The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.
The average flight time is 10 hours and 38 minutes.More information
Flying blue Miles earned with this flight: 4821
Status earned: 36 XP
I have been very lucky to go and travel in South America with my other half for 4 months from Argentina to Colombia and this flight is our second flight flying Business, on one of the B787s that Air France received less than two years ago! I was really excited about this flight! (and also by the prospect of gaining more miles and status!)
If most of the times we were travelling by coaches, like most of the South American people: it is generally safe, they are confortable and it is cheap but for long distances (sometimes more than 24 hours) we flew:
London - Paris CDG: Air France A320 report here
Paris CDG - Buenos Aires EZE: Air France Boeing 777-200 report here
Iguazu - Buenos Aires AEP: Latam A320 report here
Buenos Aires AEP - Salta: Latam A320 report here
Salta - Cordoba: Aerolineas Argentinas B737-800 report here
Cordoba - Mendoza: Aerolineas Argentinas (Austral) E190 report here
Santiago - Antofagasta: Sky Airlines A320 report here
Lima - Iquitos: Viva Air A320 report here
Iquitos - Lima: Viva Air A320 report here
Medellin - San Andres: Latam A320 report here
San Andres - Cartagena: Latam A320 report here
Santa Marta - Bogota: Latam A320 report here
Bogota - Paris CDG: Air France B787-9 report here
Paris CDG - Londres Heathrow: Air France A318 report here
When you fly Business with Air France, you are entitled to 2 bags in the cabin, and two checkin bags of 23kgs each, adding my extra luggage allowance as I am a Skyteam elite member, we had an allowance 5 bags of 23kgs in the hull! We also flew Business with Air France to Buenos Aires at the start of our 4 months trip, and the return journey from/to London, believe it not, we 'only' paid £1659 (each).
We chose the seats on this dreamliner when we booked our trip long time ago; and by the time we flew the business cabin was full.
If you go on their dekstop web page, you can have access to the full list of services to be provided on board, including the menu you will have… I found it quite impressive…
Air France app is quite comprehensive, you can easily navigate through options, travel tips, and of course your bookings and the service you will have on board.. So for us today on this B787, the list is quite good…
Of course, like many others, the app offers you the possibility to check in online and get your boarding pass, however the app is still not 100% robust: my other half downloaded the boarding passes however when i tried on my phone I couldn't… I can also think of another example where, randomly, some of my past bookings disappear (while still being seen on the dekstop website) and re-appear a weeks later…
The other app Air France offers is the play app where you can download prior to your flight some news, magazines, podcasts etc.
I also downloaded the Skyteam app not to miss any perks of being holder of the elite status/ business class.. The app feels a bit old but you have the full flight schedules of all the skyteam airlines offline and also the details of the priority lanes and lounges at any airport.
Bogota El Dorado Airport is about 50 min away from the centre, which is roughly 35,000 COP. El Dorado doesn't seem to be the largest Latin American airport however is very well organised, with a lot of standardised signs, constant announces, colours and patterns, very nice experience. The main check in hall has a golden theme, a reminder of the museo de oro?
After dropping our luggage using the priority lane, with a very cold staff, we went through security and went to the lounge in front of gate 47.
The lounge is shared with Skyteam members but also and surprisingly with Latam, Iberia and American Airlines…
Lounge is really well put together, well decorated with a lot of replicas from the gold museum. The lounge has an impressive amount of seating area to the point that you actually walk a lot to reach the buffet area. The buffet itself was a bit average but the last room, the bar, very pretty and with a nice atmosphere.
You go through long chairs, TV lounge, Meeting room, children garden, and the spa/showers.
There is even a virtual basket ball game!
The thing we didn't like much is that they gave you a ticket for the buffet to scan, same for the wine, same for the bar and shower which felt a bit unecessary.
We heard the announce of the boarding being prepared and left the lounge to go to gate 45 to board the dreamliner.
Here she is!
When boarding opened, we used the priority boarding lane and boarded through the unique jetway.
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Engines: 2x GEnx
Age: 2 Years
Layout: F14 C56 W44 Y185
Observation: Second dreamliner received by Air France, together with first unit F-HRBA were doing short flights to London and Lyon to train staff.
The AvGEEK bit
Air France received lately its 9th B787-9 Dreamliner, from an order of 15 (15 in service at KLM too). In the airline strategy, the dreamliner is the perfect fit for long haul routes with medium traffic, hence to replace the A340s with a very similar seating capacity (275 vs 276). The type is also the first to introduce wifi (except the B777-300 F-GSQY that was equipped earlier) for the airline, as we can notice the satcom dome here. Air France initially ordered 15 B787-9, and 10 for KLM. The aircraft is now deployed on routes where the A340 was, Toronto, Boston, Gangzhou, and now Bogota, but also is used like the A330 is, on new routes awaiting to be profitable like Nairobi or Osaka).
Air France chose the cirrus for its Business seat, a bassinet type of seat, which is the same as you can find on their B777 fleet (Air France has a reputation of having a HUGE complexity: so far the seats are differents on the A380, A330, A340 and will be on the first A350s!). We had the chance to try these seats on our way to Buenos Aires and frankly they are great!
