Review: Air France Business Class 777 Paris To Toronto

Filed Under: Air France

Air France 356
Paris (CDG) – Toronto (YYZ)
Thursday, February 18
Depart: 1:45PM
Arrive: 4:05PM
Duration: 8hr20min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 3L (Business Class)

By the time I got to the plane, boarding was already well underway. I boarded through the forward door, where the first class agent handed me over to the chief purser, who pointed me to my seat.

This flight featured Air France’s new business class seat, which is in a reverse herringbone configuration. I’ve long said that business class is all about the hard product, and this is among my favorite business class hard product.

On their 777-200 aircraft, Air France has a total of 40 business class seats. They’re spread across 10 rows, in a 1-2-1 configuration. There are seven rows of seats in the forward cabin.

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Air France 777 business class cabin

And then behind the second door there’s another cabin with three rows.

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Air France 777 business class cabin

I had assigned myself seat 3L, the window seat in the third row on the right side of the cabin.

While reverse herringbone seats are pretty standardized nowadays, I thought this one had some pretty practical touches.

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Air France’s new business class seat

I was especially impressed by the amount of legroom. The area for your feet was massive, which was fantastic. In some other reverse herringbone configurations, the space is rather limited, but here you had plenty of room for your feet both vertically and horizontally.

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Air France’s new business class seat

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Air France’s new business class seat legroom

On the right side of the seat were the two outlets, including a USB and Empower outlet.

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Air France business class power ports

Next to that was the literature pocket, which had a bunch of magazines, as well as a cup holder, where a bottle of Evian water was waiting for me.

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Air France new business class literature pocket

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Air France new business class literature pocket

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Air France new business class bottled water

Then on the back right of the seat was a storage compartment with a mirror.

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Air France new business class storage compartment

The storage compartment had a hook on which you could hang the headphones. While they weren’t as good as the Bose headphones offered on American, they were better than average, I thought.

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Air France new business class headphones

Even closer to the seat than the storage compartment were the entertainment controller and reading light, as well as the headphone jack.

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Air France new business class entertainment controls

Then there were also the basic seat controls, where you could adjust your seat into the fully upright or fully reclined position. My one complaint about the seat is the location of these controls, because my elbow would constantly hit these controls by mistake, either reclining my seat or putting it in the upright position. It’s located where you’d naturally put your arm, which is rather unfortunate.

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Air France new business class seat controls

The entertainment screen swings out of the seat in front of you, and also had a coat hanger next to it.

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Air France new business class entertainment screen

Already waiting at my seat was a pillow, blanket, coat hanger, and a shoe bag.

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Air France new business class seat 777

The pillow was fairly thick and blanket was plush.

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Air France business class pillow & blanket

I thought the shoe bag was a cool concept, much like I was recently offered on Finnair. Inside the shoe bag were some slippers and socks.

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Air France business class shoe bag, slippers, and socks

While I thought the hard product was spacious, I have to say that I didn’t find the cabin to be especially stylish. Air France prides itself in their style, and I sort of felt like the seats felt pretty industrial, and thought the combination of white and cream color finishes didn’t go too well together. That’s not a big deal to me, but for an airline so focused on style, it just sort of surprised me.

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Air France 777 business class cabin

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View from my seat in Air France business class

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View from my seat in Air France business class

Once I was settled in, one of the friendly business class flight attendants came through the cabin to distribute amenity kits. There were four colors to choose from, though he assured me the contents were all the same. The bag itself was quite nice and practical, and I could picture myself reusing it.

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Air France business class amenity kit

The kit had all the essentials, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, comb, eyeshades, chapstick, etc.

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Air France business class amenity kit contents

Moments later I was offered a pre-departure beverage, with the choice between a red grape juice and a champagne. I selected the latter.

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Air France business class pre-departure champagne

I was also offered a warm towel, which was nice and thick by business class standards.

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Air France business class pre-departure hot towel

Since I intended to sleep on the flight, I headed to the lavatory to change before takeoff. There was one lavatory located between business class cabins on the right, and then another lavatory in front of the cabin, in the center. That doesn’t seem like very many lavatories for 40 business class passengers.

The lavatory in the back of the cabin was small, while the one in the front was much larger.

