FC - AF 777-300ER or LH 747-8

Old Apr 9, 19, 3:00 pm
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FC - AF 777-300ER or LH 747-8

I consider this AF KLM FB forum as home, so I'll post this here as I didn't find any other forum that seemed more appropriate.

For a trip coming up next month I have a choice between,

1. LAX-CDG in seat 1L on AF 777-300ER

2. LAX-FRA in seat 3A on LH 747-800.

Comparing the experience mainly of the seat comfort, and departure/in-flight service, is what I'm wondering. Destination is same distance from CDG and FRA, with easy connecting flights.
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Old Apr 9, 19, 9:00 pm
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AF without hesitation. I understand you will connect in CDG, so make sure you book your connection as part of the same ticket and so you will benefit from the excellent P ground service in CDG. And if you can, try to have a long connection to have time to enjoy the P lounge.
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Last edited by Goldorak; Apr 9, 19 at 9:43 pm
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Old Apr 9, 19, 9:15 pm
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AF in a landslide.

Agree with Goldorak about going for a long connection at CDG. Four hours would be my ideal. Enough time to shower, relax and enjoy a wonderful Alain Ducasse meal, or two.

On arrival at CDG with AF, you'll be met at the plane by a Personal Assistant who will escort you down stairs to the tarmac for a limo ride to the La Premiere Lounge.
On arrival at FRA with LH, you'll be met by absolutely no one and follow the masses through the dump that is FRA and (try to) find your own way to the FCT or FCL.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 1:34 am
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+3 on AF......not even a question.

Connecting in FRA is a disaster.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 2:01 am
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+4 on AF, especially if B777-300
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Old Apr 10, 19, 4:10 am
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Originally Posted by paris1000 View Post
I consider this AF KLM FB forum as home, so I'll post this here as I didn't find any other forum that seemed more appropriate.

For a trip coming up next month I have a choice between,

1. LAX-CDG in seat 1L on AF 777-300ER

2. LAX-FRA in seat 3A on LH 747-800.

Comparing the experience mainly of the seat comfort, and departure/in-flight service, is what I'm wondering. Destination is same distance from CDG and FRA, with easy connecting flights.
I take both these airlines in FC quite frequently (2-3 return FC trips/month on average, 30% on LH, 20% on AF, rest mainly on LX), so I'll try to maybe paint a picture that goes beyond the transfer experience.My last LAX-Europe was in August on AF, and my last LAX-Europe on LH was about 1.5 years ago, so the LAX-specific details are a bit from distant memory.

