Air France A380 from LAX to Paris: Good enough for Halle Berry — good enough for us

article-0-169F36ED000005DC-659_634x828When I worked at The Chronicle, I used to send items like this to Herb Caen, who would enjoy printing them. More details here. I miss Herb, who was the original blogger.

My wife celebrates a milestone birthday a few days after Christmas, so my son and I decided to treat her (and us) to a weeklong trip to Paris. We are renting a flat on the Left Bank (with a sweet view of the River Seine and Notre Dame), showing our son the museums and cathedrals and enjoying a Christmas concert.

Being a longtime airline writer, I wanted to fly the new Airbus A380 (a giant 538-seat jetliner) “across the pond,” so we drove to LAX, visited some friends and left from down there. We upgraded to business class with miles, because it was a very special celebration. Air France was the first European carrier to introduce the Airbus A380 double-decker Superjumbo in its fleet.

We got to board early in business class. It’s a cumbersome process involving a shuttle bus that drives you out on the tarmac to get on board, because regular jetways can’t easily accommodate the giant plane. Along the way, my wife and I noticed actress Halle Berry just ahead of us, waiting to board the plane in first class. Halle was wearing an unmistakable pink backpack. My wife also ID’ed her Gallic fiance Olivier Martinez.

I wanted to snap a photo on the iPhone, but we decided to let it go in such a confined space. A teenage girl next to us quickly “texted” her friend, and we joked about that.

As it turns out, the “tabloids” were all over the couple when their plane landed, complete with photos: “Holding hands tightly, the couple are probably hoping for a more peaceful Christmas holiday than their Thanksgiving during which Halle’s ex Gabriel Aubry was involved in a brutal brawl with Martinez.”

It was a great flight: The service, the French food, the high-tech entertainment — and a seat that turned into a bed. Our seats were on the upper deck — above the first class cabin where Halle and her fiancé stretched out for the 10-hour trip.

A camera on the A380's tail lets you see your plane flying en route to Paris from our seat.
A camera on the A380’s tail lets you see your plane flying en route — from the comfort of your seat. This was at sunrise, over the Atlantic.
Our flight after it landed in Paris.
Our flight after it landed at Charles DeGaulle.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

7 thoughts on “Air France A380 from LAX to Paris: Good enough for Halle Berry — good enough for us”

  1. What a great trip, and what an amazing experience for your son. I hope you guys have a great and Merry Christmas on the Left Bank, and that you come back with all kinds of socialist innovations for the good old USA,….like a renewed appreciation of art, urban planning, investment in historic assets, new food styles, and some Euro-fashion. We all know that Europe is not just where most of us came from…it is a threat to Americanism every single day.

  2. When the French customs official saw the Nevada County, Ca., address, I was briefly detained. LOL. Merry Christmas, Steve!

  3. Holler if you make it six hours down the road to Grenoble, Jeff! It would really set the French immigration tongues to wagging if they found there were two families from the same Nevada City neighborhood hanging out in the same French town ;-).

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