From Paris to Tunis I flew on an Air France Airbus A330, a very comfortable ride despite business class being tighter than the French carrier’s flagship product.
Air France A330 Business Class – My Initial Thoughts
Air France recently finished retrofitting its A330 fleet, with each aircraft now featuring a total of 36 business class seats, spread over six rows in 2-2-2 configuration. These seats are made by Stelia Aerospace and feature fully lie-flat beds, though lack the privacy (even with a sliding partition between seats) of Air France’s Cirrus reverse herringbone 1-2-1 configuration on its Boeing 777 and 787 jets (or even its Zodiac Optima seats on its Airbus A350 fleet).
But the logic for the less-private seat made sense. First, this allowed Air France to preserve premium cabin density (the old configuration had 40 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and were not true lie-flat beds). Second, this aircraft is more often deployed to leisure destinations in which couples traveling together generally prefer to sit next to one another.
I was traveling alone, but thankfully the seat next to me remained open. The cabin went about about half full. The cabin looks so fresh and with mood lighting and natural lights, is very sleek.
The seat itself is well-padded and very comfortable in an upright, partials-reclined, and in a lie-flat position.
A highly-reflective 18.5 inch screen offered a huge library of in-flight-entertainment, though the morning sunrise was very beautiful out the window:
The cabin crew was friendly, though not particularly attentive. However, when I took pictures of the cabin they seemed very proud of their product (I don’t play the blogger card, instead I just told them it was my first time on an Air France A330, which was true).
Breakfast was served after takeoff and I must admit it was very tasty. I say admit because I was expecting a heartier hot breakfast, but we were presented with smoked salmon on an ice-cold roll with a creamy chive spread, a slide of plain yogurt, and a croissant.
Getting over the initial disappointment, I found the salmon was really delicious and at least the croissant was hot.
I can’t say the same for the coffee though…I know I generalize, but I don’t get why the French seem to struggle with coffee so much versus their European neighbors. Heck, Air France still offers powdered cappuccino even in intercontinental first class. I asked about an espresso, but only “normal” coffee was available on this flight. Orange juice was also not freshly squeezed, but that’s far less of a problem than thin coffee that isn’t hot enough.
The flight went by quickly…Paris to Tunis is 924 miles and flight time was less than two hours.
Overall, this was a very comfortable flight and I’d be happy to fly on the Air France A330 for a much longer distance in business class. That said, the Air France A350, 787, and 777 all offer better business class seats.
I’ll share more details and pictures in the full report of this flight. Stay tuned.
@ Matthew — The business class seats on this aircraft are awful.
Gene, I wouldn’t call it awful, but it certainly is inferior to Air France’s other longhaul seats. But a big step up over the old A330 seats, right? Those were truly horrible.
Have you tried Air France’s A320 Business Class seats? Haa…
They’re the same identical seats as in Economy (same seat pitch/no recline) [3-3 configuration)] only they leave the middle seat empty…
Typically, you’ll find those in medium-haul (4-5 hour) flights…
Hate how the screens are literally right next to each other. I would avoid this and shoot for their 778/787 or their A350 like you said, if I have a J booking with AF.
Before covid times, Tunis was always (on AF) on a A320 family aircraft.
At least you have been lucky to get an A330.
Thanks for those first impressions.
Did they re-do Premium Economy on the A330s? Air France PE seats on the 777s and 787s are awful, but they’re decent on the A350s.
Yes, the premium seats don’t look bad (not the horrid shells).
I flew recently from Paris to Mexico City in Business class. It was not great with some moody Antillean air hostess. Food was below par. Not to repeat.
Food seems to be slipping on Air France, which is very sad.
Wonder why they didn’t go with a better density preserving product, like United’s Polaris seats.
Particularly considering Air France uses those Polaris seats on its A350-900.
Are these the same seats as on LH?
You said that the 777 Business class is better, but curious if you’ve been on the 777-300 and 777-200 that they use? Out of San Francisco, they use both planes, but the 300 has La Prémiere and the 200 doesn’t, does that change how the Biz class are designed in each? Thanks.
Both have the reverse herringbone seat that I find more spacious and private than what is on the A330 or A350.
@Lukas (from another Lukas) – no. But they are the same as QR uses on their newer/retrofitted A330s.
Never fly with Air France with business class between Paris to Narita airport in Japan. Horrible old seats !!! I asked many times them to change with new seats we can find in other flights, but they have never changed that. It is why i will never take this company between these tow airports. Beware !!!
A great product for Air France.