Review: Air France Business Class (A350)

air france business class a350 review featured image

After an ultra-luxury trip which included Lufthansa First Class, staying inside a major tourist attraction at the Galleria Vik Milano hotel, and the Monaco Grand Prix we took off in style back to North America with Air France business class. 

The Air France KLM Flying Blue loyalty program and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club loyalty program are quickly emerging as contenders to our “traditional” programs of Star Alliance and Oneworld. I sincerely enjoyed my time on board, and given the option, I would book this flight again vs some Star Alliance partners.

Let’s take a look at my Air France business class review.

Booking Air France Business Class

Business ClassAircraftRouteDuration
Air France Business ClassAirbus A350Paris to Toronto8 Hours 20 Minutes

We booked our tickets 8 months in advance, and transferred US Membership Rewards points to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program. The timing was impeccable, as we took advantage of a 30% transfer bonus, meaning we only had to transfer a total of 75,000 US Membership Rewards points to make this redemption.

I was able to transfer 75,000 US Membership Rewards points, with the 30% transfer bonus, resulting in a balance of 97,500 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points which was enough to book the itinerary for two people! The cost came out to 37,500 US Membership Rewards and $400 CAD in taxes and fees per person. Unfortunately, one downside to making flight redemptions within the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program is the often higher-than-typical taxes and fees.

air france business class a350 booking cost virgin points taxes and fees

I didn’t mind paying a bit more in taxes and fees considering the value, as the cash price was almost $4,000 CAD per ticket and each point was worth 9.6 cents. Not to mention, this was a great opportunity for me to take my first Air France flight to see how it shaped up.

You cannot earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points as a Canadian, but you can access US credit cards as a Canadian. Consider looking into Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITIN), how to find a US mail forwarder, and the best US credit card for Canadians if you want to get started.

Ground Experience – Air France Lounge (CDG)

This booking included a 2-hour positioning hop from Rome (FCO) to Paris (CDG) as most great points bookings do. Once we arrived in CDG we were lucky to be able to spend some time in the Schengen Air France lounge which is the latest and greatest the airline has to offer.

air france lounge paris

My first stop was to the shower suites, which were nothing extravagant, but they got the job done.

air france lounge paris shower suite

One of the unique things Air France has available to its business class passengers is the Clarins Traveller Spa, which offers complimentary 15-minute skin treatments. They do require booking in advance so I recommend looking for availability as soon as you get into the lounge.

Cabin Arrangement

The Air France business class cabin on the A350 features 34 seats, arranged in a 1-2-1 layout. If traveling with a partner you might prefer the middle business class seats located in rows 2, 4, 6, or 8 as they are located closer together than those middle seats in the odd-numbered rows.

air france a350 business class seat map

Seat

By the time I boarded, the business class cabin was starting to fill up as passengers were getting settled for the flight ahead.

air france business class a350 cabin

Arriving at my seat I was met with pillows and a blanket, but I wasn’t planning on using them on this “short” flight.

air france business class a350 seat with pillow

After grabbing a few photos I settled into my seat and was pleased to find a good amount of customization. The armrests can be raised or lowered for comfort, and there is a privacy screen which makes just enough of a difference to be useful.

The seat controls and call button are easy to find, to the right of you when seated. The controls to transform the seat into full lie flat mode is just above the literature pocket, below the static storage table.

The tray table is heavy in feel but easily extends from underneath the entertainment screen. It folds out with a narrow track but pivots to a normal size table. I can’t say enough good things about the ergonomic design.

air france business class a350 tray table

The footwell was decent in size. While ANA’s “The Room” is impossible to compete with in this regard, I had no complaints about these dimensions.

air france business class a350 footwell

The seat felt very private, which makes me think I would enjoy the United Airlines Polaris product as the seats are identical. While the middle seats offer a partition, having three windows when flying business class is always a treat.

air france business class a350 seat with three windows

It’s important to note that the odd-numbered rows of window seats are much closer to the aisle, and also only have controls over one window. If you can grab an A or L seat with an even number, I think you’ll have a much better flight as these are arguably the best business class seats.

Air France’s business class seat on the A350 has lots of places to put things and the space was not cramped whatsoever. My camera had been sitting on the side table for two or three hours and it wasn’t in the way.

air france business class a350 camera on storage ledge

The rest of the seat storage was typical reverse herringbone but was nicely finished with soft leather on the inside of this compartment.

air france business class a350 storage compartment

Bed

I didn’t get any shut-eye on this flight, but the seat was comfy and roomy. I moved it into a lie-flat position for a photo op, gave it a bit of a test, and had no complaints.

air france business class a350 lie flat bed

The footwell was more than adequate in terms of space, but not extravagant.

air france business class a350 footwell lying down

Finally, the “private hallway” to these window seats allowed for lots of room to stretch legs even when storing the pillow and blanket in the designated foothold. It also added a nice gap between the walkway and the seat, giving you the feeling of extra space when sleeping and relaxing.

air france business class a350 walkway to seat

Amenity Kit

I didn’t even know we had an amenity kit until Marta mentioned how great it was, as my seat didn’t have one! This was just one of a few blunders the crew ran into, as there was also no hot water on board and the live maps were not functioning.

air france business class a350 amenity kit

The Clarins creams were high quality, as was the amenity case itself. This was one of the better kits we’ve received!

Dining

A great feature that more airlines need to implement is pre-booking meals. Knowing you’ll have your first choice, rather than the catering running out, is a huge plus. 

Similar to EVA Air business class, the meal booking system for all Air France business class passengers was available a few days before our flight and worked efficiently. This was a major plus for Air France’s business class product.

air france business class a350 pre flight dining options

That being said, if you do not wish to select a meal in advance, you do still have the chance to select onboard from a variety of options.

