Introduction: Italy, With A Refueling Stop In The AzoresReview: Air France Lounge Boston AirportReview: Azores Airlines Business Class A310 Boston To Ponta DelgadaReview: Furnas Boutique Hotel, The AzoresReview: Azores Airlines Lounge Ponta Delgada AirportReview: Azores Airlines Business Class A340 Ponta Delgada To LisbonReview: TAP Portugal Business Class A321 Lisbon To MilanReview: Sheraton Lake ComoWhy I Didn’t Love Lake ComoReview: Il Sereno Lake ComoReview: Sheraton Milan Malpensa AirportReview: Milan Malpensa Airport LoungeReview: Air France Business Class A318 Milan To ParisReview: Air France First Class Ground Experience ParisReview: Air France First Class 777-300ER Paris To Houston Air France 636Paris (CDG) – Houston (IAH)Friday, June 30Depart: 10:10AMArrive: 1:45PMDuration: 10hr35minAircraft: Boeing 777-300ERSeat: 1A (First Class) As I boarded through the forward door I was greeted by name by the chief purser and the first class flight attendant.
I guess they could guess my name since I was the only first class passenger. I was escorted into the intimate La Premiere cabin. Air France’s 777 first class cabin consists of a single row with four seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are airlines with more advanced suites, but this has to be one of the most gorgeous first class cabins in the world. It’s simply so elegant and clean. Air France La Premiere cabin 777 If you’re traveling with someone then there are two seats in the center section together, which are ideal.
They’re close enough so you can actually talk and enjoy the experience together. In case you end up seated in one of the center seats next to a stranger, there’s a partition that can be raised. Air France first class center seats 777 Air France first class center seats 777 I had assigned myself seat 1A. Stunning, stunning, stunning! Air France La Premiere seat 777 As you can see, the seat might look exposed, though there’s a panel along the side of the seat that can be raised, and there are also curtains that fully enclose the seat, so you have utmost privacy.
This is more private than any other first class product in the world, because for most first class suites, you can easily look over the doors and see inside. Air France first class center seat There was also an ottoman, which can double as a buddy seat, in case you’re traveling with someone and want to dine face-to-face. The ottoman has a storage compartment, which is where I kept most of my belongings during the flight.
Air France first class ottoman The difference between good and great first class service is how good the crew is at anticipating the needs of passengers. The attention to detail here was phenomenal. When I boarded, the ottoman had socks, a shoebag, and a shoehorn already on it, and slippers right under the ottoman. This is a simple gesture, but shows the sort of effortless attention to detail that was present throughout the whole experience.
Air France first class center seat There was a light blanket and pillow on the ottoman. The blanket added a nice splash of color to the cabin. Air France first class pillow & blanket In terms of the seat’s other features, there was a huge tray table that folded out of the side armrest. Air France first class tray table Then at the very front left of the seat was a storage compartment, which also had a power outlet.
Air France first class seat storage Then at the back left of the seat was another compartment, which had the entertainment controller, headphone jack, and power outlets (both 110v and USB). Air France first class seat storage Inside the compartment were Bose headphones — it’s lovely that Air France offers these in first class, as so many of the world’s top airlines skimp on headphones. Air France first class Bose headphones At the top of this compartment were the seat controls, which were easy to use.
Air France first class seat controls There were also window controls. There are four windows on each side of the first class cabin, and rather than having the typical shades you manually raise and lower, Air France installed automated shades. Air France first class window blinds Within a moment of settling in, Sandy came by to introduce herself and give me an explanation of the seat. She’d quite literally be “my” flight attendant on this flight, since I was the only passenger.
Sandy was a delight, and perfectly summed up what I love about high end service in France — she was charming, professional, and confident. She asked what I’d like to drink to start the flight. I ordered a glass of champagne, which was served on a beautiful silver tray with some packaged breadsticks. Air France first class pre-departure champagne Air France first class pre-departure snack Sandy then brought out the pajamas and amenity kit for me.
