Air France Business Class within Europe

Old Aug 18, 05, 12:01 pm
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by justcallmedoc
Actually, as the same airliners (A3129-321) are used on both domestic and European routes, it's always nice when nobody's in the middle seat, to press the button under the armrest and gain 10 cm of comfort
Shhh! I can just see KL getting wind of that and sending FAs around with rulers and then deducting 20,000 points for an upgrade if you've had more than your allotted space.
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Old Aug 18, 05, 12:52 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by alex1948
Anyone here remember the days when KL and Swissair used to have a fixed C class configuration with proper "armchair" seats on inter-European flights configured 2-2.
Anyone here remember the days when KL offered Royal Class (i.e. First) on intra-European flights?

Johan
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Old Aug 18, 05, 3:10 pm
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[QUOTE=Derrico]huh? not to be argumentative, but having a middle seat blocked does not make a 2-2. I am not sure what domestic US flights you have been on, but I can't think of any US airline that would think US flyers would accept having the seat next to them empty would equal first class. In fact I personally do not know of one US airline that has a 3-3 biz config. I have never seen one. Have you ever been to the states?

Yes, I have been to the states. I even gave examples of flights I had taken, and I know exactly what a First Class seat looks like. I merely said that in my opinion AF's European business class was better. Might I return the question, in a different form, and ask if you have ever travelled in AF's European business class? As I tried to explain, it is not a question of having an empty seat next to you, but of a specially arranged space consisting of a table between two slightly wider than normal economy seats. This is why I said describing it a 3-3 configuration is not very helpful or accurate. I did not claim it is as wide as a US domestic first seat (although according to AlanW it might be), nor did I say that having the seat next to (you) empty would equal first class, nor did I suggest that US business class has 3-3 configuration, simply that, having sat in both US domestic first class and AF European business class, my own preference was for the sense of space the latter gives you. My opinion, that's all.

Umm, you do not care if someone is sitting next to you in a CO first class seat. You have like 10 inches between you and the other person. One can forget they are there.

In the AF European business class you would actually have someting like 25 inches between you and the person sitting next to you. Again, it's simply my preference to have plenty of space to put your book, a drink and so on, without impingeing on your neighbour's space.

On a transcon on CO you usually receive a full meal. That would be with real glass glasses, and metal silverware.

In recent years, I have only flown DL, UA and US in domestic First Class. I suppose, all-in-all, that's about twenty flights in the past 18 months. Now that they are members of Skyteam, I look forward to trying CO and NW. But, I repeat, on most flights that I have taken so far (usually of two to two-and-a half hours in length) there was no food in F. I have two or three times - not more - had a (good, actually) sandwich or salad on UA flights at meal times, but I have taken more flights where there was nothing. I have only ever had three flights on which a hot meal was served and they were all to or from Hawaii (not including the dreadful Delta sandwich). I'm sure there are routes operated by the airlines I have taken (coast-to-coast for example) where full meals are served in First Class. But AF European business class is not used on flights of that length in Europe (because they don't exist).

The fact you are flying Delta is your issue. Delta is going through their last gasps.. The company thinks that biz classes do not matter. Delta thinks that all airlines will become LCC's in the next five years, and they are working to transform Delta into a LCC. It has worked. I will not fly Delta.

As I said, I have flown DL, UA and US. On the matter of total lack of food DL and US were worse than UA. The seat seemed to me to be the same on all carriers (and the configuration on single-aisle planes almost identical with two or three rows of F). As far as the quality of food is concerned I prefer AF, but it is, literally, a matter of taste. The hot meal on, say, Paris - Athens, was, for me, better and more complete than the ones I had on US mainland-Hawaiian flights. For the others, an AF snack or cold meal is bound to be better than the nothing I had on most flights.

Go fly a CO or American transcon in Business and come back and chat. Since right now it is like me going over to Europe and complaining about business classes after I just flew Virgin Express.

As I asked earlier, have you actually flown AF European business class? A Paris-Madrid or Paris-Rome flight, for example, would be a comparable experience to a single sector two-hour flight on a US airline to or from one of the major hubs. Having done so, you may well prefer the US domestic option, just as I prefer the AF option, but I don't agree that is a lowering of standards.

