My first ever flight on Air France presented a startling revelation, to me at least: not only was Air France acceptable, it was excellent.
I arrived in CDG’s Terminal 2 early and proceeded to the “Sky Priority” check-in area. There was a line to enter this area: every passenger’s name was checked against a manifest.
Once past the gatekeeper, there was no line to check-in. Since my flight departed from satellite Hall M, I hopped on the train for two stops and proceeded through the security checkpoint in Hall M.
After spending the morning in the superb Air France lounge in Terminal 2E, Hall M, I proceeded to the gate about one hour prior to departure for boarding. Unfortunately, the flight encountered an unexplained delay at the gate which delayed boarding by 20 minutes. Onboard, we encountered another hour delay, but still managed to reach Dubai only about 30 minutes late.
Air France 662
Paris (CDG) – Dubai (DXB)
Thursday, August 09
Depart: 01:40 PM
Arrive: 10:35 PM
Duration: 06hr, 55min
Distance: 3,259 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 5L (Business Class)
Air France 777 Business Class Service
Admittedly, I entered the aircraft expecting surly and indifferent service based upon all the strikes. But I walked away extremely impressed by the service. The FAs appeared genuinely kind and offered polite, friendly, and polished service. The purser took time to greet every passenger in business class. One FA who worked my side of the cabin addressed passengers by name and never let glasses remain empty during the meal service.
FAs also did not disappear after meal service. Self-serve beverages were available in the galley, but FAs also roamed the cabin and offered drinks to those who were awake.
Meal service did drag on…it took over two hours…but the cabin was full and it was nice to eat at a relaxed pace. Furthermore, express dining was available upon request.
Newspapers were offered during boarding:
Air France 777-300ER Business Class Seat
Air France uses the Zodiac Cirrus reverse herringbone seat in business class. The business class cabin includes 40 seats spread over two cabins. Unlike on other aircraft in the Air France fleet, the seats are fully lie-flat. Waiting on each seat was a pillow, blanket, and coat hanger.
The seat is roomy, with personal storage compartments for smaller items built-in. Seat adjustments can be made via buttons and both a USB and power outlet are available.
Bedding included a comforter and pillow. I took a brief nap toward the end of the flight, but spent most of the flight working.
Sadly, there were no personal air vents (though the cabin did not get warm during the flight):
I like the green “no marijuana” sign!
As we taxied out, I snapped some pictures of other aircraft. What’s up with the graffiti art on the plane below?
Air France 777-300ER First Class Cabin
After boarding, I could not help but sneak a peak at the first class cabin. What a beauty! It has only four seats and on this flight had only one passengers. I do not regret turning down the upgrade offer, but just seeing the first class cabin in-person for the first time made me even more determined to fly soon.
Air France 777-300ER IFE + Wi-Fi
Oh Air France, it’s 2018. No wi-fi onboard always causes stress, especially because this was a flight that took place from 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time. But at least it gave me a chance to catch up on my to-do list and watch a movie.
The IFE selection is controlled by touchscreen or handheld device. A healthy selection of movies, TV shows, games, and music are included. I watched a movie called The Commuter staring Liam Neeson. All his movies tend to to be similar, but I enjoyed this one.
Noise cancelling headphones were provisioned in one of the seat compartments.
Air France 777-300 Business Class Dining
While service expectations were low, I did have high expectations for the meal service…and was not disappointed.
Here’s the menu for the flight:
A choice of beverage an warm towel was offered after takeoff. Wanting to ensure proper hydration, I stuck to water.
About 40 minutes after takeoff, an amuse bouche of salmon rillette with tzatziki and a boxed package of cashews and cranberries was offered.
Next came a salmon appetizer, grilled vegetables, and beet + lettuce salad. All were excellent, as was the warm olive bread.
For any main course, I chose cod steak with basil coulis (vegetable puree sauce), carmelized fennel, and leek confit. It was AMAZING. One of the best main courses I’ve had on an airplane in a very long time and easily my best meal of the trip.
Next up, a small cheese course.
Finally, petit fours and fruit for dessert. I ordered a cappuccino with dessert, expecting powdered, and received exactly that.
Air France catering is seriously excellent. What a shame that Air France botched the coffee in both the lounge and onboard. I noticed the galley is even provisioned with an espresso machine:
Now Air France just needs to add a frothing wand (the machine is already set up for it).
Between meals, a self-serve beverage station was available in the galley between the two business class cabins.
Prior to landing, a light snack was offered including a cheese warp and a couple sweet treats.
Air France 777-300ER Business Class Amenity Kit
Upon boarding, I found a blue amenity kit at my seat that included slippers, an eye mask, and socks. During boarding, a second amenity kit was offered that included Clarins amenities, ear plugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, a pen, glasses cleaner, tissue, and hand gel.
Air France 777-300ER Business Class Lavatory
The lavatories are starting to show their age, but were kept clean. Note the Air France-branded “Made in France” paper towels. Amenities included shaving kits and Clarins toiletries.
On the one hand, there is no doubt Air France is forced to step up its game on this particular route due to fierce competition from Emirates. On the other hand, the seat is better than Emirates business class, service could not have been better, and the food was amazing. Other than a lack of wi-fi and slight delay, it is difficult to find anything to complain about concerning this flight. Not only do I have no hesitation about flying Air France again, but I look forward to it.