Good morning everybody,
I've been reading this interesting website since several months, and I decided to register today to share my airline experiences with you. I am a French member who is keen on all what is related to airlines, as numerous people here. So I would like first to apologize if a make some English mistakes.
I do travel quite often, especially on Swiss-Lufthansa (Miles and More Frequent Traveller), and Air France (Flying Blue Platinum), and must admit that I'm in a general way quite disappointed by my own flag carrier; particularly in l'Espace Affaires and l'Espace Première.
Let's go now straight to the point. Here are presented four trip reports, that summarize for me in such a way the AF experience :
1) One medium-haul in C : CMN-CDG => 18/08/07, A320
2) One long-haul in P : CDG-CAI => 18/08/07, B772
3) One long-haul in J : CAI-CDG => 22/08/07, A332
4) One short-haul in C : CDG-ZRH => 22/08/2007, 142
1. CMN-CDG : l'Espace Affaires
LOUNGE : quite small lounge belonging to AT, but very tastily furnished, and providing a refined and delicious catering. A traditional Moroccan breakfast was proposed as well, as you can see hereunder.
Mark : 8/10
SEAT : This is a typical Economy seat, with no extra legroom and recline, and exactly the Y pitch. A daylight robbery. It is true that LH and LX have the same layout 2-2 and the central seat neutralized, but I do not like it either. Let's say that for one hour flight, it is clearly bearable, but for three hours, it doesn't deserve to be called Business Class.
This could be partially forgiven if the catering was better, which was not the case, as you will notice.
Mark : 04/10
CATERING : It is a total shame to provide such a poor catering in Business Class. Whereas most of the companies provide crockery porcelain in C, AF solely gives its passengers these pathetic plastic dishes. The apple crêpe was awful and not cooked enough, and the orange salad with cinnamon sharp and icy. The bread was totally rubber, and the whole breakfast not edible. Very disappointing !
Unfortunately, this kind of experience is recurrent on AF Medium-haul flight in C. Nothing to do with AT or LH which offer on the same route a good and tasty catering.
Mark : 02,5/10
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS SERVICE : This is for me one of the most irregular items on Air France. You can find very friendly and attentive crew on some flights, and arrogant and grumpy ones on other flights. Unluckily, that was the second category which was prevalent in this flight. No smile, a mechanic and non-enthusiastic "bonjour", and all of them gave the impression to be fed up with being here. Furthermore, it is worth highlighting that you never have the feeling to be a Premium Passenger on AF medium-haul flights on C.
Mark : 03/10
AVERAGE RATING : 4,5/10
2. CDG-CAI : l'Espace Première
LOUNGE : my flight from Casablanca was quite delayed, so I couldn't visit the Air France new l'Espace Première lounge in terminal 2E. I was able, however to visit it later in another P flight.
Mark : none
SEAT : It is for me one of the best First Class seats in the industry. I once experienced the new SQ first Class seat, and several times the QR one, and AF has (when there is no breakdown) an excellent product. The bed is pretty comfy to sleep.
Mark : 8,5/10
CATERING : the food was gustatory speaking quite good, but not at the level of a First Class flight. There is a huge discrepancy between the AF ads which underscore the French "Art de vivre", Guy Martin, le Grand Véfour, etc. And the real product which is very trivial. The lobster and the filet of beef were everyday fare, but the desserts and sherbets were delicious. The wine list was a joke ! SQ and QR offer better wines in Business Class. The Saint-Estèphe Château Phélan Ségur 2004 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel X. Gardinier was at best a J-Class wine. Not acceptable for a French Airline.
Mark : 06/10
IFE : To be honest, I am quite angry since it must be about the 20th time in four years that the IFE is out of service in Air France flights. I don't understand why AF doesn't sack Rockwell and replaces it by a more serious service provider. No sooner had the plane taken off, than the PTV broke down and I couldn't carry on with my film until the end.
Mark : 1/10
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS SERVICE : the welcome was good, without being exceptional. Just after the take off, the very friendly Chef de Cabine Principal (chief purser) introduced himself to us, and gave us the menus. Not only was the FA in charge on P cabin smiling and obliging, but she was anticipating our requests as well. An appreciable mix between courtesy and discretion. As you can see in pictures, she kindly offered me numerous sweetmeats and desserts.
