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Flight review – Air Canada Business Class, Paris – Montreal

After my flight to Paris and a short stopover it was time for the first long haul flight of my 5-month travel season.

A fortuitous deal meant that this would be in Air Canada’s Signature Business Class.

As my flight was leaving from Terminal 2, I started my travel day in the Extime contract lounge rather than the Star Alliance Lounge in Terminal 1.

The lounge was located after security but before passport control and offered a reasonable selection of food and drink.

After around an hour in the lounge I boarded the flight and settled in.

This flight was operated by a 777-300ER with business class seating in a 1-2-1 configuration. All business class seats on this aircraft offer a fully flat bed and direct aisle access.

I was given a small amenity kit and a pre-departure glass of champagne.

The dinner service began shortly after take-off with nuts and another glass of champagne.

The menu and choice of drinks offered an impressive array of options.

The appetiser was tasty and the salad was fresh.

For the main course, I was informed that the beef cheeks were not available. This was not an issue for me, as I had already chosen the chicken curry.

The curry was tasty and unusually for an airline meal, had a nice spicy kick.

I chose the Côtes du Rhône white wine to accompany the main course and this was generously poured and regularly topped up.

I finished off the meal with the cheese platter, a glass or two of port and a couple of brandies.

By this stage there were only around four hours left of the flight, so I decided to put my seat into flat-bed mode for a short nap.

I had a nice two-hour sleep before a light pre-arrival meal of Arabic mezze with fruit and coffee was served, along with a couple of tasty little chocolates.

After this, we began our descent to Montreal, where I had a one-night layover before continuing to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Air Canada’s Signature Class was a very relaxing experience and a thoroughly civilised way to begin my long-haul travels.

I can recommend this product as a very solid option for a trans-Atlantic flight.

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Hotel review – Millennium Hotel, Paris CDG

I recently had a two night stopover in Paris between flights.

For such a short time, it didn’t make sense to travel to a city hotel when I could stay at the airport and travel to the city without my luggage for the free day.

For that reason I booked the Millennium Hotel a short distance from the airport.

My arrival was complicated slightly by the fact that CDG is very badly signposted and there is very little information about which shuttles depart from which part of the airport. A quick phone call to the hotel established that this particular bus departs from the bus stops between Terminals 2B and 2D.

A further complication was that the shuttle runs only once per hour, at 5 minutes to each hour. Unfortunately I missed one by around 10 minutes.

However, things improved once I actually got to the hotel.

My room was comfortable and reasonably sized and had everything I needed for a short stay, including tea and coffee making facilities, storage space and a mini fridge.

Some of the furniture was a little battered and scuffed and had seen better days, but this was only a minor cosmetic issue and it certainly didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the stay.

The hotel offers a small indoor swimming pool, which was heated to a pleasant temperature and provided a nice opportunity to relax.

The restaurant offers casual meals in the bar area. I didn’t actually try these and couldn’t get any decent photographs as it was very crowded due to a couple of cancelled flights from CDG.

I did, however, try the buffet breakfast, which at €20 was decent value by European standards. The price included bacon, sausages and eggs, as well as bakery items, cold cuts and unlimited juice and coffee.

Again I couldn’t get any decent photographs due to the number of people at the buffet, but it was a fairly standard hotel buffet and I considered the convenience to be worth the price.

Overall, I feel that this hotel offered a perfectly adequate experience for a short stopover and in a city as expensive as Paris, was reasonably priced at €84 per night, excluding breakfast.

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Flight review – Air France Economy Class, Zurich – Paris

After my first normal Summer at home on the shores of Lake Constance for four years, it was time to take flight again for another five months on the road.

My journey started with a short flight to Paris, from where my next long-haul adventure would begin.

For this short flight, I had booked myself in Economy Class with Air France, using 7,000 Flying Blue Miles. During the online check-in I was offered an upgrade to Business Class for €79 (£69/$83). For a one hour flight, I declined this offer.

My flying day started in the Marhaba Lounge, accessed via Priority Pass.

After a decent lunch in the lounge, I boarded the aircraft for the short run to Paris CDG.

The flight was very lightly loaded and I had a row of three seats to myself.

The legroom was perfectly fine for a short flight.

A snack and drinks were served shortly after take off.

Almost as soon as I finished my coffee, we were descending into Paris for an on time arrival.

I was glad that I had decided to decline the €79 upgrade offer. Some time ago, I wrote a piece on whether business class travel is really worth it and at times I believe it is.

On this occasion, however, I was glad I kept my credit card in my wallet.

This flight was one of the better short-haul experiences I have had in recent years and an easy and painless way to begin my Winter travels.

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Strikes and travel disruption in Europe

Following on from the German transport strikes last week, travellers in much of Western Europe are now facing disruption from strike action across several countries.



Security personnel at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 are several days into a 10-day strike, aimed at disrupting travel through the Easter school holiday period.

Members of management and personnel from other terminals have been drafted in to cover for the striking workers, seemingly with reasonable effect.

By all accounts, it would appear that much of the predicted chaos has not materialised, with the vast majority of flights running as scheduled.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that security queues are not much longer than would normally be expected.

From what I can gather, travellers do not need to worry too much about this, unless there is a significant escalation in action.



France has seen widespread strike action across many sectors, as well as significant civil unrest in recent weeks, as people take to the streets to protest (amongst other things) government plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 64.

This has significantly affected the travel sector, in particular flights between third countries, which overfly French airspace.

Minimum service regulations, at least theoretically, grant that this should not affect flights to and from France itself. However, overflights between, for example, UK and Italy or Spain are not covered by these regulations and disruptions have been reported.

Indeed, my own flight from Valencia to Zurich yesterday was delayed and then rerouted over Italian instead of French airspace.

In terms of visiting France itself, it would appear that the disruption is significant enough to affect travellers’ plans and reduce the enjoyment of a trip. With this in mind, I would probably choose not to make any new bookings to travel in the coming days.

The only advice I can offer to travellers with pre-existing plans is to monitor news outlets carefully and make your own decision on how much aggravation you are willing to put up with.



Strikes by border personnel are expected to affect Faro and Madeira Airports from Thursday April 6 to Monday April 10.

I expect the effect to be limited to slightly increased waiting times on entry and exit.



Up to 17 airports across Spain are affected by strikes by ground handling agents employed by Swissport.

The strikes are taking place Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday until April 13.

Again, disruption appears to be minimal. I flew from Valencia Airport yesterday and didn’t notice anything amiss, other than a delay to my flight, caused by the French action referenced above.



The decimation of the travel sector by government policies during the Great Covid Panic is continuing to cause issues with understaffing.

This, coupled with the intransigence of trade unions and the inability or unwillingness of employers to reflect rising inflation rates in their salary negotiations, creates all the ingredients for industrial action.

I expect these strikes to continue for the foreseeable future and can only hope that the disruptions to travel operations remain as minor as they seem to be so far, with the notable exception of France.

I would certainly not be cancelling any plans, but I do advise travellers to build extra time into your schedules and not to plan any tight connections that you can’t afford to miss.

If you have any questions or experiences to share, please visit the relevant Destination Forum.

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