- Introduction: Four Times Across The Atlantic
- Review: ITA Airways Business Class A350 (MIA-FCO)
- Review: ITA Airways Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)
- Review: Prima Vista Lounge Rome Airport (FCO)
- Review: ITA Airways Business Class A320 (FCO-CAI)
- Changing Terminals At Cairo Airport: Still Complicated
- Review: EgyptAir Lounge Cairo Airport (CAI)
- My Rough Night At Cairo Airport, Made Better By EgyptAir’s Osama
- Review: EgyptAir Business Class 787 (CAI-CDG)
- Review: Sheraton Paris Airport (CDG)
- Review: YOTELAIR Paris Airport Priority Pass Lounge (CDG)
- Review: Air France Lounge Paris Airport (CDG)
- Review: New Air France Business Class 777-300ER (CDG-JFK)
- Review: Hyatt Regency JFK At Resorts World New York
- Review: AA & BA Greenwich Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: AA & BA Soho Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: AA & BA Chelsea Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: Amex Centurion Lounge New York (JFK)
- Review: British Airways Lounge Newark Airport (EWR)
- Review: New British Airways First Class 777 (EWR-LHR)
- Review: Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel (LHR)
- Review: Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: Amex Centurion Lounge London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: No1 Lounge London Heathrow (LHR)
- Review: Virgin Atlantic A330neo Upper Class Business Class (LHR-MIA)
- Is Virgin Atlantic’s Retreat Suite Worth It?
To finish off the first half of my four trips across the Atlantic, I flew Air France’s new Boeing 777-300ER business class from Paris to New York. The airline recently introduced this product, which represents the next generation of business class for Air France.
Air France has a great transatlantic soft product, with excellent food and wine, and friendly service. Now add in Air France’s phenomenal new hard product, with privacy doors and cutting edge tech, and this product really is a winner, and is worth seeking out for long haul journeys.
How I booked my Air France business class ticket
I booked my Air France business class ticket using Flying Blue miles. Flying Blue has access to more business class award availability on Air France and KLM than other programs, so that’s my go-to for booking these awards.
Specifically, I booked the following flight in business class for 55,000 Flying Blue miles, plus $377 in taxes & fees:
2/09 AF22 Paris to New York departing 8:30AM arriving 10:50AM
What’s awesome is that Flying Blue partners with major transferable points currencies, including Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou. I even managed to transfer over my points to Flying Blue when there was a transfer bonus, meaning I paid even fewer transferable points in the end.
Air France business class lounge & boarding
In the last installment I reviewed the Air France Lounge Paris Terminal 2E Hall K, which was located in the concourse I was departing from. My flight left from gate K30, located at the end of the terminal and on the left.
Can I take a moment to just appreciate how gorgeous Charles de Gaulle’s retro terminals are? As much as I like a good modern airport, this terminal is timeless, in my opinion.
Boarding was scheduled for 7:35AM, 55 minutes before the 8:30AM departure. As usual on US-bound flights, there were security questions at the gate, but that was handled pretty efficiently.
Air France 777 business class cabin & seats
Air France’s reconfigured Boeing 777-300ERs feature a total of 48 business class seats. Air France has reverse herringbone seats, and selected the Safran Versa product with doors. While reverse herringbone seats are common on many airlines, the most popular is the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat, so this is a slightly different product.
There are minor differences between these types of reverse herringbone seats, though I don’t think one is necessarily that much better than the other. I think what sets Air France’s new reverse herringbone seats apart are three factors:
- The seats have doors, which not many airlines have for reverse herringbone seats
- The bulkhead rows have an unbelievable amount of personal space, and are in my opinion the best business class seats in the world
- The seats have exceptional tech, from wireless charging, to bluetooth audio, and more
With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the cabin.
Business class is spread across two cabins, with all seats being in a 1-2-1 configuration. The forward cabin (between the first and second set of doors) has a total of 28 seats, and consists of seven rows.
Meanwhile the second cabin (behind the second set of doors) has a total of 20 seats, consisting of five rows.
Since I was seated in the second cabin, I also had the chance to take a peek at the large premium economy cabin, which was quite large, with 48 seats.
First let’s take a look at a standard (non-bulkhead) business class seat. I found the seat to be well designed, and in particular the footwell was a good size, which is often an issue in these kinds of seats. That’s an advantage over the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond reverse herringbone seat.
Meanwhile the best seats in this configuration are the bulkhead seats, located in rows one and nine. These seats are special because of the massive amount of legroom that they have. I assigned myself seat 9A, the window seat in the first row of the second cabin, on the left side.
Note that these seats can be selected by Flying Blue Gold and Platinum members at the time of booking, and by other business class passengers on a space available basis 72 hours before departure.
I appreciate the attention to detail that went into the seat design. Sometimes you sit down in a seat and wonder if the designers ever actually ever sat in the seats for long periods of time. For example, I appreciated how there was a little armrest to the side of the seat, without any controls you could accidentally hit.
The tray table in this configuration folds out from the console to the side of the seat. Many will prefer this to Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats, where it’s located underneath the monitor, and makes the footwell feel quite constrained.
