As you know AF is my favorite airline, and i've been a loyal AF flyer since the good old Concorde times, and a loyal KL flyer even long before.
And since the 2 airlines merged into Air France-KLM back in 2004, AF-KL is today the European leader here in the ASEAN region, with AF operating from CDG to SIN, CGK, KUL, BKK, SGN, and KL from AMS to SIN, DPS, KUL, CGK, BKK, MNL with own metal plus from CDG to HAN in code-share with SkyTeam partner Vietnam Airlines.
Singapore got the privilege of being the first country, and first AF destination to receive the new 4 cabins which have been conceived and designed with the passenger in mind, and reflecting the art of welcoming guests “a la francaise".
Featuring the new long-haul products and services, with the new La Premiere Suites, the new Business Class, and the new Premium Economy and Economy class cabins, Air France debuted on 29 September 2014 with the first fully fitted aircraft, a Boeing B777-300ER, flying the CDG/SIN/CGK route and back, with flight numbers AF254 and AF259.
I can imagine the question: why Singapore?
And the answer is quite simple: Singapore is the leading Asian business, trade and financial hub at the strategic core of the 10 economies of the ASEAN markets which are experiencing strong economic growth; Singapore is France's third major trading partner in Asia, and Singapore is home to over 600 French companies which have elected the Lion City as regional HQ.
For those of you more interested, or with an interest, in business and trade aspects, the following is the link to my column "Here's why Singapore is Air France's first destination for new luxury in-flight service" which has been published on the Singapore Business Review magazine on 22 Dec 2014, and offers a snapshot on the trade and FDI flows between France and Singapore: http://sbr.com.sg/aviation/commentar...ation-new-luxury-in-flight-service
Back to the flight experience, and showcasing a commitment to constant innovation and room for improvement, Air France did indeed raise the bar of the way of flying to the highest levels, with the B777 featuring 4 La Premiere Suites, 58 Business class seats, 28 Premium Economy class seats, and 206 Economy class seats ensuring optimal travel comfort and better in-flight entertainment while introducing a higher and unique level of luxury in the 2 premium cabins.
So last 3Nov evening, as first leg of a multi-city biz trip to Europe, I checked-in at Singapore-Changi airport, Terminal 1, for what I was expecting to be a great flying experience. And indeed it was.
flight: AF 259
route: SIN-CDG (Singapore-Changi to Paris-CDG)
cabin load: 56/58
schedule: dep. SIN at 1:05am - arr. CDG at 8:15 am (14 h 10')
Right after passing the quick and easy passport control via the automated Singapore residents area, I walked as usual to the Skyview lounge which is currently used by passengers of a mix of airlines: AF, KL, DL, CX, CI, PG and MK.
The lounge develops on 2 floors, with different seating and lounging areas, and offers several food display areas.
Time to board via gate D44
and the magnificent triple seven stands proudly waiting for the long flight to Paris.
Upon entenring the 777 I turned right to my seat 17A, window seat.
The new Air France Business Class cabin comprises 58 contemporary-designed seats displayed in a 1-2-1 layout reflecting the latest development of air travel conceived by AF around the concept of 3 "F":
- Full flat - the seat converts to a fully flat bed - for crossing time zones without fatigue;
- Full access - direct access to the aisle, regardless of the seat’s location in the cabin;
- Full privacy - a protected area through the seat’s enveloping curves, providing a true bubble of privacy in the sky
The seat is a cocoon, a delicately-curved seat designed around the passenger, portraying contemporary design and great attention to details: leather-covered armrests, topstitching following the contours of the headrest, an individual red-lined storage space, and the fixed padded shell holding the full seat ensuring full privacy.
The first impression is superb, amazingly private, stylish, nothing comparable to the classic older configuration and layout on the 777 at 2-3-2, although, i have to admit I do like, and a lot, the 2-2-2 configuration on the AF A380, but this is superb.
The seat turns into a real bed by stretching to a perfectly horizontal 1.96 m-long bed, with the addition of an ultra large XXL pillow blending feathers with down, and the 2-tone blue-meeting-ecru plush blanket (and I will find both pillow and blanket are neatly placed on the seat).
By the time I make myself comfortable and the f/a reaches me for a personal greeting right followed by another f/a handing the new amenity kit which is inspired by that given to passengers on the supersonic Concorde
and by the time i inspect the travel kit here comes the champagne: Deutz Brut Classic
Still on the ground and the next step is familiarising with the in-flight entertainment which comes with a hefty 16-inch HD screen with a huge collection of movies from classic to blockbusters, documentaries, tv programs, games and music, complemented by a remote control that also becomes a screen.
The point is that I only use the video for watching the flight progress as I do enjoy spending my flying time reading and relaxing.
and take off time
Right after taking off, and it's almost 1:30am in the middle of the night, the f/a comes along with the menu card.
The dining experience starts with a stylish tableware designed by Jean-Marie Massaud and continues with gourmet flavours of the highest quality prepared by Michelin-starred chefs of the caliber of Joël Robuchon, Régis Marcon, Michel Roth, Guy Martin, and Anne Sophie Pic.
The dinner selection for this flight offers the following temptations:
Duck foie gras with pear peach compote, oil marinated salmon and tomato over a spinach leaf
Choice of Main Course
Pan-seared fillet of beef with thyme sauce, chanterelle mushrooms cheese polenta, baby carrots
Linguine pasta with eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus cream sauce with shiitake mushrooms
Today's Suggestions: Roasted breast of duck with oyster sauce, boo choy, turned carrots, sesame rice
Our special Selection of Cheeses
Dessert: caramel dome
and from the wine list:
- Champagne: Deutz Brut classic
- Bourgogne Blanc: Chablis Domaine Sainte-claire 2011 Jean-Marc Brocard
- Vallee du Rhone Rouge: Cairanne Peyre Blanche 2010 Perrin et Fils
- Bordeaux Rouge: Lalande de Pomerol Chateau Siaurac 2008
so here we go, and my selection goes for the beef filet accompanied by the red Bordeaux
as you can see I do like foie gras
and next is the beef filet, deliciously tender and I accompany it with blackcurrant Dijon mustard
then cheese and a sweet side before a good Italian espresso coffee
and time to extend the bed full size and get some sleep
but as usual I wake up over India
so a short walk to the bar area
and time for a movie from the video selection, and will watch X-Men days of future past
already over Europe, the sun is rising and it's breakfast time as they are preparing the carts in the galley
The breakfast selection include:
Fruit juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate
Fresh fruit salad
Fresh bakery selection, breakfast pastries, butter and preserves
and a choice of entree between:
Scrambled egg crepes, sauteed potatoes, grilled tomato, chicken sausage
Assortments of cold cuts and cheese
French toast with figs and apples
and my choice goes for the scrambled eggs
Over 13 hours really flew away smoothly for the touch down at Paris-CDG
and welcome back to la ville Lumiere.
Well, overall excellent flight, outstanding seat, great comfort, great food presentation with great quality in terms of taste, and I can conclude by saying I truly experienced and enjoyed the French style of welcoming guests on board "a-la-francaise".
Hope you are enjoying this trip report, and until the next one, I wish all the best to you all.