The end of a vacation is always bittersweet. On the one hand, they are never long enough and there is so much left to do… but conversely, you tend to miss things at home, like your pets. Our flight from CDG to JFK was scheduled to depart at 10:20 AM Central European Time (UTC+2), and as it was an international flight we were supposed to be at the airport three hours prior to departure.
We were unable to check-in to the flight at T-24 hours through the FlyDelta app as usual because the check-in process was operated by Air France not Delta. Adding to the frustration, upon arriving at CDG, the agent was unable to check us in because we were wait-listed for upgrades (using two more Global Upgrade Certificates). An artifact of the wait-list process is that a duplicate reservation is created on the same PNR. This in turn led to us being asked to go from the SkyPriority line to the general check-in line to hunt down a Red-Coat who told us that he didn’t know why we were asked to come down at all, because we were shown as checked in.
Because Air France was in charge of all ground operations at CDG, we were unable to verify any of this through the app, but we were given boarding passes and were able to check our bags to JFK. Another hiccup due to this process is that the FlyDelta app didn’t accurately represent the upgrade space available on the flight. At this time the app showed four seats available, but the Air France agents let us know there was only one seat unclaimed.
After reaching out to Delta on Twitter, they confirmed that this can happen when the inventory is updated locally (in Paris) and not communicated back to update the app. I’m not entirely sure how this level of disconnect can exist between two partners, especially when the flight itself was Delta marketed and operated.
As we stood in line to board we mentally prepared ourselves for the eight hour flight in Comfort+ (let’s face it – you can’t have the same seat as Economy and call it Premium Economy), a gate agent ran down to us and asked us if we were still interested in upgrades to Business Class, though they would not be next to one another. We jumped at that opportunity and found ourselves in seats 1G and 7G.
DL405 (CDG→JFK) and DL404 (JFK→CDG) are both operated by Airbus 330-300s, so we knew what to expect from our seats and in-flight experience from our trip over. Since this was a last-minute upgrade, we couldn’t reserve our meals in advance, but we were not worried at all: Delta has never disappointed us with their meals.
It was on this flight that I treated myself to some desert wine: De Bortoli Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon. Though too sweet (for my tastes) for regular drinking, it was the perfect way to end my meal after the ordeals of the day.
Upon reaching JFK, we found ourselves back at gate B38 – the same gate we left from!
After navigating customs, grabbing our bags, and dropping things off for our next flight — I didn’t want to try asking more from the Air France folks at CDG after the difficulties we experienced simply checking in and have our bags checked directly through to RDU the way the Delta agents were able to do for me. It wasn’t a big difference since the agents in JFK were right next to the bag drop.
On take-off, we were able to see a “State of Kuwait” Boeing 747 (confirmed to be 9K-GAA, which was flying between Andrew’s and JFK), so I’m not sure if it was related to that at all.
Overall, the trip was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to go back to France. I would like to spend more than a week there on my next week, and see more than just Paris: Nice, Marseilles, Lyon, and Normandy all come to mind. If you have an opportunity to travel, take it – there is so much to see, and so little time!