Air France, Business Class
THE FLIGHT: Flight AF2 from Tokyo Haneda, Japan to London Heathrow via Paris Charles de Gaulle, operated by a Boeing 777-300ER.
THE CHECK-IN: Automated check-in machines were available for printing boarding passes and a separate Sky Priority line was available for those travelling in Business and First Class. Moving through security and immigration was quick and I was able to board before other passengers using the Sky Priority lane. At Tokyo Haneda I had access to the Japan Airlines lounge, which offered complimentary food and drink, working spaces, wifi and showers.
THE SEAT: Air France’s new business cabin launched in 2015 and is available on some intercontinental flights. The new seats were modern, comfortable and private, arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, and there was a removable divider between the two central seats. The seat reclined into a fully-flat bed, almost two metres in length. Each seat had a feather down pillow and soft duvet.
A small storage cabinet in each seat was useful to hold loose items and also housed headphones for a personal AVOD system. Each seat had a 16-inch HD touchscreen with a wide variety of films, TV programmes, games and music. There was also a universal charge point.
THE SERVICE: Pre-take-off I was offered a glass of Champagne or a mixed fruit juice, and another glass was offered once in the air, as well as refreshing hot towels. I found the staff friendly and prepared to take extra steps to ensure comfort or to fulfil any specific request. Dinner and breakfast was served on the overnight flight. Dinner included a breast of chicken with white radish, onion and soy sauce followed by a selection of cheeses.
THE VERDICT: The new business class service is a huge improvement on the previous offering. Fully-flat beds are a welcome addition and the design provided much more privacy, almost serving as a private cabin. The new seats comfortably served as both a workstation and a bedroom, with each feature adding to an experience close to first class
THE DETAILS: Air France operates two daily services to both Tokyo Haneda and Narita airports from London Heathrow, changing planes at Charles de Gaulle. Both morning flights start from £1,818 and take around 15 hours. see: www.airfrance.co.uk.
Reviewed by Benjamin Coren (2015)