Air France has the best first class ground experience in the world, in my opinion, and you can even buy access to it if not flying first class. However, the price has recently increased.
What makes Air France’s La Premiere Lounge so great
Based on my rankings, Air France offers one of the world’s best first class experiences.
Air France’s 777-300ER first class
If you’re connecting in Paris they’ll pick you up from your arriving flight and bring you to the lounge, and then when your connecting flight is ready to depart, you’ll be driven to that plane as well.
Air France La Premiere tarmac transfer
The food in the Air France La Premiere Lounge is the best of any lounge I’ve experienced. There’s also a spa, where you can receive a complimentary treatment. Perhaps best of all, the entire experience is performed with such French confidence, which I can’t help but love.
Air France La Premiere Lounge Paris
The Air France first class ground experience is available to those traveling in Air France first class, but there has been another cool way to get access to this lounge.
Air France sells access to the La Premiere First Class Lounge
For years Air France has sold the first class ground experience to select passengers, and this is something I took advantage of in early 2016, prior to an Air France business class flight to Toronto.
Air France’s 777 business class
Historically there have been two types of packages you could buy:
- You could buy an arrival service, where you would be picked up plane side and fast tracked through immigration
- You could buy a departure or connecting service, where you would receive access to the La Premiere Lounge, as well as all transfers between flights
Ideally you’d want the departure or connecting service, since the arrival service just gets you a fast track through immigration, and doesn’t get you access to the lounge.
Air France La Premiere Lounge Paris
In the past these services cost:
- 150EUR or 20,000 Flying Blue miles for arrival services
- 300EUR or 40,000 Flying Blue miles for departure or connecting flight services
I’m not sure when exactly this happened, but it looks like the cost of these services has been increased. Air France now charges:
- 200EUR or 30,000 Flying Blue miles for arrival services
- 500EUR or 75,000 Flying Blue miles for departure or connecting flight services
It’s my understanding that this has sold quite well, and it’s even selling quite well at the 500EUR per person price tag.
Incredible dining in Air France La Premiere Lounge
Restrictions to buying La Premiere ground service
Even at the 500EUR price tag, there are some other conditions that have to be met in order to buy the experience:
- You must be flying on a long haul Air France flight in business class
- The flight must be operated by a plane without a first class cabin
- Your ticket must be issued by Air France, regardless of whether it’s a revenue or award ticket
- There are capacity controls, so during periods of high demand they may not sell access to the lounge
On top of that, in late 2017 Air France added a further restriction. This still isn’t in the published rules, though it’s my understanding that it still applies. Specifically, you can only buy the Air France La Premiere ground experience if you’ve flown Air France La Premiere in the past 12 months.
500EUR is a lot to spend on lounge access. At the same time:
- I don’t blame Air France for wanting to maintain the exclusivity of the lounge; after all, if you start offering all kinds of ancillary options to get parts of the first class experience, it takes away from the overall value proposition
- At least this is the world’s best first class ground experience, and it’s my understanding that people are still buying access at this price
I suspect Air France will sell more La Premiere ground experiences at 500EUR a pop than American will sell Flagship First Dining access for $150 a pop.
(Tip of the hat to Oleg)