Once you find out what region of France you will be placed in, you next spend all your free time on every flight aggregator there is – multiple tabs ftw. Your best and most cost effective option is to fly to Paris and then take a train to your respective académie. It’s important to note that every assistant (every Indian assistant ie) has to attend an orientation program in Delhi (generally held on the 28th of September) so one option could be flying out of Delhi itself.
Now, don’t be easily fooled by the first seemingly reasonable price that pops up. Some crucial points to note before you allow yourself to rejoice :
- Timings : Most of these said reasonably priced flights are early morning flights so check that they are indeed for the next day and not the 28th morning itself (we all fall into the rookie-mistake-trap sometimes). If you’re looking at flights that leave later in the night, take into account that the orientation ends at 5pm and is approximately an hour from the airport + peak hour traffic etc. And then of course you need to be there atleast 3 hours in advance…
- Baggage : Most of the flights that fly from India to France allow only 23-30 kgs (sometimes allowing only ONE bag…what!) If you’re anything like me, that seems like nothing considering you are going to live in another country for a good 8 months. You can buy additional kgs/or a bag for anywhere between $100 per kg (WHAT?!) to $150 per bag (ah, much better). I got a deal with Air France for $62 (YES!) for an extra bag so that worked out well in the end.
- Duration : The duration of the flight ranges between 9 hours to 16 hours. Longer flights mean more layovers and less sleep. You want to also consider that you’re flying from relatively tropical like weather into a freezer of sorts (I’m from Hyderabad – the word winter means nothing to me) – so you must be kind to your body and give it adequate time to recover before you start at your new school.
So, the earlier you buy your ticket, the better deal you are likely to get – all things considered (including free meals and seat preferences).