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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:31 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Air France Business with 1 y/o Report (with pictures)

I spent some time searching for pictures/info on the seating arrangements on AF Affaires (business) class and didn't find much. Figured I'd post our experiences here with a few pictures. We flew SFO-CDG-BCN and then the same return back in September with an 11.5 month old baby who wasn't quite walking yet, but could walk around holding onto furniture.

On the outbound, we were on a 777-200 without the first class cabin. We ended up in seats 1K and 1L which had one of the bassinet hookups (the other was in 1 A/B). I had called to request the bassinet in advance and it was noted on my reservation (called back before the flight to confirm). But that really didn't matter, as no one at the airport knew anything about it and the gate agent said to just tell the flight crew and they would hook it up for us. They had them readily available when we boarded (but they couldn't hook it up until after takeoff).

On the inbound, we were on a 747 that was recently upgraded to their newer seats and the center section of seats had one removed (now a 2-2-2 configuration instead of 2-3-2). Again we were in the bulkhead with my wife in 5F and myself in 5K. Before our trip, AF.com still had the old config seat map showing bassinets in 5B and 5K, but the two bassinets are now in 5 F/G which is correctly shown on the website now. This is problematic because if there is another couple or person on the plane with a lap infant and bassinet request, they would get one of the seats in the center section too. This actually was the case on our flight, except the mom just took 5K so that I could sit with my wife (she was solo). The put up a bassinet in front of my seat for her daughter while my wife had our son in a bassinet in front of her. It didn't end up being an issue, but it definitely is not an ideal set up.

On both flights, we really struggled to secure the bassinet location seats, as the DL phone agents (and AF agents) could not assign us those seats since they were blocked. A month before the flight, AF automatically moved us around putting my wife in a bassinet location and me across the aisle. Then we had no problem asking to switch once on the plane.

The bulkhead seats were very roomy and allowed for a lot of floor space for our son to play in. The 777 was ideal since we had a window seat. I could sit on the floor blocking the aisle while our son played on the floor. For teh 747 with seats in the middle section, my wife would just extend her foot rest all the way out which mostly blocked one side of the seats, and I would sit on the floor on the other side when our son was down playing on the ground.

We didn't end up using the bassinet much. Our son fit in it at around 22 pounds, but it was a tighter fit and if he fully stretched out he was hitting the ends which made him kind of unhappy. We had to put him in after he was fully asleep, and even then he only slept for an hour until he moved a bit and woke himself up. The one thing that we did really like about the bassinet was that it was great for storage. We put a bunch of toys and other baby supplies in it for easy access.

Eating ended up being okay. What worked best was for them to put both meals on one tray table, while the other person held the baby. I could hold the baby while getting bites of food from my wife's table.

The bathroom was fairly roomy up front, so changing his diapers was easier than standard coach bathrooms we have used on domestic routes.

Flight attendants on both outbound and inbound were very friendly, helpful, and accommodating. On the return, one even wanted to hold him for a little bit while she showed him around the galley and to the other FA's. We were able to bring our stroller (McLaren small umbrella style) onto the plane with us, and they just put it in one of the closets. That was helpful, since we had 4+ hours in CDG and having the stroller for the baby to nap in was very useful. We brought the car seat (Diono Radian) with us through security, and gate checked it.

Ultimately, if you are in the same situation as us, I would avoid the 747 is at all possible. If you are on the 747, I think ditching the bassinet for the window bulkheads is a better choice. Much more room on the ground to play, since you only have to block one side. Also there's the chance that you'll either get split up or have a random child in a bassinet in front of you in the event of a 2nd infant on board. However if you are traveling with 2 lap infants, then the 747 would be ideal.

777-200 (no first class config):










747-400 with new cabin retrofit





roknroll is online now   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 12, 4:54 pm   #2
 
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Can I just say.....CUTE AS A BUTTON!!!!
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Old Dec 11, 12, 6:26 am   #3
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Thanks for reporting back. Yes, very cute!

You were lucky that you were able to stow the stroller on board. I avoided flying AF, even though I'm in France, because I couldn't imagine negotiating connecting in CDG without a stroller. I'm flying them on the 20th this month but my youngest is 8.