There’s a huge counter to the side of the seat, featuring the easy-to-use seat controls, as well as a wireless charging station.
Then to the back left of the seat is an enclosed storage compartment, featuring a backlit picture of Air France’s mythical winged seahorse logo. There’s something I really love about the logo, and I appreciate how Air France is increasingly incorporating this into its branding and cabin design.
The storage compartment has a hook where you can hang headphones, the entertainment controller, a mirror, and a USB-A outlet.
Underneath the counter is a small cubby where you can store a bottle of water. This is also where the other power outlets are located, including a USB-C charger and AC power outlet. It’s great to see that Air France has 60W USB-C chargers, which will allow you to charge just about any device at full speed. So many USB outlets on planes have ridiculously low limitations. Tech was clearly a focus for Air France with these new cabins.
On the aisle-side of the seat is an armrest, which can be raised and lowered.
Then there’s what makes these bulkhead seats so amazing. Rather than having a fairly small footwell you have to squeeze your feet into, these seats have massive ottomans, which make these seats more spacious than some first class products currently in operation. While there are lots of amazing business class products out there, this is spacious on a whole different level.
Of course one of the other key features of this product is the door. During takeoff and landing this remains locked, so that it can’t be closed. However, after takeoff, it can be closed with the push of a button. I found the door to be pretty easy to operate. This won’t give you full privacy (obviously), but many of us still appreciate this feature.
One downside to this product is that there are no individual air nozzles. Air France is installing those on newly delivered aircraft, but these planes have simply been reconfigured, and historically Air France hasn’t had air nozzles. For what it’s worth, I was flying on F-GZNK, a roughly 11-year-old aircraft. Fortunately the cabin on this flight was kept unusually cold.
Air France business class amenities
There were several amenities waiting at my seat upon boarding. There were a pair of noise canceling headphones, which were quite good. There wasn’t really a need for them, though, given that Air France has bluetooth audio on these jets.
There were also a pillow and blanket. While not the best airplane bedding in the world, it was still above average, with a thick pillow, and a blanket that was cozy without being too warm.
There was also a bottle of Evian water at each seat upon boarding.
Upon settling in, the friendly crew offered pre-departure beverages, including the choice of champagne or orange juice.
Amenity kits with products from Clarins were also distributed, and they contained socks, eyeshades, a dental kit, earplugs, a pen, lip balm, and a hydrating cream.
Travel safety kits were also distributed, which included face masks and hand sanetizer.
Lastly, menus for the flight were passed out.
Air France 777 business class entertainment & Wi-Fi
Air France has an excellent entertainment system on its reconfigured Boeing 777s.
The first noteworthy feature is that there’s bluetooth audio on these planes, so you can connect your own devices to the inflight entertainment. This was really easy to do.
There was a huge selection of movies, and a more modest selection of TV shows. It was kind of hard to figure out just how many there were, given that the organization was a bit confusing, as many movies were listed under multiple genres.
I also liked how there was a feature at the top of the screen where you could see the basic details of the flight’s progress without having to exit a TV show or movie.
Then there was the map feature, which I enjoyed keeping an eye on throughout the flight. It could be customized so that you could zoom in or out as much as you wanted.
In recent years Air France has done a commendable job installing Wi-Fi throughout most of its fleet, and that includes the reconfigured Boeing 777s. There were three different pricing options for the Wi-Fi:
- You could purchase a one hour “Surf” pass for 8 Euro
- You could purchase a full flight “Surf” pass for 18 Euro
- You could purchase a full flight “Stream” pass for 30 Euro
For those wondering about the difference between the “Surf” and “Stream” pass, the latter is supposed to offer higher speeds that allow you to stream videos and more.
I purchased the premium pass, and found the speeds to be phenomenal. Fast, reasonably priced Wi-Fi with no data caps is something I appreciate more than I can express.
Air France 777 departure from Paris
To my surprise (since mid-February can be a quiet time across the Atlantic), the Air France flight was packed, with just about every seat taken in all cabins. Boarding took quite some time, and at 8:35AM the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of 7hr35min. He also explained that we were delayed a bit because two passengers hadn’t shown up, so their bags had to be offloaded. Furthermore, we’d have to be deiced.
At 8:45AM (15 minutes behind scheduled departure) the main cabin door closed. At 8:50AM we began our pushback, and at 8:55AM we began our taxi, as we were treated to a stunning sunrise.
Interestingly there was a manual safety demonstration. Is that because the reconfigured 777s have some features that differ from the previous versions, and therefore the video isn’t accurate, or…? We taxied pretty quickly, and within 10 minutes reached the deicing pad.
Deicing took around 20 minutes, so by 9:25AM that was complete.
Then five minutes after that we were cleared for takeoff on runway 27L.
Air France has nose cameras on these jets, which are always enjoyable to watch during takeoff and landing.
We had a pretty powerful takeoff roll, and some lovely views of a cold but clear Paris morning.
