Inside Air France’s New Lounge And S4 Satellite At Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport

We just returned from a week of international travel, and let’s just say that the international lounge is one of our favorite perks of traveling business class. Sadly, our connection in Charles de Gaulle was far too short (read: we ran from plane to plane) to catch their new S4 satellite in terminal 2E or Air France’s brand new lounge, which opened late last week.

If you’re flying with Air France or any of the SkyTeam partners through Paris, the $580 million euro new satellite offers 10,000 square meters of boarding area for international passengers and 3,000 square meters of lounge, the largest in the Air France Network.

Aéroports de Paris has paid particular attention to the needs of its passengers, offering traditional French shops and restaurants as well as 25,000 square meters dedicated to the boarding lounges – the equivalent of 128 tennis courts.

A museum will also shortly be opening at the satellite, presenting original works from famous museums in Paris.

Air France’s new $16 million euro, 620-seat business class lounge is a welcome respite for international travelers, offering numerous places to unwind and plug in as well as Wi-Fi access, digital tablets and computers. You can snag hot and cold foods (they have a risotto bar!) as well as beverages (great French wine!) and a variety of presentations focusing on French cuisine at your convenience.

Our favorite part about the facility? The on-site Clarins spa. What can we say? We’re beauty product junkies. Their business class and premium economy vanity kits already come with moisturizer but really, who wants to primp at 36,000 feet? Three dedicated treatment rooms offer body and face touch ups, and ten dedicated showers let travelers refresh as needed.

Of course, you could always just relax on one of the lounge chairs, but that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

Has anyone test driven the lounge yet? Is it as nice as photos suggest, or do you have another favorite? Weigh in with your comments, below.


Air France Airbus hits severe turbulence 10 miles from doomed aircraft location

Here is a scary piece of aviation mystery – On November 29th, Air France flight 445 from Paris to Rio had to make an emergency descent after hitting severe turbulence. Now, bad turbulence is something any air passenger will have to deal with at least once in their life. It isn’t fun, but it usually goes away after 10-20 minutes.

In the case of this Air France flight, things get a tad more spooky – the bad turbulence was almost in the exact same spot as where Air France flight 447 crashed back in June. And since investigators don’t know the exact cause of that crash, they are paying very close attention to the events experienced by flight 445 as they may help provide clues about the doomed plane.

When the severe turbulence started, the pilots sent out a mayday, and descended by about 5,000 feet. After 30 minutes of turbulence, they plane entered smoother skies, and continued on to Rio with its 215 passengers.

Survey ranks Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Los Angeles worst airports in the world

A Priority Pass survey of frequent business travelers has revealed what many of us knew all along – London Heathrow is the worst airport in the world. Heathrow is followed by Charles de Gaulle and Los Angeles.

These three airports tend to pop up on “worst airport” surveys most of the time, and anyone who frequents any of them will understand why. Heathrow is improving slowly, and the new Terminal Five is making travel through the UK airport a slightly better experience, but the other terminals are still quite a disgrace.

Charles de Gaulle is another dump of an airport. Even though it has invested heavily in some new terminals, there are still plenty of parts of this facility that need to be flattened and built from the ground up.

Los Angeles airport just signed off on a multi-year, multi-billion Dollar renovation plan, which should be completed by 2013. Of course, that still means 4 more years of being in the top three of worst airports in the world.

Singapore Changi, Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok and Amsterdam Schiphol are voted best in the world, and anyone who has spent any time at these airports will understand why. These are the kind of airports where it is actually a treat to be stranded for a couple of hours, unlike places like Heathrow where your only urge is to get the hell out of the place as quickly as possible.

What do you think? Do these airports deserve to be crowned “worst in the world”, or do you know of an airport that is even worse? Leave you comments below.