I was on a short business trip in Atlanta and in order to save some time, I decided to take the late AF flight to CDG in order to get home one day earlier. When I got to Hartsfield Airport at 19.30, I automatically headed to South Terminal where Delta check-in is located but I could not see any AF counters there. When I asked the agent at BusinessElite counter, she advised me that AF check-in is in North Terminal. The counters were located in the other end of the terminal so I got some much needed exercise on the way there. There was two lines, one for the Premium cabins and one for the main cabin.There were five counters open for this flight but surprisingly, the check-in agents called passengers from the coach line to four counters and only one counter handled passengers in premium cabins...weird! Well, the waiting time was max 6-7 minutes so it was okay. The gentlemen at the check-in was very effective and I got my bag checked in and received my boarding pass in less than one minute!
Route: Atlanta, ATL to Paris, CDG
Airline: Air France
Flight number: AF307
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 10E, Business Class
STD:21.30, ATD: 22.00
STA:11.50, ATA: 12.05
Date: Wednesday 13th of September
Security was really quick and I headed directly to E-concourse. The flight had just arrived from Paris as I went to gate E-14. I observed the ramp functions and saw nothing unusual. I also tried to see inside the aircraft through the windows in order to determine if this ship would already be equipped with the new Business Class seat but of course I could not see anything. I spent the rest of the time by listening my Ipod and reading.
The boarding started slightly past 9pm. Families with children and people who needed some extra time were boarded first. After that they started to board Premium cabins and I was one of the first passengers to board the Business Class. When I got in the aircraft, I was very disappointed to see that it was equipped with the old seat. After flying in to ATL in Delta's BusinessElite, this felt like return to the 90's. Also, the pillow was really,really tiny. My coat was taken quickly from me with a smile. One thing that I also find bad on AF is that they still have middle seats in the Business Class. Well, I guess they must have some difference between the C and F classes..! The Business Class cabin was completely full, the last two passengers being the AF gate agent and her daughter who were seated next to me. There was some discrepancy with the seating since the flight attendants were running back and forth to row 11 and checking the boarding passes.
Leg space...or lack of it!
Finally everybody got on and the door was closed. The flight attendants were offering hot towels already when we were still at the gate. Pre-take off champagne and oj was also offered. Each seat had amenity kit with shoe bag which was very nice, I used it immediately. There was also a bottle of water. The flight attendants were distributing the menus while we were taxing to the runway. The menu for tonight was following:
Choice of Hors d'Oeuvre
Duck foie gras complemented by onion compote and balsamic vinegar
Scallops, tapenade and sun-dried tomatoes
Choice of Main Courses
Grilled tournedos of beef with mushroom cream sauce, broccoli, baby carrots and mashed potatoes
Fillet of halibut meuniere with mustard seed butter, carrots and risotto with asparagus
Plat du jour: Sauteed breast of duck with cranberries
Our Special Selection of Cheese
Assortment of Desserts
Apricot clafouti, breton vanilla rasberry cake, sherbet served with cookies, choice of fresh fruit
Espresso is served at our bar Espace
Take off was very smooth and powerful, as 777 take offs usually are. The pilot informed that the flying time tonight will be 7h 45min. For some reason my back was hurting already at this point...I just could not find a comfortable position in the seat. The inflight entertainment started as soon as we reached the cruising altitude. Each seat is equipped with noise canceling headphones which are really nice. I decided to watch one movie, "Transamerica". The movie was ok, but the was something wrong with the sound as every 30 seconds the sound was muted for few seconds. I still managed to watch the complete movie.
The dinner service started at this time. AF is still using the trolley service with trays and no individual settings for each passenger like Delta. The service flow was really smooth and the flight attendants on my aisle were very attentive and polite. Maybe the fact that I was using my limited French helped...! I chose the scallops and duck from the menu, both were excellent and nicely presented. Had some nice chablis with them. For some reason there was no mention about the chablis in the wine list. The dessert cart was really nice, I opted mango sherbet and rasberry cake, both were excellent.
After dinner, the person in front of me reclined his seat and I felt really cramped as there was no space to my feet ( I am quite tall, 185cm/6'1). I was scared that I can not sleep because of the lack of space but luckily I did slept very well, even though the uncomfortable circumstances. I woke up approximately 1h30min before arrival when the breakfast service started. The breakfast menu was:
Orange juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate
Fresh fruit, yogurt
Fresh bakery selection, breakfast pastries, butter and preserves
Choice of Main Courses
Tomato omelette and bacon
Pancake served with mascarpone cheese, maple syrup and grilled pineapple.
Pancakes for breakfast
I chose the pancakes, excellent choice. Hot towels were distributed and then the flight started its approach to CDG. The landing was smooth and the taxi to the gate was quite fast. In the immigration there was a huge line but then they opened one extra line for the EU passport holders, so I was in the baggage hall in less than two minutes. I waited my bag approximately 20 minutes before heading out to D terminal for my connection.
Verdict of the flight:
AF strong-points are definitely the high quality meals that they offer. Also, their flight attendants were really nice and professional, great service with smile. The biggest minus is definitely the old seat and the lack of personal space. Some other minor details are also very 90's. Hopefully all this is fixed when the new seats are rolled out to all 777 fleet.
I hope you have enjoyed my report.