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Air France business class lavatory

The lavatory was stocked with Clarins toiletries.

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Air France business class Clarins toiletries in lavatory

As we waited for boarding to finish up I browsed the entertainment selection, which could already be viewed on the ground (a feature which I appreciate, especially at airports where really long taxis are the norm).

The selection was impressive, in terms of movies, TV shows, etc.

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Air France business class entertainment selection

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Air France entertainment selection

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Air France entertainment selection

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Air France entertainment selection

I also took a look at the airshow, which indicated that our flight time to Toronto was eight hours.

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Airshow enroute from Paris to Toronto

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Airshow enroute from Paris to Toronto

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Airshow enroute from Paris to Toronto

At 1:40PM boarding was complete, at which point Captain Roger came on the PA to add his welcome aboard. He informed us of our flight time of eight hours, and said he expected some light to moderate turbulence enroute, so to please keep seatbelts fastened when seated. He said we were just waiting for the last cargo door to close, at which point we’d be cleared for our departure.

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View prior to pushback in Paris

At 1:43PM the chief purser made her welcome aboard announcement, and informed us that in addition to English and French, our crew also spoke Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

At 1:45PM, Air France’s very chic safety video played, which I find extremely amusing and uplifting. But I also love Air France’s new branding in general. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here it is:

Finally at 1:55PM we began our pushback and taxi to the runway. It was a rainy afternoon in Paris, so unfortunately I couldn’t really get good pictures due to the raindrops on the window.

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Taxiing Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

At 2:10PM we made it to runway 27L, and were immediately cleared for takeoff. For Charles de Gaulle, that’s a pretty quick taxi, if you ask me.

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Taking off Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

We hit a bit of turbulence on the climb out due to some thick clouds, but the ride quickly smoothed out as we passed through about 20,000 feet.

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View after takeoff from Paris

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View at cruise altitude enroute to Toronto

15 minutes after takeoff, the business class purser, Gregory, made his announcement for the cabin, informing us that lunch would be served shortly, and that there would be another snack before landing. Moments later he passed through the cabin with the menu for the flight.

The menu read as follows:

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The beverage list read as follows:

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The service commenced pretty quickly after takeoff. Within 30 minutes the crew came through the cabin with carts, containing drinks, nuts, and an amuse bouche.

I had a glass of the Drappier champagne. It’s not my favorite champagne in the world, though is perfectly nice.

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Air France business class lunch — amuse bouche, nuts, and champagne

The amuse bouche consisted of shrimp with cheese, lemon, and cumin, and was lovely. The packaged nuts were tasty as well.

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Air France business class lunch — amuse bouche

Shortly after the drink service was done, the crew came through the cabin to collect the nut packages and amuse bouche cups.

25 minutes after the initial drink service, they came through the cabin with a second cart, containing the salad and starter. So I extended my tray table, which slid out of the console to my right.

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Air France business class tray table

The starter and salad were served on a single tray.

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Air France business class lunch — starter and salad

While the salad was simple in terms of lack of accompaniments, the mixed greens were at least good, and the dressing served with it was delicious.

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Air France business class lunch — seasonal salad with toasted pine nuts

As far as the starters go, there was both foie gras and smoked salmon timbale.

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Air France business class lunch starter

I don’t eat foie gras, so can’t chime in on how that was.

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Air France business class lunch — foie gras with yuzu fruit and fig chutney

However, the salmon was phenomenal.

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Air France business class lunch — smoked salmon timbale with panna cotta

The bread was warm and crispy, and kudos to Air France for offering “premium” butter.

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Air France business class lunch — bread and butter

For the main course I made the mistake of ordering scallops. Don’t get me wrong, the scallops were perfectly fine. But I made the mistake of ordering this after I had a scallop dish in the first class lounge, which was the best thing I’ve eaten in my life.

These scallops certainly couldn’t compare, as they were chewier and didn’t have the flavor of the others (and the presentation wasn’t great either). So in absolute terms it was a nice business class main course, but there’s something to be said for the right meal at the wrong time.

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Air France business class lunch main course — seared scallops

30 minutes after the main course was served, the crew came around with a cheese course, consisting of camembert and comte.