The seatbelt sign was turned off around five minutes after takeoff, at which point the crew closed the curtains between the galleys and cabins. I’ve heard some people suggest that Air France’s new cabins look sterile, but I have to disagree. Between the frequent use of the winged seahorse logo, the patterned carpet, and the contrast between the blue and white seat finishes, I think the cabin has some personality.
Air France business class brunch service
Given this flight’s departure time, brunch was served after takeoff. Typically breakfast or brunch are the least exciting meals you can be served on a flight, especially as the main meal. So I have to give Air France credit, as I think this was the best such meal I’ve ever had in business class.
Below you can find the brunch menu, as well as the drink list, for this flight.
About 30 minutes after takeoff, warm towels were distributed.
Next up, drinks were served off carts. I was offered a drink around 45 minutes after takeoff. I requested a glass of champagne, plus a cup of coffee. Currently Air France serves Duval-Leroy champagne in business class. That’s a perfectly good champagne, but also not the most exciting business class champagne out there.
The starter was served off a cart around an hour after takeoff. This consisted of plain yogurt with granola, “strawberry tartare” with white chocolate shavings, and a salmon muffin slice topped with vegetables and cheese. On top of that, there was an excellent selection from the bread basket.
Honestly, what a tasty, well presented brunch starter.
For the main course, I selected the omelet with cheese, celery, spinach, and tomato sauce. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the best omelet I’ve ever had on a plane. It wasn’t greasy at all, I appreciated the lack of breakfast meat (which are almost always included in airplane omelets, and which I don’t enjoy), and the tomato sauce had a kick to it. I would’ve been very happy having an omelet like this on the ground, and that’s saying something.
I finished off the meal with an espresso, and was offered some pralines to go along with it.
The entire meal service was performed at a leisurely place, and was completed just under two hours after takeoff.
At first I was sad that my flight on Air France would have brunch as the main meal, though this positively delighted me.
Air France 777 business class bed
While I didn’t get much sleep on this daytime flight, I did spend some time testing out the seat’s bed mode. It goes without saying that these bulkhead seats are incredibly spacious when sleeping, given that you don’t have to squeeze your feet into a cubby, and you can easily sleep on your side without having your knees bump into anything.
Admittedly the bulkhead seats only have different ottomans, and the seats aren’t otherwise different. In an ideal world it would be nice if these seats had larger cushions to the side as well, so that you have a much larger sleeping surface. Still, this is an unbeatable business class product for sleeping.
Air France 777 business class lavatories
Air France has four lavatories in business class on the Boeing 777-300ERs, including two at the front of the aircraft, and two between the two business class cabins. These lavatories were also clearly recently refreshed. They weren’t particularly large, but were otherwise well maintained. They also contained a couple of products from Clarins.
Air France business class pre-landing snack
About 90 minutes before landing, the crew turned on the lights in the cabin, in preparation for the pre-landing meal. You can find the snack menu below.
Service began with warm towels being distributed. Once again, this meal was kind of breakfast-y, and everything was served on one tray. I ordered a cup of coffee and some cherry juice (which I’ve never had before — it was tasty but sweet).
The meal consisted of a puff pastry brioche with egg mayonnaise, celery, fava beans, and pickled onions. There was also a strawberry tartare with white chocolate shavings, plus a madeleine sponge cake.
Okay, so this snack was delicious, but:
- Is Air France intentionally serving exactly the same side (the strawberry tartare with white chocolate shavings) with both meals?
- It’s a bit odd to serve the same type of puff pastry/muffin concept with both meals
So yeah, I really enjoyed the meal, though some variety would also be nice.
Air France business class service
I generally find service on Air France to be quite good in business class, and this flight was no exception. The first thing to acknowledge is that this was the entire crew’s first time working a flight with the new cabins, so this was a new experience for them as well. Nonetheless, you wouldn’t have known it based on their service.
All the flight attendants in business class were courteous, charming, and professional. They had an eye for detail, and always offered drink refills when a glass was empty. They also quickly responded to the call button.
Air France 777 arrival in New York
At 10:30AM local time the captain was back on the PA to announce that we’d be landing in around 40 minutes. He advised of overcast conditions and gusty winds in New York. Around that time we began our descent, and about 15 minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned on.
We had a smooth touchdown at JFK at 11AM.
From there we had a 10 minute taxi to Terminal 1, where we parked next to a Korean Air Boeing 747-8.
Air France has done a phenomenal job with its new business class. The airline has a new style of reverse herringbone seats, with doors and incredible tech. On top of that, the bulkhead seats in this configuration are amazing.
Add in Air France now having fast and reasonably priced Wi-Fi, an excellent entertainment selection, friendly service, and great food, and I’d say this is one of the best ways to cross the Atlantic. Admittedly only a small portion of Air France’s fleet has this new product so far. Then again, the standard Air France business class is great as well.
It’s impressive how fast Air France got this product into service, given that Lufthansa has been talking about its new Allegris business class since 2017, yet so far zero planes have those seats. I’d say this is now the most compelling long haul product offered by any European airline.
What’s your take on Air France’s new 777 business class?