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Review of Air France business class on a Boeing 777-300ER (Part 2)

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This is part two of my review of Air France business class, flying a Boeing 777-300ER from Paris to Dubai.

As regular Head for Points readers will know, Air France and KLM will become Virgin Flying Club partner during 2019.  I thought it was worth giving Air France a try to see what it offers if you choose to redeem your Virgin Atlantic miles with them.

Part 1 of this review, covering the Air France Boeing 777-300ER business class seat, is here.

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

Air France business class food and drink

Before take-off I was given a glass of Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut champagne.  This is not a brand I was aware of – it sells for around £35 in the UK.

Air France works with Anne-Sophie Pic on selected food items.  Pic runs the acclaimed restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel at Tower Hill and is the only female chef with three Michelin stars.

It is worth noting at this point that I have seen comments online that Air France adjusts its food quality depending on the route.  The implication is that competition from Emirates and Etihad to the Middle East means that it operates at a higher level than you might find elsewhere.

First up was this appetizer, described as ‘anchovy pie with a twist’.  It was tasty but confusing, and definitely lacking in pie!

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

The main meal was served on a plastic tray which will always give a bad first impression.  It never feels as classy.  What see you below is salmon marinated in mandarin orange, fregola pasta salad and pickled butternut squash, served with a mixed green salad with toasted pine nuts.

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

Air France does do excellent bread, perhaps unsurprisingly, although when I was offered a 2nd roll they had a bit of a panic when I asked for a 2nd tube of – very smart looking – butter!

There were four choices of main.  You can also pre-order a different main if you wish from a selection online.  The options were:

tender beef and a variation of carrots

cumin chicken, sherry sauce with mustard, served with tumeric couscous and honeyed carrots

poached pollack with curry and coconut sauce, camargue rice

mildly spiced creamy lentils, variation of beets

The last two are ‘suggested by Anne-Sophie Pic’.  I went with the chicken, however:

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

I admit that this doesn’t look too great in the photo, but it was very well put together by someone who understood how to mix flavours and textures that work well at altitude.

Dessert was listed as ‘lemon choux pastry puff, raspberry dome, Valronha tatin chocolate amuse bouhce’. I thought there were three options, but it was actually one plate:

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

with the alternative being a fruit salad.

There was also a cheese course which I passed on.

Before landing there was a fairly uneventful light snack of a wrap.  They could have done more with this:

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

Air France IFE

Regular HFP readers will know that I am not an fan of IFE.  My idea of a good flight is to collect together all of the magazines that are sitting around my house unread and to plough through them in one multi-hour session!

For research purposes I did try out the IFE.  The English-language selection was weak – not surprising, given that I imagine a large percentage of Air France flights are between two non-English speaking countries – but the TV was a decent size given that it is fairly close to your face.

The TV is angled away from you when stowed, as you can see below, but pops out on a hinge when you want to watch:

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

The headphones were good with one quirk – they seemed to be hard-wired into the red storage cupboard next to the seat.  There was also a small screen on the remote control for anyone who wanted to watch on that instead:

Air France business class review Paris Dubai

Air France business class – the conclusion

I enjoyed my Air France business class flight.  The seat size and privacy, combined with the high quality food, made the seven hour flight time whizz by.

Apart from the lack of wi-fi, the only downside was the decision by the crew to turn off the cabin lighting for much of what was a day flight.

As I wrote in Part 1, the problem with Air France business class is that only 51 of its 101 long haul aircraft have this fully flat, aisle access seat.  I think I would struggle to recommend the ‘angled lie flat, 2 x 2 x 2’ version found elsewhere, especially as you need to change in Paris as well.

Air France and KLM – I hope to try KLM soon too – will be a great addition to Virgin Flying Club when they are available for redemptions later in 2019.  We can only hope that the mileage and taxes required are reasonable, because this has the potential to be a game changer for Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer programme.

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards

How to earn Flying Blue miles from UK credit cards (October 2022)

Air France and KLM do not have a UK Flying Blue credit card.  However, you can earn Flying Blue miles by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

These cards earn Membership Rewards points:

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 into Flying Blue miles which is an attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 1 Flying Blue mile. The Gold card earns double points (2 per £1) on all flights you charge to it.

Comments (32)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nick_C says:

    Oh and the headphones on BA1 were very impressive. Wireless, and with a nice feature where you just slide your finger up and down on the earpiece to adjust the volume, and tap it to turn noise cancelling on or off – very useful to be able to talk to the cabin crew without removing the headset. Unfortunately, mine died on me after 5 minutes. After having the same problem with three pairs, I worked out how to connect my micro USB cable to power them.

    So maybe hard wired headphones are the way to go!

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Spent about half an hour trying to make mine work then gave up and used my own.

      And I would remove the ‘phones anyway when talking to someone noise cancellation or not… Manners, innit?

    • Brian says:

      So not terribly impressive, then… :))

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        Well, neither was the terrible, terrible seat to be fair and the veggie meal (pasta in red stuff that looks like it was once tomatoes) was identical to the meal served on the flight back on Norwegian.. Do&Co sushi wasnt bad though.

        But the service otherwise was excellent and I think BA1 should be one everyone’s bucket list.

        Just not on a day with the ferocious winds we had on approach to JFK, crabbing is one thing, flying sideways quite another on the tiny little plane. Was genuinely scared, not been scared since my only experience with Wizz which is a whole other story.

      • Nick_C says:

        The headphones are impressive, if only the ground services team ensured they were fully charged. I seriously thought about buying some. Think these are the ones:-

        I loved the seat on the baby bus. Having an empty seat next to me probably helped.

        The service was outstanding, as you would expect for 1 FA for 7 passengers on a typically lightly loaded flight. I read a review of someone flying eastbound who said only 3 passengers were having dinner on board (sensibly), and they got one to one service.

        The veggie sushi on the way to SNN was delicious. The steak so-so, and not very hot.

        Being a bit of a geek I like a bit of turbulence, and you really feel the thrust when you are pushed back into your seat when taking off from LCY. Looking forward to doing it again in May.

  • Oh Matron! says:

    Am I the only one saddened to be so far away from the window?

    Virgin also turned the lights off LHR-SFO last week in UC during the day. I was sat in the middle and found it bloody difficult to stay awake.

    • Nick_C says:

      I took the 16:10 BA flight to LAX the year before last. Arrives LAX 19:20 (03:20). Cabin crew dimmed the lights about 3½ hours in. I think a lot of people like to nap on a long flight. Helps to cope with the 29/32 hour day when flying west. Particularly after a good meal and a few drinks!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        That’s sounds about right though? 7-8pm origin time the lights dim.

        Tbh not something that’s really bothered me usually lots of light from the IFE

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