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Minneapolis to Paris and back in under 24 hours

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:15 pm
by aviationwiz
So as some of you are aware, I recently went to Paris and back... in under 24 hours.

At work, in the break-room on Monday night, one of the main discussions was international travel, so I posed the question "Do you guys think I should go to Paris for the inaugural flight tomorrow?"

The answer was a resounding 'yes', so I pulled up the flight schedules and loads, and listed myself in Coach on the inaugural NW62 from Minneapolis to Paris on April 8th, and in World Business on the inaugural NW61 from Paris to Minneapolis on April 9th. Paris and back in less than 24 hours:

Depart Minneapolis: 3:30PM - April 8
Arrive Paris: 7:20AM - April 9
Depart Paris: 12:50PM - April 9
Arrive Minneapolis: 3:15PM - April 9

I showed up at MSP in time to see the ceremony in the gate area commemorating the first flight. Some Northwest execs spoke, a 1st grade (I think?) class of kids from a French immersion school in St. Paul sang, and either the grandson or great-grandson of Charles Lindbergh spoke, and later joined us on the flight to Paris. Truth be told, none of that particularly interested me, and was most interested in the new A330 "Spirit of Lindbergh", and the replica Spirit of St. Louis that were parked next to each other outside.

Fast forward roughly 9 hours, and as we're waiting to deplane (I was in the very back), I struck up a conversation with some of the flight attendants, and we talked about some aviation things, and I told them what I was doing, that is, flying to Paris on the inaugural east-bound, waiting ~5 hours, and flying right back to Minneapolis on the inaugural west-bound.

I then proceeded to customs and immigration, and when done with that, I went to purchase a train ticket to the city, and ended up running into 3 of my co-workers. We talked on the train, mostly about aviation (shocking, I know!), and went our separate ways. I told them about how my trip to Paris was a day trip, and we all agreed that what I was doing was absolutely insane, but, that's also what we all liked about the plan. Personally, with a very limited amount of time before I needed to get back to the airport, I headed to the area of the Eiffel Tower, walked around, and had fun.

When time was up, I headed to the nearest train station, bought a ticket to the airport, and followed the signs and got on the train to take me there. Well... turns out this train didn't actually stop at the airport, it just stopped at an area slightly closer to the airport than where i was, and was forced to take an Air France coach bus to the airport, at additional expense. As this had set me back a considerable amount of time, I rushed in, proceeded to check-in, and started waiting in line. I was almost certain that I had missed the flight, so as a backup, I listed myself on the flight to Detroit that left an hour or so later. Turns out I made the flight, with about 5 minutes left until they closed the flight out.

I then proceeded to board the flight, and got myself situated in World Business Class. Not long after I sat down, one of the flight attendants came up asking if I was in the correct seat, to which I told her who I was and that I was a non-rev, as I was apparently not on the passenger manifest she had. When she came back a few minutes later to ask me what I'd like for dinner, I learned that the crew on this flight had actually already heard about me. They had met up with the other crew earlier, and they told the new crew about how I had just come in, and was going straight back to Minneapolis, so I could be on the inaugural flights.

Fast forward ~8.5 hours of awesome service (though I chose to sleep most of the way in the lie flat World Business seats), we arrive in Minneapolis, and I go through Customs and Immigration. The Immigrations official was curious as to why I was gone for just a day, so I told him the story, and also that I worked with an airline, so he asked me how the flights were, and if I thought it was worth it, to which I said it was great. The Customs official while leaving the Customs hall was also curious as to my one day trip to Paris, and the conversation went much the same way.

Overall, it was great, and I'd do it again if I was in a similar situation.

Spirit of St. Louis Replica alongside the A330 "Spirit of Lindbergh".

Model A330 in the gate area, with a promotional sign on the window.



Certificate given to passengers of NW61 from CDG-MSP on April 9th, the inaugural flight.

Pendant given to passengers of NW61 from CDG-MSP on April 9th, the inaugural flight.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:20 pm
by dolphinius_rex
I'm so jealous Avi, I wish I could do that kind of thing! :)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:24 pm
by Ian
Not me. I don't like flying and I really didn't enjoy France when I was there.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:45 pm
by hoxlund
congrats bud

awesome pics, i need to go with you sometime

im flying to TX in a couple of weeks for the annual IT Channel Convention in Dallas, everything is paid: Flights, Food, Alcohol and Transportation

im going to buy a nintendo ds lite and a M3 mod chip just for the flight

what the hell did you do besides sleep? i can't sleep that long

PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:48 pm
by Ian
hoxlund wrote:what the hell did you do besides sleep? i can't sleep that long

Joined the mile high club.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:23 am
by aviationwiz
hoxlund wrote:what the hell did you do besides sleep? i can't sleep that long

On the way there, I mostly watched movies and played games on the seat-back monitors using their In-Flight Entertainment system. I think I nodded off a little bit and got in some sleep, but not actual good sleep.

On the way back, after the dinner service (I even had to turn down dessert, I was so tired), I slept almost the entire rest of the trip, since I had a lie flat seat in Business.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:22 pm
by Wesociety
That is a pretty insane adventure. I for sure would not do it. I dislike flying, but I love traveling/visiting other cities, so I fly a lot. If I was going to Paris, I would make the excruciatingly long flight worth it by staying for a week, at least. On that subject, I don't plan on going to Europe any time soon, with the dollar worth crap and the exchange rate being so high.