Departure was from from CDG with access to the Air France lounge at 2E Gate K. Two months of construction and one month of strikes have led to nothing new except maybe the renovated kitchen furniture. There were also fewer newspapers (they had been replaced by the online press app), just one shelf (for books) and a large table (for the passengers' laptops), all of which were pretentiously called the "work library." Updated refreshments (a priori for the next month) are still in the future, so we had to make do with the mediocre mixture of prepackaged cookies unchanged since Antoine de Saint Exupéry selected them.
We took a bus in the rain to get to the plane parked at 2G and were welcomed by a Flybe stewardess in a flashy purple uniform. The flight, on an undecorated, no-frills Embraer 175, was fast and on time. The voucher for a free beverage with or without peanuts (or not) provided on boarding depending on the price paid ended up being an 8 oz. Pepsi. I consoled myself by looking at the Pepsi logo, which made me feel like I was traveling on Korean Air. I also enjoyed the high-altitude sun. We were flying above low clouds and heavy fall rains.
We arrived through the fog at Birmingham. Disembarkation on foot, passage through customs, automatic shuttle for 2 minutes and then I boarded Virgin. But not on a plane, this was a train.
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