Uninspiring (but totally adequate) business class product
One of the things I love about the Caribbean is that while air traffic is dominated by single-aisle or turboprop aircraft, a few islands are the destination for long-haul aircraft from Europe. Perhaps the most well-known for aviation enthusiasts is Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, which is one of the best planespotting places in the world. From this island, you can fly both KLM (used to be 744, now 333 or 332) and Air France (343/346) to Europe on Amex/FlyingBlue points. As part of an RTW trip I decided to get some Maho Beach photo time in and make my way to Paris on the AF flight by redeeming some FlyingBlue points for a business class seat, given that this is a redeye flight. I’ve flown AF J a few times, and while it’s not the best in the sky (angle flat, not lie flat, for example…), it is good enough for a few hours of sleep and a decent airline meal. Here’s what you can expect…
- though it is only angle flat, it is comfortable enough to sleep fairly well
- good personal space (better than UA J, for example) and lounging options with this seat
- dinner and pre-arrival meal, as expected
- Clarins products in the amenity kit are a nice touch
- angle flat — it’s 2016, time for everyone’s J product to be lie-flat (you, too, EK!!)
- small IFE screen
- it’s a very standard business class experience, and normally I’d opt for a different carrier to/from other destinations
Air France has recently started updating their business class cabin, which is a must-do move these days as more and more carriers are switching to lie-flat 1-2-1 config cabins where everyone has direct aisle access. Sadly, this is still only on select routes (one of which I’ll be flying in a few months), so at least for the time being it’s very much worthwhile checking to see if you can get on their 777-300 with the updated J cabin on your route before booking. So knowing that, is it still worth it?
The answer to that is yes and no. As one of the few people who actually likes AF premium economy, I may opt for it over this old business class product on a short day flight, say from CDG to JFK. I would, however, go for the new business class on that same flight because it’s clearly a superior product. On any overnight flight I would spring for AF business class regardless of whether or not it’s the new or old, as even the worst angle flat seat is SO much better for sleeping than the best premium economy seat.
Which seat and why
On the A340-300 you have a 2-2-2 config, so if you want aisle access and nobody climbing over you then you’ll have to opt for the middle two seats. I was in 2E and it met my needs perfectly — night flight means window view doesn’t matter, and I had direct aisle access and so did my seatmate. If traveling as a couple then go for the window/aisle on the right or left side. Also – note that most of the galley access takes place at the rear of the cabin, so sit as far forward as you can and avoid seats 6E adn 6F at all costs. There are closets next to the most forward middle seats, 1E and 1 but they’re not often used so the added privacy could actually be a bonus.
For more seat reviews from other travelers on Air France, check out this plane’s seat map here: Air France A340 Seat Map.
Champagne predeparture beverage in Air France business…not DP, but went down easy
The Air France business class amenity kit
Post-departure wine and the menu
The old style Air France business class seats
View across the cabin from my seat
Power ports and life vest storage
Air France amenity kit contents
The Air France A340 business class cabin
Socks and slippers for business class
IFE controls and headphone strorage
Looking forward towards row 1 on the AF A340
Evian bottled water given at boarding
Air France SXM lounge invite
Seat controls, same as on the A380
Tiny tiny IFE screen, but adequate I suppose
The Air France seat and IFE screen in business class
Air France business class meal
The Bottom Line
It’s not going to win any awards, but Air France’s old business class gets the job done well, and is worth the extra points for a night flight. If you don’t need to sleep on your flight and it’s a short one, then I might consider trying out their premium economy product, Premium Voyageur.
What are Your Thoughts on Air France business class?
If you’ve flown the old or the new, let us know in the comments below! Or better yet, write a review of your seat on our Air France A340 Cabin Layout page.