Not only is the Airbus A350 one of my favorite aircraft, but the food and service on my Air France flight was so excellent that this will go down as one of my all-time-best business class flights. Here’s my Air France A350 business class review from Paris to Toronto.
Air France A350 Business Class Review
Transfer In CDG
My ticket originated in Helsinki and I checked in online and was issued a boarding pass for both segments. Thus, my transit in Paris did not require interacting with an agent. As I mentioned yesterday, I spent my layover in the sauna and then headed to Terminal 2E, Hall M for my afternoon flight to Toronto. Hall M is modern and spacious, with high ceilings and plenty of natural light.
I wanted to be first onboard in order to take a few unobstructed pictures of the cabin, so I lined up early at the gate. Unfortunately, that started a stampede of sorts, with many other passengers quickly lining up behind me.
Finally, boarding commenced and business class and SkyTeam elite passengers were invited to board first.
Air France 356
Paris (CDG) – Toronto (YYZ)
Friday, February 28
Depart: 2:15 PM
Arrive: 4:45 PM
Duration: 07hr, 30min
Distance: 3,751 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Seat: 4L (Business Class)
A flight attendant welcomed me onboard, took a look at my boarding pass, and directed me through the galley and to the starboard aisle where my seat was located in 4L.
Cabin + Seats
The Air France A350-900 has 324 seats onboard spread over three cabins:
Air France used the same seats in business class on the A350-900 as United used for its Polaris product. Seats are staggered in a 1-2-1 configuration and are quite comfortable. If you assign a “true” window seat (A and L seats in even-numbered rows) you’ll also enjoy a fair degree of privacy.
I found the business class cabin to be elegant. Put together the mood lighting, automated window shades, brightly-colored seats, and tan leather accents made for a very visually appealing look. A side storage compartment includes headphones and a water bottle, but leaves space for your most important personal belongings.
Seats are controlled by by three simple buttons on the side or on the console adjacent to the cabinet.
The tray table is located in front of you under the screen and pulls out by pushing on it.
A privacy divider slides back and forth, but provides minimal privacy.
Power ports included a full universal plug with USB charger near the side console and another USB plug under the monitor.
The Air France A350 does not have individual air vents in business class.
Overall, the cabin was lovely. That said, Air France may have chosen the wrong suppliers for certain items. Though brand new, the seat was already showing some wear, with dents scratches, and scuffs. Sadly, the cabin was not carefully cleaned either, as I also found hair on my side table that could have easily been removed had the table been wiped down.
After the meal service I tried to take a nap and found the bedding (plush pillow plus soft dark blue duvet) perfect for sleeping. While it does not bother me because I sleep in the fetal position, some will find the cubby hole for your feet quite restraining, especially because there is a hard plastic bar which houses the tray table that encroaches that space even further (see picture above).
While I tried to sleep, I couldn’t. Maybe it was the espresso, maybe it was the time of day. But I enjoyed beautiful views of Iceland and Greenland outside my window, the tail camera, and functioning wi-fi onboard.
Food + Drink
Flight attendants offered a green fruit juice as a pre-departure beverage with apples, cucumbers, and kiwi. I enjoyed it so much I ended up drinking it the entire flight. Sadly, although it is from an American company (Tropicana), I have not seen it in any of my grocery stores. It’s too full of sugar anyway to indulge in on a regular basis.
Being a daytime flight that turned out to be less than seven hours in the air, the highlight of the flight was the meal service after takeoff.
Menus were distributed that even listed the route we were flying. I had not eaten since breakfast and was famished and ready for a nice meal.
I’ve never had a bad culinary experience onboard and Air France and once again this flight did not disappoint.
First came an amuse bouche of shrimp with orange Panna cotta along with a small box of Gavottes, the salty cheese crepes snacks that have been a fixture on Air France flights for years.
The starters included a green salad, salmon with labneh, and eggplant…all nice. And of course a lovely baguette with French butter.
Here’s the drink menu:
With lunch I had a glass of Bordeaux, which paired nicely with my main course.
I ordered lamb confit for my main course, served over couscous with green olives and pistachios…it was lovely.
And more bread…
That was followed by cheese, petit fours, ice cream, fruit, and finally espresso (cappuccino was on the menu, but it’s still powdered, even on the new A350).
Another masterpiece meal on Air France!
Midway through the flight flight attendants came around with packaged snacks. I was not hungry at all, but stocked up on a trio of delicious snacks for later.
The mid-cabin galley featured self-serve drinks as well.
90 minutes before landing in Toronto a light meal was served. It included a vegetable cake, quinoa salad, and plain yogurt. I was still stuffed and just dipped the Madeleine in my yogurt. Is that a cultural faux pax?
My flight crew, on the young side for Air France, was very lovely and quite attentive. The meal service was slow…painfully slow if we had been flying the other direction…but worked well for me on this daytime service since I was well-rested.
I’ve heard so many complaints from clients about the pretentious service on Air France, but this has simply never been my experience and certainly wasn’t on this flight. Use the call button if you have to, but it will answered promptly and graciously.
Just plan for a potentially extended meal service.
IFE + Wi-Fi
Since I spent my layover in CDG in the sauna, I had work do to once we took off. Thankfully, Air France’s A350s are equipped with wi-fi onboard. A flight pass cost €18 (or €6/hour) which I found to be an acceptable price. Connecting was quite easy and unlike in first class, there was no free voucher for business class passengers.
Speeds were tepid, which is such a missed opportunity for a new aircraft, but I got done what needed to be done.
Air France has not changed its safety video in years, but it doesn’t need to. It remains one of my favorites due to its elegance.
Air France also offers an extensive IFE library with movies, TV shows, games, and a large audio library.
What I enjoyed most about the IFE was the tail camera, which I had tuned in for most of the flight.
Noise-cancelling headphones were waiting at each seat but collected prior to landing.
It took me some time to get used to the counterintuitive IFE remote, which includes something like a trackpad to move the on-screen cursor.
A comfort pack including slippers and socks were waiting at each seat.
Prior to takeoff, amenity kits were distributed that included a soft eyeshade, toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs, shoehorn, lens wipes, mint, and an Air France-branded pen. The kit also included hand and face cream from Clarins.
The little extras like the nice pen, mints, and screen/glasses wipe made this an above-average amenity kit.
Although there is one lavatory in the very front of the aircraft (indicated clearly by a sign in the front of the cabin and the seat map), the crew decided to reserve it for themselves. Thus, passengers were directed to the two lavatories in the rear of the business class cabin. Premium economy passengers also used them, so there was often a line. It felt like the forward lave should not have been reserved due to the crowding.
It seems so odd that brand new aircraft would still require ashtrays, but that remains an FAA requirement.
At one point while we were flying over Greenland I happened to look out the window. What stunning views…
We landed ahead of schedule on a bright but cold afternoon in Toronto. With the small annoyance of the blocked lavatory, this has been a phenomenal flight. The A350 hard product in business class is very comfortable on Air France and the soft product never disappoints. This one-way ticket remains my best ever use of 32,000 miles.
I enthusiastically recommend Air France for your transatlantic travel. Take the A350 if you can…it’s a great aircraft. Thanks for reading my Air France A350 business class review!
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Have you flown the Air France A350? How did you like it?