Air France has really scaled back its in-flight product on shorter intra-Europe flights, making it far less attractive to splurge for business class. My A319 flight from Amsterdam to Paris demonstrated Air France is still in the COVID-19 mindset.
Air France A319 Business Class Review
I booked this flight because it was scheduled to be operated by an Airbus A318, a member of the A320 family I have never flown before. Sadly, Air France swapped out the A318 for an A319 at the last minute, so I still have yet to fly that aircraft.
The gate area for my flight at Amsterdam Schiphol left a lot to be desired, with few seats and no power outlets. I ended up standing and waiting to board.
Air France 1641
Amsterdam (AMS) – Paris (CDG)
Wednesday, February 2
Duration: 01hr, 20min
Distance: 248 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A319
Seat: 1F (Business Class)
A flight attendant welcomed me and handed me a surgical mask, gently noting that my cloth mask was not permitted onboard. I’ve reverted back to the far less effective cloth mask when I travel because I find it immensely more comfortable.
Don’t expect a comfortable seat in business class if you are traveling within Europe on most European carriers. Instead, you’ll receive an economy class seat with extra legroom if you are fortunate (33 inches instead of 32 inches for me) and a blocked middle seat.
That’s simply the nature of “business class” but traditionally it has been “compensated” with lounge access and a nice meal onboard, even for flights under an hour.
There are not power plugs in these seats, but Air France has installed USB-A connectivity for charging.
With the same seat in economy class and business class, airlines can offer variable-sized cabins, expanding or decreasing business class according to demand. Today, business class was three rows and all 12 seats were full.
We pushed back late, but the captain announced an on-time arrival into Paris CDG.
IFE + Wi-Fi
Air France has added wireless internet to most of its fleet and internet was available on this flight. Messaging was complimentary while a surf pass was 5EUR and a stream pass was 15EUR.
With flight time of less than an hour, I just chose the free messaging option.
The wi-fi does not include an in-flight entertainment component with streaming movies.
Food + Drink
My flight reservation indicated a “meal” would be served on this flight:
Since Air France has historically been one of the best airlines in terms of in-flight catering, I skipped lunch in the KLM Crown Lounge. That was a mistake.
Just moments after takeoff the flight attendant offered each business class passenger a choice of beverage as well as a sweet and savory snack; tasty gavottes (crepe crackers filled with cheese) and dark chocolate orange.
I honestly thought the meal tray would come after, but it never arrived. I was ticked…this route did have full meal service prior to the pandemic and the catering cost-cutting is really a bit much when the seat is so poor in business class.
But I survived…of course.
Refills on drinks were offered.
The lavatory was located in the front of the cabin adjacent to the flight deck door.
We landed in iconic Terminal 2F at CDG to a gray day with storms threatening.
Air France really disappointed me with a swap from an A318 to A319 and no lunch onboard my flight to Paris in business class. While I still very much like Air France, there is no way I will be splurging for business class on shorthaul routes any longer if Air France considers two tiny snacks a “meal.”
Really sad that AF, as well as others, have used covid as an excuse for destroying the flight experience. I’m glad to see that TK has returned to pre-pandemic catering.
1+20 isn’t horrible in that seat, but I did 4+30 MUC-TBS and it was an absolute miserable experience.
Let’s all be clear, Europe is sending billions of euros a day to Russia. So if you visit Europe this year you are helping Russians bomb and kill Ukrainian women and children.
What an absolutely moronic comment.
Air France did restore normal catering prior to the arrival of omicron but then the French government clamped down again and banned food service on short routes – I think it’s less than three hours and includes trains. That restriction expires, I believe at the end of this month so things should then be back to normal. On a train you are only allowed to drink water, at least you had some choice and something to eat. So to be clear, this was not an Air France decision but one by the French government.
Are you serious? That’s absurd. Well, if that is the case I owe AF an apology.
Is that AF crew member really holding surgical masks in his hands, touching his pants all without them being in their individual plastic protective covers?
It’s all a joke by now.
“I skipped lunch in the KLM Crown Lounge. That was a mistake.”
Well, at least you had a nice breakfast.
I flew GVA-CDG (25/03/22) and CDG-VLC (26/03/2022) business, with a proper meal offered on each. The first flight, although international, was less than 1 hour flying time.
The food is decent, but lacking in variety. But a proper meal nevertheless.
Good to hear. Maybe meal service is back.
In all fairness, they were serving full meals on the Geneva flight four weeks ago. We even get the A318s occasionally (no coathooks on the seats). I’ve had the food in the KLM lounge 25 many, many times, and would not agree that it was a “mistake” not to eat it.
And then to top it all off you landed at CDG. I wil turn myself inside out yo avoid that airport.
Air France and KLM are so bizarre. Same company but completely different airlines. Air France has good to excellent wines in all classes of service and generally good lounges. KLM has the cheapest (cheaper than cheap!) wine but serves a meal in business on all flights, even short intra-European flights. Sure, the meal isn’t the greatest but there is generally something on the tray that is edible. I had to fly Stuttgart to Paris a couple of times in the last year. No lounge access (closed by the pandemic) and no breakfast on the flight. Really, really brutal early in the morning. But hey, the endless glasses of champagne somewhat made up for that.
If you fly AF there’s an expectation of better quality food and service. The Dutch hardly have a reputation for quality food. Air France also offers a better product imho, and KLM has declined over the years as has Schiphol.
Is a business class ticket more than double an economy class ticket on this flight (I have read that the average business class ticket costs four times as much as the average economy class ticket)? If it is, why not just get an extra seat in economy? You would have an extra seat to stretch out in as well as an extra space for putting your personal item. If the price differential was great enough, you could replace most of what business class offers and still save money. You also can bypass food service bans by bring on food because you do not expect to have a meal served with the ticket.
European business class is garbage. There, I said it. Same seats as economy, same tight pitch as economy, only a blocked middle seat (usually) and some rudimentary snacks. Aside from the very few widebody flights within Europe, this is what your money pays for and Matthew, I am surprised that you were surprised. Small space, big price.
It’s like so many other things in Europe: paying a lot for a crap product that would be bottom-rung budget priced here in the US. Like their rental cars and hotel rooms; tiny, low quality and overpriced. But, it’s European so it must be worth it, right? Nope.
Historically, at least you got a nice meal on Air France.
Still superior to the US where you generally don’t even get lounge access , even in what they call First. Unless it’s Jet Blue Mint or a legacy carrier wide bodied jet, 1st in the US is a joke. Imagine flying for 4-5 hours in a 737 with no lounge access and a sandwich
I avoid AF/CDG and KLM/Schiphol both.Found Bus.cl on KLM worse than economy,lounge was a noisy zoo.Never found anything appealing about AF catering,cheap crepes,sad breakfasts,etc.Much better options and airports to transit out there.