Ulysse
Topic Author
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 pm

AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:22 am

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]
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davescj
Posts: 1105
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:46 am

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:14 am

Interesting observations! Thanks for writing a TR that shows a spectrum of AF experiences!
Can I have a mojito on this flight?
 
B747forever
Posts: 12855
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 9:50 pm

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:02 pm

Really interesting TR

The pics are really good. You should take some pics on the a/c.

Quoting Ulysse (Thread starter):
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

So if I am taking AF to LAX next summer it is a risk that the IFE doesn't work?? Maybe I wont take them therefore.
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 21027
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:00 pm

Nice TR . Regarding the IFE my colleague flew CDG-PEK last week and said her IFE was bust also. Seems to be a regular problem.


OA260
 
Siege2L
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:59 pm

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:18 am

Bienvenue Ulysse!!!

Your English is far superior to my French, so it is indicated that your apology is not necessary  Smile

I am also Flying Blue Platinum and I agree there are a few inconsistencies within the AF network... for example, premium pax use NW World Club at my home airport, LAX, and it makes me wish AF opens a Salon L'espace instead! I am quite fortunate in all of my flying with AF, I have NEVER EXPERIENCED IFE that was not working, so to each, his own. The meals are nicer on CityJet as I take this flight CDG - DUB v.v. and the catering is much improved. As far as seat, I prefer the L'Espace 127 seat over the L'Espace Affaires seat and the L'Espace Premiere seat over the L'Espace 180 seat.

Will you try the new CRJ-1000 when AF starts them in service??? I am interested to try this a/c. AF is offering a new amenity kit in the coming season... I wonder what goodies are inside!!!

Overall, very nice Trip Report. I look forward to reading more!

Cordialement,
Siege 2L  Smile
Flying higher than over your dreams...
 
icarus75
Posts: 751
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RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:28 pm

Quoting OA260 (Reply 3):
Regarding the IFE my colleague flew CDG-PEK last week and said her IFE was bust also. Seems to be a regular problem.

Flown CDG-ORD on AF343 and the IFE was not working too!
It was not a problem for me as I prefer to read, listen to music or chat with my partner.
I was just a little surprised as nobody complained.
Flying is amazing!
 
Ulysse
Topic Author
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 pm

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:51 pm

Quoting B747forever (Reply 2):

I'm not sure you need to cancel your trip... It also depends on your travel class. The breakdowns usually concern only J and P class. It happens of course in Y as well, but it is really less recurrent...

All in all, the best carrier to my view to go to LAX is LX...

[Edited 2007-11-05 12:52:13]
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Ulysse
Topic Author
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 pm

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:09 pm

Quoting Siege2L (Reply 4):
As far as seat, I prefer the L'Espace 127 seat over the L'Espace Affaires seat and the L'Espace Premiere seat over the L'Espace 180 seat.

Thank you for your welcome Siege2L,  

I do prefer as well l'Espace 127 seats, which offered less legroom but were definitely more comfy ! Nevertheless, the design of the new NTC l'Espace Première seems to be far better than the l'Espace 180 one... The catering was at that period (when Christian Blanc was the CEO) of a higher level...

Quoting Siege2L (Reply 4):
Will you try the new CRJ-1000 when AF starts them in service???

I will try to experience it as soon as it is launched... By the way, I'm eager to see the NTC seats in the 388... Will it be at the level of SQ ? Let's dream a bit...  

Quoting Siege2L (Reply 4):
Overall, very nice Trip Report. I look forward to reading more!

If you speak a bit French, here are proposed some other personal trips reports (with pics) in French in my blog. Besides, pics are better quality than here :

www.airlines.travelblog.fr

Cordiales salutations,
Ulysse.  

[Edited 2007-11-05 13:32:31]
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co777er
Posts: 391
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 6:56 am

RE: AF Business & First Class, Many Flights With Pics

Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:34 pm

Great Trip Report, and fantastic pictures!

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