Got up at 5.30am to fly out at 10:30am.
This is our times, but it’s best to allow more time, because you never know what to expect – longer lines due to popular events or problems or seasons when people travel more. Also, taxi strikes are always possible, so we prefer to use Uber (go to www.qsfo.com for details … and to sign-up for a free or almost free first ride).
– Get ready, last minute packing, ordering an Uber (Town Car) and checking out of the hotel: 1.5 hrs.
– Ride to the airport – W Hotel Opéra to CDG (Charles De Gaulle, the main Paris airport: 30 minutes
– Handle VAT Tax Refund: 45 minutes
– Check-in for flight and deal with extra bag: 15 minutes
– Security: 45 minutes
– Coffee and food: 30 minutes
– Boarding process: 30 minutes
All-in-all, we cut it a little close and didn’t have much time to fool around. We weren’t stressed, but security took the wind out of our sails a little, due to crying kids, stupid people in front of us with tubes and liquids all through their carry on luggage. We prefer to fly Air France in Premium Economy, so you have early boarding and premium security check-in privileges. This trip was Economy with better seats and legroom, but nothing else was included. It’s OK, the flights were free using points, so it’s OK, but we have definitely outgrown regular economy. Not being a snob, but it’s just a little tougher on long-haul flights, like this one – 14 hours, due to the stop over in Minneapolis. There’s a plus and minus to using non-direct flights. On the plus side, it’s nice to break-up the flight, stretch and maybe hang out in the lounge for a little free R&R (Delta’s lounge will let you in free with an Amex Platinum card.) The down side is that coming back to the US, you have to get your bags and go through customs, because it’s your first stop back to the US. It’s a bit of a hassle and means there’s little or no time to go to the lounge, but it is a break from sitting. It you have a Global Entry card, you’ll whisk though the process and eliminate standing in the long customs line. Amex Platinum pays for the cost of getting the card, which is great. Airports that accept it are expanding, and when you fly out, you can also use it in the “fast lane” at TSA, which is another big plus. A little downside on this trip to having an indirect flight? On International flights, drinks and food is free. After you board the domestic leg of the flight, nothing is free, except sodas, coffee, pretzels, peanuts, etc. (the same things on most flights).
I had purchased salads from the Paul shop in the Paris airport, which I’d planned to eat instead of the food served on the plane, but the light lunch was actually good, so we saved the salads for later, which didn’t come until the next flight. After 9 hours in the air, I didn’t think they’d be any good, but fortunately it wasn’t warm on the plane and the salads were mostly sturdy greens – endive, radicchio, pears and foie gras, so they were still good.
We arrived, gathered out luggage, ordered an Uber, made our way home, took baths, got into bed, watched a movie and fell asleep.
The end of another amazing trip! Now … to get over jet lag!
(Tip from a flight attendant: Fast for 14 hours after getting back to the US. AND, use Melatonin for 5 days after (to go to sleep.) Since our last meal was on the plane (the salads) at 2pm, we could eat as early as 4am. We woke up about 3am, watched some videos and TV shows and went for a coffee at Peet’s and an early breakfast at the W Hotel at 7.30.
Now we’re getting back on track, sorting mail, unpacking and taking it easy.
Life is grand, and I’m so grateful we are able to make these trips!