I was also wondering about how it is accepting car seats on board but since he was a lap baby, that doesn't apply either.

I flew with a lap baby (because AF couldn't guarantee that I could use a car seat on board and I was unable to book a U.S. company). She was only 5 months old and fit the bassinet just fine. Most airlines' bassinets only go to 6 months so you were lucky you could fit a one year old in it. He looked a little squished but at least you could use it.

They told me that they wait and assign bassinet seats based on the age of the baby, with the younger ones getting priority.

Another reason for avoiding AF was the double seat belts they made me use for take-off, turbulence and landing.

Were you served any baby food? Did he get a meal?
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Old Dec 11, 12, 6:56 am   #4
 
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Love those striped jammies!

It warms my heart to hear positive stories about families travelling together.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 8:44 am   #5
 
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Thanks for the reports and pictures. Very helpful. We need more reviews like this. And cute baby too!
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Old Dec 11, 12, 11:25 am   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
You were lucky that you were able to stow the stroller on board. I avoided flying AF, even though I'm in France, because I couldn't imagine negotiating connecting in CDG without a stroller. I'm flying them on the 20th this month but my youngest is 8.
We only got the stroller on board on the flight from the US to CDG, but not on the return. Since we were direct SFO-CDG, the gate agent let us bring it down the jetway and ask the cabin crew. They still checked it through to our final destination at the gate, just in case the cabin crew couldn't take it (then we would just leave it on the jet bridge). Since we were in J, they had no problem taking it and it easily fit in one of the closets. On our connecting flight, we had to check it since the smaller plane to BCN couldn't accomodate the stroller on board. It had already been tagged through to BCN before we got on the plane in SFO, so no need to get a new tag.

On the return flight, since our first flight was BCN-CDG, they made us check it through to SFO so we did not have the stroller on the return. But we had a quick 1.5 hour layover so it was not an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
I was also wondering about how it is accepting car seats on board but since he was a lap baby, that doesn't apply either.
We didn't even ask, since I checked EF the day before each flight and saw the business cabin was completely full. Their J seats have odd seatbelts with wide fabric at the base of them. Not sure if this would interfere with trying to hook up the car seat. You can see it in the pictures with the seats where the seatbelt is around the pillow. At the base, the seatbelt gets much wider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
I flew with a lap baby (because AF couldn't guarantee that I could use a car seat on board and I was unable to book a U.S. company). She was only 5 months old and fit the bassinet just fine. Most airlines' bassinets only go to 6 months so you were lucky you could fit a one year old in it. He looked a little squished but at least you could use it.
I knew it would be a tight fit for him, as he was probably1-2 pounds over the weight limit and 1-2 inches longer than what they say the limit is. I think their limit is something like 9 kg.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
Another reason for avoiding AF was the double seat belts they made me use for take-off, turbulence and landing.
That was a little annoying, but I thought it was just a European thing and not just AF. If it's just AF, then yes I agree. It really wasn't THAT bad for takeoff and landing, but our son definitely started to fuss and make some noise when we locked him down on the lap. But we just had a bottle ready and a few snacks and that kept him occupied.

The really annoying part of that, though, was during the flight if the seat belt sign came on for turbulence. If the baby is sleeping on your lap, chest, etc then they will want him buckled into the seat belt with you. Could be very bad if your baby just fell asleep and now you have to try to get a belt around them without waking. We would just preemptively strap him in if he was falling asleep on me or my wife.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
Were you served any baby food? Did he get a meal?
We were offered some food for the baby, but we brought our own. The cabin crew asked multiple times if we needed anything for him, but we didn't need it. I don't know, though, if they actually had appropriate baby food for an infant. I think all they have is 'kids meal' type of stuff.
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Old Dec 11, 12, 12:57 pm   #7
 
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Thanks for the review.

Did they ask you pay 10% lap child fee?
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Old Dec 11, 12, 2:50 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opus2002 View Post
Thanks for the review.

Did they ask you pay 10% lap child fee?
Yes, paid it when I booked the award. The 10% fare was $400 and then it was $65.00 for taxes/fees. My wife and I paid $112.70 per ticket in taxes/fees.
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