SK572 CDG-ARL ?? seat 21F

CDG Terminal 1 is a deeply, deeply weird airport. From the brand new CDGVAL station, I entered on the lowest level of the barrel-shaped center, then walked around half the circle to find the SAS checkin. From there, an inclined, transparent tube with an escalator crossed across the barrel, just one of half a dozen tubes in the interior, depositing me on the other side. Here I had to get my lounge card and passport inspected, before being allowed into the duty-free shop section, where I got to walk some more radial shapes until I eventually managed to find the elevator up to the lounges. The pure white tunnels with rounded edges and colored mood lights looked promising, but the “iCare” rent-a-lounge used by SAS was remarkably crappy and full of cursing Adria pilots stuffing themselves with bags of crisps, the only form of sustenance available. Wifi cost money and there were no power plugs, but there was one lovably quirky feature: the cylinder-shaped TV room was equipped with personal headphone plugs build into the backs of the seats lining the edge, although with only one solitary TV in the center, the point of this escaped me entirely. Perhaps there was none, and it was just like everything else in T1, a thoroughly obsoleted vision of the future that felt like walking around a real-life rendition of Kubrick.

I left the lounge and then realized that the passport inspection I now had to go through again was the line separating Schengen (my flight) from non-Schengen (the lounge). Back on the treaty side, I headed for Satellite 7, reached by a way-cool giant travellator that first dips down, then levels off underground and then zooms back upward again. If (when?) they ever close T1, I’ll be glad to pay 10e just to enter the “CDG T1 Experience” — especially if they replace the few remaining human attendants with giant, unblinking red lamps with soft, reassuring voices. (“Let you into the lounge? I’m sorry, Dave, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. This free booze is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Your flight is delayed — I can feel it. My mind is going.”)

And as for the flight, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve been wavering for a while, but from this moment on it’s official: I’m leaving SAS Eurobonus. It’s a 2:20 mainline flight from Paris to Stockholm, and I’ve been a card-carrying SAS Eurobonus member for the better part of twenty years and a gold member for three. So here I am, my knees firmly pressed into the seat in front of me in the last seat on the bloody plane, the captain announces that flights into and out of Arlanda will be unpredictably delayed because air traffic control’s on a wildcat strike (not SAS’s fault, he says, and hence doesn’t apologize), and now they want me to pay three euros for a glass of ing water which I can’t even bring on the ing plane myself because of the ing EU-wide liquid regulations.  you very much, SAS, and a little  you to Arlanda ATC and EU regulators as well.


AC870 YUL-CDG A330 seat 12C

And now, after Vancouver and Toronto, I completed my trio of Canada’s largest airports by visiting Montreal-Dorval-Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau. After the whole Mirabel fiasco, where Montreal invested umpty-ump dollars to build a state of the art airport in the middle of nowhere with no transport links and which is now used only by cargo and charters, I was expecting Dorval to be pretty sucky, but in fact it was a perfectly decent modern airport.

It’s always a pleasant surprise to expect a crummy B767 and get an only slightly scuffed A330 instead. Better yet, I’d been granted an aisle bulkhead seat, so I had decent legroom and could even try to stretch my legs out into the aisle (if at the risk of getting run over by carts).

AC is scrupulously bilingual, but this flight is (unsurprisingly) the first one where French goes ahead of English, and even the crew seemed to assume right off the bat that I’m francophone — which has yet to happen to me in Montreal.

I’m positive the “beef” entree I opted for today, a vaguely Chinese sorta-stirfry with noodles, was the same as the one I didn’t take on the NAS-YYZ flight…