Hi All! I'm back!
In the HNL-EWR post I forgot to tell you about the fact that my plane (a 767) was full. All 11 empty seats on the plane, including the one I cleverly left free between me and Itai were filled with nonrevenue passengers on standby. So, no free space for us.
Shortly after posting my previous post, Itai managed to get us admitted to the Delta Crown Room lounge at Newark. The lounge featured more comfortable seating and free drinks, although Dan lounge in Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport is better.
Anyway, our Air France flight to Paris was slightly late, and for some strange reason the flight attendants insisted on counting and recounting the number of passengers on board with a clicker. The Air France Airbus A330-200 was full to capacity, and even though the flight was overbooked, we could not get rerouting and compensation.
The plane featured personal video touch screens, however most of the interactive system did not work due to some malfunction. So, there remained very few films to watch, one of which I already saw on a previous flight (Music and Lyrics). I decided to use my laptop and watch The 4400 instead. I did however enjoy tracking the flight in real time, and the option to see the view from a camera mounted below the plane. The food service on board was surprisingly good, and I enjoyed the lunch served after takeoff, although I had nothing edible for breakfast.
Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, our plane taxied for about 20 minutes, until we came to a stop at a parking space. It turns out that at CDG some jets are still de-boarded by bus, so we had to take airstairs and board a bus to the terminal. The terminal itself was not a pleasant place either. The ground staff refused to change our seats for the next flight, even though I'm entitled to priority seating and will not give an emergency exit row to anyone who's not fluent in French.
Upon reaching the departure gate (after passing security yet again), I was stunned to see that the boarding is again by bus. I further noticed that the flight would be at least 10 minutes late. There were no reasonable restaurants in the boarding area and everything was overpriced (and in Euro!). I boarded the plane quite early, but there were still more delays. It took more than an hour for the plane to start taxiing and a lot more than that until takeoff. I decided to read a book during all this time in order not to get too annoyed. However, one flight attendant managed to annoy me anyway when she insisted on addressing me in French twice, as if all Air France passengers are French. All in all, the service aboard the A320 was terrible, and was anxious to land, after more than 40 hours since checkout from the hotel.
We arrived 1:10 late. At Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, I whizzed through passport control, and arrived to the baggage hall just as the baggage from our flight started to appear. For some unknown reason, Itai's bag arrived before mine, even though mine was clearly labeled "Priority". Anyway, my bag did arrive quite early.
However, it turns out I just missed the shuttle cab to Haifa (Itai took the last place on the previous shuttle). I spent most of the shuttle ride sleeping. I finally arrived at home only at around 21:00, showered and went directly to sleep. Upon waking up, I immediately updated my blog for your reading pleasure.