I posted not to engage in some Franco-American war (I am neither, anyway) but to defend a product which I think is not at all bad and seems to be considered by some non-Europeans as vastly inferior to domestic US First. I don't claim it is the most wonderful business-class service known to man, and it is not as good as it was when it was first introduced (just as I expect US domestic First was better, food-wise, before the cost-cutting of recent times). But I wanted to suggest, to the OP as well as to others who may ask the question, that AF has a reasonable premium cabin product on European flights.

Last edited by rangerss75; Aug 18, 05 at 4:04 pm Reason: quality of food comments changed to reflect subsequent poster(Casimir)'s sensible remarks.
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Old Aug 18, 05, 3:49 pm
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by rangerss75
As I tried to explain it is not a question of having an empty seat next to you, but of a specially arranged space consisting of a table between two slightly wider than normal economy seats. This is why I said describing it a 3-3 configuration is not very helpful or accurate. I did not claim it is as wide as US domestic first seat, nor did I suggest that US business class has 3-3 configuration, simply that, having sat in both, my own preference was for the sense of space it gives you. My opinion, that's all - not a claim.

* * *

I posted not to engage in some Franco-American war (I am neither, anyway) but to defend a product which I think is not at all bad and seems to be considered by some non-Europeans as vastly inferior to domestic US First. I don't claim it is the most wonderful business-class service known to man, and it is not as good as it was when it was first introduced (just as I expect US domestic First was better, food-wise, before the cost-cutting of recent times).But I wanted to put another point of view.
FWIW, I have flown a number of times on intra-European business class, all with AF, and as a DL PM I have plenty of experience on an American airline in FC. Moreover, I am an extremely large man, especially in the horizontal plane, which means that I am very sensitive to issues of space, even in FC and business class.

I must say that I largely agree with rangerss75 comments above. I am very comfortable in DL FC, and I have enough room. However, it is a huge mistake to assume (as many people seem to on this board and elsewhere) that AF business class intra-Europe is simply a matter of having an empty seat next to you in coach. The above post is correct that it is more than that -- the configuration with the seat down gives one plenty of room -- sometimes it feels as if it is as much as DL FC. Generally, for me, it is not quite the comfort of DL FC, but it is 98% there. I have never felt cramped or uncomfortable, even on the long CDG-TLV roundtrip flights which are pretty long flights.

And, BTW, some of the newly refurbished MD-88s (I think that's the model) flown by DL MEM-ATL actually do feel a bit cramped to me, even in FC, in a way that the AF business class never has. Of course that's very subjective.

Indeed, as a DL loyalist, I pray that they introduce some AF business class type seating arrangement on their Song product, or else I will never fly it.

In short, I prefer DL FC slightly over AF intra-Europe Business, but in all other respects I must respectfully say that rangerss75's description of AF's product precisely reflects my experience and opinion.

At a minimum, one should try the product out before judging it as simply a coach product ripoff. It's not that at all, IMO. I leave catering issues to the subjective taste of each individual.
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Old Aug 18, 05, 8:54 pm
  #35  
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May I recommend an intra-European flight in CSA C? Same seating config as AF C (actually the last 737 I flew in was an ex-AF one, complete with Air France belt buckles!) with proper catering (a menu with two hot main course options) and glass+metal. No Z/I fares, though, so only viable financially if you're paying for the flexibility or connecting to/from YYZ/NYC/DXB (where the C seating isn't fully up-to-date)
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Old Aug 19, 05, 1:00 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by alanw
There is no need to be condescending
Eh? I did not intend to be condescending. I do not think NOT going to the states, makes you a yokel. Since nothing the poster said seemed to relate to my experiance of US flying, I just had to ask.

Just like in a big 'Murrican SUV with its center console.
Glad you are not falling to my level and becoming argumentative..


I've obviously spent my 150 or so flights on CO in different aircraft than you. Mostly 737.
I have had great flights and meals on CO 737-800s and 900s. I don't much care for the smaller ones.


I suspect you get a meal with real glasses on a 5 1/2 hour flight within Europe as well.
The person I was replying to was commenting that you got plastic on US flights. Did you read the post I replied to?


