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Old Jan 26, 11, 7:24 am   #1
 
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AF TATL Service in BE

Just booked an award tix out of JFK to CDG. The flights are on a 340 to CDG and a 777 coming back. I was wondering about what to expect for service/meals on these flights? I did a search and found some older comments (09) and it looks like most people preferred DL over AF. I took DL over last year and was very pleased with the amenities. Anyway any comment s would be appreciated.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 8:12 am   #2
 
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I have flown TATL Business 6 times in the last year, 2X on DL, 1X on KLM and 3X on AF. All things being equal (fare and schedule) I would choose AF. There is not a big difference in service, meal and seat IMO (unless you get one of DL's old recliner seat 767s ). I know it is true that others prefer DL over AF, but it seems that preference is often times based on a one time "off" experience with AF, which you can have with any airline. The only negative I have about AF is baggage allowance 50lbs vs 70lbs for DL. Twice I had to pay for bags that weighed 53 or 54 lbs on AF when they would have gone for free on DL. AF was still cheaper, with better food, better seats, better schedule and equal service and AVOD -- at least for me on flights to CDG and connecting onward to Europe.

Last edited by PHXphrequentPHLYER; Jan 26, 11 at 8:16 am. Reason: grammar
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Old Jan 26, 11, 8:51 am   #3
 
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I flew AF JFK-CDG-JFK last summer and did full trip reports with pictures which should give you a good idea of what to expect. Overall it was decent, though I found their angled lie flats to be a bit uncomfortable. I definitely enjoyed the day flight better.

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Old Jan 26, 11, 9:00 am   #4
 
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I did IAD-CDG in Affairs 3 times last year. The service is fine and they treat you very well at the airport and on board. In all of my trips the cabin was extremely warm though which made sleep almost impossible. The meals ranged from decent to excellent. I did JFK-VCE in BE on DL and would give it the edge over AF but AF in business is still a great trip. Enjoy!
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Old Jan 26, 11, 9:59 am   #5
 
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I've always enjoyed my AF experiences. I have always had the 777, not the 340. I found the seating comfortable, even in the recline mode. Good food, good wine selection, and good service. I once flew back CDG-IAD with a newly-broken leg. The FAs went out of their way to make sure I was taken care of, from checking on me frequently at my seat, to helping me get from my seat to the lav, to cheerfully getting my overhead bags for me from time to time during the flight.
I had a good comparison flight back in April/May. I did DL BE JFK-BCN and AF Affaires CDG-JFK. While both were good, I did prefer the AF experience. Just my own feelings.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 12:05 pm   #6
 
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I'd look through all the previous information here, but this is one case where YMMV greatly. You should review and determine what factors are most important to you.

My personal opinion is that I don't see much difference, and generally give to the edge to AF. However, I flew BE on DL this month JFK-LHR RT, and Mrs. TrojanTraveler flew separately. The FA service on all our flights was mediocre at best. I would give it a C or C-. I was very disappointed (especially given that DL positions this as a premier run to compete on, flat seats, etc.), and expected better. It's one thing to get bad service on one flight, but on all of them? I'm not expected east asian airline levels of service, but really...
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Old Jan 26, 11, 4:40 pm   #7
 
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Just returned from a JFK-CDG roundtrip on AF's Affaires, and I can tell you it's a perfectly pleasant experience.

JFK Lounge: Food offerings were quite nice. Extensive crudites, roasted vegetables (including eggplant, asparagus, beets and other interesting things), some kind of couscous salad, a nice marinated salmon, poached shrimp. There are plates of cheese and decent bread. Self-serve bar, where champagne (Pommery) flowed. Shower was ok. Oddly, the CDG lounges have very limited food offerings compared to their counterparts at JFK, though they have nice champagnes, including Pol Roger and Duval-Leroy.

Flight: Service is quite nice, cabin is clean. Seats are angled lie flat, which I happen to find quite uncomfortable, and is the biggest drawback. Food is a quick one-tray affair for CDG-bound flights, to maximize sleeping time. When you're done with the appetizer (usually foie gras) they swap out for one of two main course choices. Wasn't great, but certainly could have been worse. The return is more elaborate, with a plated amuse-bouche, four main course options and separate cheese and dessert service

Seating: For me, AF's biggest problem is the angle of the seats, which varies depending on the version of the seat. All are "lie flat" but some are more horizontal than the others. (Also, the 340 has 2x2x2 seating, while the 772 has 2x3x2. It's possible that the seats on the 340 are a bit wider as a result, but I can't be sure.) In any case, I find the seats quite hard, and generally very uncomfortable. The slope of the seat is bad enough... but there's no flip-down "bottom" to the leg rest, so your feet just kind of dangle off the end and it makes it easier to slide down the seat. The other night I was exhausted, but still had trouble getting more than couple of hours of sleep. (I never have much trouble sleeping on the DL cradle-style BE seats.) AVOD is available on all flights, with a decent selection.

