Review: Air France La Premiere 777-300ER

Filed Under: Air France/KLM, Airline Reviews

I last reviewed Air France La Premiere on a flight a couple of years ago from Paris to Houston. I say that up front because that review was much more detailed than I’ll make this one in terms of the hard product, while this review will mostly be focused on how much fun we had.

I rank La Premiere as the world’s second best first class product onboard, and I rank their ground product in Paris as being the best in the world. So when you combine the two, I do think Air France offers the world’s most well rounded first class.

So, how did they do on this trip?

Booking Air France First Class

The bad news is that it’s really hard to redeem miles for travel in Air France first class. The only people who can redeem miles for La Premiere are elite members in the Flying Blue program, and the redemption rates are really high (a one-way from the US to Europe costs 200,000 miles, plus carrier imposed surcharges).

I figured I had to do something to top the flying experience my dad and I had on his 70th round the world trip, so I started looking for the best priced first class ticket. Our final destination was South Africa.

In the end I booked the following:

8/28 DL5322 Toronto to New York departing 9:58AM arriving 11:43AM [Business]
8/28 AF23 New York to Paris departing 4:25PM arriving 5:50AM (+1 day) [First]
8/31 AF990 Paris to Johannesburg departing 11:20PM arriving 9:55AM (+1 day) [First]

The cost for the one-way tickets was ~$4,200 per person. The whole reason we flew to Toronto first was because it made the ticket much cheaper. If we had just originated in New York, the ticket would have cost over 50% more.

It goes without saying that this is a ton of money (I addressed that in the introduction post), and this is the most I ever spent on an airline ticket. However:

  • You only live once
  • At least I earned 5x points for paying for the airline ticket
  • Inadvertently my dad earned Delta Million Miler on our flight from New York to Paris
  • We all earned a good number of Delta miles, and I’ve qualified for status, and am now actually tempted to go for Diamond status (which is a topic for a different post)

Oh, and most importantly, did I mention that we actually had the entire cabin to ourselves on both flights? We were booking three of the four seats, and there were no other passengers. To say that this took the trip to a whole new level would be an understatement.

Air France La Premiere 777-300ER Review

In the last installment I explained how we were escorted to the plane. Air France takes your preference for whether you want to be first or last onboard pretty seriously, and we were indeed first onboard.

One thing that really stands out to me about how Air France boards is their use of jet bridges. The 777 had two jet bridges, but the forward jet bridge was exclusively for those in first class.

So as we approached our escort removed the rope to that jet bridge so we could enter, and then closed it right away. As soon as we boarded, the forward boarding door was even closed. Damn!

Air France 23
New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG)
Wednesday, August 28
Depart: 4:25PM
Arrive: 5:50AM (+1 day)
Duration: 7hr25min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 1E (La Premiere First Class)

I could tell it would be an incredible flight the second we stepped onboard. We were greeted by Bruno, “our” flight attendant, and Anne, the chief purser. “Mr. Schlappig, Mr. Schlappig, Mr. Beckett, welcome to La Premiere. You have the cabin to yourselves, so this is your home. Please make yourselves comfortable.”

There are flashier first class products out there, but there’s nothing quite as elegant as Air France’s La Premiere cabin. It almost doesn’t look real.

While other airlines have doors in first class, Air France has curtains. I love this because it means you can have a totally open cabin when you want, and full privacy as well.

Air France La Premiere cabin 777-300ER


Air France La Premiere cabin 777-300ER

Since we had the cabin to ourselves, we ate together, switched seats constantly, etc. My dad initially sat in 1A so that he’d have a view out the window for takeoff.


Air France 777 first class seat

I took seat 1E, and Ford took seat 1F. While there are curtains around seats, there’s no curtain between the two center seats, but rather just a privacy partition.


Air France 777 first class seats

Air France 777 first class seats


Air France first class seats 777


Air France first class seats 777

While I love the Air France cabin in general, this really is an unbeatable cabin if you have it all to yourself. I can’t imagine a better setup for just having fun the entire flight.

A few moments after settling in, Bruno presented us with the amenity kits for the flight, featuring Carita products.


Air France first class amenity kits


Air France first class amenity kit contents

We were also presented with pajamas. The current La Premiere pajamas are chic, in my opinion.


