Air France Long Haul Economy service vs Delta

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Old Nov 19, 17, 3:37 am
  #1
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Air France Long Haul Economy service vs Delta

Hello. First a little information about myself: I am not a super experienced long haul traveler, but I do have some 30+ intercontinental flights the last 20 years. Most on Delta, but also some on Air France, KLM and United. All flights in economy as my budget canít support anything else.

Yesterday i I had the pleasure to fly the A380 from CDG to MIA, and I finally got the opportunity to sit on the upper deck, again in economy. It was a great flight and generally I was pleased with the service, but compared to Delta I have these small comments:

Air France serves a five course meal on economy which I find is of excellent quality, in my opninion better than any other airline I have been on (but again my experience is limited to the above mentioned airlines). Before the meal Champagne is served, with the meal very good wine is served and after the meal, they have a super tasty pear liqueur. Itís a super nice experience, but after the initial meal service service simply stops. I could go to the galley for water, juice or a coke, but the crew dissapeared completely, and only reappeared to serve a tasteless microwave pizza with water, coffee or tea (no alcoholic drinks being offered, crew specifically pointed this out). This experience is exactly the same I had on previous AF flights.

Delta on the other hand does serve a smaller, but still OK first hot meal, but after the initial meal service Delta has two more meal services, both served with a full trolley including wines, different beers, liquor and cocktail mixers. Also the Delta crew is much more visible and comes with water bottles on a regular basis.

My conclusion is that Delta has a much better economy product. In fact I am super pleased with the current offering of Delta, and think itís a shame that Air France canít continue the great service they have on the first meal service for the duration of the flight.

What do you guys think?
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Old Nov 19, 17, 4:01 am
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Happy to read your experience. It is generally admitted (and true IMO) that the Y service is usually much better on Euro airlines than on their US counterparts, but the latter have also made a lot of progress to be honest, especially DL.
The food is much better on AF without any doubt, but the 2nd meal (snack) is sometimes better on DL especially for the "short" flights to the east coast/midwest. DL is at total shame for the wine they serve in Y, in bulk bricks like milk or orange juice. I'm not saying that the AF wine in Y is great, certainly not, but is still much more decent than the vinegar served by DL.
You say that DL serves 3 meals in Y ? Unless this is something recent, I don't think they serve 3 meals on Europe-US flights. And who needs 3 meals in a 7-8 hrs period ? And if you want alcohol with your 2nd meal with AF, there is no problem, you just ask.
The "disappearance" of the FA after the maim meal service is often a reproach made to AF and it's more or less true, but there are always some FA on duty to take care of pax. You are perfectly right saying that DL FA are more proactive going through the Y cabin to distribute some water. But I have seen that also very often with AF crews, so likely a matter of better crews than others.
For me, I would always choose AF vs a US airline for a trip in Y if I have the choice.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 4:12 am
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The no alcohol after first meal has been confirmed to me twice on two different flights, I hope they are not lying to me just to have less work. Lately Delta wine has been ok. No longer served from cartons, but from full size wine bottles. Since a couple of years DL went from 2 to 3 meals. Second meal is usually more like a snack, but still comes in a rather large box and has some different items. 3rd meal on my flight to ATL in Sep was a nice warm chicken pie served with fruits, and ice cream as dessert. Not bad at all for such a short flight.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
You say that DL serves 3 meals in Y ? Unless this is something recent, I don't think they serve 3 meals on Europe-US flights. And who needs 3 meals in a 7-8 hrs period ?
CDG-MIA is ~10 hours, for comparison on an 11hrs KL day flight in Y you get:
- Nuts & Drinks
- Lunch
- Sandwich box (same as you get on short european legs)
- Light dinner composed of pizza + salad + dessert

It's not that unusual for people on a normal day to have Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner in span of 10-11 hours.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 5:33 am
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
The "disappearance" of the FA after the maim meal service is often a reproach made to AF and it's more or less true, but there are always some FA on duty to take care of pax.
indeed, on my recent CDG-LAX flight, the F/As disappeared behind the curtain galleys and spent their time chatting. It was not very pleasant as we didn't dare to ask them something... I have never seen that on Asian carriers.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 5:50 am
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I flew DL from BRU to JFK in C+ about 10 days ago and we received:
- nuts and drinks;
- lunch, which was decent, but not up to AF standards;
- ice cream;
- and a box with a disgusting sandwich and a tiny dessert.

Not including the apťritif or digestif this was very similar to what you would get on AF or KL. We didn't drink wine so I can't comment on the quality.
It's been a while since I flew direct to ATL on DL, but I cannot recall a third meal. KL served two meals the last time I flew this route, with the second one being of far better quality than the throwaway sandwich DL offered to JFK.