Mark : 8,5/20
AVERAGE RATING : 6/10
3. CAI-CDG : l'Espace Affaires.
LOUNGE : This is the only AF lounge in the world (except JFK) where I could find a fair catering. Small and tasty sandwiches were proposed, some omelettes and cereals as well. As you can see, the seats are quite nice and have nothing to do with the terminal 2A/2F ones for instance.
Mark : 07/10
SEAT : I know quite well this product, and as it has already been said, the cabin is beautiful and gives you a real feeling of privacy. However, it is the worst J-class seat I've ever experienced. It is impossible to get comfortable, and the incline makes you lie down to the floor all the night. Besides, the pillow seat prevents you from staying in a "normal" sleeping position.
AF has launched a third version of NTC seats, but they were not available on this flight.
Mark : 03,5/10
CATERING : To my view, the service was not efficient since we were first served three small sandwiches accompanied with a selection of beverages. It took one hour. Then, an hour and half before landing, the hot breakfast was proposed. We consequently had only 1 hour and thirty minutes to have a small rest.
I think that it would have been better for everybody to have an express and hot meal just after the take off, ant to keep free the remaining time for the convenience of everyone (working, sleeping, etc.). As far as the meal is concerned, it consisted of a choice of an omelette with sausages (what I chose) / pancakes with banana (what my friend chose). Both the dishes were quite good and tasty; which was not the case last year on the same route. Meanwhile, the croissants were not edible and I didn't like the way they were offered (no plate to put them in).
Mark : 06/10
IFE : Fortunately I was too tired at that time to see a movie, as my PTV was again broke down ! As there were 14 other PTV on that flight. Many resets were made, vainly. I didn't appreciate the way the Chief Purser behaved. Instead of being apologetic, she dryly said that she would make a report, and that the problem was also recurrent on LH and BA flights (they call it "argumentation positive"). What a cheek !
Mark : 00/10
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS SERVICE : As I mentioned, the Chief Purser was rude and unhelpful. Unlike the FA in charge of J-cabin who was more smiling and pleasant. Though the service remained quite standard. To put it in a nutshell, the "Premium culture" as a whole needs absolutely to be improved on Air France flights, since you are almost treated in l'Espace Affaires the same way you are in Tempo.
Mark : 5/10
AVERAGE RATING : 4,5/10
4.CDG-ZRH : l'Espace Affaires (CityJet)
LOUNGE : 2F lounge, overcrowded in the morning, old seats, very poor catering : solely some croissants. Nothing gives you the impression to be in a Premium lounge. A dramatic improvement is to be noticed in the 2C terminal lounge, which has been totally refurbished. Let's hope that I will be the case for the 2F one, which is one of the most frequented ones.
Mark : 03,5/10
SEAT : typical and very small Economy seat. Central seat is even not neutralized. So what is the difference with Economy Class ?
Mark : 01/10
CATERING : I was delighted to have such a nice meal for this short flight, even if it is not at the level of LH/LX. A tasty foie gras and a chicken/vegetables salad. Let's remember that CityJet flights offer their passengers an "improved" service (exactly the same meal is proposed in C-Class for CDG-TUN/CDG-SOF/CDG-OTP for instance). Whereas C-Class meals on Air France metal are often insipid, CityJet ones are quite satisfactory.
However, this raises the question of services harmonization and brand image on Air France flights. Is it logical to be served in Economy Class for CDG-ZRH / CDG-LCY the same meal offered in Business Class on CDG-GVA / CDG-LHR ?
Regarding the First Class service, is it logical to have the same China in P-Class and J-Class ? AF should seriously better apprehend these questions, which seem secondary, but can really make the difference between an excellent airline, and an average one.
Mark : 06/10
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS SERVICE : Both the Chief purser and the FA were thoughtful and smiling. They were continually eager to do their best to satisfy their passengers.
Mark : 08/10
AVERAGE RATING : 4,7/10
All the pics are here : http://s227.photobucket.com/albums/dd9/Ulysse_album/
Thank you for you attention and have a nice day !
[Edited 2007-11-03 18:24:28]
[Edited 2007-11-03 18:31:29]
[Edited 2007-11-03 18:33:03]