After sitting at the top of my bucket list for years, I finally had the chance to try Air France La Premiere First Class from Los Angeles to Paris. Despite dangerously high expectations, the experience did not disappoint. In fact, I walked away even more impressed.
I was on my way to Germany for Christmas and had a lot to do before my flight departed. Still, I wanted to leave enough time to enjoy the full ground experience at LAX. In the end, I only arrived about two hours before my flight.
Air France departs from the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. I found the first class check-in occupied by a couple arguing over checked bags. An agent working the business class line signaled for me to come over and quickly checked me in. Another agent was summoned to escort me through security and to the lounge.
Normally, escorts will cut in line and take you to the front of the security line. There was no need for that today as the PreCheck line was deserted. After clearing security, my escort took me to the Qantas First Class lounge at LAX. That may strike you as odd, considering Qantas is part of the oneworld alliance and a Korean Airlines (from the same SkyTeam alliance) first class lounge was nearby. But, to put it bluntly, Air France has recognized that the Korean Airlines lounge is horrible. So bad that it pays Qantas for access for its first class passengers. I was happy to enjoy a late lunch prior to boarding.
About 45 minute before scheduled departure, my escort returned and took me to the gate. Pre-boarding had already begun and we simply bypassed the line and stepped right in the jetbridge foyer. There, however, we waited several minutes because the crew was not quite ready for boarding. Finally, we received the green light to board and I headed down the dedicated first class jetbridge.
Air France 69
Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG)
Saturday, December 22
Depart: 6:20 PM
Arrive: 2:05 PM+1
Duration: 10hr, 45min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 1L (La Premiere First Class)
Onboard, two flight attendants warmly welcomed me to my seat. I surveyed the luxurious four-seat cabin, noting how beautiful Air France had made La Premiere on the 777.
Air France 777-300 First Class Seating
First class is only a single row of four seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seat reminds me a bit of the Qatar Airways First Class seat, but the cabin is far more intimate on Air France.
Here are a few more pictures I took in the light of day after landing:
The seat includes plenty of personal storage and a pair of power plugs. A lamp adjacent to the seat provides additional light and a reading light is located above the headrest.
To be fair, I must note that the seat was slightly chipped in one area, which detracted from the overall appearance of the product.
I appreciated the red velvet-lined drawer under the ottoman that included plenty of storage space for my smaller carry-on items as well as a lighter blanket.
What sets this seat apart is the curtains that close around it, giving immense privacy when closed. The curtains snap shut magnetically, providing even more privacy. When the curtains are closed, it feels like you are in a first class train compartment.
While the seat is comfortable in all positions, the superior bedding make the seat especially comfortable in the lie-flat position. I slept very well for nearly seven hours.
Air France 777-300 First Class Meals
Maurice, my amazing first class flight attendant, introduced himself and offered me a choice of beverage prior to takeoff. I opted for a glass of Krug champagne.
Menus were distributed for the flight: Air France offers a separate food and drink menu.
What a culinary treat this flight would be! After takeoff, I was offered an amuse-bouche of date-stuffed goat cheese and chorizo, pineapple marinated salmon, and eggplant as well as a bowl of nuts and additional glass of champagne.
Maurice set the table for dinner, placing a beautiful charger down at the center of the my tray table and carefully laying out each item with immense precision.
For my first course, I opted for parsnip cream soup and bresaola julienne. The soup was creamy and hit the spot on a cold winter night.
Hot bread was also offered with premium French butter.
I opted for glass of Chateauneuf du Pape which retails for about $75. It was fabulous red wine.
My next course was caviar. In my teaser post on my flight I received from comments skeptical that Air France would serve such “poor quality” caviar in first class. Now I’m willing to concede that my caviar tastes are probably just not refined, but I thought the caviar was just as tasty as usual. I was offered vodka with the caviar but just stuck to my red wine.
The Main Course Arrives…
Finally, the main course arrived under a silver top. I had ordered “prime cut” filet of beef with pepper sauce, served with potato puffs, pan-fried mushrooms, and braised romaine lettuce.