Personally, it isn't as clear-cut for me as to some other posters. In a nutshell:
  1. If the transfer experience is what matters to you: take CDG over FRA (it's not quite the disaster others make it sound, but CDG is 100% great. More below)
  2. If you care about in-flight connectivity, take Lufthansa. Air France is 95% certain not to offer it
  3. For the rest, it's a matter of taste
  4. Depending on where you fly to afterwards: also consider FC on Swiss through Zurich, or Lufthansa on the A380 through Munich. Very pleasant transfer experience as well.
Departure: same same. Both airlines have dedicated CKI counters, no wait, both will escort you through securtiy to the lounge and pick you up for your choice of early or late boarding, usually with a dedicated escort per pax. Air France uses the oneworld/operated by Qantas First Lounge, with order-to-the-table service. Nice. Lufthansa doesn't have its own lounge either, I forgot what it was called (as far as I remember it wasn't the normal Star Alliance/run by NZ lounge). Similar services.
Cabin overall: matter of taste. Air France with only four seats has the smaller cabin. Without the curtains closed it feels more "packed" than the LH Jumbo Jet, the seat across the aisle is really close and the cabin is sort of closed in in front and in the back. There is a 50% likelihood you end up in one of the middle seats, which I find dreadful (I remember two recent CDG-Asia-CDG flights where I was in the middle seat, curtain closed and the divider wall to the neighbour raised. Freaked me out, I managed to sleep 2.5 hours. But that's me). So in the end, whether it feels more private or more claustrophobic depends on you. Lufthansa has six seats by the window and only one pair in the middle, so your chances to have a single seat are much higher. The cabin doesn't feel cramped, as neighbouring seats are further away thanks to the larger real estate in the nose section of the Boeing 747. Less provate or less cluastrophobic? Your call. In terms of design/colours Air France is nicer.
Seats: matter of taste. Both are large and great for sleeping. Lufthansa has a bigger table, and I usually find it easier to find the perfect seat/table config for eating and working, the AF one comes a bit close to where I am sitting, unless I put the seat almost upright which isn't comfy either. Lufthansa seat better in lounge position in my mind. Bedding is great with both, although the Air France comforter is slightly narrower (but not as ridiculous as the BA one which basically always leaves a part of you uncovered), which sometimes bothers me. Back to privacy: Air France has the curtains, which - at least for me - is fine when in a window seat, but claustrophobic when in the middle seat. Reminds me of a World War I field hospital. But you have your own space. Lufthansa: I don't like how they have mounted the TV screen on pylons, it gives the seat such an unstructured feel, making it less private. But it all gets better when you raise your privacy screen, which covers your back and side. All in all you are not as enclosed as in the AF seat. More private or more claustrophobic? Your choice
IFE: matter of taste. If you like French movies, of course AF. But Lufthansa has live TV, and I remember fondly how I watched some Football ("Soccer") World championship matches above the Atlantic.
Connectivity: Lufthansa. Very simply, Air France has installed WiFi on very few of its 777 planes, so better start with the assumption that you won't get it. So if it matters to you, don't take AF.
Catering: Lufthansa, esp on flights ex-USA. Again, matter of taste and if you like a particular dish or not, but generally the Lufthansa preparation, taste and presentation are better. Lufthansa on some routes has more choic (not sur eabout LA, but I remember other ex-USA routes where AF hardly has any choice and breakfast is a joke. But that is more East coast with shorter flight times). There are details: AF has better desserts, the LH salad is fresher, AF breakfasts are typically overvcooked, Lufthansa bread more choice but sometimes more stale. Where they are the same: both have a caviar service, although the LH appears more "copious" (they basically come round with the trolley loaded with caviar boxes and you can take as much as you like, chosing your own accompagniements. On AF, I remember having little hors d'oeuvres that had caviar on them). If you like caviar, that may matter. Both have dine on demand.
In-flight service: same same. Both are top notch, really. The cliché of the more elegant French service vs. the more robotic German one doesn't work anymore. Both are extremely attentionate, responsive, courteous, on their toes. It really depends on the crew/the individual FA you have. FA/pax ratio are the same. 1 FA per 4 pax service (=1 on AF, 2 on LH), and one in the kitchen during meal times.
Arrivals services: Air France. Simply because they offer 100% plane>lounge>plane service. Easy to explain: when arriving in CDG, you get picked up by a personal escort who will drive you to the Premiere lounge, where you go through passport/security, and then drive you to your next plane. Bear in mind that if coming in from LAX you will have to go through security in CDG - but not so in FRA, as they have the SSS (single stop security) with a couple of countries, among them the US.
Lufthansa in FRA: it depends. If your plane arrives at a tarmac position, they'll also pick you up by car and drive you to the arrivals area, from where it's a short walk to the First Class Lounge. But it's unlikely for an incoming 747 from LAX to have an open stand. Otherwise you have to make your own way from the arrivals gate to the loune. But frankly, that isn't such a big deal: if you arrive in A/Z, it's a short walk, you go through passports which usually is a quick if you have a European passport, and the First Class Lounge is right after passport control. If your connecting flight leaves from a bus gate, they'll drive you with a limo straight to the plane. If it's on a jetway in the same concourse, you'll walk there (short walk). If by chance you arrive in the B concourse, it's similar, as there also is a First Class Lounge right there. But US flights typically arrive in A/Z I think.There are variations of this, depending if your connecting flight is to a Schengen destination or not, etc. You'll never have to take a bus (that would always be a limo), but there may be walking involved.

