6 Reasons Air France La Premiere Is Simply Fantastique

I flew Air France’s first class from Paris to Houston on Friday, and figured I’d report back with some initial thoughts. However, this time around I’ll be structuring my initial post a bit differently, given how exceptional the flight was.

I’ve flown Air France’s A380 first class before, but had never flown Air France’s 777-300ER first class product, which features their new seats. I have experienced Air France’s first class lounge in Paris before as well, and I find the overall Paris ground experience to be the best offered by any airline in the world.

My flight from Paris to Houston was one of my best flights ever. I was the only person in first class, so having a private cabin no doubt contributed to the quality of the flight. However, even if the cabin were full I’m confident this would have been a top notch flight.

So here are six things that make Air France’s 777 La Premiere product industry leading:

Unrivaled chicness

In my opinion Air France’s 777 La Premiere cabin is the world’s chicest and most stunning cabin. Seriously, is there a more elegant cabin than this?

I don’t even think pictures do this product justice. Talk about understated elegance at its finest.

But I guess Air France’s chicness shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, this is the airline that advises passengers in their safety video that “a non smoking flight is simply chic,” and that seatbelts will “elegantly highlight your waistline.” 😉

The only fully private first class seat in the sky

Part of what intrigued me about Air France’s new first class is that they decided to use curtains rather than the doors you’ll find on other airlines. Don’t get me wrong, I love airplane suites with doors. However, fully enclosed suites have two downsides — there’s not actually that much privacy, since anyone can look over them, and they can feel claustrophobic.

Air France’s use of curtains in first class is brilliant. If you want privacy, you have the world’s most private first class cabin. Not only can the curtains be “drawn” all the way, but they even have magnets so that they automatically stay shut.

But beyond that the curtains give you so much flexibility. You can use them not at all or completely, depending on what you prefer. I will say, it is sort of funny to walk through the cabin when the curtains are all closed — it almost looks like a hospital. Fortunately you don’t have that feeling from inside the suite.

Incredible catering

This was the best food I’ve had on a plane, bar none. Hell, this might be the best meal I’ve had anywhere.

Service began with caviar and Krug.

That was followed by a cream of asparagus soup, which may have been the best soup I’ve had on a plane. It was incredibly flavorful and had a kick to it.

That was followed by lobster with coriander juice. Yum.

For the main course I ordered the pan-seared filet of beef on a slice of tangy eggplant and avocado. This dish may not look amazing, but it’s the single best steak I’ve had on a plane. The beef was cooked a perfect medium rare, and basically melted on my tongue. The side dish complemented it beautifully as well. Incredible.

Then there was a salad with flaked cod, smoked salmon, green asparagus spears, etc.

And a cheese course…

And a dessert of lychee and strawberry ice cream with berries.

What a meal!

Top notch bedding

After my 23 course meal I needed a nap, and Air France’s La Premiere bed didn’t disappoint either. They use a fabulously thick mattress pad, and high quality sheets. I’d say Air France has among the top five bedding of any airline. The curtains also contributed to the cozy feeling of the bed.

The world’s best ground experience

There are lots of airlines with great onboard products, but then they drop the ball when it comes to the ground experience. Air France doesn’t. They pick you up at your inbound flight, drive you to your connecting flight, and it’s all done with such ease.

The La Premiere Lounge in Paris has a spa, incredible restaurant, and is elegant.

French confidence

I can sometimes be critical of service in France, though on the high end I think French service is among the best in the world. There’s a certain confidence to the service you sometimes get in France that can’t help but impress.

The flight attendant taking care of me, Sandy, was a gem. She was attentive without being overbearing and confident without being arrogant. Sometimes service can be awkward if you’re the only passenger in the cabin, but Sandy did a phenomenal job.

Bottom line

My flight in La Premiere was incredible. I’ll have a full trip report soon, and will also soon be releasing my rankings of the world’s top first class products, given that I’ve flown just about all the world’s best products now. It’s going to be tough to decide which airline is number one, but Air France’s La Premiere is certainly a contender.

Comments

  1. Ben, I think you may need to sort out a rank between those premier classes you’ve flown. Each and everytime you said “the best” might be confusing…..

  2. Do you have the salad and the beef out of order in your pictures? I would have thought the salad would come before the beef?

  3. They also have beautiful La Première branded dishware :). My experience back in January was on par with yours, I hope I get to fly it again someday!

  4. the cabin would’ve looked amazing without the curtains. Curtains just make the cabin look cheap.

    the food on the other hand – looks yummy!!

  5. Funny to see Air France using a Jaguar for their airside transfer, would have thought it would be a Renault/Citroen etc.

  6. I knew you would have an amazing flight!

    Air France bedding is provided by Sofitel. The seat/bed looks incredibly comfortable and definitely wider than LH F.

    Ben, given how much you appreciated this meal and appreciate fine French service in general, I really do think you should go to one of the 3 Michelin star restaurants in Paris. I would recommend Epicure or Le Cinq for lunch. I am confident you will LOVE it.

  7. @ Bgriff — Nope, it was served after the main course, which isn’t too unusual in France.

  8. Any service on the Houston side ? I know in SIN for example they cart you from your gate to immigration.

  9. @ mangoceviche — I see where you’re coming from, but there would be very little privacy between seats if they did that. So I think the way they do it is a good compromise.

  10. @ Tony — I was greeted at the door and escorted through immigration by a really friendly guy, not that there’s much time savings to be had if you have Global Entry.

  11. @Liam He used miles.

    @Bradders Air France uses SIXT cars. Last time I had BMWs. I only did the A380 SFO/CDG/SFO before, but I really want to do the new 777 seat now!