Here a couple of observations:
- The arm rest is retractable
- All seats are facing forward - seems obvious but a few airlines chose to alternate with rear facing
- Large amount of storage, especially if you compare with the other European majors.. the red cabinet (Cupboard) with its mirror and elasctic band, the large table, the side shelf, underneath your seat to leave your sleepers and of course above your head.
- There are a few ambiance lights; underneath the cabinets and tables, above your head etc
- Most of the business seats just offer you a squary space for your seat, here the space is generous.
- There is a plug (UK and EU) and USB charger.
- The only negative point i found is if you are a couple and want to chat, you have to bent slightly forward to see and hear each other.
- Each seat is good becaue of the 1-2-1 configuration, wherever you are seated, you have a good level of privacy (litterally it is hard to know who your neighbours are), if you seat on your seat, you can't see the face of the passengers next to you nor even in front of you. Each seat is also fully convertible into bed position.
- IFE screen is large (16 in) and rotates sideways with a remote control on which you can also watch what is on the IFE or remote control it.
Air France claims to have 1400 hours of movie available, let alone the music, podcasts, Air France news, yoga and the 3D map that offers different virtual views (even a cockpit view).
Boarding music was a mix of Air France music and this famous song amonst them
When you arrive at your seat, the crew greets you by your name and offers you to take your jacket on a hanger away.
The crew assigned to the cabin seemed professional and kind, however they felt quite cold. I didn't feel that they were keen to do the extra mile, even at times were forgetting our requests…
Unlike the way out, we were offered champagne whilst boarding before taking off.
After push back we had a funny announce by the captain welcoming us aboard the dreamliner with the dream crew taking care of wanderful passengers and the light were deemed in a nice ambiance way.
The IFE displayed the famous Safety Video featuring models wearing strippy tshirts
The taxi was a bit long as we took off on the runway 31R.
After take off we were offered hot oshibori
I had a closer look at the seat and found that there was:
- A shoebag, a pair of sleepers and navy blue thick socks
- A noise cancelling headphone (not quite a Bose technology but close to it)
- The usual sleepling bits: sleeping mask, nice thick duvet, pillow.
-The usual safety procedures (I know I was supposed to have a look at it before taking off!)
After take off and the seat belt switched off passed 10,000 feet, the crew quickly started their on board service.
The crew gave us the travel kit which features as toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, a pen, ear plugs, pen, comb, eye mask, and Clarins spa products and moisturiser, a pen, a cloth to clean glasses and minth sweets; the kit was wearing the a sobre navy blue (I think i still prefer the 85th Anniversary)
The food service was of 3 course meal menu, with a wine pairing option; prepared by the Michellin starred chef Guy Martin who works at the Grand Vefour of Paris.
As usual on Business, you can choose your meal and I opted for:
Starter 1Marinated salmon and picklet carrot with cherry compote
Starter 2 Seasonal salade
Main Beef Tournedos in red pepper sauce with creole puree, mushroom and spinash
Dessert Peach and Passion fruit tart
Wines Chablis vieilles vignes ste claire 2016 then
St Joseph cave de Tain 2017
Digestif chartreuse verte.
The table cloth is dressed,plates are in porcelain and cuttlery from Christoffle however the plastic tray is a minus.
Air France offers two magasines: Madame for ladies
and the Air France magasine.
It is quite elaborate with 330 pages, a first section about world's statistics, travels, Air France fleet presentation and a presentation of films.
On the fleet section there has been a few changes of drawings and the B777-300, B777-200 and B777 Freighter are now separated.
I wanted to watch a movie but after 10 min of me being undecisive; I started to fall asleep..
I put my seat in bed position and fell asleep super fast, I think it was my best night on a flight - I guess the better pressured air on the Dreamliner also helped?
I activated the free wifi in the middle of the night just to send a few messages and check a few things online.
During the night (well day in Europe) i woke and went to the bar dressed by the crew to get some snacks and water. I had a chat with them and they seeed satisfied with Ben Smith's strategy and also told me The Business class will keep improving whilst the economy class will face cost saving measures.
The toilets were also featuring Clarin face cleansing and moisturising products.
We were served breakfast one hour before landing which included orange juice, coffee and i chose for the fruit salad, greek yoghurt, patisseries, bread and jam and the red fruit and banana crepe.
After Breakfast I went for another walk in the cabin…
and asked my other half to take pictures of this really beautiful wing flex!
We started our descent just over Caen with another light hearted announce by the captain, telling us we are running 13 min late because we avoided 4 thunderstorm areas.
We landed on runway 27R (next to T1).
We arrived at CDG Terminal 2E Hall L after a long taxi..
We soon after deboarded through the business dedicated jetway, passing by beautiful birds like this B777-300ER.
We went to the newly refurbished and huge Air france business lounge at Hall L awaiting for our next flight.
In conclusion it was a fantastic experience with Air France.
The dreamliner very young (2 years old), the comfort, privacy of the seat, the food are a real plus.
There has also been definitely an improvement on the crew side, very professional and keen to receive feedback.
The final plus was the 3hours relaxing at the somptuous Paris CDG lounge.
Cabin design: 8/10
Seat comfort (upright): 8/10
Seat comfort (bed position): 9/10
Food (quality): 9/10
Food (quantity): 8/10
Inflight entertainment : 9/10
Overall experience: very good: 8,5/10