Air France A380 Upper Deck Business Class Review


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The two hour Paris layover after the TGV train ride went by quick. Before I knew it, the Air France A380 boarding process started. After my boarding pass was scanned, I headed through the the glass jetway and up a set of escalators to the second deck of the Air France A380. The flight was packed for the 8 hours and 20 minutes from Paris to Dulles.

Journey To Brussels And Back

Upper Deck Business Class Seat

The first thing I noticed upon entering the upper deck L’Espace Affairs cabin was that it was spacious. After running a small contest to see what seats readers like best, we selected seat 62B. While this wouldn’t have been our first choice, it turned out better than the one I would have selected in the bulk head seat, more on that later.

The seats are the new Air France business class seats. While I was skeptical at first about the new seats being different in any way, they in fact are different in a few ways. The coolest difference is the larger sized monitor on the seat back in front of you instead of a small monitor like the one you can see in this Air France 777 business class review to French Polynesia. The monitor came in handy for checking out one of the three live video feeds from all around the plane. Check out the view from the tail upon taxi to the runway.

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Seat 62B is on the aisle on the left side of the plane with full access to the aisle. While I would have initially preferred the bulkhead, I’m glad I didn’t select that seat. The bulkhead seats have old style business class leg support that come out to support your feet. In addition, the bulkhead seats have very small IFE monitors that flip out from the side of the seat. Finally, the proximity to the galley means that people will pass you more often and open the curtains exposing light from the galley.

This seat was well positioned in the middle of the front upper deck business class cabin. My seat mate had the advantage of the window view and additional storage compartments on the side of the plane. I would have selected a window seat as close to the front if one had been available.

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The seats had leather headrests, a large rugged blanket (not down) and a larger sized pillow. The outside side arms of the seats will recline when the seat is in fully flat position. So if you are a knee curler while sleeping, these seats will give you the extra space to curl your knees up as far as you’d like. The downside, is if you are a sleep roller, you might find yourself in the aisle.

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The large monitors were great for catching up on movies and watching the live video from the plane’s cameras.

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The storage in the middle was adequate, but you’ll have much more storage if you go with a window seat.

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I found the feet rest area to be larger than the new Delta Business Class cabin seats (review coming soon). There was plenty of space to turn over and not get your feet tangled.

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The nobs to the left and right of each monitors are for hanging a jacket until the flight attendant can come by to hang them properly in a closet.

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You’ll have no problem finding the power outlets on this A380. This is great for business travelers who need to get caught up on some laptop work for the 8 hour flight.

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The new amenity kit bags are smaller and sleeker than in the past. The previous amenity kits looked almost like a small brown purse with a button while this shiny grey bag has a zipper. The amenity kit came with ear plugs, an eye mask, tooth paste, tooth brush, hand towel, lotion, a shoe bag and socks.

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My second favorite thing about the new seats is the monitor size. The ability to see the plane moving at over 500 mpg in mid air is pretty amazing when you watch it for the first time. The shot below is upon take off. Trust me when I say the first time you see it, you’ll feel the movements of the plane a bit more because you can see the plane climbing away from the ground.

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Around The Air France A380 Business Class

As I mentioned before, this plane is spacious, and so are the bathrooms. The front business class cabin has a front lavatory that almost beats out the W Lexington Avenue bathrooms. You can actually walk into this plane’s bathroom. So if you need to change into / out of a suit, there is plenty of space in this plane.

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I took a walk down the front set of stairs to see if I could take a few pictures of the first class cabin. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any pictures since boarding had already started. But it did look the same as the first class on the Air France 777 and Air France 747s.

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I’m not sure what Air France was going for with this “art gallery” but it looks like a prime space for a bar in the sky. Everytime I walked up to the galley this space was empty. It was nice to have this space all to myself for a few moments, but there are certainly better uses for the space on the plane. Will be interesting to see what they do with this space in the future.

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Business Class Lunch Service

Air France excels in a few areas, and I’ve always thought one of the areas they were lacking in was service. However, on this flight, the crew really wowed me with their attentive and friendly service. Appetizers were served about 45 minutes after departure to begin the meal service. The first item was a pate of some sort, I didn’t see what it was on the menu, but it was tasty. And of course they served their usual cheese crisps. I went with the Diet Coke to start and asked for one ice cube to cool down the diet coke.

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The first course was a salmon and pate plate with grilled vegetables. This was served with a small salad and choice of bread. I went with the baguette which was hard as a rock on the outside, but soft on the inside, definitely not for those with sensitive teeth.

