We’ll Always Have Paris … the Airshow That Is

By Robert Mark on June 21st, 2007

A week sure flies when you’re having fun. I just returned from the Paris Airshow where among other things, I had an opportunity to fly Dassault’s new Falcon 7X. More on that later.

If you’ve never been to Paris, you might be thinking the Paris Airshow is no more than a European version of AirVenture or NBAA.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Paris is a business show, a place where commercial and military aerospace builders and buyers meet to sign multi-billion dollar contracts. It’s a place where the men all wear suits and ties despite the sweltering ramp at Le Bourget Airport.

This year, however, it was clear that business and general aviation were having a significant impact on the event as Cessna and Dassault announced huge orders, in addition to the round of airline orders everyone expects. Just about every GA manufacturer was represented as well.

I’ll share a bit more of the look and feel of the show in coming posts. But for starters, you can catch much of the airborne events at AIN TV. Pay special attention to Day 4, Pod 3 when you can watch the incredible thrust vectoring system of the Mig 29.

And there is no denying the incredible airwork preformance by the A-380 demo team you’ll also see at AIN TV.

The Worst Airport In the World

You might think I’m generalizing a bit, but I can now say Paris’ Charles DeGaulle wins tops honors for the biggest airport mess I’ve ever experienced.

In all fairness to the French, the collapse of a terminal just before opening a few years ago set the airport back significantly.

Leaving Paris today however, it was not airport security issues that made for a three agonizing hours from arrival at CDG until we jumped on board an Air France A-340. The Air France checkin folks are simply incredibly bureaucratic. And they love their lines. I counted six before I made it to row 43, which was, incidentally, a fairly decent seat.

(Air France A-340 at ORD before the outbound leg)

Then there was the 35 minute shuttle bus trip from the CDG terminal in Paris to reach the airplane.

The only thing that eased the pain of getting through the check-in process were the Air France folks on the aircraft. They were just so darned nice. And, unlike most air travel here in the states, the Air France crew were helpful and polite and seemed to very much enjoy their work.

But please, if any of you Air France folks read this, please tell the captain of AF 051 ORD-CDG on June 16 that running the APU with 275 people on board would have been a pretty good idea even if it would have cost some fuel. People were almost passing out before takeoff.

I suppose there is a little justice when you think about it though. With no APU, even the folks in First Class folks were as miserable as we in the back.

Instead of CDG

If you’re traveling to France this year, avoid CDG.

In fact, CDG was so bad, I’d recommend traveling through London and taking the high speed train to Paris. It will probably take about the same amount of time and I’m told the comfort is exquisite by comparison.

Worth mentioning was a day trip I took this week back from Marseille when I landed at Paris Orly. This is a wonderful alternative airport to CDG.

Stay tuned for more.

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One Response to “We’ll Always Have Paris … the Airshow That Is”

  1. Eric Says:

    CDG sucks on so many levels its not funny. Poorly designed, and poorly executed. Having transited there a few times in changing flights, I have never walked so far to get so little ahead. CDG is the worst transit airport in Europe.

    I am however, jealous of anybody who gets to go to the Paris Air Show!

    Eric

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