Thanks to unusually high train tickets (or perhaps unusually cheap Air France tickets), we flew from Basel/Mulhouse to Paris onboard an Air France Hop Embraer 170.
Air France Hop! Embraer 170 Economy Class Review
Upon returning to Germany after my brief trip to Los Angeles, it was time for my next mini-adventure, a trip to Paris with my wife, Heidi. About a week before our trip, we went online to purchase rail tickets to Paris, a three-hour journey from nearby Mulhouse, but found train tickets were more expensive than flying, despite heavy taxes imposed upon shorthaul flights in France.
I’m not one to turn down an airline trip of any kind, so we booked the Air France tickets for $80 each (hand baggage only) and arrived at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg about 90 minutes before our 10:05AM flight to Paris. This is one of the coolest airports because it straddles both Switzerland and France. You can walk back and forth between nations on the departures level and when you land at the airport you can choose which country enter.
We were traveling only with hand baggage (at least on the outbound journey…) and had already checked in online, so we were able to bypass the long Air France – KLM lines to check-in.
After clearing security, we found the airport’s one lounge, part of the Priority Pass network, still closed due to the pandemic (remember, this was July 2021). The Skyview Lounge has since reopened…
We proceeded to our gate where were found our aircraft had not arrived yet. I checked the inbound aircraft from Paris on my phone and saw it had not even left Paris yet…we’d be here awhile.
So Heidi and I had coffee and split a croissant while we waited out the delay.
Finally, about 35 minutes after our scheduled departure, the aircraft landed (there was some sort of VIP onboard). After the plane had been unloaded, we were immediately invited to board (no cleaning took place).
Air France 1193
Basel/Mulhouse (BSL) – Paris (CDG)
Thursday, July 29
Duration: 1hr, 15min
Aircraft: Embraer 170
Distance: 250 miles
Seat: 9D (Economy Class)
A flight attendant gave us a huge smile as we boarded (which quite honestly seemed rather un-French-like to me, but I did not mind) and greeted us in French.
Onboard, we found our seats in row seven and settled in. The configuration of the Embraer 170 is 2-2 with a total of 76 seats onboard. There are no power plugs or wi-fi available. Seats are 17.5 inches long with legroom of 31 inches in economy class, which comprises rows 6-20 (business class in rows 1-5 is the same seat, only with a bit more legroom).
After performing safety checks, flight attendants performed a manual safety demonstration and we soon took off…about an hour behind schedule.
Food + Drink
Once in the air, a complimentary beverage service took place, with each water, coffee, orange juice, or Coca-Cola offered and other drinks upon request only. Since this was both a short and nearly full flight, limiting the beverage service while offering special requests just made sense.
I had water and Heidi had coffee and we each received a Madeleine cookie.
No sooner had the trash been collected then we landed at Paris.
We pulled up to a gate in Paris Terminal 2 and were soon off and our way out of baggage claim and on our way to our hotel.
Despite the annoying delay, we had a pleasant journey on Air France. Kudos to the flight attendants for managing a beverage and snack service on the short flight.
Politics aside, it did seem bit strange that my airline ticket was cheaper than a rail ticket, but it was nice to get to Paris quickly, even if the overall travel time might have evened out. We took the train back, this time due to schedule. We wanted to leave Paris in the afternoon and Air France was only operating one flight per day at the time left in the morning. Again, though, it was cheaper to fly. Who would have thought Air France would be cheaper than SNCF TGV?