Flying the Romantic Run to Paris
Here we are on an American Airlines flight out of JFK non-stop to Paris, legs stretched out before us, drinking California champagne. Not only is there plenty of room between our seats and the ones in front, there’s elbow space as well, enough for one of us to set up his laptop and work without poking the other in the ribs. What’s more, a mini screen is affixed to the back of every seat, and there’s a choice of first run movies to while away the hours as we cross the Atlantic.
What gives? We know we passed through First and Business Class when we got on board. We had even remarked on the extensive space between rows where the seating pitch seemed to be a full five feet. “This is Coach, isn’t it?” we ask the two charming and unharried flight attendants. One is from Tennessee, the other from northern California. Both smile at the sight of contented passengers.
“It’s what you get on American’s evening flight to Paris,” the Californian tells us.
“Actually American Airlines has removed thousands of Coach seats making for much greater comfort,” says the woman from Tennessee, “and increased overhead storage space is in the works.” We made a mental note to keep this last fact in mind for future journeys. But meanwhile, we settled back and enjoyed the New York to Paris run.
There’s always been a romance to the New York -- Paris flights, from one of the world’s great cities to another. American Airlines, strictly an intra-American airline for many years, didn’t begin that run until 1988. Today it flies twice daily from Kennedy to Charles de Gaulle Airport and back again. We returned on the early evening flight which was a particular delight as it gave us a whole extra day in Paris.
American began flying in and out of Charles De Gaulle Airport in 2000 having previously used Paris’ Orly Airport. Its terminal are brand new, and both the Coach and Admiral Club departure lounges are gleaming, futuristic areas that take the fatigue and discomfort out of waiting. The CDG Admirable Club shares space with business and first class passengers from Iberia, Cathay, Aer Linguis, and Finnair – all part of the One World Alliance.
This truly superior lounge in terms of food, beverages, and comfortable seating areas is also a miniature photo gallery that filled the waiting time with mesmerizing images. All were of the Eiffel Tower but from a great range of perspectives. In some, this Parisian landmark was just a dot in the distance. In others, it dominated the scene. After visiting so many art collections in Paris, this small but unique photograph exhibition provided a perfect conclusion to a memorable trip.
There is an arrivals lounge for American Airline business and first class passengers as well where people can shower, change clothes, avail themselves of pressing service, and have breakfast before moving on to their hotels. Imagine, arriving refreshed after a transcontinental flight. Something we’ll plan for the next time we fly from New York to Paris on American Airlines.
(Photos by Harvey Frommer)
About the Authors: Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. Co-authors of the critically acclaimed interactive oral histories It Happened in the Catskills, It Happened in Brooklyn, Growing Up Jewish in America, It Happened on Broadway, It Happened in Manhattan, It Happened in Miami. They teach what they practice as professors at Dartmouth College.
They are also travel writers who specialize in luxury properties and fine dining as well as cultural history and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean..
Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2017 by Harvey and Myrna Frommer. All rights reserved worldwide.