The time was drawing ever nearer and as we had booked the first Air France flight in the morning, 6.20am, my thoughts turned to getting to the airport. I had been advised by the travel agent to check in 2 hours before as mornings are apparently extremely busy, it turned out not to be the case in our experience but it is up to each of you to decide what is best for you, don't want to get in trouble with anyone! With that in mind, I looked at airport hotels. Quite a few of the hotels, with parking, are still quite away from the airport which would either mean driving and parking at the airport or getting a bus transfer. There seemed little point to this, living fairly near to the airport, I had wanted somewhere from where we could just walk to the terminal from the hotel, especially at 4.00am. Bingo, I remembered our trusty friend, Premier Inn has a hotel right at the airport. If you book enough in advance you can get the rooms for £29 which is a complete bargain and far cheaper than even parking at the airport. Sorted. Lift arranged with my mam and we were good to go.
I was so pleased we did this, mind I did set about 15 alarms on mine and hubby's phone, along with the TV alarm in the room, I still did not get much sleep, I was terrified we would sleep in and miss the flight. We didn't we woke up at 3.15 yippee! washed, dressed up and out by 4.15am. There is about a 6 minute walk, if that to the terminal, it is actually closer than the long term car park. If you need it though, there is a little minibus that will take you into the terminal but it is far quicker and easier to make the short walk.
I had checked in online the day before, with Air France it is 36 hours before your flight and I had chosen our seats with a window seat for each child to keep them happy. It doesn't save you any time as you still have to check in your bags but it means you can pick where you want to sit. I am happy to report that flying with AF means none of this ridiculous paying extra for baggage, paying extra to put it in the hold etc, thankfully. Each passenger gets 23kg baggage allowance to check into the hold, we had 3 cases and it didnt come anywhere near the weight allocation. The kids had little suitcases that they carried on to the plane full of essentials such as Spiderman and Barnaby Bear.
The airport was quiet as a dormouse, there was a couple of places open, namely Boots and Duty Free, most places stayed shut till around 5.30.
Boarding and departure was absolutely fine, no problems there and the kids were just so excited to be getting on a plane for the very first time. I have to say at this point that the customer service on the return flight at CDG was far superior, seeing we had children, the staff put us through priority check in and security. They also allowed us to board the plane before the other passengers, this was all without being asked, they volunteered this information and it was gladly received, a lot more than can be said for the staff at Newcastle, however that wasn't a problem, it was just much better at CDG.
Then we were off! For most of the flight it was pitch black but we did see the most beautiful sunrise and the children managed a catnap.
Charles de Gaulle airport is absolutely huge and extremely busy. Just be aware of this, it is easy to navigate however and as most people are all going the same way, just go with the flow! Not many toilets I noticed so try not to have 2 children desperate for a wee upon landing if you can help it! It was a mammoth walk and tram ride to get to the arrivals lounge and there we found our delightful driver waiting for us with our name up in lights (well on a board anyway). Up until now I had been questioning my decision to spend all that money on a private transfer, the instant I saw him all that doubt disappeared, especially when I saw the queue for the Disney Parc Hopper. The car was brand new, spotlessly clean and parked right outside the terminal. The pre-booked child seats were waiting for us also, perfect.
Next stop Disneyland Paris Hotel Cheyenne Yee haa!