My last flight in J on DL (Monday) was quite nice. Outstanding service, friendly people, and good enough food (though no AF).
I can not stand DL, but I will admit they have some nice FAs. I suppose YMMV. It was however what the first poster was complaining about. Poor service, food etc etc.. on DL. Are you arguing that devaluing DLs first class is not an ongoing trend?

Actually, we're here to talk about intra-Europe C on AF for someone used to flying US domestic flights, not the other way around.
If someone is making comparisons between US and Euro domestic based on incorrect assumptions, I will say what I like.

Euro airlines have their strengths. International service is often up there with the asian carriers, and far above US ones for the most part. I do not think the Euro-domestic is something to boast of however. Perhaps I should add more smiley faces in my comments.
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Old Aug 19, 05, 3:05 am
  #37  
 
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The person I was replying to was commenting that you got plastic on US flights. Did you read the post I replied to?

Derrico, this really isn't personal, and this is my last post on the subject, but either I haven't explained myself very well, or you haven't understood my post. I tried harder in my second post. But nowhere in my original post did I state that you got plastic on US flights. In my description of AF intra Europe Business Class, not US First, I commented (like others before me) that presentation, which used to be much better, was a weak point. I singled out plastic for a particular mention.

If someone is making comparisons between US and Euro domestic based on incorrect assumptions, I will say what I like.

I had hoped that it was clear from my two posts that I wasn't making any assumptions at all. I was describing my actual experience of two products and, in particular, in two similar areas. I wasn't comparing UA Pacific service on a LAX - JFK (which, I understand, is great) with a fifty minute hop from LHR to CDG. I was, if you like, trying to compare the comfort and meal service on something like a 737-300 or Airbus 318 or 319 in the configurations of US domestic First and AF European business class, on flights of, say, two to three hours duration. Perhaps I should have made that clearer, but I thought the examples of flights I had taken recently would serve to show what I was talking about. In answer to a question about European airlines not having a business class product, I was trying to say that there is a premium cabin service on AF short/medium haul flights in Europe and that, in my opinion, it is better than that provided in First on similar flights in the US.

Yes, I did rant about the awful sandwich on a five-and-a-half hour flight, and the lack of food on most of my flights on three airlines - sometimes even at meal times and on flights of three or more hours duration. But wouldn't you?

All the best!

Last edited by rangerss75; Aug 19, 05 at 3:32 am Reason: grammar and punctuation
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Old Aug 19, 05, 4:04 am
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by TrayflowInUK
Don't get too used to that. Although I'm not a seasoned AZ flyer, I have yet to see an MD-80 with proper biz class.
As a fairly seasoned AZ flyer, I've yet to see one that doesn't! To be fair, most of my travel with AZ has been international, but I'm reasonably sure that every MD-80 I've flown with them has had the 'big green armchair' biz class seating, configured as a genuine 2-2, with decent recline and leg room.

For the longest time, they used to have about 15 rows on their MD-80s, but refit sometime in 2003-2004 (?) to remove all but the front few. I used to seek out the MD-80s in the timetable because I was practically guaranteed a good seat as an AZ elite, given that AZ has never had 15 rows of biz class pax in my experience.
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Old Aug 19, 05, 5:02 am
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Not to take this too far off topic, but how does the AZ program compare to FB?
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Old Aug 19, 05, 8:55 am
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Originally Posted by rangerss75

Yes, I did rant on flights of three or more hours duration. But wouldn't you?

Absolutely... stop flying Delta.. Seriously you are right they are devaluing the US first class product, but only on some airlines. It is up to us to find the airlines that choose to retain a quality service and patronize them. In a month I will be on a air france flight in business. I will tell you if I agree with you then.

NickW

As a fairly seasoned AZ flyer, what is the typical configuration on the Alitalia A321? Is it a good business class? I have a Milan flight approaching, and I wondered what the setup would be. I tried calling Alitalia to setup my seats, however they were fairly dismissive. The girl suggested that everyone is assigned seats at the airport? Is that true?
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Old Aug 19, 05, 9:51 am
  #41  
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Originally Posted by NickW
As a fairly seasoned AZ flyer, I've yet to see one that doesn't! To be fair, most of my travel with AZ has been international, but I'm reasonably sure that every MD-80 I've flown with them has had the 'big green armchair' biz class seating, configured as a genuine 2-2, with decent recline and leg room.
AFAIK, domestic MDs DO NOT have 2-2 at the front. I have certainly been in one, maybe two of them.
Just pick 32 A and/or C for no middle seat and more legroom than biz.