It was still clearly a high-quality cut of beef, but sadly arrived well-done. In Maurice’s defense, we ran into some horrible turbulence that delayed delivery by five minutes. Five minutes is all it takes to make a medium-rare steak well-done…
So the main course was a bit disappointing, but the meal was far from being complete. The French eat salad after their main course and Maurice prepared a beautiful salad with an assortment of 14 ingredients you can see on the list above. This was the best salad I have ever had onboard a plane. I was even offered three different salad dressings.
The meal continued with a lovely cheese course.
You would think after a hearty meal in the Qantas lounge followed by a multi-course feast I would be bursting at the seams, but I was not about to turn down dessert.
I ordered a tiramisu cake with berries, raspberry sorbet, and a decaf espresso. Once again, Air France wowed me with an excellent dessert.
Maurice also offered a nice chocolate bar with dessert that I took with me.
Honestly, I wasn’t stuffed…just pleasantly filled. Even with the disappointing beef, it was a great meal overall.
90 minutes before landing Maurice woke me up and set the table for breakfast. I could have slept through and wasn’t that hungry, but could not pass up reviewing breakfast as well.
After setting the table, the meal began with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, espresso, yogurt, small bowl of fruit, and croissant.
If you read my reviews regularly, you know how much I love cappuccino any time of day. Sadly, even in first class Air France offers only powdered cappuccinos. No thanks…I’ll skip it. I was also surprised to see the yogurt served in its plastic container.
Too full to order the omelet, I ordered buckwheat waffles instead. They arrived beautifully presented and also tasted great. I loved the pecan, berries, and whipped cream topping. Another great meal!
Overall, I was so pleased with both meals and the entire onboard dining experience in Air France La Premiere.
Air France 777-300ER La Premiere Amenities
First Class passengers receive pajamas, slippers, and an amenity kit.
The amenity kit included Carita cosmetics/moisturizers, a wooden comb, ear plug, eye cover, and a pen. Surprisingly, there was no dental kit though toothbrushes and toothpaste were available in the lavatory.
Slippers came in a reusable shoe bag and were quite comfortable. The pouch included socks and a shoehorn.
I liked the style of the pajamas and found them to be comfortable and stylish, but have two complaints. First, there were no pockets in the trousers. Second, “large” is more like small. I’m 6’1″ and thin and could have used at least XL and possibly 2XL.
Air France 777-300ER First Class IFE + Wi-Fi
Air France is finally installing wi-fi onboard its fleet and my 777-300ER was equipped with wi-fi. Like Lufthansa, the service is operated by T-Mobile. First Class passengers receive complimentary unlimited use of the internet via an access card provided before takeoff. The internet is not gate-to-gate, but functioned well the two times I connected. Speeds were about 7MB down and 0.2MB up.
The IFE selection included a large library of French movies as well as plenty of Hollywood movies, games, TV shows, interactive map, and audio selections.
I should add here that I do love the very-French Air France safety video. I think it superbly done.
The Denon noise-cancelling headphones are better than Bose.
Air France 777-300ER First Class Lavatory
The lavatory was quite small, but sufficient for the three passengers in the cabin. It included Clarins and Carita product as well as razors, mouthwash, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Most importantly, at least in my book, were real towels instead of paper towels.
Air France 777-300ER La Premiere Service
If it is not already clear, service shined on this flight. Maurice took care of me for almost the entire flight and was simply a gentleman. He was courteous and very polished, but not the least bit stuffy. He seemed to love his job and it certainly showed.
Here’s an anecdote. I woke up and had lost my voice. It was so weird, as it was the first time in my life I’d ever lost my voice. Literally, I could barely rasp a few words. Without prompting, Maurice brought over some hot water with lemon and honey. What a nice touch.
Other crew members were equally courteous and the purser came around just after takeoff to offer his greeting and prior to landing to thank me for flying Air France.
The captain also came out before takeoff to shake the hand of each first class passenger and welcome them onboard.
Service was flawless on this flight.
We landed on-time in Paris and my amazing experience with Air France would continue as I was whisked to the La Premiere lounge in a black BMW.
It was worth the wait. I had a truly amazing onboard experience on Air France and La Premiere is every bit worthy of its hype. Now the only question is when can I fly it again?