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Review: Air France B777-300 Business Class (JFK-CDG)

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

After flying in from Dallas-Ft. Worth in Delta’s A220-100 First Class and spending the afternoon exploring Manhattan, it was time for us to continue on to Paris. We had a very enjoyable flight last year in Air France’s B777-200 Business Class so I was looking forward to this flight!


Booking

This summer has been absolutely insane with regards to travel demand so I had to hunt for a long time to find any sort of decently priced award availability across the Atlantic. The best deal I found was from New York to Brussels with a stop in Paris for 55,000 Flying Blue miles plus $200 in taxes and fees per person. Brussels wasn’t even on our radar but every other city pair I could find was well in excess of 150,000 miles.


When I booked, there was only availability on the 4 cabin 777-300 with the old business class seats. I kept checking for availability on the 3 cabin 777-300 with the new business class suites though availability never opened up.


Pre-Flight

Due to all of the construction at New York-JFK, we took the AirTrain from the Long Island Railroad’s Jamaica Station to Terminal 8. From there we headed down through the parking garage to a line of waiting shuttle buses that took us around to Terminal One.

The bus dropped us off on the departures level in front of the ITA Airways/EgyptAir doors and, once inside, we headed over to the A check-in desks.

New York-JFK Terminal One Entrance
New York-JFK Terminal One Entrance

With nobody in the Sky Priority lane, our documents were quickly verified and boarding passes issued. We checked our bags through to Paris when departing Dallas but, since the flights were on two separate tickets, we still had to do a document check to get our boarding passes. Otherwise, we could have headed straight for security.

The security checkpoint nightmare at JFK’s Terminal 1 has been well documented over the years so, I was excited to see signage for TSA PreCheck. Unfortunately, the line moved extremely slowly and was basically PreCheck in name only, though I did get to keep my shoes on. It took over 20 minutes for us to clear security and, once airside, we headed for the lounge.


Lounge

Passengers flying in First (La Premiere) and Business Class on Air France have access to the Air France Lounge located next to Gate 1. It’s an above average lounge located in a below average terminal. Given the length of the security lines in the terminal, get here early and head for the lounge just in case. My full writeup of the Air France Lounge at JFK can be found here.


Boarding

Our flight was scheduled to depart at 9:30p but with a slightly delayed inbound we left the lounge and headed for the gate just after 9:00p.

New York-JFK Terminal 1 Concourse
Off through Duty Free to the gate

Our flight was scheduled to depart from Gate 5 and boarding was already underway when we arrived, with lines extending down the concourse. Thankfully, there was a separate Business Class line so we were able to jump the long Economy queue. A quick scan of our boarding passes and we headed down the jetway.

Air France Boarding Gate New York-JFK Terminal 1
Air France Boarding Gate New York-JFK Terminal 1

Air France

AF 11

JFK-CDG (New York John F. Kennedy International - Paris Charles de Gaulle International)

Seat: 4E (Business)

B777-300 (F-GSQB)

Scheduled: 9:30a-11:00a (+1)

Actual: 9:35a-11:01a (+1)


Air France used a single jetway to board our 777-300 so things backed up a bit and we had to wait a few minutes before stepping aboard through door 2L. From there, we made a left into the forward Business Class cabin and our home for the next 7.5 hours.


Seat

I assigned Mrs. ATX Jetsetter and I seats 4E and F in the second row of the forward business class cabin. With only one row of business class in front, and the separate La Premiere cabin ahead of that, I figured this would minimize foot traffic and galley noise on this short flight.


Waiting at my seat upon boarding was a pillow, small blanket, coat hanger, and the menu for tonight’s flight.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Seat
Air France B777-300 Business Class Seat

The IFE screen was crisp, given the age, and folded out from the seat in front.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Seatback IFE Screen
Air France B777-300 Business Class Seatback IFE Screen

Headphones were hanging inside the main storage cubby next to the seat along with the amenity kit for the flight. The headphones were decent quality, but not fantastic.

The amenity kit consisted of socks, earplugs, toothbrush, eye mask, toothpaste, and some lotions from Clarins.

To the right of the cubby, next to the seat, was the infotainment controller as well as a small reading light. The controller can pop out as well for easier use.

Air France B777-300 Business Class IFE controls and reading light
Air France B777-300 Business Class IFE controls and reading light

The seat controls were located on the side of the table separating the two seats and were simple and intuitive. You could also control the overhead reading light from here.

Air France B777-300 Business Class seat controls
Air France B777-300 Business Class Seat Controlss

Underneath the seat controls was the tray table, which slid out and could be adjusted and folded as needed.

Air France B777-300 Business Class tray table
Air France B777-300 Business Class Tray Table

Though we didn’t use it, there is a partition between the seats that can slide out should you be seated next to a stranger. It isn’t a full partition but does provide ample privacy.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Seat Divider
The privacy divider helps if you're seated next to a stranger or if your wife gets tired of you

Overall, the seats were comfortable and at 6'2" I had enough space to not feel cramped though they are definitely showing their age. If given the option, I’d fly one of the flights operated by the three-cabin 777-300 with the updated seats.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Legroom
Air France B777-300 Business Class Legroom

Menu

While boarding was wrapping up, I took the time to peruse the menu. Dinner would be served shortly after departure with breakfast prior to landing. The menu read as follows.


Departure

Prior to departure, flight attendants came through the cabin and offered pre-departure beverages with a choice of water or juice. After all the champagne in the lounge, I opted for water which was served in a real glass.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Pre-departure beverage
Air France B777-300 Business Class Pre-departure beverage

Even though our inbound flight and boarding were delayed, we still managed to push off the gate just five minutes behind schedule. Weather delays coupled with the evening departure bank made for a long taxi over to the runway. I fired up the IFE and started Ticket to Paradise and, roughly 40 minutes after leaving the gate, we were lumbering down Runway 22R and into the night sky on our way to Paris.

