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Air France Boeing 777-300ER Business Class Review [DTW to CDG]

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Nick Ellis

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Michael Y. Park

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Keri Stooksbury

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Airline: Air France (AF)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (F-GSQE)
Flight #: AF377
Route: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International Airport (DTW) to Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG)
Date: November 12, 2023
Duration: 7 hours, 2 minutes
Cabin and Layout: Business class, 42 seats, 2-3-2 configuration
Seat: 5L
Cost: 56,500 Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles or from $3,412 cash

I recently embarked on a monthlong journey across the world that will bring me to the United Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan. The primary reason behind the trip was a friend’s wedding in Jaipur, India, but I figured that I might as well make it a proper journey if I were traveling all that way anyway.

I had known about the wedding for well over a year, which led me to constantly check award availability on practically any flight bookable with American Express Membership Rewards points from North America to, well, anywhere not in the Americas.

Originally, I was holding out hope for business class availability through Air Canada Aeroplan on any of Etihad’s nonstop flights operated by its new Airbus A350 from North America to Abu Dhabi (AUH). After months of nonstop award searches, I threw in the towel, as I couldn’t find any availability on dates that worked for my trip.

I then broadened my search horizon, hoping that I’d find a 1-stop itinerary on a Star Alliance carrier right into India. Once again, I was foiled. I decided to broaden my parameters again, and I finally got lucky when I found a one-way ticket from Detroit (DTW) to Istanbul (IST) via Paris (CDG) through the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program. At this point, I was only about 6 weeks from the start of my trip, so I ended my search once and for all and booked the flight.

I didn’t feel like I was settling, by any means, either. Air France typically flies its Airbus A350 between Detroit and its hub in Paris, a plane that features a modern and competitive product in business class. I’ve always enjoyed flying Air France, too, thanks to its typically solid food and friendly (in my experience) service.

Little did I know, however, that this flight was going to leave me speechless (and not in a good way), at least for a couple of hours.

I’ll go into more detail, but a last-minute aircraft swap meant I flew a truly ancient product that I wasn’t even aware that the airline still had in the air. It wasn’t all bad, though — continue reading to experience the journey with me!

Booking Air France Business Class

Air France is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, meaning there are a few ways to book Air France business class award tickets. These include Delta SkyMiles, Korean Air SKYPASS, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Flying Blue (of course), and more.

I decided to go directly to the source and search for availability within Flying Blue, as I’ve had good luck in the past. Sure enough, a seat was available from Detroit to Istanbul with a quick layover in Paris. I searched a number of other cities that were relatively close to the Gulf region or India, but Istanbul was as close as I could get.

That didn’t bother me, as Istanbul is one of the world’s crossroads, with flights to an incredibly long list of destinations, so I figured it’d be a good place to land.

The one-way flight was available for 56,500 miles one-way, with taxes and fees of about $230 — a bit of a bummer but nothing compared to the taxes and surcharges levied by British Airways Executive Club on flights in, out, and through its London hubs.

This was a pretty great rate to begin with for a business class flight to Europe, but it got even better, as there was a 25% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards at the time I booked. This meant (thanks also to some existing miles in my FlyingBlue account) I only had to transfer 45,000 Amex points to Flying Blue to book the flight.

I did this immediately, and the miles showed up instantly in my account. I was able to secure my seat right away — the trip was off to a great start!

Air France 777 Business Class Booking
Image Credit: Air France

I paid for the taxes and fees with my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to take advantage of the card’s powerful suite of trip protections in case something went haywire (turns out it did, but not in a way that would be covered by the card, unfortunately).

If you want to use Flying Blue to book award flights, remember that the program is a transfer partner with Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy making it a great option for anyone who has any sort of transferrable points and miles.

Hot Tip:

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International Airport (DTW)

I’m based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, about 2.5 hours from Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) by car. I typically fly from Grand Rapids (GRR), but I couldn’t find an itinerary that originated in GRR for the rate I wanted, so I decided to rent a car for the journey east to Detroit.

The rental car was well-priced at around $50, and I enjoy a road trip, so it was no big deal. I arrived at DTW after dropping off the car just before 7 p.m., and my flight was scheduled to depart at 9 p.m. — plenty of time.

