Let me tell you about this amazing, two-story airbus that Air France has in circulation. First, did I mention it was two-stories?! And let me tell you how I found out it was two stories tall. I get on the plane and settle into my seat in this 500 passenger plane and thankfully I’m in an aisle seat. Not a window, but not sandwiched between two others in the five-seater rows. I could deal with that. But then this couple comes up to me with sadness in their eyes. (Poor planners always have sadness in their eyes).
“Excuse me, miss. We are a family and we want to sit together but my wife’s seat is all the way somewhere else. Would you mind if you switch with us?”
I didn’t even hesitate. I know the damage that poor planning can cause and am always grateful when people help me out inspite of it.
So, “sure,” I said. “But we haven’t seen the seat, we’ll walk with you in case you don’t like it.”
“No, no. It’s fine, you should sit together. It’s just a seat.” But it was NOT just a seat, I tell you. It was not just a seat.
The wife walks me to the back of the plane anyway just to be safe and the farther back in this 500-seater plane we go, the more flashbacks of Lost I’m getting. You know, the part on the show when the back of the plane is the first to snap off. But, to my surprise, the back of the plane leads to a spiraling staircase to Heaven, a throwback to the planes from the 60s and 70s where first class was separated from coach by stairs. I follow the wife up the stairs and she leads me to my window seat in an aisle meant for holding baby carriages, which means: THE MOST LEG ROOM I’VE EVER HAD ON A PLANE IN COACH IN LIFE.
Yes, I was still in coach. (I could really tell I was in coach when I was deplaning and saw how even more fabulous a ride on Air France could be the further to the front you were seated on the top level.) But, I had my own personal TV and remote and could listen to free music or radio, or watch free TV and movies (well, it was included in your ticket price, I suppose). Yes, I watched Twilight: Breaking Dawn for the ten millionth time, but to be jazzy, I watched it in French! I also watched “Le Roi Lion,” The Lion King in French, too, and since I hadn’t seen it before, My Week With Marilyn in English with French Subtitles. C’etait parfait! It was perfect.
And not just the entertainment. Oh no. There was food. I dined like une reine, I tell you. I had bread and cheese, chicken on a kind of lemon rice piaf, penne pasta, strawberry lemon cake, tapioca pudding and champagne. (I would’ve taken a picture of it all, but I hadn’t eaten all day and it was gone by the time I thought about a picture.) Then, I had coffee and then banana liquor to wash it all down and put me to sleep. Except I didn’t go to sleep. I watched movies or listened to Edith Piaf for the duration of the 7 hour flight. And as the dawn broke, I had un petit dejuneur: peach yogurt, coffee, croissant, blueberry muffin and orange juice. Can’t beat that with a stick.
I always feel so close to God flying among the clouds and this trip was no exception. But it was exceptional. Even when I could see the moon in the sky, the sun was still somewhere blazing. Though I left D.C. at 4:40 in the afternoon on Friday and arrived in Paris at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, the day seemed endless and never really got dark enough to truly be night. What a preview of what Paris would be like! I’ve been here two days now and the night doesn’t fall until 11 p.m.! For a night owl to actually get a chance to experience the city by the light of day on my own time is absolutely indescribable. I was made for this city.
But back to the flight. Whoever warned me that the French love a sistah, you were so right! My flight attendant flirted up a storm with me, but he refused to speak to me in French since I was struggling with a few words. I really wanted to practice conversation, but he wasn’t having it . And there was a bit of turbulence every now and again, but the take-off and landing were extremely smooth. The captain and crew were first rate and we all applauded when the captain perfectly touched us down in Paris in the midst of rain and dark clouds.
I can’t say enough of about this flight. It was truly an experience that I am excited to have again.
Merci beaucoup, Air France! Je chante tes louanges.
Twilight over the Atlantic
A Perfect Landing in Rainy Paris