA – AS 737-800
I was on the last SEA-BUR of the day on Thursday and the first BUR-SEA flight of the day on Friday so it was literally the same plane both directions. It was my first flight on a plane with the new Alaska livery. On my way down I was in seat 6D (aisle seat, first row of Economy) and on the way back I was upgraded to First Class. Interestingly the SEA-BUR flight was the first flight as an MVP Gold 75K where I have not been upgraded to First which means there are a lot of people purchasing First Class seats on this route or a lot of MVP Gold 75K passengers that purchased their ticket before me. But I got to hold the equipment bag during the safety demo so it was all good 😉
Breakfast in First Class:
Burbank (Bob Hope) airport is a neat little airport where the terminal is very close the runway. It makes for quick landing to curb times. As there are only 5 gates at Terminal B (where my flight arrived/departed), security lines are not an issue. You can read my review of the Holiday Inn Burbank-Media Center here.
SEA-CDG – Delta A330-300 Seat 27J
I had a 3.5 hour layover in SEA (which is weird to say) so I spent most of the time at the Centurion Studio. The flight was scheduled for 1:18 PM from the South Satellite so I headed out around noon. The flight didn’t start boarding until close to 12:30pm and I was in Zone 1 which meant I boarded after after Delta One passengers and Sky Priority. Alaska’s website says that there is reciprocal priority boarding benefits for MVP so maybe Zone 1 is still “early” boarding but I’m not sure. A Delta rep on Twitter said I was supposed to get Sky Priority boarding.
As an Alaska elite I was able to chose a better seat on all my flights which was nice. This flight I was able to get 27J which is a window/exit seat in a row with only two seats. It had plenty of legroom (I couldn’t touch the bulkhead with my legs stretched out); the downside was the proximity to the lavatory. There was not as much of an intrusion into space from the emergency slide as on the AA 777 however there were no pockets to store anything; I ended up putting my personal items on the emergency exit door (probably frowned upon).
I enjoyed getting to chat with the flight attendant that was seated during take off/landing in the jump seat across from me. She had “only” been flying for 8 years and did so part time; her full time job was as an attorney! She was very professional and provided good service; as did all of the attendants I encountered on my Delta flights. It is Economy so they have a lot of people to serve, but I never ran in to a rude flight attendant on the trip. I even asked this time if there would a problem with putting my luggage at my feet after take off so I could stretch out better and she said it was fine (unlike a certain AA flight attendant that grabbed my luggage out from under me while I slept).
As it is an exit row the armrests are fixed and the inflight entertainment screen and tray table fold out from them. I found the IFE screen to be a bit hard to get a good angle on but that was my only complaint. The seat had a decent recline but was hard as a rock. I’ve heard that exit row seats have to be more solid than other seats on the plane, not sure if this is true or not, but my seat sure was firm.
Each seat had a pillow and thin blanket at it upon boarding. After everyone was seated sleep kits (eye shades and ear plugs) and earphones were passed out. I was surprised to get any sort of amenity kit in Economy. Another point for Delta over AA.
Soon after take off the main meal of the flight was served. The options were chicken salad, chicken, or beef (I think). While I should have gone with the salad, I tried the “chicken”. The chicken was served with a marinara sauce, a few veggies and polenta. It came with an iceberg side salad, role, cheese and crackers and brownie.
Beverages were served AFTER the meal, which I found odd, but whatever. I ordered my standard club soda and was surprised to find they served my favorite Le Croix sparkling water, although I was not given a full can.
A snack was served midway through the flight. It came in a little drawstring bag and included a roll with meat and cheese and milano cookie.
A full size water bottle was also served mid flight which was very welcomed.
Breakfast was served just before landing in Paris. It included yogurt, coffee cake, a cookie and orange juice.
CDG was a mad house. After taking the train to the correct terminal for my connecting flight and going through security, there was (and I use this word intentionally) a mob of people trying to get through passport control. This was because everyone transiting to terminal 2F had to go through passport control and only two, yes TWO officers were working. One was supposedly for EU passport holders and the other officer was for the line for non-EU passport holders. The “priority” line merged with the non-EU passport holders. The line was so long that it had to snake itself around the x-ray machines. The staff seemed stunned and didn’t know what to do. People were cutting in line as the line was probably 2,000 people deep. People were missing their flights. After standing in the line for 25 minutes and not getting any closer to the front, I decided I needed to do something or I would miss my flight.
I headed back to the Air France help desk and explained the issue. After a bit of back and forth a staff finally helped direct me to an alternative route. There was a second passport control checkpoint for those exiting the airport (ie Paris was their final destination). If I went through there, I could loop back outside the airport to the departure level, re-enter security and get to my gate. I now had 30 minutes for scheduled departure so I decided to try it out. Before I left the agent told me to use the priority line at passport control; I believe her exact words were “just put your ticket away and walk through”. I did and it worked.
It still took me about 5 minutes to get through passport control but they probably had 20 staff for 1/4 as many passengers. I ran past baggage claim, through customs (nothing to declare except that your airport is a mess!) and back up to the departure level to go through security. By the time I got through it was about 5 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart. Fortunately for me, the plane was delayed by 45 minutes so I made it with a few minutes to spare.
My layover was probably too tight for comfort; an hour and 25 minutes. However I can imagine that the passport control line would have taken me at least 3 hours (assuming they didn’t add more staff after I left). I am sure most of the passengers in the line missed their flights.
CDG-CPH – Air France A318 Seat 4D
Both Air France and KLM do a funny thing with their planes depending on how many premium seats are sold; they have a movable divider so they can increase or decrease the size of the premium cabin. On my flight they only had one row of premium cabin seats. The rest of the plane was quite empty too; I had all three seats in my row to myself.
This was especially nice because the leg room was not adequate. I could not sit with my legs forward; I literally would not fit. So I had to sit at a slight angle. I’m not that tall (6’1); I can’t imagine someone 6’4 trying to squeeze in. Luckily my flight was only 90 minutes.
We taxied for about 25 minutes (no joke) making me wish for BUR again. But we did pass an old Concord jet so that was cool.
Beverage service was offered with your choice of sweet (lemon biscuit) or savory (pretzels) snack.
Copenhagen Airport immediately let me relax. It is a peaceful airport that is modern and the standard Scandinavian design. I don’t know if it was because I was coming from another EU country or not, but I didn’t have to go through security or passport control upon landing.