Air France first class pajamas


Air France first class pajamas

There were also already slippers waiting at our seats.


Air France first class slippers

Next up was some drinks. Air France alternates their champagne every so often — currently they have Veuve Clicquot La Grand Dame 2006. While I consider that to be excellent, I would also note that EVA Air serves this in business class, so it’s not as impressive as what some other airlines are offering.

Air France La Premiere Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006

Along with the champagne we were offered some mixed nuts and raisins. I love how Air France’s La Premiere glassware is slanted. Sometimes you wonder if it actually is, or if you’ve just had one too many drinks and are seeing funny.


Air France La Premiere champagne & nuts

Happy dad and happy Ford!

My dad in La Premiere!

Ford enjoying La Premiere

About 10 minutes after boarding, Bruno presented us with the menus for the flight. He explained that we could have what we want when we wanted. He also said that we could all dine together in the center section and enjoy the meal together.

“It’s not often we have groups traveling together in La Premiere, so this is even fun for me.”

Air France La Premiere menu

At around 4:10PM the captain came into the first class cabin to welcome us onboard. It’s a really nice touch that Air France pilots seem to do this pretty consistently. He told us our flight time would be 6hr20min, but that we’d be taxiing for about 45 minutes due to congestion. He also said that there could be some thunderstorms on the way out, but that otherwise it should be a smooth flight.

At around 4:20PM he made a similar announcement over the PA, and five minutes later we began our taxi. As we departed the plane was completely full, with the exception of the empty seat in La Premiere.

Bruno kept our glasses full throughout our time on the ground, and we had easily finished off our first bottle at this point.

After taxiing for around 25 minutes the captain announced that we were numbered 10 in the sequence for takeoff, and should be departing in about 20 minutes. Sure enough, at 5:10PM we were cleared for takeoff.

It was a bit bumpy on the climb out, so the seatbelt sign was kept on for the first 30 minutes. Despite that, our service began just shortly after takeoff.

The menu read as follows:

The drink list read as follows:

My dad perused the menu, and I’m happy to say that deciding what to eat is the toughest decision we let him make that day (he got his first ever cell phone under two years ago, and now I think I understand why he likes it — he just uses it as a reading light).

Dad perusing the menu in La Premiere

Bruno brought out the tablecloths, and all three of us decided to dine together in the center section.

Dad & Ford in La Premiere

Bruno offered to take some pictures of us, which we took him up on. Unfortunately they almost all didn’t turn out particularly well — not his fault, but probably because we all had a few drinks at this point. There are barely any pictures where we all have our eyes open…

Us all in La Premiere

Oddly the least awkward/bad picture he got was this one, which is still a very awkward picture, so…

Ford and me in La Premiere

Anyway, after the tablecloths were placed out we were presented warm towels on plates.

Air France La Premiere dinner — warm towel

Ford and I continued with champagne, while my dad switched to the white wine.


Air France La Premiere dinner — appetizer

To go along with that we were offered a delicious appetizer consisting of caviar on potato cubes.


Air France La Premiere dinner — appetizer

At that point our tables were fully set for dinner.

Cheers!

While Air France’s first class catering is spectacular, the menu on this flight was a bit more limited, given that it’s a fairly short overnight flight. For the starter the only option was the balik salmon steak with celeriac tartare. It was excellent.


Air France La Premiere dinner — starter

Air France La Premiere dinner — starter

Next up was a tasty cream of leek soup.


Air France La Premiere dinner — soup

For our main courses we all decided to have something different, and all of us thought our dishes were exceptional. My dad had the lamb tenderloin with mixed greens and Vadouvan-flavored artichokes.


Air France La Premiere dinner — main course

Ford had the saffron monkfish with fennel and crispy rice and coconut milk.

Air France La Premiere dinner — main course

I had the old-fashioned vegetables in herb cream, with butternut squash, Vitelotte potatoes, parsnip puree, pattypan squash, cherry tomatoes, and salsify.


Air France La Premiere dinner — main course

As each dish was served it was brought out with a silver cover on top, which was taken off after it was placed down. There aren’t many airlines with such a dedication to presentation!

While we were stuffed at this point, we still decided to order some desserts to share. We ordered a fresh fruit plate, a lemon meringue shortbread biscuit, a vanilla sorbet, and a small cheese plate.


