The good thing about Air France is (a) the food (b) the complimentary wine and champagne. I suppose there are other things too; the snappy outfits, the occasional attractive stewardess, and so on. Note, in the photo, that I had lamb. How do I know? (a) I asked for it – in English. (b) There’s a little picture of a lamb near the center of the foil pack. (See the enlargement on the lower right of the photo. I suppose that's the international lamb icon.)
There was more French spoken on the plane and at the terminal than I’d ever experienced in my life, excluding a couple of jaunts to Montreal. For the most part, it was fine. When a flight attendant walks by with a tray of wine, and you see white or red, your assumption when they ask, “????????????,” is probably that they want to know whether you want red or white wine. In most cases, I answered correctly.
Sitting near the center exits, I was chastised (in French) by the stewardess, who in pure, undiluted French said, “!!!!!!!!!!!!” along with some critical hand gestures. I surmised that, since I was holding a book, a case with some headphones and a Learn Italian workbook, that in preparation for landing, I was a liability if we should crash since I wouldn’t be able to heft the emergency door. I obediently stowed my stuff and she obligingly bent her lips into a charming smile. Communication completed.
Not so successful on the outbound trip when the captain said over the PA, “Xyz xyz xyz xyz…….” in French, which I didn’t understand a word of. All communication was done in French and English, so he repeated what he’d said in English, but with that kooky French accent, and it went like this: “Xyz xyz xyz xyz…….”
This is to say, that if I didn’t know he was speaking English, I wouldn’t have known he was speaking English, if that makes any sense. In other words, do not, if you’re from France, learn to speak English from someone who is French, but rather, preferably, learn it from someone who is a native English speaker. You’ll get a lot less puzzled looks from people.