Air France First Class Restaurant Perks In Paris

Filed Under: Air France/KLM

I consider Air France’s La Premiere to be one of the best first class products in the world. They offer an incredible experience, both in the air and on the ground.

I’d like to think I’m pretty well versed in Air France’s first class product, though there was one feature I wasn’t familiar with. I’m not sure how long this has been around, though this is the first time that I’ve heard of it.

Air France First Class Exclusive Restaurant Perks

Air France first class passengers get access to reservations at some of Paris’ top restaurants, and they even receive extra perks when dining there.

Eligible passengers simply have to contact Air France through a webform at least 48 hours before their intended restaurant booking. They have to indicate which restaurant they’d like to dine at, and then they’ll be sent an exclusive code they should provide when contacting the restaurant for a reservation.

What Restaurants Are Participating?

There are five restaurants participating in this, so let’s look at what they are, and what kind of perks you can expect.

At Restaurant l’Atelier Etoile by Chef Joel Robuchon you receive:

  • Guaranteed table with 24 hours notice
  • Champagne aperitif courtesy of Chef Robuchon’s team
  • A VIP welcome and the chance to personalize your menu

At Restaurant Divellec by Chef Mathieu Pacaud you receive:

  • Guaranteed table with 24 hours notice
  • A VIP welcome and champagne aperitif
  • A tour of the kitchen

At Restaurant Monnaie de Paris by Chef Guy Savoy you receive:

  • Confirmed booking with 24 hours notice
  • A VIP table for two
  • A tour of the kitchen

At Pavillon Le Doyen by Chef Yannick Alleno you receive:

  • Guaranteed table for two with a 48 hours notice
  • A VIP welcome and champagne aperitif at the bar
  • A tour of the kitchen

At Restaurant Arpege by Chef Alain Passard you receive:

  • Guaranteed table with 24 hours notice
  • Meet with Chef (upon availability) and special experience
  • A tour of the kitchen
  • Take home the napkin ring from your meal, a special memento of your experience

Bottom Line

I find this to be a unique collaboration between Air France and some restaurants, which is why I’m writing about it. I’ve never been to any of those restaurants, so I can’t speak as to whether I’d even value the benefit, would I have known about it (to those more familiar with Paris restaurants than me, please let me know if these are actually “top” restaurants).

More generally I think collaborations like this are smart, and I’m surprised we don’t see more of them. We of course see airlines partner with all kinds of brands (United with Saks, British Airways with Elemis, etc.), though usually it’s in a more direct way.

(Tip of the hat to Steve)

Comments
  1. Arpege is booked solid weeks and at times also months in advance, it is one of the only three star restaurants in the world where the chef is in-house every single day. Best if the lot here!

  2. They are certainly “top” restaurants. They are fantastic, Michelin starred, etc., but also nosebleed expensive. The tasting menus at these places run 300-500 euros. I’ve been to Le Doyen, it was great, but.. someone else was paying.

  3. If you’re into the Michelin guide, l’Atelier Etoile and Divellec are 1 star places while Arpège, Pavillon Le Doyen, and Guy Savoy are 3 star places so that’s certainly not a bad list at all.

  4. Went to Arpege during a trip to France for our 20th anniversary a few years ago. It was almost $1000 for the tasting menu and wine for two, but my wife and I agree it was the best meal we have ever had- a “once in a lifetime” experience. The chef does unbelievable things with vegetables. He also came around and visited every table and chatted with us for a few minutes, a very nice guy. Sounds silly, but they served the best butter I have ever tasted. If you are picking a Michelin-starred restaurant to try in Paris we felt this was an excellent choice. And think of all the points I got on my CSP…

  5. I’m old enough to remember when a Michelin star meant something very special. Luckily I ate at L’Arpege many, many years ago, back when it was truly wonderful. Then it really deserved it’s three star rating, and it cost far less than what it does now.

    Even decades later remembering dining at 3 star properties like L’Arpege in Paris, and Chez Nico in London, are treasured memories.

    Today, Trip Advisor places L’Arpege way down the list at # 1,173 out of Paris restaurants, with 15% of the reviews rating it poor, or even “terrible”. And another 9% rating it ‘Meh’.

    Not even counting the folks who have to tell themselves it must have been wonderful, due to the 3 stars, and thousand dollar price tag. The ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ effect, if you will. If you don’t know what I mean, watch the YouTube video of Pen and Teller serving people LA tap water at $20 a bottle, and hear them raving about how wonderful it tastes. 😉

    In fact we’ve stopped eating at Michelin Starred establishments altogether as we find them to be very disappointing. At least on a price/quality basis, and often just on the quality of the food/service regardless of the price.

    Sad as it is to say, for us now, reading that a place has a star, simply means ‘place to avoid’. I’ll take a TripAdvisor 5 star, $$-$$$ review over Michelin every time. I will occasionally still be disappointed, but at least I won’t have spent $1,000 to be disappointed. And being delighted with exquisite food and warm, competent service is extra special when it only costs $150 for food and wine for two.