Air France La Premiere dinner — fruit plate


Air France La Premiere dinner — dessert


Air France La Premiere dinner — dessert


Air France La Premiere dinner — cheese plate

What. A. Feast.

Even taking the excellent food quality out of the equation, there’s something surreal about having a private cabin with the ones you love most on a plane. I was pinching myself the entire flight about our situation here.

Bruno also couldn’t have been a better flight attendant. He was friendly, fun, professional, attentive, and polished. He paced everything exactly to our preferences, and genuinely seemed to love his job.

While we would have loved to keep celebrating all the way to Paris, we had enough to eat and drink at this point, and needed some rest. So with just over four hours remaining to Paris we asked for our beds to be made.

Air France’s bedding is so comfortable, and the curtains for full privacy are something you won’t find on any other airline. It really takes privacy to the next level.


Air France La Premiere first class beds


Air France La Premiere first class beds

Bruno asked if we wanted to be woken for breakfast. We said we did (not that we’d be hungry, but I need pics for you guys), and he said he would wake us up one hour out. I appreciate that he was willing to serve it so close to landing, since often they’ll only serve a full breakfast 90 minutes out, for example.

By the time I went to sleep we had just under four hours remaining to Paris.

Map enroute to Paris


Map enroute to Paris

When I woke up we were just over an hour out of Paris.


Map enroute to Paris


Map enroute to Paris

I probably got about a 2.5 hour nap, which is pretty good when you consider what a short flight this was, and also that we were looking to have fun. While the bed was really comfortable, Air France doesn’t have air nozzles in first class, and the cabin was really warm.

The breakfast menu read as follows:

First we were offered warm towels once again, and then tablecloths were brought out. I ordered a coffee and an orange juice, which was brought out on a silver tray.


Air France first class breakfast — juice & coffee

For breakfast I was offered yogurt, fresh fruit, a selection from the bread basket, and a hot main course.


Air France first class breakfast

I selected the mustard-flavored scrambled eggs, which I loved. I was so happy to see mustard eggs, rather than the typical cheesy eggs you’ll find on planes.


Air France first class breakfast — main course

My dad, meanwhile, had the brioche french toast with apples and custard.


Air France first class breakfast — main course

We finished our meal about 40 minutes before landing. At 4:55AM Paris time the captain announced that we’d be landing around 5:30AM, and that we’d be at the gate at 5:45AM.

Shortly thereafter we began our descent, and I changed out of my pajamas. As we descended, both our flight attendant and the chief purser came by to thank us for flying with Air France.

The seatbelt sign was turned on around 10 minutes before landing, and we ended up touching down on runway 2L at 5:35AM. From there we had a 10 minute taxi to our arrival gate.

At the forward door the onboard crew handed us over to Mohammed, the awesome La Premiere agent who would be handling our arrival experience. After walking off the jet bridge we went into a “restricted” area and walked down some stairs, where a van was waiting to take us to the arrivals area.

Air France La Premiere pick-up service in Paris

It was only about a five minute ride, and then we were brought through immigration in a line with no one else in it. I had ordered a Blacklane to take us to our hotel, though the driver was a few minutes late. Mohammed insisted on waiting with us until the driver arrived, because he said if the driver no showed there was an arrivals lounge we could wait in.

Air France La Premiere Summary

Air France La Premiere is spectacular in general, though this flight was next level. Being able to share this experience with my dad and Ford all while having a private cabin is simply unbeatable.

La Premiere is such a seamless product, from the departure experience, to the elegance of the product, to the incredible service and top notch food, to the easy arrivals process.

This is a flight we won’t soon forget!

Enjoy this review? Check out hundreds of other reports on airlines, hotels, and airport lounges worldwide!
Comments
  1. I too regularly use Blacklane and have had a lot of issues lately with drivers showing up late (and feeling the quality of cars / drivers has gone down too).

    Blacklane is really understanding if this is the case, and quickly refunds or discounts, but it’s not quite the service it used to be.

    Hope to try AF F someday! Looks amazing and glad you enjoyed it with your dad.

  2. “and the curtains for full privacy are something you won’t find on any other airline. It really takes privacy to the next level.”

