A Review Of AirFrance Business Class DTW>CDG: Worth The Cost?

March 6, 2022
airfrance business class

As you guys all know, airline miles lose value over time.  Because I wasn’t sure what international travel would look like in the next year and some countries had relaxed their entry requirements, I decided to cash in all my Delta SkyMiles on a last-minute ticket to Portugal (+$90 in taxes).  So at the gate in Detroit I asked about upgrade options, and decided to upgrade to AirFrance business class on the overnight flight for $700.

You know I love a “treat yo’self” experience.  It’s always a thrill to “turn left” when you board!  I was welcomed with a glass of champagne and a warm damp cloth.  After two years away, it was so amazing to be headed back to Europe!

Review of AirFrance Business Class: Is It Worth It? DTW>CDG | A detailed review of the AirFrance business class experience in Oct 2021 flying Detroit to Paris. Usually an A350 but I believe this was a 787 instead. How the lay-flat seats, food, bedding, service, & more stacked up vs. other business class. Is this splurge experience worth it? #airfrance #businessclass #bizclass #flightupgrade #review

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Now here’s a caveat:  I hadn’t flown Air France business class previously, so I can’t speak to whether this was a “scaled back” version of their usual offering due to COVID.  I was traveling in late October 2021, when a number of countries had eased up on entry restrictions.

The specific elements felt fairly normal compared to what I’ve experienced in other business class settings, so I’m judging them as apples-to-apples.

I don’t know that there’s any special lounge access you can take advantage of in Detroit (I already have Delta lounge access) and upgraded at the gate, plus I had a very short layover in Detroit.  If I’d been originating in Paris instead, I could have used the AirFrance business class lounge, which I hear is awesome.

Compare this to other business/first class experiences:

Review:  DeltaOne Business Class ATL>LHR

Turkish Airlines Business Class Review

This view never gets old!

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My experience flying AirFrance business class

From what I understand, the Airbus (A)350 is AirFrance’s newest business class offering and that’s what this route is *supposed* to fly (though all that got thrown off during COVID).  But from everything I can tell, this was not the A350, and felt a little older and less comfortable.

I am trying to get confirmation from the airline on what plane it was, but for now let’s assume it was not the A350.  I actually think it was the 787 instead.

All the seats recline to lay flat, for a bed that is generally long enough to be comfortable for me (I’m 5’6″) but I always feel like it would be a bit cramped for a tall person.  The second pic below I tried to pull back a little so you could see more.

The seats were adequate but not particularly cushy or comfortable, and I wished there was a bit of lumbar support.  The blanket and pillow provided for bedding were pretty thin, and definitely disappointing compared to Delta’s cushy bedding.

Review of AirFrance Business Class: Is It Worth It? DTW>CDG

Fish-eye view of the business class seats on AirFrance (787 aircraft I think)

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You can also get a better look at the foot rest and space in these pics.  You also get a glimpse of the large, high-quality screen for entertainment.  There were a lot of different movie and TV choices, as well as music and more.

Foot space in my Airfrance business class seat

Review of AirFrance Business Class: Is It Worth It? DTW>CDG | A detailed review of the AirFrance business class experience in Oct 2021 flying Detroit to Paris. Usually an A350 but I believe this was a 787 instead. How the lay-flat seats, food, bedding, service, & more stacked up vs. other business class. Is this splurge experience worth it? #airfrance #businessclass #bizclass #flightupgrade #review

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The business class seats are configured in a 1-2-1 layout and I had selected a window seat.  You can see below the way it’s laid out.

AirFrance business class in a 1-2-1 configuration, what the middle looks like

A view of AirFrance business class

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My seat had a small cupboard where the headphones, water bottle, and more were located, and where I could keep my own things close at hand (like phone, chapstick, sleep mask, etc).  The door was a little fiddly on mine.  There were plugins for regular cords and USB here as well.

I enjoyed my Clarins toiletries and the little corduroy bag they came in.

My little cupboard for personal items in AirFrance business class

Welcome champagne and Clarins toiletries in business class - AirFrance DTW>CDG

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So let’s talk food.  I always find the differences in menu options between economy and business class to be interesting.  In this case, I found the food on AirFrance okay but a bit underwhelming vs. its reputation.

I enjoyed the hot-smoked salmon with chive cream, and then a braised Wagyu beef in port sauce, and some mini desserts.  I sipped some wine and then had a glass of port, then got my lay flat bed situated.  Everything was fine, but nothing especially great—the desserts in particular weren’t anything to write home about.

The AirFrance business class dinner menu - DTW>CDG

The Wagyu beef in port sauce - AirFrance business class review

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Here’s a full look at the dinner menu provided.  You can also get a glimpse of the France-forward wine selection (as would be expected).  That 10-year tawny port on offer is a surprise, and was very enjoyable!

Close-up of the AirFrance business class dinner menu

Close-up of the AirFrance business class wine menu

Close-up of the AirFrance business class alcohol menu

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Breakfast was uninspiring and cold (as I remember), but I did get an espresso rather than drip coffee, which is always appreciated!

I don’t have too much to say about the service in business class, but I found it fine if a bit aloof and minimal for business class.  They were a little hard to catch going by, but I always hate to use my Call button unless it’s really important (which is totally on me).  They didn’t go out of their way to check in or be friendly (fairly aloof) but they were polite and responsive.

We landed in Paris on a chilly, rainy morning, and then I navigated the maze that is CDG to find my gate for Porto.

Rainy morning at CDG airport in Paris

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I flew the regular economy AirFrance offering on the way back from Paris to Atlanta a few days later, but on the Airbus 350 (A350).  It’s definitely a nicer plane, and this is what the seats in economy looked like, for reference (I was lucky, I had the entire row to myself).  I’ve heard the A350 business class is the best AF has to offer.

Economy seats in AirFrance on the A350 for comparison

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Is AirFrance business class worth it?

Ehh…based on this experience on the 787, I wouldn’t be willing to pay a ton extra for it.   It didn’t compare favorably to DeltaOne on any of the key elements.  However, it’s possible the new A350 business class will elevate the experience more, and I’d love to try it.  On the 787, I’d maybe upgrade with points or a few hundred dollars, but would not pay thousands for AirFrance business class.

Other splurge experiences you’ll love:

Pin for later!

Review of AirFrance Business Class: Is It Worth It? DTW>CDG | A detailed review of the AirFrance business class experience in Oct 2021 flying Detroit to Paris. Usually an A350 but I believe this was a 787 instead. How the lay-flat seats, food, bedding, service, & more stacked up vs. other business class. Is this splurge experience worth it? #airfrance #businessclass #bizclass #flightupgrade #review

Comments (2)

  • PARAG JOSHI

    March 8, 2022 at 7:15 am

    From the windows it looks like a Boeing 787 for sure

  • Scott

    March 7, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    Couldn’t agree with your review more. The champagne was very good but the red wines were average as was the whole flight experience Took the same flight from atl to cdg this week but on the way back I’ll be in delta business (though not the suites unfortunately) and I expect it to be a better experience.

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