Air France first class pajamas & amenity kit Air France’s first class pajamas are so stylish and comfortable. These are among my favorite pajamas of any airline. However, do note that they run a bit small, so maybe order one size bigger than you’d usually order (if for no other reason than the seven course meal you’ll be enjoying in the air). 😉 Air France first class pajamas The amenity kit was in a stylish hard-case pouch, and consisted of eyeshades, earplugs, a wooden comb, a very heavy pen, and several toiletries from Carita, including lip balm, eye cream, hand cream, etc.
Air France first class amenity kit I decided to change into my pajamas immediately. The lavatory was at the front of the cabin, and there was a bench that folded down for changing, so you could sit on it, if desired. Air France first class lavatory 777 Air France first class lavatory 777 Otherwise the lavatory was quite nice, and had more Carita toiletries. Air France first class lavatory amenities Once back at my seat, Sandy presented me with the menu and wine list for the flight.
She explained that everything was on demand, so I could have what I wanted when I wanted. A few minutes later she checked with me if I was ready to order, so I went ahead and told her. Air France first class menu & wine list Sandy then brought by magazines and newspapers. Air France first class newspaper During boarding the captain came out to say hi to me and to apologize for the delay. He explained the reason for the delay, and said he’d do what he can to make up time.
Sandy kept my glass of champagne nicely topped up during the boarding process, and by 11:15AM the door was closed. At this point Captain Frederic made his welcome aboard announcement over the PA, explaining our flight time would be 10 hours. He also shared some other cool data about our flight, like our takeoff weight of 320 gross tons, initial cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, etc. At 11:20AM we began our pushback.
View before pushback at Charles de Gaulle At that point the safety video was screened. Air France has my favorite safety video in the world — it couldn’t be more French & chic. [embedded content] After we pushed back it took about five minutes for us to start our taxi. The good news is that we had a very quick taxi to our departure runway. Air France A380 Charles de Gaulle By 11:40AM we were cleared for takeoff on runway 26R.
Waiting for takeoff at Charles de Gaulle The inflight entertainment has a cool nose camera, so I watched that during takeoff. Nose camera for takeoff We had a long takeoff roll. Nose camera for takeoff View after takeoff from Paris View after takeoff from Paris The weather wasn’t great around Paris, so we hit a bit of chop on our initial climb. The seatbelt sign stayed on for quite a while — it was only turned off 40 minutes after takeoff.
However, that didn’t stop me from getting comfortable right away. The seat has a shield along the side, so I raised that shortly after takeoff, and also pulled the curtains around my seat. Then again, it’s not like I really needed the privacy, given that I had the cabin to myself. I also found that the seat had exceptionally good padding — even in the fully upright position it was extremely comfortable.
Air France first class privacy shield Sandy had already taken my meal order before takeoff, so the meal service started 20 minutes after takeoff. The menu read as follows: The wine list read as follows: I decided to continue with champagne after takeoff, which was served with caviar. Air France first class — caviar & champagne What stunning presentation — the blinis were warm, and I also appreciated the mother of pearl spoon.
Air France first class — caviar Air France first class — mother of pearl spoon And of course the Krug champagne didn’t hurt either… Air France first class Krug champagne About 10 minutes later my tray was set with great precision. I had the cream of asparagus soup to start, which was probably the best soup I’ve had on a plane. It was the perfect temperature, had an amazing flavor, and even had a kick to it.
Air France first class lunch — cream of asparagus soup I also appreciated the attention to detail in the way everything was served, from the variety of vinaigrette, to the individual bread basket, to the La Premiere branding on everything. Air France first class lunch — vinaigrette selection Air France first class lunch — bread selection This horse “drawing” is the La Premiere symbol, and can be found in everything from the bedding to the plating to the pajamas.
Air France first class — beautiful plate I decided to order a glass of the bordeaux with the soup. By the way, I love Air France’s glassware — notice how all the glasses are curved at the rim. At first I thought I was just really drunk and seeing things, but then I realized it was actually the case (which doesn’t in any way negate how buzzed I was during this meal). Air France first class lunch — beautiful glassware Next up was lobster with coriander juice, which was divine.
