Air France Business Class – AF #9 JFK-CDG

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  1. jmgriffin

    jmgriffin Silver Member

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    First stop on our whirlwind, nostalgia-inspired tour of All about our France and Italy trip! (index here) was our flight from New York-JFK to Paris-CDG. I was able to find low-level award space using Delta SkyMiles for the flight (which is a feat in and of itself),.but throw in the fact that I found Air France Business Class low-level award space using SkyMiles and it was downright impossible.

    Nearly missing the flight

    The trip really started for me about 2 or 3 days before takeoff as a winter storm was pummeling the Northeast. You see, because of Delta's horrible award space availabilty, I booked the JFK-CDG, CDG-FLR and then VCE-JFK legs on the award ticket. To get from CHS-JFK-CHS, I bought cheap flights on JetBlue, which I would not recommend doing because of the anxiety it caused. We were scheduled to depart New York-JFK on March 7, and by March 5/6, the storm was pummeling the DC area and 1,800+ flights had been cancelled -- mostly regional domestic flights. The problem with my booking is that if my JetBlue flight from CHS is cancelled but the Air France flight takes off as.scheduled,.then I'm left hanging high and dry..Similarly,. if the JetBlue flight makes it but the Air France flight is canceled, then I'm stuck at JFK for at least 1-night. I called Delta to explore changing my flights, but they had not yet issued waivers for changes/cancellations so I was just stuck riding it out. If, however, I had booked it all on Delta and the CHS-JFK leg was cancelled, they would just auto rebook me on the next JFK-CDG flight--no big deal. I probably updated FlightAware 5 times/minute on our day of departure.....--> link to continue

    There were 3 separate check-in lanes for the different classes of service: La Première/First.with one counter, Business with 5 counters and Economy with 10+ counters. The one perk of being really late to the party is that we cruised up to the Business/SkyPriority lane and were off to security in no time.

    Air France Lounge, JFK Terminal 1

    Featuring multilevel seating, the lounge had a very quiet, low-lit, comfortable atmosphere... --> Full post here

    Air France Flight 9 - JFK to CDG - Boeing 777-200

    At about 10:45pm, we made our way towards the boarding gate, hopped in the SkyPriority/Premium cabin lane and headed off to our seats!

    Boarding was quick and painless. We boarded at the 1st door along with First, Business and Premium economy, although in practice we could have boarded at the second door because Business class row 6 - 9 are aft of the galley.

    Making our way back, we passed by the small.La Première cabin--with just 4 seats total. To be honest, it didn't look all that much better than Business (but maybe I'm just jealous since it's unattainable with Delta SkyMiles).

    [​IMG]
    La Première, likely reserved for ex-French presidents​

    The Business cabin has a total of 49 seats, 7 x 7 but divided by the galley and lavatory with 3 rows forward and 4 aft. The seats are angled lie-flat with a 61" pitch. Here's a poorly shot video of around our seat:

    [​IMG]
    Seats 7A and 7B, home for the next 8+ hours​
    [​IMG]
    My iPhone performed like it does in all other seats​

    Settling in, there was more than enough space for all personal belongings thanks to the generously sized cubbies by our feet along with decent-sized LCD screens.

    There was power at all seats in Business although it never seemed operational.

    The Seat: While a good design, everything was feeling a little dated and.rickety--the cabin had seen better days and it was starting to show. The "angled lie-flat" seats was just barely, hardly angled resulting in a very comfortable, nearly flat sleeping experience.

    Eagerly awaiting our champagne (c'mon we paid good....points for this flight), the flight crew prepared the cabin for departure as we pushed back from the gate right on time at 11:30pm. We taxied back a few hundred feet and then stopped and waited for a few minutes. As trucks approached our plane, it became evident that we were about to be de-iced--if you'll remember from the beginning of this post, we almost didn't make it out of the US due to a grueling winter storm. It was my first flight experiencing a de-icing and it was pretty cool!

    This little detour took about 1.5 hours from start to finish and we were airborne by 1am. The cabin crew wasted no time and quickly made their way through the cabin distributing menus and offering us pre-poured juice or champagne (is that a question?!).

    According to the menu, dinner would consist of a Gourmet appetizer, choice of main course and a special selection of cheese and dessert. They also had a "Sur le pouce" selection which featured everything but the main course--an express meal of sorts. And, although that was advertised to be the exception, it was shaping up to be more of the rule on this flight as the flight crew quickly.distributed.food trays.

    The Food: Overall, the food was excellent: a nice selection of cheeses, quality beef and good wines--what more could you ask for?

    I accidentally ordered just the "Meal Express" which featured the gourmet appetizer of "Serrano ham, fish terrine, cream mayonaise with herbs." The fish terrine and cream mayonaise tasted just like McDonald's Filet-o-Fish (an all too frequent memory from childhood) but was good otherwise. I blame my taste aversion to McDonald's for disliking it more than anything.

    McCown (successfully) ordered off the real menu and got the "Pan seared.tournedos.of beef with Cafe de Paris butter, Bordeaux-style cepe mushrooms, mashed potatoes with basil." The meat, served with traditional French multi-grain mustard, was amply salted and had a good flavor. Certainly better than anything in United's transatlantic Business cabin.

    [​IMG]

    Service: Despite seeming a bit rushed at times, the cabin crew did a great job. They were attentive, polite and very helpful. When I hesitated about which wine to order, one of the flight attendants poured me 3 glasses, insisting I sample each one as he described them--nothing like a wine tasting at 35k feet! I settled on the Burgundy, although they also had a delicious Bordeaux.

    After a very quick and enjoyable meal, we prepared for a quick snooze:

    About an hour before landing (and wayyy too soon after finally falling asleep), the cabin lights were back on for the Breakfast meal service.

    [​IMG]
    Simple, French and delicious​
    We deplaned quickly and headed off to make our connection at the train station.​
    BOTTOM LINE: The quality of service in Air France's Business class was superb. Even on a short flight like JFK-CDG (appx 6.5 hrs flying time), they don't cut corners and provide a high quality meal and service. The flight was all the sweeter knowing that we had booked it with Delta SkyMiles.​
    edit: had to strip it down to 5 images, many more can be found here: http://www.weekendblitz.com/air-france-business-class-review-af-9-jfk-cdg/
     
    Bonnie, nldogbert, merice107 and 5 others like this.
  2. nldogbert

    nldogbert Silver Member

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    Glad to see you enjoyed the service. AF service can be a hit or miss depending on crew. My one big positive experience is the ground station staff at JFK. The station leader there is one of the most helpful station leader I have met within the AF system. The biz seat you have is actually the 2nd generation seats. The 3rd generation seats are slightly better.
     
  3. jmgriffin

    jmgriffin Silver Member

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    Man, too bad we missed out on that. Do you know what aircraft and/or routes have the newer 3rd generation seats? Would it just be the A380? Which I'm sure is unattainable with SkyMiles.

    If anyone is interested we also just posted the next part of this trip report: A Walking Tour/Photo Gallery of Bordeaux, France.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. nldogbert

    nldogbert Silver Member

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    The 3rd generation seats (NEV3) are available on most of their 777W, 777 A340 and A380. I believe that they are near completion with the retrofit, though as you might (or not) know, they are coming with a new seat (CX type/AA 777W) type new biz seats.
    Btw, congrats on your engagement and marriage!
     

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