Originally Posted by Dericco
what is the typical configuration on the Alitalia A321? Is it a good business class?
2-3. It's exactly like shorthaul business class on BA (left side being two standard Y seats separated by a tiny non-seat), and far worse than business on the MD.
If I were you and unless I really wanted to eat a slightly better meal onboard, I would aim for something with lots of legroom in the emergency exit row (in Y, of course).
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Old Aug 19, 05, 12:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Derrico
I tried calling Alitalia to setup my seats, however they were fairly dismissive. The girl suggested that everyone is assigned seats at the airport? Is that true?
Unfortunately it is. AZ don't pre-assign seats except on their international long haul flights. I don't know why, but they don't.
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Old Aug 19, 05, 1:25 pm
  #43  
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As pointed out in various other threads and already in this thread, one can sum it up easily comparing US domestic F class and C on Intraeuropean flights.Since you get a decent snack on any Intraeuropean flight on the main carriers, even on FRA-ZRH or FRA-BRU, flights on regional affiliates may be excluded, it is food that is better within Europe, the seat within the US...

In the US the meal service in F has been downgraded massively over the past years, however seating is still 2+2 with real wider seats and more pitch, normally around 40 inch on NW F, DC 9`s excluded.It is by far more comfortable than having the middle seat blocked.

Back in the good old days the F class meals on NW were comparable to what KLM served on longer routes with full several course services, on shorter routes in the US you certainly only get some pre packaged snacks, cereal bars, chocolate bars, almonds, peanuts, you name it.

Just to give you an example, NW used to serve a warm lunch or dinner on the DTW- JAX-DTW flights , around 100 minutes, however I never got dinner on the TPA-MEM flights ( around 90 minutes ) 4 p.m departure, maybe a notch too early.

So a 90 minute 650 mile flight offered an inferior selection of food in comparison to FRA-ZRH , hardly 30 minutes on a good day....

On transcons you used to get a full multi course meal and a pre arrival snack basket on United, NW never had any real transcons in the last years, flew DTW-LAX on them and it was one of the longest flights of NW within the US.

It is a good question, if travelers within Europe would pay a nasty premium to have a better seat, however the current approach is good for the airlines from a flexible standpoint, however wasting additional potential revenue, because of no ( maybe even very small ) premium cabin.

I am talking about 8 seats in real 2+2, I am talking about power outlets and warm meals, maybe even upscale lounges...

On one hand people tell me, that it is only a short flight, on the other hand there are complains about mediocre seating and food....
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Old Aug 19, 05, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by Threy
it is food that is better within Europe, the seat within the US...
I think you summed it up quite nicely.


On transcons you used to get a full multi course meal and a pre arrival snack basket
You still do on Continental. Warmed nuts with drinks moving on to an excellent meal, topped off by warmed cookies and in some cases a nice sundae. I think Alaska airlines also still serves decent meals. Since these were the two airlines out of all US airlines to make money last quarter, I think US pax are proving that they are willing to pay for a little quality service.

Originally Posted by graraps
It's exactly like shorthaul business class on BA (left side being two standard Y seats separated by a tiny non-seat), and far worse than business on the MD.
Thanks for the info.. not good to hear..

Originally Posted by rangerss75
Unfortunately it is. AZ don't pre-assign seats except on their international long haul flights.
Also thx for the info rangerss. I wonder why they don't? It is not like it is so hard, and it is really appreciated by the people flying. Sometimes I wonder if some of these companies really want to make money.
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Old Aug 20, 05, 1:14 am
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Originally Posted by Derrico
I wonder why they don't [assign seats]? It is not like it is so hard, and it is really appreciated by the people flying. Sometimes I wonder if some of these companies really want to make money.
You can get assigned seats intra-Europe on KL if you purchase Europe Select.
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