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Air France business class lunch cheese course — camembert and comte

Then 10 minutes later they came through with dessert, which consisted of a delicious trio, including almond-lemon cake, apricot-nougat parfait, and mini chocolate shortbread. I also had a coffee to go along with it. The desert satisfied my sweet tooth.

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Air France dessert trio — almond-lemon cake, apricot-nougat parfait, mini chocolate shortbread

All-in-all the meal service took a bit over two hours, and I thought service throughout the meal was professional and personable. Air France’s business class service isn’t designed to be the most personalized in the world, in the sense that everything was served off a cart, so it felt a bit like an assembly line.

That being said, the crew was charming and attentive. They’d always proactively offer a refill of drinks whenever they saw a glass get empty.

And they also exuded French charm. French culture has grown on me a lot over the past few years, and good French service is among my favorite in the world. This crew was great.

During the meal I watched two episodes of The Mentalist I hadn’t seen before, which is an accomplishment, since I figured I had seen every episode.

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Airshow enroute to Toronto

After lunch I decided it was time for a nap, so I reclined my seat. The bed was comfortable, among the best reverse herringbone seats out there.

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Air France business class bed

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Air France business class bed

I especially loved how much room there was for my legs.

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Air France business class bed

My one complaint about sleeping was the lack of air vents. The cabin was quite warm during the flight, and without being able to control my own air vent, I did sweat a bit.

Nonetheless I got about three hours of sleep, which is pretty good for a daytime flight. I woke up a bit over two hours outside of Toronto.

I headed to the lavatory upon waking up, and noticed they had set up a small bar between the two business class cabins, which had some drinks and packaged snacks.

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Air France business class bar

I picked up some tasty wafers.

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Air France business class snack — chocolate wafers

With a bit over two hours to go to Toronto, I browsed the entertainment selection to try and choose something else to watch.

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Airshow enroute to Toronto

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Airshow enroute to Toronto

I decided to watch Amy Schumer’s “Live at the Apollo” HBO special, which was hilarious. I apologize to the passengers seated near me for my loud laughter.

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Air France entertainment selection

About 90 minutes before landing the pre-arrival meal was served. The menu read as follows:

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First tablecloths were placed on each table.

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Air France business class tablecloth

And then a cart was rolled through the aisle with the snacks. To drink I had a glass of water and a coffee.

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Air France business class pre-arrival snack

The snack was tasty and adorable. In terms of savory items, there was a goat cheese clafouti, chicken tortilla, and a pickled red onion, mozzarella cheese, and tomato and black olive brochette.

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Air France snack — goat cheese clafouti, chicken tortilla, tomato and black olive brochette

Then for dessert they had strawberry coulis, apricot shortbread, and vanilla cream puff.

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Air France dessert — strawberry coulis, apricot shortbread, vanilla cream puff

There was also a fruit salad to go along with it.

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Air France dessert — fresh fruit salad

I thought it was the perfect pre-landing snack for a flight of this length.

Once the Amy Schumer show was done I switched back to the airshow, and just gazed out the window, where there were stunning views.

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Airshow enroute to Toronto

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Airshow enroute to Toronto

While I don’t like cold weather, I love looking at cold weather.

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View on approach to Toronto

At 3:50PM we began our descent, at which point the captain came back on the PA to inform us we’d be landing at 4:15PM.

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View on approach to Toronto

Our descent was smooth, and as we approached the chief purser came through the cabin to bid farewell to passengers, which is an especially nice touch for business class.

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View on final approach into Toronto

We had a smooth touchdown in Toronto at 4:15PM, and from there a rather lengthy 15 minute taxi to the gate.

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View on final approach into Toronto

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Touchdown Toronto

I don’t make it to Toronto very often, so quite enjoyed the variety of traffic.

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Taxiing Toronto Airport

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Taxiing Toronto Airport

We finally pulled into our gate at 4:30PM, about 25 minutes behind schedule.

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Pulling into gate Toronto Airport

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Arriving at gate Toronto Airport

I hadn’t considered just how much of a pain it is to clear both Canadian immigration and then US immigration, but fortunately it was all done within an hour or so. From there I took the nonstop American flight from Toronto to Los Angeles.

Air France’s new business class bottom line

Reverse herringbone seats are fantastic, and Air France has among the most comfortable configurations out there. While the cabin could have been a bit more stylish, it delighted in every other way. The seats were spacious and the entertainment system was great.