In all, you could do a lot worse than AF Affaires, though I also enjoy flying DL's BE product. I'd say it's a wash.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 6:16 pm   #8
 
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I recently flew AF 378 (CDG-DTW) in BE/Affairs. The service was good and I have no complaints. In comparing it to other BE service I have had, I would call it very similar to what you get in a European restaurant compared to an American one. They take their time, they don't hang over you waiting to service you, but they are more than happy to help you if you ask. Otherwise they leave you alone.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 6:25 pm   #9
 
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Thanks everyone for the insight. I should not really worry as 3J is always better than 32B!! Also looking forward to flying the 777, havent been on that before. It leaves only the 380 as the last commercial plane i havent flown on.
Travel guy, Thanks for the trip report links. I did do a search and di not see your post come up.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 6:59 pm   #10
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The Meal in Airfrance Affaires is really good- much better than United Business and even First. The seat however is much behind the UA C in 767.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 8:29 pm   #11
 
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Air France is Good to Very Good (and sometimes Great)

I would have to say that Orlando Plat's commentary is about spot on.

I've done AF in affaires class 4 times, 3 on the IAD-CDG route, and 1 on the SFO-CDG route. As IAD is only 200 miles further from Paris than JFK, I'm guessing the service is about the same.

AF has flown both the A340 and the 777 on the IAD-CDG route. I found that sitting where there is a seat in front of you is better than getting a seat in the bulkhead, as your feet will touch the back of the shell seat in front of you, supporting you better during sleep.

The new AF/KL lounge in IAD (where the NW WorldClub used to be) has decent food offerings, including a delicious ham and butter sandwich on crusty bread, and champagne.

Meal service eastbound is as described (my last trip over featured a first course of a duck foie gras and a second course of a filet steak). This was a delicious dinner. Wines are better than on DL (although I hear they are trying to standardize the TATL product (which I hope they don't)), and AF offers cognac, armagnac and calvados after dinner. AF (and, for that matter, KL) ought to be a different experience, even though the standard of comfort should be similar. DL had a better overall service of beer, port wine and hard liquor. After dinner, if you wanted a hard liquor drink, you could have anything you wanted on AF so long as it was Glenfiddich single malt; they had put the rest of the bar away.

DL's AVOD blows AF's away. AF's headphones are hard-wired into the middle of each shell seat console.

I've always enjoyed AF flight attendants. AF's ground staff are generally kind to affaires pax and SkyTeam Elite+.

AF limits how much you can bring onboard (generally one carry-on, no more than 22 lbs). Also, AF doesn't seem to have a generous upgrade policy (my last eastbound flight had only 20 in J out of 40 seats).

AF will always have a soft spot in my heart--I took my 82 year old dad to Europe to visit my daughter during her sophomore year in Rome program. I went out to California to pick him up; we were on DL code-share tickets on AF SFO-CDG-BUD (we took 5 days to travel around Hungary and Austria by train on our way down to Rome, then came home on AF and DL FCO-CDG-ATL-SFO). I bought M fares so that we could upgrade with miles, but DL wouldn't make seats available, and the SFO Crown Room wouldn't help us. When we got to AF, a wonderful lady behind the counter told us that she thought there would be enough seats in J to accomodate upgrades for both of us; she was working the gate too, and they cleared 5 J passsengers into F, and my dad and I got the last two open seats in J. The next 10 hours were probably the best flight of my life. My dad passed on 3 years ago; he took me traveling all over North America when I was young--I got the chance to thank him by taking him on a magnificent trip to Europe. Thank you, Air France.
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Old Jan 26, 11, 10:18 pm   #12
 
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AF is making the headlines for pervasive safety issues. Seems the AF culture ("top down") is anything but safe. But enjoy your trip.
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Old Jan 27, 11, 1:38 pm   #13
 
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Ok everyone, raise you hands if you knew what a "plated amuse-bouche" was WITHOUT resorting to Google or Wikipedia
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Old Jan 27, 11, 2:07 pm   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimrpa View Post
Ok everyone, raise you hands if you knew what a "plated amuse-bouche" was WITHOUT resorting to Google or Wikipedia
Hands raised. I wish DL would serve amuse-bouche. Easy, inexpensive, and adds a world of class to any meal service.
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Old Jan 28, 11, 4:08 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ND76 View Post
AF will always have a soft spot in my heart--I took my 82 year old dad to Europe to visit my daughter during her sophomore year in Rome program. I went out to California to pick him up; we were on DL code-share tickets on AF SFO-CDG-BUD (we took 5 days to travel around Hungary and Austria by train on our way down to Rome, then came home on AF and DL FCO-CDG-ATL-SFO). I bought M fares so that we could upgrade with miles, but DL wouldn't make seats available, and the SFO Crown Room wouldn't help us. When we got to AF, a wonderful lady behind the counter told us that she thought there would be enough seats in J to accomodate upgrades for both of us; she was working the gate too, and they cleared 5 J passsengers into F, and my dad and I got the last two open seats in J. The next 10 hours were probably the best flight of my life. My dad passed on 3 years ago; he took me traveling all over North America when I was young--I got the chance to thank him by taking him on a magnificent trip to Europe. Thank you, Air France.
Thanks for sharing that beautiful story!
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