We had a fairly bumpy climb out as we were passing through some weather and the captain and crew made multiple announcements throughout. Roughly 20 minutes after departure the seatbelt sign was turned off and I went to visit the restroom, which was on the small side. It was clean, though this was the beginning of the flight, and aside from some Clarins perfumes was relatively sparse.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Lavatory
Air France B777-300 Business Class Lavatory

Dinner

With the slight delay and long taxi, the dinner service began just over an hour after leaving the gate. The flight attendants seemed to take the orders of the passengers seated in the window seats throughout the cabin before starting with the middle pairs. Once they reached us, open bar beverages were offered and I went with the Pommery Brut Royal champagne which was served with some cheese crackers that I have become addicted to.

Air France B777-300 Business Class champagne and cheese crackers
I'm addicted to these cheese crackers

The starter consisted of duck foie gras with Armagnac, pear jelly, and a quinoa and vegetable medley. This was served with a side salad as well as the cheese and dessert. I’m assuming this was to save time? Bread was also offered but, with no room on the tray, I had to sit it on the tablecloth.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Starter, Cheese, and Dessert Course
Air France B777-300 Business Class Starter, Cheese, and Dessert Course
Air France B777-300 Business Class Foie gras starter
Air France B777-300 Business Class Foie Gras starter

For my main, I had the duck confit gratin which was served with a potato puree, vegetables and a foie gras sauce. While it wasn’t bad, it seemed to miss the mark and was mediocre at best. Mrs. ATX Jetsetter had the braised beef and said it was almost inedible.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Duck confit gratin with potato puree and a foie gras sauce dinner
Duck confit gratin with potato puree and a foie gras sauce

After my main, I moved on to the cheese and dessert course, which had been on my tray from the beginning. The cheese was good and consisted of a brie and two others that I didn’t get the name of. For dessert, a pistachio macaron and a small, bite-size opera cake and raspberry crumble rounded out the meal.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Cheese Course
Air France B777-300 Business Class Cheese Course
Air France B777-300 Business Class Dessert
Air France B777-300 Business Class Dessert

At this point, it was 11:30p local time and just under 2 hours after departure. Instead of trying to sleep immediately, for some reason I thought it was a good idea to order an espresso, which was served with a small chocolate.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Espresso
Air France B777-300 Business Class Espresso

Part of the reason I ordered that was because any hope I had of getting some sleep was going quickly. I planned our seats to be in the quiet part of the cabin as I find it hard to sleep on planes, but the passenger in front of us kept his reading light on the entire flight and the guy next to me kept getting visits from his friend in La Premiere. I can’t imagine the other LP passengers enjoyed this either.


Eventually, the long travel day finally caught up to me so I put my seat into bed mode around 11:45p local time, popped in my AirPods, and managed to sleep for about 3.5 hours.


Breakfast

I awoke somewhat dazed and definitely tired with a little over an hour and a half remaining until Paris. Once the flight attendant noticed I was awake, he came over to see if I wanted breakfast.


The only choice of breakfast on this flight was between the full breakfast or the express breakfast in the event you wanted to get some more sleep. The meal was served on a single tray and consisted of yogurt, fruit salad, and a cheese omelet with spinach and potatoes. I also had a cup of coffee as well.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Breakfast
Air France B777-300 Business Class Breakfast

There’s no way to sugar coat it, the breakfast was awful. The omelet was basically rubber and the potatoes were powdery. I tried one bite of each and that was enough for me so I snacked on the fruit. The flight attendant asked if I would like a croissant which I appreciated and accepted, though what came next was odd. He took my tray before bringing the croissant to me which meant I had nowhere to put it other than on the tray table itself.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Croissant and Coffee
No plate, no napkin, nothing

I cut my losses and drank coffee while watching the moving map as we approached Paris.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Moving Map Approaching Paris
Moving Map approaching Paris

Arrival

As we began our descent into Paris, the flight attendants distributed hot towels which helped wake me up a bit.

Air France B777-300 Business Class Hot Towel
Air France B777-300 Business Class Hot Towel

Once on the ground we taxied over to the L satellite of Terminal 2E and blocked in just one minute after our scheduled arrival time. Even at their home base, Air France decided to deplane everyone through a single door though, surprisingly it was 1L. One thing I love about Paris-CDG is the glass jetway which gave me a great look at our 777-300.

Air France Boeing 777-300 at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Air France Boeing 777-300 at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

We followed the signs up to customs and immigration only to find that nobody had unlocked the doors to let us through.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Jetway
Traffic jam on the jetway

A few minutes later that had been resolved, though not before backing up the stairs and escalator, and we began the longest trek to immigration I’ve ever had in my life. After walking the entire length of the L Satellite, we then took the train over to the K gates and finally to immigration 15 minutes after deplaning.

From there, we grabbed our bags and went through customs before being deposited in the arrivals hall of Terminal 2E 35 minutes after deplaning. From there, we followed the signs for the train station and our connecting train to Brussels.

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2E Arrivals Hall
Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2E Arrivals Hall

Summary

I’ve long held Air France in high regard as offering a great business class experience but everything on this trip seemed like a miss. The staff was friendly but the service was odd and the food was worse than expected. I had been looking forward to this flight, and still want to try the new business class seats, though I left feeling disappointed. Hopefully this was a one off but only time will tell.


In this Trip Report

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