Some Frequently Asked Questions About the A380 Airbus The new Airbus A380 is the world’s largest airliner. What makes this plane and the new Air France routes so exciting for air travel? The new A380 seats 538 passengers, giving it a greater capacity to transport an increased number of passengers across the world at one time. Since November 2009, the Air France A380 has operated daily flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and New York-JFK, with the recent direct Paris-Joburg flight added, and now, the Cape Town-Paris Charles de Gaulle flying three times per week, too. Air France is therefore the first European carrier to operate this Superjumbo, making worldwide travel speedier and more convenient. From a design perspective, how do the interior features decrease the impact of long-haul travel on the body? In each remarkably quiet cabin, Air France has created an intimate soothing ambience, thanks to adjustable lighting suited to the different stages of the flight. Whether it be a meeting point or a relaxation area, each cabin has been fitted out with everything passengers need to make their flight experience a truly pleasurable one. For assistance at all times, 22 flight attendants are on board to serve the 538 passengers. The result is an extremely comfortable flight that eases the strain and fatigue usually caused by long-haul flights. There are also world-class resources allowing for entertainment and interactivity throughout the flight. The A380’s reduced mass and advanced aerodynamics make it extremely eco-friendly. Tell us more? Its four state-of-the-art GP 7200 engines, its aerodynamic shape, and the body of the aeroplane integrate the latest technologies, making the A380 the most environmentally-friendly aircraft of its category. Its also produces less CO2 per passenger than any other plane and is quieter and lighter, too. How do the colour schemes of the cabin interior enhance the ideal of comfortable and relaxed travel? The interiors are all soothing shades, such as cream and soft reds, adding to the feeling of warmth and relaxation. The sleek, elegant lines also enhance the traveller’s sensory experience, while you can retire to one of the meeting point or relaxation areas if you need a change of scenery. Air France’s turnaround time at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is an added bonus. What measures have been put in place to achieve this? Air France, Airbus and the airport authorities at Paris-Charles de Gaulle joined forces to adapt the terminal facilities to the size of the A380 and its passenger capacity. Also, the ariport’s take-off runways and taxi roads used by the planes were adapted for the A380. The organisation and lay-out were designed to be compatible with the super jumbo and to allow for the optimum turnaround of the aircraft in exactly the same time as for other Air France long-haul flights.
Q&A with Hélène Bezuidenhoudt, Atout France, France Tourism Development Agency in southern Africa
What are your top tips for first-timers travelling to Paris?
- When you arrive in Paris take the RER (Paris by train) or the Air France bus – it’s easy and reasonably priced.
- Find a hotel that is not far from a metro station
- Ask your hotel about bus routes – it costs the same and you get to see the city.
- Walk! (Good shoes are a must.)
- If you are staying two days, buy a two day Paris Visite ticket to get around – it is extremely cost-efficient; and get yourself a Paris Museum Pass if you are going to visit museums.
- Sit at a café and watch the world go by.
- Visit the must-sees and you can’t go wrong: The Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre-Dame, walk on the Champs Elysees, shop on Boulevard Hauusmann, go to Saint Germain, walk on the Seine banks and explore the bridges.
Your favourite restaurants in the city? Depending on budget, there are so many options. Lunch at Chez Clement offers a true Parisian atmosphere and decent prices. If you want to treat yourself, head to dinner at the Fouquets. Simply want to grab a sandwich or a delicious pastry? Then I recommend PAUL bakery. For the ultimate Art Deco brasserie, you have to try La Coupole. And ultimate shopping spots?
- For French luxury and elegance: Passy, Madeleine, rue Montaigne, Champs Elysees.
- For all the latest trends: St Honore, Grands Boulevards, Boulevards Haussmann, Les Halles.
- For trendsetters: Abbesses, Tuileries, Saint Paul – Le Marais,
- For a blend of timeless classic and modern: Sevres Babylone, rue de Rennes, Mabillon, St Germain des Pres.
Seeing that we are celebrating the arrival of summer in South Africa, how do Parisians like to soak up the sun? Parisians really enjoy the long evenings in summer that last until 10:30pm, strolling along the Seine, sitting around in parks, going to the public pools or walking in gardens on the edge of the city, such as the Bois de Vincennes or the Bois de Boulogne. For more information please visit za.franceguide.com. HL Editor Naomi Larkin recently visited the City of Light – read her account of the city and its vertical gardens here. Interviewed by Kim Grové.