Air France first class lunch — lobster refreshed with coriander juice Per Sandy’s recommendation, I had a glass of the chablis with this. Air France first class lunch — wine selection Next up was the main course… what presentation! Air France first class lunch — main course presentation When I first saw the steak I wasn’t blown away. But then I tasted it. This was hands down the best steak I’ve ever had on a plane.
Not only was it perfectly cooked, but it was served with a side of tomato jus, and with eggplant and avocado, which complemented it nicely. Air France first class lunch — pan-seared fillet of beef I’ve never had such a flavorful fillet on a plane. I didn’t even need a knife to cut it. Air France first class lunch — pan-seared fillet of beef Next up was the salad course (this wasn’t a mistake — in France it’s common for this to be served after the main course).
No, this wasn’t your basic airplane salad. It had flaked cod, smoked salmon, asparagus, etc., etc. At this point I was so full, but I tried to still have a few bites to try it. Air France first class lunch — mixed salad Next up was the cheese course. What beautiful presentation, and Sandy did a great job describing each cheese, and also telling me the order in which to eat them. Air France first class lunch — cheese selection She also insisted that I have a glass of the other red wine on the menu to go along with the cheese.
Air France first class lunch — wine selection I finished off the meal with dessert, which consisted of lychee and strawberry ice cream, as well as strawberries. Air France first class lunch — dessert I’ve taken a lot of flights, but I can with confidence say that this was the best meal I’ve had on a plane. Simply amazing. I’m not actually sure how my stomach didn’t explode, given that this was a seven course meal.
Every single dish was executed perfectly, from the flavor, to the temperature, to the presentation. Sandy was incredible as well. Not only was she friendly and charming, but the way in which she provided service was made to feel effortless. You don’t want to be served by someone who looks stressed or like they’re trying too hard. This was second nature for Sandy, and she was top notch. Towards the end of the meal I asked to have my bed made.
Sandy suggested she turn the seat across from me into a bed, which she promptly took care of. This is what the bed looks like without any of the privacy partitions up. Air France first class bed And here’s what it looks like with the privacy shield up and the curtains somewhat drawn. Air France first class bed This curtain concept is brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, when you walk through the first class cabin it looks like a hospital, but when you’re actually behind the curtain, it gives you a sense of privacy that no other airline offers in first class.
Airlines with fully enclosed suites typically have doors that are at most five (or so) feet tall, so you still don’t have privacy. Meanwhile on Air France you could easily change clothes behind the curtain. It’s also smart that the curtains are “magnetic,” so in the area where the curtains meet, they automatically link to one another. Air France first class curtains Sandy put a tray next to my bed, with a bottle of Evian water and a box of chocolates.
Air France first class turndown service — bottled water & chocolate Air France’s first class bedding is excellent. They have a real mattress pad, and the pillow and duvet are plush. Air France first class bed At this point there were about eight hours left in the flight till our arrival in Houston, so I decided to briefly browse the entertainment selection. Unfortunately Air France doesn’t have wifi on their 777s, which I see as the biggest weakness of the product.
However, that should change over the coming years, as they plan on installing wifi on their 777s in 2018 and 2019. Air France entertainment selection In terms of entertainment, the selection of movies and TV shows was good. It wasn’t to the level of Emirates’ ICE system, but was solid nonetheless. There were dozens of movies and TV shows. Air France entertainment selection Air France entertainment selection Air France entertainment selection Air France entertainment selection Air France entertainment selection I also checked out the airshow.
Air France entertainment selection As you can see, at this point we were just over eight hours from Houston. Airshow enroute to Houston I was tired at this point, so decided to get some sleep. I fell asleep in almost no time and got great quality sleep. I woke up just under three hours later. I could have probably slept another five hours, but I forced myself to get up and enjoy the flight. Airshow enroute to Houston Airshow enroute to Houston I headed back over to seat 1A, where within a few moments I was greeted by another flight attendant, as Sandy was on rest (he was young and very attractive — I thought I was still asleep and dreaming).