Food & Drink

Once I was settled in the seat, champagne was delivered as a pre-departure beverage as is tradition with many business class flights.

air france business class a350 pre departure champagne

Food and beverage menus were presented while we were still on the ground.

air france business class a350 food and beverage menu

While I had pre-ordered my main course, I did take a few pictures of the menu so you know what to expect when flying Air France business class.

First up were the lunch, order at any time, and the light snack menus.

For those interested in something a bit more alcoholic, there was a comprehensive champagne, red wine, white wine, and spirits menu.

There were also a selection of non-alcoholic cold and hot beverages available.

air france business class a350 cold and hot beverage menu

After about 30 minutes in the air, service was started and continued for a two-hour marathon of eating and drinking. 

I chose to have the Bellevoye Blue French whisky as an aperitif, which I had not heard of before but it was an excellent first beverage. It was served alongside goat cheese and artichoke and some cheese-filled crackers.

air france business class a350 whiskey and crackers

Lunch service started with a white napkin over the tray table. The first course was then served which consisted of a tuna, quinoa, and spring mix salad. The quinoa was my personal favorite, as it had a delicate balance of both sweet and savory flavors.

air france business class a350 appetizer and salad meal

The lighting during dinner service was a very fun blue, white, and red color scheme. It was creative enough to add character, but not quite Bamboo Airways rainbow lighting over-the-top quirky.

air france business class a350 lighting

Maybe it was the triple malt whisky hitting me at this point, but I began to think this experience exceeded my experience on ANA’s “The Room” in terms of the overall product. The uncomfortable seats of ANA can really drain you, while I had literally made no adjustments to my seat and was happy as a clam. 

I was missing the ability to just raise the footrest though. That is a feature I love about Air Canada Signature Class, where it can essentially become a chaise lounge without being too laid back. 

During the meal service, the flight attendants were attentive and proactive, filling up my water glass and offering extra bread in between the appetizer and main course. 

With the appetizer course, I ordered a 2016 Bordeaux which was absolutely magnificent.

air france business class a350 chateau fombrauge bordeaux wine

While I had selected the veal for my main course, I thought it was good, but I was expecting better! Definitely a creamy and rich dish, but it didn’t have much character outside of that.

air france business class a350 veal lunch

After the lunch course was finished a cheese course was served. Blue cheese is never my favorite, and it rang true here as well. But the rest of the platter was delicious.

air france business class a350 cheese course

One thing I loved about the tray table was the ability to move it without disrupting its contents. It pivots well and allows egress from the seat, which can often be a hard thing to achieve during meals in a business class seat.

air france business class a350 table set and pivoted

After dinner dishes were taken away, and dessert was served. We had a choice of mouse or pastries, I chose the pastries at which point the friendly flight attendant offered a glass of cognac. How could I say no?

air france business class a350 dessert with cognac

The pistachio macaron was the star of the show, and better than what I’ve had on land in France.

About halfway through the flight, a snack tray was presented and I indulged in an extra dark chocolate bar.

air france business class a350 chocolate bar

I was thirsty again at some point after this and pressed the call button on the remote. Within 30 seconds a flight attendant was present and fulfilled my request for a Heineken.

air france business class a350 heineken beer

About 1 hour and 30 minutes before landing a snack was served of a croissant sandwich and Madeline. Once again white tablecloths were presented and the food had an elegance to it.

air france business class a350 croissant snack

Entertainment

Entertainment Console

This was my first daytime flight in long-haul business, and I was excited to soak in all 7 hours. The safety video was expertly produced, and quite entertaining! It included all of Frances’s top tourist attractions, as well as some references to French culture such as the fashion industry.

Once the food service was complete, I tried out the entertainment system and tuned into the movie Babylon. I found the headset to be more than adequate, and it did a nice job of noise canceling as well.

The selection of Movies and TV series was above average, with 66 “new” movies and 52 different series.

air france business class a350 entertainment console movies

One thing I sincerely liked about the IFE remote was the arrival countdown. It’s an unobtrusive placement but convenient enough that it doesn’t require a series of commands to activate.

air france business class a350 in-flight entertainment console remote

As always, I also enjoyed the onboard cameras.

air france business class a350 entertainment console onboard camera

In-Flight WiFi

As Marta and I were seated in the “true” window seats, communication was difficult. But if we needed to chat, the free messaging service made it easy to communicate via WhatsApp or iMessage. 

The in-flight WiFi was difficult to connect to, it turns out that my VPN was causing issues. Once that was removed I had no trouble connecting to the free messaging service. A surf pass and stream pass were available for purchase at 18€ and 30€ respectively.

air france business class a350 in-flight wifi stream and surf pass prices

Conclusion

Considering that Air France operates many flights across the Atlantic Ocean, I would definitely consider flying with them again for my next Europe vacation. The service, seat, and experience were well above average even if there were a few hiccups. 

With Virgin Atlantic having the best award pricing for KLM and Air France award flights, it’s never been more important to expand into the US credit card market if you haven’t done so already to broaden your points earning and redemption options (consider using Nova Credit for an easy way into the market as a Canadian). Not to mention, you can also book a cruise with Virgin points, opening up some other unique redemption options.

Understanding your redemption options and keeping an eye on a number of loyalty programs is a great way to take advantage of sweet spots and accumulate miles and points for the next time you want to fly business class.

Daniel Burkett

Daniel Burkett

Contributor at Frugal Flyer
Daniel entered the Miles and Points game in 2021 and has taken the “make up for lost time” mentality. After spending five years travelling for work and paying no attention to loyalty programs, some say Daniel is out for Points Revenge. With his desire to maximize every point available, he hopes to share the knowledge gained with more travellers to prevent the same mistakes he made.

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