  6. These are very good restaurants, albeit expensive as others have mentioned. This is a pretty cool perk.

    And Robert Hanson, while I agree Michelin restaurants are sometimes disappointing, it’s as good a metric as any to find good restaurants especially if you’re looking for higher-end restaurants. And Tripadvisor is just as flawed as a way to discover restaurants, especially in a city like Paris (where I live). There are over 16,000 restaurants on Tripadvisor here, and a lot are lumped in the same general score range, so the differentiation there doesn’t mean much. Not to mention a lot of the top restaurants on that list are pretty laughable for a local, like Frog & Underground, a brewpub serving mediocre American food and even more mediocre beer, which comes in #13 overall. Short version, I don’t necessarily disagree that a lot of these Michelin restaurants are overblown, but to dismiss them all out of hand for an equally flawed system seems like you’re unnecessarily closing doors.

  7. Trick with Michelin Star restaurants is that you have to compare them against the top 50 restaurant of the world list. Top 50 restaurants tend to be more avant garde in terms of type of food they serve whereas three Michelin stars restaurant can be extremely traditional and none innovative. Obviously both lists often have overlaps. With that said, I had misses from both lists such as Nahm in bkk. While food wasn’t bad but it wasn’t anything special and it was in the top 50 list. Another miss would be Alain Ducasse in London that I found on Michelin Star list. That restaurant is two Michelin Stars at best NOT three and I would say don’t bother with it if you only have few nights in London.

  8. I was aware of the benefit, and did fill out the web form two weeks before my La Premiere trip in August.

    Never heard a peep back from Air France.

  9. I’m old enough to remember la Tour d’Argent keeping its third star for way too long, and only losing in the kickback scandal the same year that Arpege got its third. Now the Tour has had a single star for over a decade.

    The point is that the Michelin guide is inherently conservative, and the quality of the food is only part of the evaluation.

  10. @Bob, any suggestions for how to find places the locals frequent?

    We’ve used Yelp but when we look at what they recommend for where we live (Portland, OR) they aren’t very good at spotting the smaller or more modest places that we think are some of the most interesting (not to mention more affordable).

  11. Trip Advisor does require some discretion. Very inexpensive places tend to score highly, since lots of people can afford them, and many of them, to put it politely, don’t have shall we say ‘refined palates’. Yes, if dinner is @$5, it will score highly, but probably not impress anyone reading OMAAT.

    That’s why I said to focus on the $$-$$$ (ie mid priced) listed places. Of course the falafel place listed as #4 and priced as $ is not going to be memorable. Although it most likely will be one of the better fast food places in the neighborhood. Probably a good choice for lunch.

    But then again, we were in Munich this August, and Risotto Restaurant Munich, number 2 on TA, turned out to be wonderful. At around $100 for two with wine, (really cheap for Germany, and they didn’t ask you to add a “tip’ (sic), sitting outside in a peaceful residential neighborhood, we actually ate there all 5 nights we were in Munich.

    By the third night, they no longer mentioned a complimentary Limoncello, and just placed a bottle of very good Grappa (pour for yourself) on the table. Then again, how much grappa can you drink and not regret it in the morning? 😉

    I get tears in my eyes thinking about how wonderful they were to us. And I mean from the first night, not from the third. When the owner (I think) placed his hand over his heart the last night, and told us in broken English how much he was going to miss us, we were almost moved to tears. We weren’t planning to go back to Munich next Summer, but now…..

  12. My wife and I were at l’Arpege in July for our anniversary. Food was amazing and the service was very personalized – chef Passard came over to say hello to us (he did go to every table, but he’s very nice and actually cares – it wasn’t gimmicky). We didn’t get a tour of the kitchen nor some of the other benefits provided by AF la premiere, but our hotel was able to book us a table a few days in advance. In Paris, a well connected hotel concierge and a little luck can do wonders.

  13. To those championing TripAdvisor over Michelin, you’re literally comparing experienced food critics to Bob and Jenn from Topeka, so, naturally, TripAdvisor ratings will favor comfortable food, served with friendliness at affordable prices over haute cuisine served formally at the prices required to support that level of attention. It’s quite literally trying to score apples and oranges on the same set of criteria.

    And, to be fair, both types of reviews are valid, but just as it’s unfair to judge a football team on their looks, it’s unfair to judge haute cuisine and comfort food by the same standards.

  14. @ Robert Hanson I hope you know that over %30 of Tripadvisor reviews are fake in all categories, there is some great examples of this look up the best restaurant in London video.

  15. I used this service in march to get reservations at Alleno and Arpege. Yes, they are $$$$ specially when you add the wine pairing but if that’s what you want to spend your money on go for it. Don’t go in there expecting to be cheap. I would say I liked Alleno better, just my choice.

  16. If you pay that much, you have to like the food, because otherwise you are admitting you are an idiot.

    And also, if they are nice to you, the food tastes better and they don’t have to serve particularly good food. That is why the chef comes by to say hello. You’ve been the victim of a variant of the Nigerian scam.

  17. never heard of this perk.

    Does the cost of the Air France La Premiere ticket include the meal, or do you have to pay for the meal at the restaurant?

  18. Arpege is fantastic and guarantees tables within 24 hours for returning patrons. My wife frequents this restaurant as it is one of her favorite.

  19. I recently (early October) took advantage of this benefit. It worked seamlessly with my receiving the code word for making arrangements with the restaurant. All the benefits (guaranteed ability to reserve a table, welcome drink, meet with chef/tour) all happened and it made for an enjoyable evening. I noted – also to the plus on this program – that there wasn’t a limit on people. We only had two AF tickets, but invited two other couples to join us. They reserved a table for six, and all of us had the AF aperitif on the house.

    Note that this program is only available through the US site; I’ve noticed that different countries sites offer different programs so it is good to look through from time to time.

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