Weekend in Paris: American Admirals Club Paris, British Airways Club Europe Paris to London

Trip Report Index


I got to Charles de Gaulle’s shuttle center in terminal three at about 6:20AM, just over an hour before my flight. Charles de Gaulle is hands down my least favorite airport in the world, so I guess I shouldn’t have let my cheap side get the best of me by taking the first hotel shuttle instead of booking an earlier cab.

I literally sprinted to check-in in terminal 2A, which is probably about a ten-minute sprint. While the terminal as a whole was eerily calm, British Airways check-in was an absolute zoo.


British Airways check-in

I tried to use one of the kiosks to check-in, though after entering all of my information it told me I needed to see a representative. There was an agent assisting with the kiosks, and when she saw me walk away she asked if everything was alright. I explained the kiosk wasn’t working for my ticket, at which point she went to a kiosk with me and did the same exact thing again, and not surprisingly it didn’t work either.

I then got in the business class check-in line, where there was about a ten minute wait. With just a couple of minutes to spare before the check-in cutoff, I had my boarding pass in hand and proceeded through passport control and security. Fortunately, much like the rest of the terminal, passport control and security were empty, so I was through in a matter of minutes.


Terminal

I even had enough time to briefly check out the lounge that British Airways uses in Paris, which is the American Admirals Club. The Admirals Club is located all the way at the end of the terminal in the retro/futuristic building… I can’t decide which.


Walkway to Admirals Club


Futuristic or retro?

At the Admirals Club was an American agent (both in terms of the airline she worked for and her nationality) who told me I’d have to head to the gate soon. It was nice to get a bit of Texas in my morning right in the middle of Charles de Gaulle.


Admirals Club entrance

I just dropped in to snap a few pictures. The snack selection was fairly basic, consisting mostly of croissants, pretzels, etc.


Admirals Club


Admirals Club


Admirals Club


Admirals Club snack selection

After a few minutes there I headed to my departure gate, which was A45, about a five minute walk.

By the time I got there boarding was well underway with no priority boarding lane in sight, so I got in the queue.


Queue for boarding


Plane

British Airways 303
Paris (CDG) – London (LHR)
Sunday, June 5
Depart: 7:35AM
Arrive: 7:55AM
Duration: 1hr20min
Aircraft: Airbus 320
Seat: 2F (Club Europe)

Once aboard I settled into 2F. A French gentleman was already seated in 2D, so this was the first intra-Europe flight I had in a while where I actually had a seat opponent (though the middle seat is blocked, so it doesn’t really matter).


Legroom


View from 2F

Boarding finished up within about 20 minutes, at which point the captain got on the PA, welcoming us aboard on behalf of him and his “senior first officer.” Help me out here, but if the first officer is so damn senior, why is he flying the right seat of the smallest mainline jet British Airways operates? The funny thing is I heard the same announcement on the outbound as well. I’m guessing it’s just the captain trying to be nice, though it doesn’t make any sense to me.

The captain also announced the flight time as being 45 minutes.

After a fairly quick taxi to the runway (long by any other airport’s standards, short my Charles de Gaulle standards) we were airborne.


View after takeoff


Cruise altitude

About five minutes into the flight the flight attendants sprung into action to serve a hot breakfast.

On one hand it’s impressive that British Airways serves a hot breakfast on a 45 minute flight, though unfortunately it was the dreaded mystery egg and sausage dish, the same one I had a couple of weeks earlier from London to Vienna. At least the croissant tasted good and it was served with a smoothie.


Breakfast

We started our descent only minutes after leveling off, as the 18 year old girl from Dallas seated immediately in front of me started talking to the flight attendants in the jumpseats right across from her. She explained how her mom was one of American’s most important frequent flyers, and her mom had booked her to fly from Paris to Rome via London, “because no airlines fly that route nonstop.” Maybe not with your mom’s AAdvantage miles…

As we began our final descent we picked up a bit of chop thanks to the cloudy skies over London, though arrived at our gate at terminal five about 10 minutes early.


