Trip Review: Air France A320 Economy Dublin to Paris

Due to a rather last-minute family commitment in Morocco, I had the chance to fly from Dublin to Paris on Air France’s Airbus A320. Here are my thoughts on the flight.

AF A320
AF A320. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre

Dublin Airport

I left the house just past 11 for my 14:00 flight and arrived at Dublin airport’s terminal one less than an hour later.

Though I was traveling light, I entered a decently long queue to obtain my boarding pass. Oddly, no automatic kiosks were made available. After a few minutes, I realized that I was not particularly bothered about receiving a paper boarding pass and I left the queue and made my way to security using my electronic boarding pass
Dublin Airport Terminal 1 & 2
Air France operates out of Terminal One, the older terminal located on the right of the photo. Photo: ColmDeSpáinn / Wikimedia Commons
Security queues at Dublin airport can be very hit or miss; I’ve sometimes waited upwards of 20 minutes to pass, sometimes no more than five. Luckily for me, the wait was very short.
Unfortunately, my bag was put aside for secondary screening. The problem – the scanner didn’t get a picture of my bag the first time. Oh well.
With about two hours to spare before boarding, I went shopping and took advantage of the duty-free for some big ticket items. With that over, I spent the rest of my time texting friends and catching up on the news.
Dublin Airport Terminal 1 Departures Level
Dublin Airport Terminal One is not particularly modern but is usually fine. Photo: Edwardmcwilliams / Wikimedia Commons
Oddly enough though, at around 13:15, I received a text message asking me to present myself at the gate. The gentleman working the gate seemed a bit confused, but when I showed him my text, he asked me for my surname and a confirmation of my destination.
Dublin Airport Water
In addition to water fountains, you can purchase water for the reasonable price of one euro. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
With about 20 or so minutes until boarding, I grabbed some avgeek pictures and bought a sandwich at SoMA.
Aer Lingus A330
Dublin is lovely when it’s sunny and allows for great views of Aer Lingus‘ A330. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
My club sandwich cost me €12.50 and was ready within a few minutes. Though undeniably unhealthy, the meal hit the spot and felt “honest”, so to speak.
SoMa Club Sandwich
The Club Sandwich was rather nice but completely unhealthy. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre

As I ate my sandwich, an announcement came up informing us of a last-minute gate change from gate 305 to 301.

Boarding and taking flight

With my meal behind me, I made my way to gate 301. Just as I arrived, boarding by zones, numbered one to four, began. At 14:00, my zone, nimber three, was invited to board.
A few minutes later, I found my seat, 11A, an emergency exit row.
AF A320 Seat 11A
My seat for the next hour and forty-five minutes. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
At 14:17 the purser came onto the overhead speakers to welcome everyone on board. And about 10 minutes later we pushed back from our gate. As we taxied, the crew made a manual safety briefing in both French and English.
Evelop Airlines A330
While taxiing at Dublin Airport, I saw this Evelop Air A330. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
At 14:39, very nearly a full half-hour past our scheduled departure time, we made it onto the runway. As we did the two CFM56 engines started to roar and we were wheels up within seconds.
Aer Lingus at Qatar Airways at Dublin Airport
During our taxi, I also got a shot of another Aer Lingus A330 and a Qatar Airways 787. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
Though the takeoff was smooth, our climb was considerably less so. As we faced winds in all directions, the plane swayed like a small boat tied to a pier on a stormy night. The captain eventually applied full thrust and with that, we made it past the clouds into clear skies.

The Seat

This Air France A320 featured navy blue leather seats and some very stylish red accents.
Air France red accents
The devil is in the detail, so they say, and Air France has some rather stylish details. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
My seat offered nearly unlimited knee room thanks to the emergency exit, but no recline. Other than those special features, it was a standard A320 affair with 18″ of width in a 3-3 configuration.
Though no IFE was offered, the seats featured USB ports in the armrests, a nifty idea in my opinion.
Each row had no-less than 2 USB ports. Though well placed, they were hard to capture on camera. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
The cabin seemed nearly immaculate, however, I believe that a previous passenger may have spilled his coffee. Oh well.
When coffee spills, it stains. Other than this little mess, the cabin was kept clean, something which I place great importance on.  Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre

Service

At just before three, the crew came round offering a choice of drinks and a complimentary fruit muffin. Feeling the afternoon slump, likely due to a habitual lack of sleep, I opted to ask for a coffee and sparkling water.
Air France Snack
Air France Snack from Dublin to Paris. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
Though the coffee was powdered, it was perfectly drinkable. The star of the show, however, was the muffin. Not only was it moist, but also featured some nice notes of vanilla and fruit, while being not overly sweet.
Considering that I had eaten no more than an hour and a half before, this meal proved to be a filling and tasty snack.
Air France A320 row 11 space
After the meal, I took advantage of the nearly endless knee room. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
Not long after finishing my meal the captain announced that we would be commencing our descent within 20 minutes. Sure enough, once the crew finished cleaning the cabin, the seat-belt signs were turned on and we descended towards Paris.
As we pitched down, the crew informed us that we would be arriving at terminal 2E. They also made a few announcements for passengers with a tight connection.
Air France DUB-CDG view from the skies above France
As we descended, we caught a glimpse of the farmland below. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
Speaking of the crew, though my interactions were somewhat limited on this short flight, I found them to be very polite, polished, and presentable.
At 17:00 Paris time, our Airbus’ wheels hit the ground and with that, we had arrived. Since CDG is a rather large airport, we taxied for about fifteen minutes to our gate. Although not ideal, it was a great chance to grab some avgeek shots.
Hi-Fly A380 at CDG
During our taxi at CDG, I grabbed this shot of the Hi-Fly A380. Photo: Thomas J. Hayden-Lefebvre
Overall, Air France offers a very decent short haul product. While the delay and long taxi weren’t particularly appreciated, the polite crew and generous onboard service made for an enjoyable flight. I would not hesitate to fly Air France again.
Have you flown Air France within Europe? Did your experiences match ours? Let us know in the comments.
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