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During a prolonged gaze out the window of a high speed train, we caught a very small glimpse of the region between Brussels and Paris. The short look at the countryside was just enough to reinforce our travel approach. We always try to make the journey part of the experience. Our recent trip on the TGV train from Brussels to Paris was the perfect way to start our 12 hour journey to the SMD4 launch event.
It was an easy decision to take the TGV to Paris for an opportunity to catch the Air France A380 to Washington DC. We learned there was an Air France code share “flight” to take the train over to Paris. It even looked like miles would be awarded for the train code share portion of the trip.
We’ve taken Air France code share flights in the past, but they’ve always been on planes. Like the time we found an Air France code share to the Seychelles and were able to book it with Delta SkyMiles (offer expired.) so we always keep an eye out for interesting code shares.
Our journey began with our First TGV train followed by a connection to our first A380 plane flight just in time to catch the SMD4 launch event in Washington DC.
Journey To Brussels And Back
- Delta Terminal E SkyClub
- Delta New Lie Flat Business Class To Brussels
- Marriott Brussels
- TGV Train To Paris
- Air France Paris Lounge
- Air France A380 Upper Deck Business Class To Washington DC
The cab took us directly to the train station for the 1 hour high speed TGV train over to Paris.
The TGV train requires a check-in with Air France about 30 minutes prior to departure. So I headed straight for the Air France check-in desk once I got to the train station. Since I’ve never checked-in at a train station for a flight, I wasn’t sure if I could check-in for the full itinerary or not. After calls to both Delta and Air France, the information still wasn’t clear. Air France said we would need to check-in with Delta while Delta suggested we check-in at the train station and then again with Air France at the CDG airport.
It turns out I was able to pick up all of my boarding passes at the train station for the entire journey. I didn’t check any bags, but if you were wondering, you’ll have to stop by the bag drop off in Paris to check your bags to your final destination.
As soon as you pick up your tickets, you can turn around and head over to the Thalys lounge prior to departure. Keep in mind the lounge is closed on weekends. You can access the lounge if you are SkyTeam Elite.
Outside of the lounge is the escalator that takes you up to the train platform.
The train ride itself was fantastic. Air France doesn’t fly the Brussels to Paris route, but if it did, the train ride would be better for several reasons. First, I checked-in about 40 minutes prior to departure, just enough time to grab a coffee and a croissant for the ride over to Paris. Second, the train gives you a chance to settle in and get some work done or catch a few hours of sleep before the next part of the journey. Finally, and my favorite part, is I got to look out the window at the beautiful countryside along the way. I always try to make the journey part of the experience. It’s not often that you can you “fly” a code share on a train while earning miles and checking out the beautiful scenery.
Boarding began about 20 minutes prior to departure. Your boarding pass will have your car and seat number on it. Find your train, place your bags into the overhead bins, and get out your snacks for the nice ride over to Paris.
The seats were very comfortable. They had a slight recline which made the seat even more comfortable than the upright position. The recline did require me to put my feet under the seat in front of me to avoid crunching my knees. Each seat also has a foot rest. The hour train ride flew by in these comfortable seats.
The seat configuration was 1-2. The majority of the train had all seats facing in the same direction. However, there were four seats facing each other in the middle of the train. So if you are traveling with a larger group this may be the best seating configuration.
You’ll never have to change the channel with Train TV (view out of the window), the train will change it for you.
Arrival into Paris and the CDG airport is easy. The train pulls directly up to the Charles de Gaulle airport after the non-stop one hour journey.
It’s a quick walk from the train station to terminal. Along the way, you’ll walk up a few escalators, past the airport Sheraton hotel, and then past a few people movers before you finally get to the check-in area. When in doubt, just follow the giant signs to terminal 2E.
Taking the TGV train in Europe is a great way to enjoy the scenery while traveling from point A to point B. We always like to make the journey part of the experience and this trip was no different.
In our next post, we’ll cover the AF lounge in Paris and the A380 boarding process. And no teaser would be complete without a view from the tail of the A380.
This brief trip through Paris is making me want to pull out a past visit to Paris and share some of the experiences from the city. Keep an eye out for a Paris trip report in the near future.