I ordered a cappuccino and some still water, which was served a few minutes later on the same tray. The cappuccino wasn’t great, at least compared to those offered by some other airlines. I think it may have even been powdered — I hope not. Air France first class cappuccino The basket of snacks was a cute touch, but the last thing I needed after how much I overate earlier. Air France first class snacks At this point I decided to watch the movie “Sing.
” I’ve really started to like animated movies quite a bit. At least all the animated movies I’ve seen lately have been great. I loved this one as well, and found it to be cute and funny. Air France entertainment selection A couple of hours later Sandy returned, and I decided to order some tea. She brought out the extensive selection of Fauchon tea they have. Air France first class tea selection As with just about everything else, it was served on the tray with a teapot.
Air France first class tea About two hours before landing I told Sandy that I was ready for the pre-landing snack whenever. That menu read as follows: Once again my table was beautifully set, and I was offered a breadbasket as well. Air France first class pre-landing snack The starter consisted of a tabbouleh salad with green asparagus, and it was tasty. Air France first class snack — tabbouleh salad with asparagus I was a bit surprised there wasn’t a choice of mains, but that worked for me, since I would have chosen this anyway.
For the main course I ordered the salmon lasagne, which had gorgeous presentation. Air France first class snack — main course presentation On top of that, it tasted incredible. Air France first class snack — two salmon lasagne Lastly, for dessert was fruit millefeuille with raspberries. Air France first class snack — fruit millefeuille I ordered some coffee after the meal, which had the same beautiful presentation as the tea.
Air France first class coffee I was also offered a cold towel (the only one during the flight, surprisingly), and then a box of chocolates. I didn’t have the earlier chocolates either, so took them both “to go.” Air France first class warm towel Air France first class chocolate After that I decided to watch a couple of episodes of “Big Bang Theory,” and then started an episode of “The Mentalist.
” Air France entertainment Air France entertainment Before I knew it we were descending to Houston. Airshow approaching Houston View approaching Houston At 2:25PM the seatbelt sign was turned on, at which point we hit some turbulence due to the weather around Houston. The chief purser came by my seat to see how everything was. Moments later Sandy came by to thank me for flying with Air France. She informed me that they’d be deplaning through door L2, so she’d walk me to the door when it was time.
View approaching Houston We landed in Houston at 2:40PM. Landing at IAH Taxiing IAH From there it was a short 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate, where we pulled in at 2:50PM. Taxiing IAH KLM 747 at Houston Airport As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, I was awkwardly escorted to the second door, where I was let off ahead of everyone. At the door I was greeted by a La Premiere agent, who would be escorting me to immigration.
He was super nice, but then again when you have Global Entry they don’t add that much value. Air France first class bottom line What an incredible flight. Air France’s new first class product is phenomenal. The service was flawless, the food was the best I’ve had on any flight, the cabin was incredibly elegant, and I love Air France’s creative use of curtains. There are only two areas where Air France first class could really improve.
One is that I wish they’d have wifi on their 777s. The other is that I feel like they could improve the quality of their cappuccino somewhat. But the latter is a very minor thing. Air France’s first class is absolutely one of the world’s three best first class products, and maybe even the world’s best? Stay tuned, I’ll finally do my ranking of the world’s best first class products and first class lounges soon.
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Earlier today we saw Air France publish some insanely low first class fares from the US West Coast to London. Tickets were available for ~$1,500 roundtrip, or just under less than half of that for a one-way. Over the past couple of hours I’ve received some messages from readers indicating that their tickets have been canceled. I’ve been checking my itineraries, but they’ve continued to show as intact.
Well, that finally changed as of a few minutes ago, and now my reservation file shows as “empty” when I try to pull it up on Air France’s website. For what it’s worth, I booked directly through Air France. It’s my understanding that so far Air France-issued tickets seem to be canceled, while Delta-issued tickets haven’t been canceled yet. Delta actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to honoring tickets, so I guess I should have tried to book a ticket through Delta.
However, my guess is that they still won’t honor in the end. While my tickets show as canceled, I haven’t yet been contacted by the airline in any way. If you’ve booked one of these fares, has your ticket been canceled yet?