But this is where I would throw in the alternatives of MUC and ZRH, if that works with your routing:
  • MUC: First Class flight on the A380, very pleasant (quieter and more spacious than 747-8). Upon arrival, walk a really short walk on the same floor to the First Class Lounge, without having to go through security. Distance-wise this is the same as walking between the Premiere lounge in Paris and a gate in the 2E-K concourse, where even AF wouldn’t drive you. Is straight from gate to First Class Lounge, there is a passport counter in the lounge, so you're through in 10 seconds. If your connecting flight is in the same concourse, walk there (really short again). If it's from the other concourse or an open stand, they'll drive you with a limo. There is a First Class Lounge in every concourse. The a-la-carte dining isn't as good as in CDG, but all the rest is actually more pleasant, especially the FCL in Satellite 2 (K and L gates): much much more space, never feels crowded, windows all around with views on the airport and sometimes the Alps, a nice terrace with chilling area, a la carte and buffet dining area , huge bathrooms some with bathtubs, great service. Seriously, unless you're a gourmet buff, this is better than CDG (and this is not to say that the food is bad, in fact there is more choice and it's top quality. It's just that the dishes aren't as elaborate/refined). And I never really like the boxed-in feeling of the CDG Premiere lounge, it has few windows with a view on basically nothing, and most of the lounge is far from the windows.
  • ZRH: flight-wise I find this the best. On the 777-300ER, seats have great privacy without being claustrophobic, huge screens, most comfortable bedding. Best catering, in terms of choice, quality and preparation (many staff have been to hotel schools in Switzerland, it shows). Probably highest end amenities (Zimmerli PJs and La Prairie amenity kit, which Lufthansa now also has). Connectivity on all flights. Super attentionate service. Like a 5 star Swiss hotel.In ZRH, if you continue to short haul flight or terminate in Zurich, car service from the jetty to the First Class Lounge just like with AF at CDG, with private passport control, no security (just like FRA and MUC). From the FCL, super short walk to connecting flight if docked at the terminal, or limo service to outside position. If continuing on longhaul flight, there is a First Class lounge right in the concourse where you arrive. No security controls, no passport, just a very short walk. The FCL for longhaul flights (E gates) is a very very nice lounge, very spacious, windows all around with view on airport and spectacular view on Alps, a la carte dining area, good bathrooms. Food not as elaborate as in CDG, but good quality. The FCL in A for short haul flights feels more cramped.
So, all in all, I wouldn't make it such an obvious choice for Air France. It's absolutely great, but not an obvious winner along all dimensions. And the FRA experience is not the best you can get in the LH group for FC flgihts from LAX.

In the end, you can't go wrong with either. Let us know what you'll do. And maybe let us know to where you're connecting to.
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Last edited by San Gottardo; Apr 10, 19 at 11:34 am
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Old Apr 10, 19, 2:33 pm
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Much thanks for all the input.

I had already booked LH451 (LAX-CDG, seat 3A) for this trip, and I think I'll keep it this way in order to compare to the AF 777-300ER for which I'm booked in seat 1L on two trips each later this year.

Too bad about the wifi issue, but that's not a deal-killer nor does having wifi on LH offset the degree to which I'll probably prefer the AF ground service and catering.

After my several upcoming trips this year, I suspect I'll prefer AF over LH (when it comes to P), but I get it that LH is a very acceptable experience (except, perhaps, arrival services). Can't wait to report back.

Good point about MUC, which I'll keep in mind as it has nonstop flights to my frequent destination (LYS). And I've had my eye on LX 40/41 (77W) just to use up some remaining LH points this year.

And FWIW, I'm switching from AA to FB this year and doing the big push to Platinum.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 3:20 pm
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Originally Posted by paris1000 View Post
Much thanks for all the input.

I had already booked LH451 (LAX-CDG, seat 3A) for this trip, and I think I'll keep it this way in order to compare to the AF 777-300ER for which I'm booked in seat 1L on two trips each later this year.

Too bad about the wifi issue, but that's not a deal-killer nor does having wifi on LH offset the degree to which I'll probably prefer the AF ground service and catering.

After my several upcoming trips this year, I suspect I'll prefer AF over LH (when it comes to P), but I get it that LH is a very acceptable experience (except, perhaps, arrival services). Can't wait to report back.

Good point about MUC, which I'll keep in mind as it has nonstop flights to my frequent destination (LYS). And I've had my eye on LX 40/41 (77W) just to use up some remaining LH points this year.

And FWIW, I'm switching from AA to FB this year and doing the big push to Platinum.
If Lyon is your final destination and you want to compare Air France with Lufthansa, don't go through Frankfurt.

The difference on board is as described above (and you will form your own opinion on which you prefer), but in terms of transfer experience MUC and CDG are actually quite close in this case:
- At MUC, A380 from LAX always arrive in Satellite 2, from where you'll walk straight to the lounge on the same level. Passport control in the lounge, zero security. This is even better than walking between a K gate and the lounge at CDG, except that in Paris you'll also need to go through security - more tedious. So you trade-off is zero walking but security checks in Paris vs. 50 meters walking but no security in Munich.
- from MUC, the LYS flights definitely leave from an open stand, so they'll drive you in either a Porsche Panamera, Porsche Cayenne or S Class straight to the plane, just like in CDG. No trade-off at all
- for the lounge, your trade-off is: Paris has the more refined catering and the spa if that matters in the time that you spend there; Munich has the nicer lounge (layout, space, natural light, terrace, views, bathrooms).

Zurich as well would be exactly like CDG (limo transfer from door of arriving plane directly to lounge, and then limo transfer to Lyon flight assuming it would be on a regional jet) - trouble is that LX no longer serves LYS, so it's no longer an option.

Flying LAX-LYS through Frankfurt is clearly your worst option. If you are booked on LH already, you can surely change that to the MUC flight?