    @Lucky Was the salad bowl chipped at 11 o’clock or was it just reflection.

  12. @ BrooklynBoy — Didn’t realize the bedding was from Sofitel, thanks for the heads up! I’ll have to give a Michelin 3-star restaurant a try at some point.

  13. Sounds amazing – I read this site almost everyday and I’m really looking forward to the full review!

  14. Yes, if you ate at a few top restaurants in Paris, your food reviews would be more believable. It just isn’t possible for the best meal around to be cooked in an airline galley, and the comment makes me doubt the review.

    Le Cinq is a great recommendation. Arpege in Paris is also phenomenal, that’s where I’ve had my best ever meal. L’Astrance is another.

  15. Finally!!! A review and a perfect product from a non-Middle East airline; with all due respect, I was getting a bit sick of you praising the Middle Eastern, specially since I refuse to fly them! Cheers!

  16. Great writeup Lucky. I think AF F on the 777 + ground experience = world best. Nobody is even close on the ground service except LH imo, though I haven’t flown on the ME3 so can’t comment.

    What did you think of the pajamas? They were a real delight imo – I still wear mine and love how stylish it is.

  17. Lucky- How many flights did it take for you to earn elite status with Air France? Did you Credit Skyteam flights to Air France?

    Was it earned through elite miles or 15 qualifying flights?

    Thanks and that product looks great!

  18. Air France is only one of a few Airlines who transport Live Animals in the hold of the Plane.

    Whilst unsuspecting Passengers maybe enjoying the finer things in life.

    The Animals in the Hold are destined to a Life of Pain and Ultimately death.

    This is at the hands of companies who carry out senseless experiments on them.

    I think I will pass on Air France unless they change their policy on Animal Welfare.

  19. Lucky from your pictures I can see the seat has a privacy dividier of sorts did that do anything or add any privacy?

  20. hi ben. small suggestion, maybe you could mix it up a bit with the pictures you post in the teasers? Like instead of having sequential pictures like drinks, starters, mains, cheese, dessert, bed, maybe be more random. would be more of a teaser that way

  21. Cant wait for a post of top 5 or top 10 best First Class products, best Business Class products, and best Airport Lounges!!!!!!

  22. Lucky,
    Aren’t you required to have top status on AF to redeem for “LA Premiere?”

  23. @GT Traveller

    Honestly do you think anyone cares that you refuse to fly the ME3, and for your America centric views?
    SQ, LH, LX, JL, NH and AF all have wonderful F cabins just like EY, EK and QR, but to separate them as if it’s a different measure is ridiculous.

  24. Very nice. Thank you for the post. I enjoyed it very much- along with all the replies.

  25. Agree. I know it sounds odd but I think La Premiere doesn’t even look like the inside of an airliner cabin. There’s something about the design choices I can’t explain.

  26. On the subject of carrying small dogs in the cabin on Air France, we were told that they are not allowed in First or Business class but they are allowed in Economy. We changed our booking accordingly. Lucky, do you know the reason for this ?

  27. @ Lucky A great example of the vicarious thrills your blog offers. I’m unlikely to get to try this, but it was great reading about it!

    A typo: “mot private” > most private

  28. Damn son. Sounds like this was even better than the Etihad Residence. Life is full of surprises.

  29. Dear Ben:

    I am platinum of Air France and have flown the 777 First a number to times when I have been upgraded (bumped up) from Business. I agree with you assessment. It is a superior first class product and I too think the curtained seats rather than the partitions is much more private and comfortable.

    You did forget to mention the elegant and wonderful Air France flight attendants… I love French women.

    D

  30. @ NRgolbal — I’m not 100% sure, but I believe it may have to do with the types of seats they have. For Air France’s first & business class seats, you can’t store anything underneath the seat in front of you, which I believe is where I believe dogs would have to be placed. Without that, there’s nowhere for them to “safely” by placed.

  31. @ Morgan — Yep, there is indeed a privacy partition that’s similar to what you’ll find in Lufthansa first class. I had the cabin all to myself so wasn’t that necessary, but could definitely add some privacy, especially if you don’t want to use the curtains. Otherwise the cabin is totally exposed, so I imagine if I were in Air France first and there were other passengers, I’d put it up right after takeoff.

  32. @ Sam — 25,000 elite qualifying miles is how I earned it. Actually sort of a funny story. I tried to credit my Garuda Indonesia first class flights to Korean Air SkyPass last year, but the miles never posted. So I credited them to FlyingBlue instead, and that roundtrip was just barely enough to earn Silver status with FlyingBlue.

  33. @ Rowyourboat — Hands down the most stylish pajamas I’ve ever been given on a plane. Totally agree.

  34. Thanks for this, it looks fantastic. My wife and I have been wanting to try the new La Premiere for some time. The iah > cdg route is not year round, correct? And what other routes does AF fly this new cabin on to/from the US?

  35. Were you on one of the few Air France 777s with WIFI? If you did have wifi did they give it free for first class?

  36. @ K3
    I´m not American, FYI 🙂 My nickname should give you a hint as to where I´m from: cheers!

  37. @Lucky It would seem the curtains in first are fine unless you are in the middle seats in which case if the aisle seat passengers closed the curtains, you would be in a dark chamber, albeit with fine cuisine.

    Highly recommend Epicure. Three star restaurants are more reasonable for lunch.

    @bgriff In France, salad typically comes after the main course.

  38. Not a complaint, but a chuckle:

    “Sometimes service can be awkward if you’re the only passenger in the cabin”

    I so agree 😉 Winner of the first world problems competition!

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