    Well, Emirates’ new first class doesn’t have curtains, but is just as private…I guess all that good food and champagne made you forget? 😉

    The only thing I think you can say that is about first class on AF is serving the yogurt in the original container. Given how good the rest of their food is, I’m surprised they don’t mix it the way Qatar Airways serves it’s breakfast yogurt dishes.

  3. Wow.Honestly you can’t beat the French when it comes to Luxury.
    This flight looked like a Palace on wings.
    No wonder why you seemed traumatized,Ben, after flying on a low cost airline between Milano and was it Mykonos?

  4. Very nice. Tempting to book this. Only did fly Swiss F so far (which was excellent, spoiled for life ) Off topic maybe, How the [email protected]#LL do you change into pajamas in the very small (and dirty) bathroom? Or did you change in the “suite” with curtains closed? Any tips are welcome. I’m very tall so most bathrooms are too small.

  5. How did you get a $4200 ticket? Not able to find on google flights, ITA matrix gives a minimum $6400 using Emirates. Air France’s own site doesn’t even RECOGNIZE yyz…

  6. Well, can’t say I don’t like the French touch 😉
    So you got the whole F cabin all to yourselves, from NYC all the way to South Africa for a little more than half an EY appartment for two would cost ?
    That’s a real bargain, congrats ! 😉

  7. Thank you for sharing! These travel stories with family are always the best! I think the price you paid is really good for 2 flights in La Premiere! Kudos! I agree with you that it’s a nice touch for AF pilots to introduce themselves before departure as that’s what happened on my La Premiere flight last year. Great pics of all three of you!

  8. Excellent report, Ben. Thank you.

    Looked magical

    Even better: I’m happy you have loved ones with whom you can share this experience

    Having Ford in your life has made your trips more applicable to those of us who don’t travel alone. (Less focus on privacy, and more on the experience). Hooray for “honeymoon seats”). 🙂

    Question: why not ask them to turn down the heat?
    With how personal it is, I can’t imagine they’d decline.

    Lastly: you don’t need to write “in my opinion” when you make declarative statements. We know it’s your opinion!

  9. Never read a review like this style on this blog.Anyone can tell YOU ARE VERY HAPPY.
    More articles like this please.

  10. This is my favorite review I think ever! The fact that you, Ford, and your wonderful Dad not only get to share it all, and have the cabin exclusively to yourself is the icing on the cake.

    Everything looks very very elegant.
    I’m much younger than your Dad but also use my phone light when looking at the Menu

    I wish I were a schlappig too!

  11. Also agree that this is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read from you.
    @Lucky Just out of curiosity, what is the most you’ve ever paid for a single flight?

  12. Thanks for the review @lucky! Really makes me look forward to my next La Premiere flight in a few months :).

    A quick question though: did you book just one way? Since usually one ways on international flights are so much more expensive than round-trips. Curious to know if it would have made a difference with maybe a throw away return ticket in economy since AF allows those mixed class itineraries.

  13. While the bed was really comfortable, Air France doesn’t have air nozzles in first class, and the cabin was really warm.

    3 things American does right in Flagship First

    1. A swivel chair that turns into a workstation with the world’s best office view.
    2. Individual air nozzles
    3. Signature ice cream sundae

  14. The accommodation looks very good; some aspects of the food service look sub par: yoghurt in a plastic tub, UHT milk/cream served with the coffee, dull looking cheese selection ( looks more J than F in that regard)

  15. I find that Air France air crew and staff don’t mind Americans, but dislike the British.
    Many Brits I know even in premium cabins say they have received poor treatment upon failure to speak French.

  16. So glad you enjoyed your flight on my favorite airline!

    Air France meal services are usually a treat, but I wish the coffee creamer wasn’t served in those little plastic containers. AF should use a small ceramic pitcher. And the yogurt should be spooned out of the plastic container into a bowl. (I figure if I would do that for guests in my home, Air France should do it for their first class guests in the air…)

    Incidentally, Air France’s Paris – Johannesburg flight flies directly over our house here in Occitanie each night around 12:30 – an hour after leaving CDG. I heard it last night.

  17. When you say this is the most you spent on an airline ticket, do you mean the three tickets in total? If I remember correctly you paid for Etihad Residence out of pocket?

