Flying to France after Covid-19 reopening: Introduction

As the world reopens, I’m keeping aside an earlier trip report from India to focus on a new trip report. I will get to that one eventually, but for now, as travel outside India opens up, I wanted to bring you all my experiences of my first international trip that I undertook in September 2021. A lot of things have changed since the pre-pandemic era, and a lot remains the same. So, a brief report would help you plan if you are heading out to somewhere exotic in Europe in the coming months.

In September 2021, I was supposed to make a work trip to France. Unfortunately, my visa for Europe had expired in the meantime, so I had to head out for a new Schengen Visa before I could plan this trip, and hence, everything was pretty last minute, as I’ll explain while we go along. There were a lot of touch and go moments as well.

a seat with a pillow and a bag on it

Air France A350-900 Business Class

Since I was going to pass through Paris on both ends, I figured it might be an idea to add a stop in Paris and get some much deserved R&R on this trip. It would also be an opportunity to walk around the Eiffel Tower and catch the Arc d Triumph, Wrapped, as the last work of Christo and Jeanne Claude. Hence, I eventually added a couple of nights in Paris as well.

a large white arch with plastic covering

Arc de Triumph, wrapped

a seat on an airplane

Air France A350-900, Premium Economy

The flight was booked in cash, and hence, I stuck to Premium Economy on this trip. There was a minimal network of flights operating between Delhi and Paris CDG, and therefore, I was going to land up straight at the event I was headed to.

Eventually, the trip lined up as such:

  • Obtaining the Schengen Visa
  • Converting the Indian vaccination certification to a French pass
  • Testing requirements to travel to France
  • Plaza Premium Lounge at Delhi Airport Terminal 3 (International)
  • Air France Delhi to Paris CDG onboard Airbus A350-900 (Business Class)
  • Air France Paris CDG to Toulouse onboard an A320 (European Business Class)
  • Hotel Residence Inn, Toulouse
  • Air France Toulouse to Paris Orly onboard an A321 (Economy Class)
  • Testing for departure to India
  • Hotel Renaissance Le Defense, Paris
  • Hotel Moxy, CDG Airport
  • Air France Paris CDG to Delhi on board Airbus A350-900 (Premium Economy)
  • Post arrival testing

You can see I am trying to provide as much information about the testing as I can, given this is a significant requirement from now on. I’ll try and roll this out as quickly as possible. However, if you’d like me to add something specific, please leave me a message in the comments section below, and I’ll come around to it.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Hi Ajay,
    I plan to travel to Belfast with my Son in July 22 for a Golf tournament. Since I know the travel dates in advance, I was trying to use SQ miles for Business class redemption. Luckily I got 2 seats on Air India on BOM- LHR and will use Avios for LHR- BHD Sector. However on my return leg from LHR-BOM or LHR – DEL I can see seats available only on LX on LHR- ZRH- BOM and also DEL. Do you think I should take the gamble of a non-direct flight, hoping that the air travel opens up by July or book Air India on Economy?

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