The food was definitely above average for business class, though wasn’t quite to the level of Austrian or Turkish, for example.

The crew on this flight were very friendly, so I have nothing but good things to say about them.

I just wish Air France had Wi-Fi on their planes. If they offered Wi-Fi on the planes with their new business class, it might just be my favorite transatlantic business class product.

Regardless, overall I was very pleasantly surprised by Air France business class, and they’re a fantastic way to cross the Atlantic. I can’t wait to fly them again soon.

  1. Ben, does AF ever open up any award space with the new business class from LAX? Would love to fly to Europe on this.

  2. Thanks for publishing this very fair and excellent review about Air France New Business class product. I really believe AirFrance has made huge improvement for the last 2 years ans that both their Première and Business products are now among the best. Some details still need to be fixed ( the trolley service should be scrapped, and rumours say it will on some routes,but altogether it’s again great airline to fly. The tableware, cutlery and amenity kit are really modern and nice.

  3. Chicken tortilla served on a French airline landing in Canada. Wow!!!!! Vive la mondialisation!!!

  4. Ben,

    How were you able to kick your diet coke addiction? I can’t get rid of mine.

    Thanks for offering an escape from my desk job with these great reviews.

  5. Why did you have to clear both Canadian and US immigration? You should be able to enter the US side directly from the international area. At least you can do this in the AC terminal 1

  6. @Tom You can only do that in Terminal 1. For Terminal 3, you have to clear Canadian immigration first.

  7. Wow – Iknow its a French airline and all, but foie gras as a standard appetizer rather than one which the customer selects really is a pretty bold choice.

  8. Interesting review for me to read, because I booked business class on Air Canada for this same route (round trip though as I’m from Toronto) for vacation in late July 2016. It was a toss up on whether to book AC or AF (it was the same price) and I chose AC because I collect their Aeroplan miles. And I also know the AC business class product from previous experiences although AC has been installing new pods and has a new chef designing the meals, which should up their game a bit. I’ll save the link to this review so I can compare my upcoming experience on AC to Lucky’s on AF.

  9. Lucky, you have to keep in mind, about the width at the feet being better than the Finnair A350 J product, that the 777 is slightly wider than the a350

  10. What is the difference–besides the smaller TV and the storage cabinet–between this business-class seat and what’s found on Delta? They look very, very similar. I’m not keen on not having a pillow in a sealed plastic bag. At least the blanket was clean. The pillow? Who knows.

  11. @Ben, were you able to assign yourself 3L in advance?

    It may be worth noting that — at least as of a year ago — only the middle non-window seats are assignable online (unless you’ve bought a full-fare J seat, or are otherwise a Flying Blue elite) in advance, though Air France’s Twitter team is good about noting preferences and assigning you the window seats once they become assignable.

    If they’ve changed that policy — all the better!

  12. Zero awards availabilty CDG-YYZ from now until Nov 1 from what I have seen today. same heading east.
    terrible….even on old equipment

  13. Hi Lucky – random question, but what was in the strawberry coulis (besides strawberries)? I’m a bit confused that it appears to have red and green colouring.

  14. @JR – ??? And what should he write about when doing a trip report???

    What routes to N. America employ the new J? AF has certainly upped their game here.

  15. The French have always done a fantastic job of highlighting their national colors, especially in sport. From the national soccer and cycling kits to Paris St. Germain, they always look great. While the pods have a classy red vertical stripe in the console section that forward-looking view of the business cabin is screaming for some red and blue accents.

  16. Great review!

    Interesting you say that the cabin lacks style. From the pictures, it looks very stylish in my opinion. But it might feel different in real life?

  17. I love fois gras, it’s cool that they seem to have this as a sandard appetizer in C.

    Why don’t you eat it Lucky? Because of the way it is produced or just because you don’t like the taste?

  18. Nice to see that you enjoyed your flight with AF. I just recently flew with KLM 787 with the new Biz seats and I see that they are exactly the same as the AF ones – only difference is the colour scheme and headphone. Love the new IFE system.
    I too like the service aboard AF- the crews are always friendly and if you can speak French, they can be quite chatty.
    @ Ben you should plan to try KLM as a comparison – added advantage – you have WiFi onboard the 787 planes 🙂

  19. Just flew AMS-AUH last night on brand new KLM flight (their first time flying it actually) extremely similar to the biz AF seat but even better features! Window shades dont “black out” they “blue out”

  20. @Ankush

    It was basil. An interesting combination.

