At the beginning of 2014 Air France introduced their new business class. This was going to be a very substantial overhaul of the current Air France business class product, I was quite excited to give it a try. This new product has a 1-2-1 seat configuration, larger tray table, coat hook and convenient storage area with mirror. The seat map gives you a good idea of the configuration of this business class cabin. Be aware that Air France modifications of the 777 fleet are not complete, but if you find a 1-2-1 configuration online you are assured the new product.
As you can see from the Air France marketing promotional material, this is a very comfortable business class product both in the “lie flat” and regular seating configurations.
Check in at JFK was seamless, and I was assisted by one of the La Première agents. There is a dedicated bank of Air France SkyPriority check-in desks at JFK terminal 1 (also for business class) as well as dedicated La Première (first class) check in counters. My flight AF009 was an Air France 777-200 in a three class configuration : business class, premium economy class and economy class. This 777-200 was configured with 40 flat bed seats in business class. There was a second mini-cabin for business class right before premium economy. Right behind the business cabin are three rows of Air France premium economy. On Air France, premium economy upgrades to business class via mileage instruments based on availability.
The Air France lounge at JFK is located in close proximity of the Air France gates. This lounge had a major renovation completed in November of 2014. There were two boarding doors for the 777, one for business class and the other door for premium economy and economy class.
The interiors were very fresh, and the cabin looked great. But, be aware that this was a very newly modified aircraft. An Air France amenity and slipper kit was provided. The seats also included a convenient storage cubicle for storage during the flight. The Air France pillow and blanket provided were quite nice, and very comfortable.
Other nice touches include a coat hook, which I used for my sweater during the flight. In addition there was a stylish “pop-out” reading lamp. There was ample power and storage, including an extra water bottle tucked away by the power outlets. I always use a 1 meter USB cable; and it was super easy to access the plug. Seat adjustment was easy, and the tray table was extra large and easy to stow. There was also a one prong headphone port for my Bose headphones, if I preferred to use those over the supplied Air France headphones (which were stored in the cubicle). The Air France headphones cannot be removed or disconnected which I find strange. This is the same situation on previous older Air France business class cabins.
The amenity kit was the usual assortment of items; with no out of the ordinary speciality items. The video controller was intuitive and made accessing the videos and other entertainment quite easy. The screen is also a touch-screen; in case you prefer that.
A few more pictures of the new business cabin, including the privacy divider between the middle seats. Recall this is a 1-2-1 configuration, and the two middle seats have a removable divider if traveling with a partner.
The food and beverage service was consistent with what is offered on Air France long haul flights. A few menu item choices and a daily special, which is what I chose, green curry chicken with poppy seed rice. (Poulet au curry vert, riz au pavot) The starter also included foie gras terrine, something you can often count on with Air France. In my experience Air France business class food is always above average and is some of the best European carrier business class catering.
I enjoyed the Champagne which was a very respectable Non Vintage Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve and also sampled the Bordeaux and Bourgogne Blanc. Only had a taste of the green curry chicken since I had a pre-departure snack in the Air France lounge. I also skipped dessert, since I was anxious to get a few hours of sleep before arriving in Paris. The tray with your appetizer comes plated with both a cheese and dessert course. This tends to be the standard procedure on Air France, not just for late evening departures.
The seat was quite comfortable, and I had no problem quickly falling asleep. Perhaps, the (scheduled) late departure time and the wine helped. Flight attendants were also great at keeping me hydrated with Badoit sparkling water. One of my favorite sparkling waters which is a nice change from my usual San Pellegrino that is the norm on Delta in Delta One and now KLM business class.
This was an excellent, experienced Air France team. In addition, I always give Air France flight attendants credit for “properly” displaying the wine bottle and pouring the wine in plain view. Had a very nice chat with the purser, and she truly seemed enthusiastic about the new business class product. Air France also features illy espresso; and I always partake in at least two double espressos with the breakfast service. Air France does a continental breakfast, which is more than adequate, but it is really the espresso that makes me happy.
Arrival at Paris-CDG was on time, even though we departed a few moments late. The placement and design of the overhead bins definitely made for a cabin with an open feeling. Overall, I was very impressed by the Air France experience at JFK. The new lounge and new business product are great, and quite an improvement over the old products offered by Air France.