  18. Read your trip reports each time they appear and really love your approach and dedication to what you do. Keep it up!

  19. What a wonderful review! Really enjoyed the personal touch, thanks for sharing.
    Looking at their wine selection, obviously Emirates is much, much better. As a matter of fact, the Wine selection is the No. 1 reason I choose Emirates First whenever I can…

    However, AF seem to have a certain elegance, which is really very French. Can’t wait to fly them! Will be looking into their offerings, hopefully it will work out soon.

  20. How do I find out which US routes does AF fly their 777-300ER La Premiere? The A380 experience is so different.

  21. I am with X. – “How did you get a $4200 ticket?” ???

    Would be super helpful if you elaborated on your search process.

    I am looking for AF First for 2020 for either ex USA/Canada to JNB or ex JNB to USA/Canada, and the very cheapest I can find is $7000 from JNB to Toronto (otherwise they are in $8000-$10000 range).

    So what’s the trick? Or pure luck? Or some blogger discount? Or strategy you could share to help find it under $5000?

  22. A nice and warm review! A dad travelling with his son and son-in-law: more as the excellent F of Air France, you feel the warmth of travelling together, and you see it on the photos.

  23. What a great thing to do with your Dad and Ford! Happy Birthday Dad!

    Benny, hope to see you at our local Equinox soon.

    Hi Ford!

  24. Wow – Air France F looks incredible, as it had in so many reports I have seen. What an incredible looking flight.

    I definitely would love to fly in this cabin sometime – what a truly special trip.

  25. I agree with @ A.F….a review of the flight is interesting and worthwhile but glossing over the booking process, for what appears to be a heavily discounted ticket unable to be sourced by others, is unhelpful. To offer value to others ( other than in an aspirational sense) it has to be able to be replicated, within reason.

  26. Another top notch review. Looks like something out of a movie!
    Have a question. Wonder what you think they’d do if ahead of time you told them you were allergic to seafood and shellfish. Would you have to just take whatever they had or would they have created a totally different menu?

  27. Love reading your reviews. If you fly first into Paris and your onward connections are in business ( to London) , do you go to first lounge or business lounge?

  28. Agree with the others that some of the food presentation (plastic tubs of coffee cream, etc.) look a little less-than-first-class.
    Lovely photos of your family. I’d love to take my Dad on a trip like this, but he’s too old now. Good on you for being able to do this while you still can.

  29. Hey Lucky,
    I rarely comment on your posts, but I really enjoyed reading this one. It truly looks like all three of you are so happy to be on this trip. I’m wishing all the best to your mom, who I’m sure you’d love to have with you on this amazing vacation. You’ve motivated me to plan a trip for me and my parents (perhaps SQ business to FRA, then some Europe travel). All the best, Lucky!
    -bc

  30. Incredible post!! Hope you cover the flight to Africa as well.

    But how the hell did you score two La Premiere for $4000??? Also, hard to believe it’s the most you’ve spent on a ticket….although you sure do use miles all the time, but it’s super common to see business class tickets nowadays ranging anywhere from $4k-$7k….

  31. Ben “ Very pleased you enjoyed their service. AF . I haft to say they are one
    of the best , if not thee best. But since deregulation . Everything has changed , To long of a discussion with the pros and cons. Surprised to see the yogurt and creamer displayed in such a manner. Especially in this cabin.
    I did the same with my Parents . with bringing them on an earlier flight . Priceless .
    On AA inaugural flight – 707 JET Aircraft . Non stop from LAX TO JFK in FC.
    The service OB was truly. premiere . The flying time was four and 1/2 hours .Unheard of at the time. I can only imagine What was going through your mind
    in pleasing your father. Unfortunate your Mother Could not be with you.
    It would have been the icing on the gateau..What a gift to him. He will never forget. Tingled in hearing all this. You have witnessed .like Being on Concord..AF .
    I have travel. Af so many times with my partner he loved this aircraft..
    What a gift we both gave our parents. it’s the best flight you have ever taken .
    I know . it can be very lonely. Traveling in FC. your trip comments were special Every shoe meets a sock . Thank you P.