Detroit Check in Hall
I arrived at Detroit Metro Airport with plenty of time before my flight was scheduled to depart.

Check-In

I was flying business class, so I headed right to the Sky Priority line at the Air France counter within Detroit’s McNamara Terminal, which is home to Delta’s hub operation at the airport, along with partner airlines including Air France, Aeromexico, and WestJet.

SkyPriority Desk DTW
Air France operates from the McNamara Terminal at DTW.

I was second in line, and the friendly agent helped me immediately, checking my bag all the way to Istanbul complete with a rapid-transfer tag, as I only had about 1 hour to make my connection in Paris. For anyone who has flown through Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, you know how scary a 1-hour connection can be.

DTW Security
Security lines at DTW were manageable, and I was through in just a few minutes.

From there, I passed through security, made my way into the terminal, and headed for the airline’s newest (but also smallest) Sky Club at the airport, near gate A43.

DTW Terminal Entrance
I’ve always enjoyed traveling through the McNamara Terminal at DTW.

Delta Sky Club at Detroit Metro Airport

The Delta Sky Club at DTW gate A43 is almost in the center of the mile-long terminal. The airport has several Sky Clubs, but they’re all outdated and clearly holdovers from the days in which Northwest Airlines ruled the airport.

The Sky Club at gate A43 reflects the airline’s latest lounge design language, which makes it popular among travelers passing through the airport. Unfortunately, though, it’s also the smallest Delta Sky Club at the airport — an unlucky combination for my visit.

Unsurprisingly, there was a line at the door, accompanied by the “We’re full” sign that’s become all too common at Sky Clubs across Delta’s network.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Entrance
There was a small line outside the Sky Club when I arrived.

The agent (he was really a bouncer in this situation) said that it wouldn’t be long. There was only a handful of people waiting ahead of me, and others seemed to be coming out of the lounge at a constant clip.

Sure enough, not even 10 minutes later, I was in.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Door
The hottest club in Detroit!

The lounge is 1 floor up from the boarding level, though it’s almost entirely closed in, save for a wall of windows that looks over the terminal entrance as well as directly into the much larger Sky Club across the hall.

As I mentioned, this Sky Club follows Delta’s most recent Sky Club design language, with the lobby featuring artwork that pays homage to Motor City.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Welcome Lobby
I could tell just from the lobby that this Sky Club was the newest at the airport.

Upstairs, I found the furnishings to be modern and comfortable. Directly in front of the stairs and elevator bay was the lounge’s bar, which served up both complimentary and for-purchase drinks.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Entrance Foyer
The bar was immediately visible upon entering the space.

There weren’t any separate or private seating areas in this lounge — nor were there showers — as the space was simply too small. However, I stayed at this lounge instead of the others I could’ve gone to, as I hadn’t yet had the chance to see the space and wanted to get a taste of a fully updated lounge at DTW.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Armchair Seating
Comfortable, modern seating in the Sky Club.

Various types of seating were dispersed across the single space. Immediately inside the entrance and in front of the bar were a couple of benches, as well as armchairs.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Overview
Various types of seating were available for guests.

In the area adjacent to the windows were a few 2-top dining tables and armchairs with slim side tables equipped with charging outlets.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Corner Seating
I preferred the seating area next to the windows.

At the back of this area was a mirrored wall with a long bench, with seating, tables, and dining chairs opposite the bench. Charging outlets were spread throughout, and this is where I set up camp for my relatively brief visit.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Dining Area
I sat on the bench for my visit.

After claiming my spot, I did a lap to check out the food and stop by the bar. While the variety of food was relatively slim, the offerings were solid.

There was minestrone soup next to the desserts, which included cookies, brownies, Rice Krispies Treats, and parfaits.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Cookies
I wanted about 4 cookies, but I resisted.

Adjacent to that were the various salads and salad fixings, including lettuce, couscous salad, and more. Around the corner was another smattering of cold foods, including small sandwiches and wraps, crackers, cheeses, and cold cuts.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Cold Food
Some of the cold options at the A43 Sky Club.

Finally, at the end of the counter were the hot foods. During my visit, they were roasted broccoli, rigatoni pomodoro, and beef meatballs marinara, though the meatballs were being refreshed while I was checking out the food.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Hot Food
Hot options at the A43 Sky Club.

