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The French carrier is currently updating its business class cabins to feature a 1-2-1 layout. The newest designs for the Boeing 777-300ER include more modern finishes and a sliding door on each seat to add privacy. There are still a few Boeing 777/777-300 planes that have a 2-3-2 layout with middle seats in business class, so you’ll want to avoid these.
No matter which plane you fly, the typically French experience of fine dining and fashionable presentation remain highlights of flying Air France business class. And you can experience it by paying in cash or redeeming miles.
Here's what you need to know before flying Air France business class.
What is Air France business class like?
Air France likes to highlight its “Frenchness:” fine dining with chef partnerships, Champagne, tasty French cheeses and amenity kits packed with Clarins products.
On top of the French-inspired touches, Air France offers many of the perks you might expect from business class. Here are some of the highlights:
Bag allowance. The airline limits business class passengers to two checked bags weighing 70.5 pounds each. Top elite status members from Flying Blue (Air France-KLM’s loyalty program) or with SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus status can check a third bag with a similar weight limit free of charge. The airline is strict with hand baggage, often weighing them or placing them into sizer units to make sure they fit. Travelers can bring one bag measuring 21.7 x 13.8 x 9.9 in (including wheels and handles) and a personal item. Business class passengers are limited to a combined weight 40-pound limit of both items.
Boarding. Business class passengers can take advantage of SkyPriority boarding lanes allowing them to board first or any time during the boarding process.
Seats. Air France operates Boeing 777-200 and 300 models plus the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A330 and A350 planes on long-haul routes. These are almost entirely in a 1-2-1 or 2-2-2 layout with only some Boeing 777-300 planes featuring middle seats in a 2-3-2 layout. Business class seats lie fully flat and feature entertainment screens and plentiful personal space. Ideally, you can fly on a plane that offers all business class passengers aisle access, like the A350 or B787 Dreamliner.
Lounges. Air France has lounges for business class passengers that serve Champagne, wine, cocktails, soft drinks and juices. Buffets feature hot and cold food often including cheese, salads and pastries. A handful of lounges also feature spa treatment areas with complimentary massage and facials for passengers. The airline also has a network of lounges around the world including airports like Bangkok, Frankfurt, Houston-IAH, New York-JFK and Washington Dulles among others.
» Learn more: How to save money on international flights
How to book a business class ticket on Air France
It’s easy to book business class with Air France using cash or miles, but remember that Air France doesn't offer complimentary upgrades, even to elite members. However, occasionally Air France may sell an upgrade in cash or miles at check-in.
When using the Air France website, you can toggle between "book a flight" or "book with miles." Be sure to sign in to your Flying Blue account if you’re booking an award.
There’s a calendar feature that allows you to look at different dates to find the cheapest price in cash or miles.
If using SkyMiles, you can also use Delta.com to search for award seats. Just remember that Delta often charges exorbitant amounts of miles for a redemption. It only shows Air France flights if available, and the price usually increases the closer you get to departure.
Ways to get good value
Use the amenities
There is a lot to love about Air France business class flights. These include complimentary spa treatments in certain lounges (like New York and Paris). You’ll want to arrive at the lounge early and make a beeline to the spa area to sign up for a treatment as they can go quickly.
Be sure to take home the amenity kit since they include high-quality Clarins products. Also, the airline sets up a small bar and snacking station near the galley if you want a refreshment between meal services.
Book a long flight
The longer your flight, the more time you will have to rest, watch entertainment, get some work done and enjoy tasty food and drinks. Transatlantic flights between New York and Paris at around seven hours might be barely enough to rest. Some airports such as New York-JFK offer pre-flight dining in the lounge before certain late-night flights so that you can relax once on board. It’s important to arrive at the lounge early, so you can spend the flight relaxing.
The longest Air France flight is between Paris and Santiago, Chile, if you want to really maximize the experience. When flying from or to a U.S. airport, Air France’s West Coast gateways, San Francisco and Los Angeles, offer the longest flights to Paris. This means you can catch a movie, eat a couple of meals and get some solid rest.
Book a short tag flight
While Air France does operate some tag flights (a flight to or from Paris that makes an intermediate stop), these are typically short and don't offer the same inflight meal and amenity experience. But, if all you want is to experience a flat-bed seat or catch a movie on a larger screen for an hour or two, this could be the most affordable way to do that.
Past examples of Air France tag flights include Paris to Zanzibar with a stop in Nairobi, but not every city pair is available to buy independently. Be sure to check online to see if Air France offers a tag flight between two cities you’re flying between when searching for airfare. It’s not common, but certainly possible.
Consider transfer partners
While Delta can charge drastically high rates, Flying Blue’s Promo Rewards offer exceptional value, sometimes discounting business class by as much as 50%. If you want to be savvier about using miles, consider Flying Blue, which partners with many credit card transfer currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, Capital One Miles and Marriott Bonvoy.
Air France business class, recapped
Come hungry and ready to enjoy the lounge and onboard experience. Because the food and seats are impressive, you may want the flight to last longer. Be sure to fly one of the newer planes with all-aisle access in business class for the best experience.
If you are flexible on departure dates and willing to do your homework to find an award seat (or a good cash fare), Air France is a great option to take you to Paris and hundreds of cities beyond.
How to maximize your rewards
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