On descent


Touchdown

After deplaning I headed to the transfer center and boarded the bus bound for terminal three, where my connection to Miami would be departing from.

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Comments

  1. Many pilots choose to stick with the FO position from a quality of life perspective. Moving over to the left seat generally means starting over from the bottom of the seniority list and leads to years of inflexible scheduling and possibly being placed on reserve. In contrast, being a very senior FO may not come with the same pay, but pilots at the top of the seniority list get first bid on their trips and stay home during holidays, etc.

  2. @Michael – BA pilot scheduling is not based upon seniority. You are assigned flights and you take what you are given, with limited flexibility to swap a certain number of trips per month. Similarly, one does not bid for command as in the case of US carriers but rather one is selected for command based upon experience and merit, rather than merely seniority.

    “Senior First Officer” is an actual rank at many airlines (in contrast to “First Officer”) and denotes that the First Officer holds an ATPL as opposed to a CPL/MPL. SFOs wear 3 stripes as opposed to 2 stripes for regular FOs.

    Finally, an Airbus SFO at BA is usually nowhere near junior within the organisation. The juniormost pilots at BA are usually assigned to 747s and 777s where they gain experience in relief crew settings.

    This is actually the way most airlines in the world (outside of North America where unions still cling to seniority/bidding) operate.

  3. I note all of the comments above and I’m a little embarrassed that our LUCKY author does not know (or remember) these details. SFO is a rank of genuine honor and recognizes many years of experience. As others note, many (perhaps most?)’foreign’ airlines to not follow the North American strict seniority employment model for their pilots. There are real benefits to a merit v. seniority assignment plan. As a thoroughly experienced “World Traveller” Ben ought to know this stuff, probably does and likely had a brief brain fart. It happens. As for complaints about the flight, WTF does one really expect within 45 minutes of airtime? While this ‘hop’ may qualify as international, it really a quick, domestic hop for the folks that operate it. A domestic flight of 45 minutes in the US, or within a single country in the EU would likely net the business class flyer a cup of coffee or a cocktail and little more. The reviews ARE FUN reading, always. That said, let’s try to keep them in persepctive and piss/moan only when it is relevant. From my point of view, I’d have booked the Paris-London seat in coach. The upper cabin perks are great, but where is the benefit in wasting those valuable points and miles on 45 minutes of air time. Save them for thos 15-hour+ flights where they DO make a difference. I’d agree that the breakfast meal was close to very bad, but that’s probably the only flight in the EU that offers a meal during 45 minutes of airtime. In the end, criticism, evaluating and reporting are wonderful things. They still have to be reasonable, dude! -C.

  4. I feel ill just looking at the breakfast. Why do airlines continue to believe that serving a hot breakfast, no matter how disgusting, will always regarded as higher in quality than a cold breakfast.

  5. @cedarglen This is the first segment of his return trip. If you read the last sentence of the post, he’s heading to the TRANSFER Center to go to Miami. No extra miles was wasted.
    @MS: I totally agree with that. on CO I love their cold breakfast. It’s a healthy and balance meal.

  6. @Sean M. – Thanks for clarifying, I didn’t realize this. I only know how it works at the US airlines, where there are many very senior FOs for the reasons I specified.

  7. You could have scored with the girl had you showed her your miles balance. Her new hero of the skies.
    Regarding the breakfast, it looks pretty tasty to me (as it looked the first one). Much better that those french toasts with nothing but jam or butter

  8. @Sean M. Very interesting thank yo for clarifying.

    @Cedarglen: “More miles” “upper class” you don’t really know what you are talking about do you?

  9. Hi, Lucky. I don’t know if you monitor comments on these older posts, so if I don’t hear back in a few days, I’ll post to your general question page.

    I want to ask about the Admirals Club in Terminal 2A at CDG. I will be flying YUL-CDG on Air Canada, arriving in Terminal 2A. We will have only carry-on luggage. I have the AAdvantage Citi MC.

    Question: Will I be able to access the Club immediately on arrival (i.e., remaining airside), or will I be forced outside security to clear immigration and customs, and then not be able to get airside past security and back into the Club? Thanks.

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