    Glad to see you liked AF’s new seats, though I wonder how much you would have enjoyed the experience in their old seats…at least AF is stepping up it’s game in regards to the soft product as well.

    Also, is it just me, or is the TV screen a bit smaller than what you normally get these days with reverse herringbone seats?

  21. Thanks for the review, as a French person, it does feel good to see the national airline doing a great job. You mentioned you connected to LAX after arriving in Toronto. Did you think of taking the Air Canada 789 from YYZ to LAX? You reviewed a lot of Business Class lately, but this one would have been interesting.

  22. What struck me most…..though it shouldn’t have……is the difference between AF 777-200 business and UA 777-200 “business”. I was just researching UA flights to Europe and boy oh boy what a difference.

    Thanks for the nice review

  23. Great review Lucky. Your experience was very similar to mine on the same flight (well, reverse – YYZ-CDG). Great hard product for an overnight, great service (I speak French so that helps, but regardless language was not an issue for anyone and the crew were lovely) and catering.

    As someone else mentioned above, as you arrived at and connected at T3, there is no option but to clear Canadian customs and immigration and then proceed to customs pre-clearance for the US and pass through security again. This is not required at T1, where incoming international pax can simply pass from international arrivals into the US customs pre-clearance and security queues without passing through Canadian customs, which is very convenient.

  24. Compare the 1-2-1 Configuration on this 777 with the disgraceful “industry leading” 2-3-2 layout on Emitates 777’s reviewed March 9th. Which Business Class would you rather fly???

  25. Thanks for the review! Air France is my favorite economy product for transatlantic (Yes it is possible to have a good economy long haul!) and so their business class or even their La Premiere (*swoon*) is on my aspirational travel list. Their food is top notch, the entertainment is always good, and the staff are excellent.

    I definitely understand when you say the cabin lacked style. Air France has a very polished and purposeful look that permeates everything from their ads to their menus to their uniforms. Especially coming from the first class lounge, Business looks a little average and not quite “AF” enough.

  26. Once again nice review! I was really looking forward to your thoughts on the new AF business class. From some of the press photos I’ve seen, I thought the cabin would have a much more dramatic black/white contrast. I was a little surprised to see the cabin to be almost entirely some sort of creamy white. Happy to hear you had a pleasant experience overall.

  27. Torontonians are very lucky. They’re treated to the NEW BUSINESS CLASS configuration on their Boeing777-300ER but us Montrealers being second class citizens, do not have the right to this. Thank you very much Air France. Ça me fait comprendre le manque de considération que Air France accorde aux gens de Montréal.

  28. @Nicole: Montreal is primarily leisure traffic so gets more flights and generally bigger planes for higher Y capacity. Toronto is the commercial capital with greater premium traffic so has priority for the new J seats. It’s the same reason AC flies the high-capacity 777 to CDG from YUL but not YYZ. Don’t like it? Thank the Quiet Revolution!

    On the bright side, YUL seems to get a mix of 777-200s, 777-300ERs, and A380s from AF depending on the day/time/season, so hopefully the new seats will be available at least some of the time.

  29. Sat on the Air France flight to Toronto, had to come this way as my normal options all sold out. The business class seat layout of 2-3-2 is poor and the bed is not a real lay flat. Based on what was paid for the flight there are many better options. Won’t be flying this way again. The business class lounge toilets were in a dreadful state.

  30. I’ve booked this business class flight from TO to Paris, and it’s the 2-3-2 layout although it was POSTED online as the new, nicer business class. Trying to sort it out with Air France, but I’m not holding my breath. It appears they have now given the nicer planes to the Montreal-Paris route, and Toronto is screwed.

  31. Just got off the phone with Delta-Air France. It appears some flight on the TO-Paris route are the nicer business class, but others aren’t. When I booked my flight, it was listed as the nicer one, but turns out it’s not. There was no other route to re-book us on that would work, so…we’re stuck in the 2-3-2 business class with no recourse. They gave us $100 vouchers…

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