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For the next course I selected the chicken with polenta and grilled vegetables. The skin was still left on the chicken and it was in a great sauce, so the chicken was perfectly moist and not dry at all.

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There was a desert trio of assorted items and a blueberry / raspberry fruit sorbet. Each of the items tasted great.

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Business Class Snack Service

After the meal service is always where I’ve had an issue with the service on Air France. Usually I’ve been given a small bottle of water and don’t see the attendants again until arrival. However on this flight, I never had to go to the self service bar. I checked it out just in case any of you were interested. And sure enough, self service champagne and other drinks are plentiful.

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The late afternoon snack was the weakest part of the meal service in my opinion. A piece of smoked salmon on a small slide of bread. The fruit bowl on the left was delicious, but not exactly what I was looking for in a late afternoon snack. Overall it was tasty, but lacking in selection.

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Bottom Line

We love trying new things and have wanted to try out the A380 since it was rolled out. Overall the A380 was a smooth ride across the Atlantic. The plane is so big and feels very easy on take off. The landing shown below was a bit rough but overall a great flight. This flight’s smooth boarding process and good in flight service has started to change my opinion of the Air France boarding process and in flight service. The Air France crew really performed well with the in flight service. I look forward to the next time I can fly them again with the A380.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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Comments

  1. Thanks! That was my thought as well…suffer coach on the way home where jet lag won’t affect the trip. Also way home is not the A380. I put in for it…hopefully I’ll get the call!

  2. Damn, I missed the self service bar and I have been on it several times TATL WAS_CDG.

    The landings have ALWAYS been bumpy and a bit rough. I think it is the ponderous weight of the beat touching down.

    The takeoff seems quite easy – nice and quiet even with full throttle..

  3. “Beast” I mean, not beat

    The Front Lav (if I remember, on the LEFT of the plane) is large enough to turn a wheel chair around easily. The other one is “standard” but even that is larger than most aircraft ones.

  4. Do the “new” J seats actually go 180 fully flat or are they still ‘angled flat’ ?

  5. Thanks, a nice set of posts from your Brussels trip. I have to chime in here with about AF’s housekeeping on the A380 to IAD. Was the cabin CLEAN? I started flying AF over the Atlantic in 1975 (an antique, I know). Over the years, the service in all classes was OK, the food sub-par for a “French” airline, but almost OK. WHen I finally gave t hem the toss in 2003, it was because their interiors were just plain filthy. Not once, but most of the time. Through the late 90s when I was using AF frequently, I wrote to them several times about the problem, but achieved zero satisfaction or improvement. Have they improved their housekeeping? My years of experience with AF was too often ‘snippy’ FAs whose attitude was best intrepreted as take it or leave it. During most of the too many years in their cabins, the food was tasty, but horribly presented, a far cry from the usual high standards of their home nation. For me, it was always a major disconnect. The filth finally got to me and I moved the bulk of my trans-Atlantic travel to anothr carrier, even when it was a bit inconvenient.

  6. Hi Dennis – It is hard to find better than the big A380.

    Hi Cook – Thanks for sharing your story. I agree with your comments based on my experience flying AF’s 747 from Mauritius to Paris, their 777 from LAX to Tahiti, but the A380 was very different. In the past, I’ve had AF FA’s drop food on my tray like they were inconvenienced to be serving food & drink. But that wasn’t the case with this experience.

    I’m not sure if the FA’s & Gate Agents have been through customer service training or if the FA’s are just more proud to by flying an A380, but the service was better. They were attentive and not snooty in any way.

  7. If you fly Long-Haul with Air France you should take the A380. It would be nice, if they would have the A380 as theire only Long-Haul Plane. The Affaires-Cabin is just wonderful.

  8. Summary: While flying business class back from Geneva, the lounge Air France rep repeatedly told me my flight was not yet loading. When she finally called me, she neglected to mention that I had only 5 minutes to make it from the lounge to the gate, and they had been trying to reach me for 20 minutes. When I missed my flight they changed me hundreds of dollars for a change fee and I was forced to pay for an extra hotel night in Geneva.

    The response from Air France staff in Geneva was not only not helpful, but downright antagonistic and horrible. My attempts at getting any charges reversed or any sort of apology have been met with “this is not our fault, it is yours”. AARG!

    While the Air France lounge in Paris was nice, the overall level of service and compassion shown was SO poor that I will go out of my way to not fly AF again, and will work hard to push them down in rates. Very frustrated traveler, Bill

  9. Great reviews, thanks!
    For middle aged eyes, would it be possible to display a larger font I. Mobile landscape view?

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