Again, not saying that Air France would be a bad choice - absolutely not, it's a phantastic product and experience. But your question was not whether AF or LH were any good (they are great), but to compare them. And so, being quite familiar with these airlines and traansfers at these airports, I wanted to nuance a bit the other opinions which to me seemed somewhat unbalanced (not sure how many First Class Transfers through S2 in MUC people have done; maybe that's the natural bias of the AF board).
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Old Apr 10, 19, 6:46 pm
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Just a note about security: you won't get a security check in CDG (at least in P) nor AMS when arriving from USA.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 7:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Sjondorn View Post
Just a note about security: you won't get a security check in CDG (at least in P) nor AMS when arriving from USA.
I don't recall any security either. You are dropped off at the LPL from your limo ride. There is a security station of sorts, but I've never actually been screened. Just walked right past to the elevator up to the lounge.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 9:04 pm
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As usual, San Gottardo provided an excellent review of the two products.
In the past couple of years, have only flown once (return) on both AF 77W and LH A380 F, so my experience is very limited, but confirm our illustrious poster's analysis.

I always found onboard food on LH superior to AF (flown F many times in the past 20 years) and my recent experiences are consistent. They serve creative dishes. Dessert is not their stronger point. LH F may be the best cuisine in the skies.

I like privacy, and LH F seats badly lack privacy. I dislike the claustrophobic atmosphere of the single AF F row. I had seats in the middle, as booked shortly before departure, and had exactly San Gottardo's feeling. CX F suites are so much better. I find all of the two-rows 777 airlines better. Even J QR suites on 77W. For all the other points, I refer to San Gottardo.

Indeed both AF and LH have fantastic products over all.
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Old Apr 10, 19, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
Flying LAX-LYS through Frankfurt is clearly your worst option. If you are booked on LH already, you can surely change that to the MUC flight?
Yep, I'm calling in the morning to change the booking from LH451 to LH453 for exactly the reasons you mention. Looks like seat 2K is still available. And I'll probably try for the 1:15-hour connection to LH2250 if you think that's doable, or else there's LH2252 four hours later.
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Old Apr 11, 19, 12:48 am
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1h15 in Munich is plenty. Assuming your plane lands on time, you'll be in the lounge 10 to max 15 Minutes later (depending on how fast you walk) - the A380 dock at the extreme Southern end of the concourse, the lounge is sort of in the middle. They will drive you to your connecting flight 20 Minutes before departure (but won't leave you standing there if you make it 15 Minutes before).

Thanks for the information on no security ex-USA at CDG. I was not aware of that. After all my recent USA flights I exited the airport (ending there or longer layover), so I never transited through the lounge upon arriving from US. I know one can walk past the security past (did that twice recently when connecting GVA-CDG-HND and LIN-CDG-SFO), but since non-P arrivals from US let people out on the arrivals level my assumption was that there was a rule at CDG 2E that one would need to go through security no matter where one arrives from (point of interest: when arriving from the UK or Ireland as a non-P pax, one has to go through security as well for CDG transfers, right?). Good to know that there is no security ex-USA, that is really another advantage for P transfers in Paris

Last edited by San Gottardo; Apr 11, 19 at 4:58 am
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Old Apr 11, 19, 12:58 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
LH F may be the best cuisine in the skies.
I couldn't tell myself, I don't have enough other data points (my frequent QR and EK flights are a couple of years in the past, and the Asian airlines I have never flown or only very very few times in First). But I would like to nominate LX, whose dishes I find more creative and the quality better (I am writing this from seat 1A onboard an LX A333, with breakfast in front of me, still 1h40 minutes to go to Zurich. Posting on FT is one of the more frivolous things one can do with onboard WiFi )

The point I wanted to highlight though for AF, which is a detail but it's still absolutely outstanding: the design of their China. Very very nice. Not sure who did it for them, but it looks really very classy.

And another thing, again just a detail: while the content of the amenity kits is good on AF and LH (and for that matter also on LX), the little boxes AF now hands out in P are really nice. LH has more classic (=boring) little pouches. I have posted a picture recently of the AF box in another thread, can't remember which. You'll like it.

And: PJs. Great quality on all, with an edge for LX. Except that the AF ones feel small for someone tall!
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Old Apr 11, 19, 5:50 am
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Originally Posted by San Gottardo View Post
The point I wanted to highlight though for AF, which is a detail but it's still absolutely outstanding: the design of their China. Very very nice. Not sure who did it for them, but it looks really very classy.
I agree. Super nice Limoge
BTW, I like the very chic trend of this thread We are so far from the horrors of cattle class with the choice between chicken or pasta
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