  32. I did see this who knows why of the duplication . Make no sense to me .please
    Display only once if possible or do I haft to start over .So time consuming thanks

  33. And your blog is great again – the best by far for “the hobby”. I had gone off it for a while as there was too much content on credit cards and not enough reviews by yourself (sorry – tbh – the only ones worth reading).
    Now that you are sort of posting “live” and disclosing real info such as how you got each flight your blog has reached another level. The bonus – of getting to know your family is also a nice touch that has won you many brownie points.
    Bravo! Keep it up and stay away from being too PC.

  34. Great booking but nothing about this flight seems worth the price tag. From the champagne to the food. Looks very much like something I’d get in a top biz class. Even the ground service and IFE. Don’t get the thrill.

  35. I thought the one photo you described as awkward was adorable. You both are so cute together and it shows in the way you look at one another. Enjoy the remaining trip!

  36. I’ve just completed a trip with my family of 3 others, in QR Q-suites, the more private cabin of the A351 where there were only 4 of us. With the center partition removed and sharing the experience as a family, I definitely get the emotions and feelings your have just succumbed to. It’s unforgettable.

  37. @ Icarus

    Yes, we absolutely hear it. Our house is in the remote mountain village of Saint-Vincent-d’Olargues, so quiet at night the only sound is hooting owls. We hear the jet engines at bedtime and my husband looks at his phone, which has a flight tracking device, and says “It’s the Jo’Burg flight”. We listen for this plane because we take that flight occasionally.
    We get lots of flights overhead on their way to Palma de Mallorca, and to Algiers, but they are usually earlier in the evening. The daytime A380 from Paris to Abidjan passes over our house too and it’s clearly identifiable by the aircraft’s shape and the four contrails. Again, we’re high up and the air is crystal-clear.

  38. USD4200 in F is a bargain in my opinion. I see prices typically closer to $9000 for that route, mainly for company travel.

  39. This is a magical review on the same stratospheric level of your Etihad Residences and previous Sri Lankan flight; thank you for sharing the fabulous images of the world-class food beverage on board this memorable flight – the saffron monkfish with fennel and crispy rice and coconut milk looks delicious; the élan of haute cuisine seems magical; cheers – you are flying in the stratosphere on this flight

  40. Ben left out the most interesting part – how did he book $4200 tickets? One way F ticket on AF from North America to Africa is pretty much always in the vicinity of 8K. It would really be interesting to examine the search process for such a deal. We saw the pictures and read reviews before, but it’s the ‘how’ that is the most interesting yet missing from this article

  41. I don’t think I’ll ever fly First Class… I fly plenty of business class but I don’t think I can ever justify paying for First or figure out the trouble of booking First via points. So, being able to read your First Class trip reviews are always very fun for me. I find it interesting that it seems like the European carriers offer the best overall First experience: Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss. Odd that the much vaunted Asian carriers don’t quite deliver as good an overall package when factoring in the ground service.

  42. Thanks as always for the great review. I was wondering if you knew , had you been connecting at CDG, whether your arrival car and driver would take you to the La Premiere lounge for immigration or whether you would go to the same empty line you did?

  43. @Noah Bowie

    “I hope that air France’s cost cutting doesn’t affect food as it is truly the best in the world.”

    No because food is a religion in France, people would rather fly without a seat but be served Kir Royal & Foie gras on board! And in Air France 1st Class passengers will always expect “la crème de la crème” in terms of gourmet food and beverages.

  44. I noticed there seemed to be a tremendous about of pushback from the pundits when Ford first came onto the scene and it appeared you tried to keep him at arms length a bit in terms of profile. This is the first prominent photographic showing since and it looks like the pundits are relatively accepting nowadays? The sense I had at the time was people admired that you got to the top through toil and hard work and people initially weren’t happy about someone cashing in.

  45. Great review. Does first class gets its own bathroom on the 777? Only having to share it with 2 other people would be fantastic.

  46. Excellent review! Can’t expect anything less from the French (or Air France) – looks eclectic, esp. all the presentations, giveaway and dining.

    That being said, I am little surprised they served coffee/ tea milk in sachets. Even Qatar business serves tea/ coffee in such a nice platter and in bone china cups and small jugs. And food courses are more – not saying having more is better. Don’t get me wrong, the food looks fantastic, but it it feels less, esp the breakfast potions.

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