I agree with NLNO that the DL crew frequently did water rounds, but I do believe this is partially dependent on the crew's own initiative. Generally speaking I would agree with Goldorak and say that AF is my airline of choice in Y between AF, KL, and DL. I've never felt that the AF crew was too absent and they've always answered with a smile when asking for anything. We flew back from ATL on KL a few days ago and while the food was mediocre (ex-US is always worse than ex-Europe) the crew was excellent and generous with drinks.

Overall, I feel all three offer a similar product, with AF winning the food trophy and KL winning the crew trophy. Entertainment was more to our liking on KL than on DL. That said, we very much enjoyed our last flight on DL and would still be happy to fly them in Y over many competitors. It certainly doesn't hurt that DL offers better perks to FB Silver than AF or KL do.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 9:47 am
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Originally Posted by LY777 View Post
indeed, on my recent CDG-LAX flight, the F/As disappeared behind the curtain galleys and spent their time chatting. It was not very pleasant as we didn't dare to ask them something... I have never seen that on Asian carriers.
Have you ever taken MU.... They chat every time on most of the long haul flights I've ever taken...

Though I agree that AF's FA usually disappear after the first meal service.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 11:46 am
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Mainland Chinese carriers are another story
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Old Nov 19, 17, 12:07 pm
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I simply cannot tolerate AF Y service. I find the meals, even ex-CDG, to be horrible. I haven't bothered counting how many things count as "courses" as it's irrelevant when you can barely stomach them. Delta's mains, in particular, are far superior, and DL is now rolling out metal silverware in economy.

My biggest problem with AF involves beverages: it is nearly impossible to stay hydrated on an AF Y flight. There are no water bottles catered for Y pax, the FA will occasionally distribute tiny cups of water when and if they feel like it. Delta caters full sized water bottles, more than one for each Y pax. AF may serve passable champagne in Y, but it's a freakishly tiny portion and beverage passes are very limited. Delta FAs, by comparison, are very generous with alcohol and it's easy to get drunk in Y if one desires. Wine cups are usually filled to the brim and cocktail refills are obligingly provided.

Finally, DL IFE is typically much better, especially on their A330. And DL uses cradle seats, which don't nearly smack you in the face when the person in front of you reclines, unlike AF. Also, DL has no 777s (and no plans to introduce them) with 10-across seating, unlike AF.

The only thing I really like about AF is that they reliably block middles next to even low-level elites if there are low load factors, so on the A380 I usually get an empty middle.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by NLNO View Post
The no alcohol after first meal has been confirmed to me twice on two different flights, I hope they are not lying to me just to have less work.
This is surprising to me because even on intra-European flight in Y, I have been always served alcoholic drinks after the meal service whenever I have asked. And this does not only includes beer/ wine but also G&T, Bloody Mary and the likes. Same goes for long-haul flights with the only exception being on flights to the US because AF is cheap and refuses to pay for the alcohol duty once they enter American airspace
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Old Nov 19, 17, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by RabbitIYH View Post
Same goes for long-haul flights with the only exception being on flights to the US because AF is cheap and refuses to pay for the alcohol duty once they enter American airspace
This is completely wrong. You are confusing with the pre-departure Champagne for J pax when departing from the US.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 3:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Ditto View Post
CDG-MIA is ~10 hours, for comparison on an 11hrs KL day flight in Y you get:
- Nuts & Drinks
- Lunch
- Sandwich box (same as you get on short european legs)
- Light dinner composed of pizza + salad + dessert

It's not that unusual for people on a normal day to have Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner in span of 10-11 hours.
AF doesn't offer the sandwich box (or icecream) in this flight, neither does it make snacks available in the galley - which is unfortunate.

Otherwise, I do overall agree with the superiority of AF's onboard soft product (when compared to DL).
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Old Nov 19, 17, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by C W View Post
I simply cannot tolerate AF Y service. I find the meals, even ex-CDG, to be horrible. I haven't bothered counting how many things count as "courses" as it's irrelevant when you can barely stomach them. Delta's mains, in particular, are far superior, and DL is now rolling out metal silverware in economy.
interesting. Since does DL roll out metal cutlery in Y?
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Old Nov 19, 17, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by LY777 View Post
interesting. Since does DL roll out metal cutlery in Y?
Delta promises upgrades to long-haul economy
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Old Nov 19, 17, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by C W View Post
I simply cannot tolerate AF Y service. I find the meals, even ex-CDG, to be horrible. I haven't bothered counting how many things count as "courses" as it's irrelevant when you can barely stomach them. Delta's mains, in particular, are far superior, and DL is now rolling out metal silverware in economy.
.
Granted, it's been a few years since I travelled DL Transatlantic (AMS-DET) but I still remember the inedible, degusting catering. We all have different tastes, but I am surprised you find DL to be "far superior" to AF. I find AF Y meals are by a great margin the best on offer between US and Europe. (edit: TK is actually the best, but noone in their right mind would backtrack to IST to fly to the US)
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