Fast Track Flying

Late In November I was invited to spend New Year with friends in India but when I checked the cost of flights over the holiday period even flying economy was prohibitive, I’d been about to give up when one of my friends – an experienced grandma traveller – suggested using my Air Miles.

A quick trawl of the internet with Air France and BA showed if I made a small financial contribution to the Air Miles I’d had sitting around for years I’d be in Business both ways !

One of the joys of travelling Business Class is the Fast Track system; the ease of passing through passport control, the quick entry into security. Then it all comes to a grinding halt as you are asked to take off your belt, jacket, sometimes your shoes (that seems to be something to do with there being an ‘R’ in the month) Finally, when you are without visible means of support and wondering why you bothered to get dressed before you left home, you walk through the security arch and the bloody beeper goes off. I have now come to the conclusion that underwired bras are the culprit. Leaving enough time for security hiccups and body searches is now part of this grandma’s preparation for airports.

Eventually I left the gathering crowds, walked through the doors of the SKY Business Class lounge (this was flying out with Air France), sank into a plush leather chair, drank a full bodied coffee, breathed in the luxury and gave thanks once more for Air Miles.’ The other big plus was the range of newspapers in the lounge. Piles of beautifully laid out newspapers and magazines ranging from the Telegraph, Times, New York, Independent (no Guardian) Economist and many more. Very appreciated. Half an hour later Fast Track kicked in again with priority boarding and a seat in the first row. I was glad I’d followed Grandma’s advice.

A quick hop to Charles de Gaulle to connect with a direct flight to Delhi gave me a chance to compare the French duty free and facilities with Terminal 4. For me, the French won; much more open plan with a feeling of ‘luxus’ spaciousness as opposed to shop fronts. I loved their easy-to-find, cheerful orange signposted toilets doors. Inside they were clean, beautifully thought out and roomy. have struggled in airports all over the world to get a small suitcase inside a cubicle. The French have got this right at C de G .

Then a quick look at the Duty free and shops where, not surprisingly, hand made chocolate, gateaux and French delicatessen dominated. However, it was the early morning pungent smell of cheese that got up my nose and I left the hoi poloi and headed for my second breakfast in the French SKY lounge ….croissants crisped perfection, pastries, fresh juice, and coffee. Hot delicacies for those who wanted more and a spread of international newspapers and magazines

Finally it was Fast Track on to the plane where in Business Class all I wanted to do was lie down flat and sleep. Oh I did manage a glass of champagne en route plus a rather good meal. Hurrah for Air Miles and Air France. Delhi next stop.

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