I decided against eating in the lounge, as I had eaten not too long before I began my journey to Detroit and wanted to save my appetite for Air France’s catering on the flight.

I did, however, visit the bar. Just like everything in this lounge, it was fairly small, but the bartender was quick to get drinks out to waiting guests.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club bar
The bartender was great at this Sky Club.

I enjoyed my beverages at my seat while I charged some of my devices and waited for it to get closer to our scheduled boarding time of 8:05 p.m.

Before heading out at around 7:50 p.m., I made a quick visit to the restroom. Unsurprisingly, there were no showers or special amenities, but the bathrooms were modern and nicely decorated, a definite upgrade from the older-looking bathrooms in the other Sky Clubs throughout the terminal.

Air France 777 Business Class Sky Club Bathroom
The bathrooms were clean and modern.

I walked away a little confused about this particular Sky Club.

On the plus side, it’s nice-looking, has a great bar and appetizing food, and is a representation of Delta’s latest Sky Club design and overall ethos. However, it is noticeably small and doesn’t offer anything in the way of special amenities.

It’s rumored that this will become the exclusive lounge for Delta One and SkyTeam premium cabin passengers once Delta rolls out its premium lounge concept. I could see that happening, though I imagine the space will have to undergo another refresh to bring it up to the standard Delta will likely set at its forthcoming Delta One lounges in other airports.

I could be totally wrong about this, of course, and it may exist simply to provide more space for passengers flying through one of the airline’s busiest hubs. If that’s the case, however, I don’t understand why Delta hasn’t made any moves to renovate its other clubs at the airport. This would ensure a more consistent passenger experience and lessen the crowding at the A43 lounge, which is likely so popular right now solely because many consider it the newest and nicest.

Overall, this was a great place to kill some time before a flight, and I appreciate that the Detroit hub gets at least a little taste of the latest and greatest when it comes to Delta Sky Clubs. But I remain slightly perplexed by its purpose in relation to the other lounges at the airport.

Boarding at DTW

It wasn’t until boarding neared that I realized something was funky about this flight. I had noticed a few days prior that my aircraft had switched from an Airbus A350 (the plane normally assigned to the route) to a Boeing 777-300ER.

While I was slightly bummed I wouldn’t get to fly on the A350, I paid practically no attention to the swap, as I’ve flown business class on Air France’s 777s several times before and had largely positive experiences.

Blissfully unaware, I approached the gate at around 7:50 p.m. so I could be among the first to board the plane, as I wanted to take photos with as few people on board as possible.

Air France 777 Business Class DTW McNamara Terminal
Heading to my gate, unaware of what was about to transpire.

As I peered out at the plane sitting at the gate, I could see into some of the forward windows. I noticed that what little I could see through the windows didn’t resemble the business class product I’ve come to know (and enjoy) over the past few years of flying fairly frequently with Air France.

Air France 777 Business Class Boarding Gate
My anxiety increased as I realized I’d be flying on an ancient business class product.

It hadn’t even crossed my mind that Air France could still operate — in 2023 — 777s with its old business class product that flew predominantly on the now-retired Airbus A380s.

I anxiously looked up cabin configurations on SeatGuru and, sure enough, Air France still operates a few triple-sevens with an embarrassingly outdated 2-3-2 configuration in business class. Even worse, the seats were angle-flat, meaning they didn’t form a completely flat sleeping surface when reclined as far as they could go.

My panic (dramatic, I know) turned to frustration, as I felt like I’d been duped with a bait-and-switch. After a few minutes of drafting angry emails to Air France in my head, I calmed down and remembered that airlines swap aircraft all the time. I just so happened to be the recipient of a particularly unlucky swap — the days leading up to and following my flight were all operated by the A350, as is typical.

At this point, it was time for boarding, which began right on time. Since there was no La Première cabin on this flight, I boarded in Zone 1, right after those who required extra time.

I held out hope that my eyes had been playing tricks on me, but, alas, I was right. As soon as I got on the plane, I saw the dreaded 2-3-2 configuration and woefully outdated cabin.

On Board the Air France Boeing 777-300ER

Boarding the plane, I felt like I had traveled back in time about 10 to 15 years. The lighting was poor, the cabin walls were bare, and the seats themselves looked so sad and, frankly, ancient compared to Air France’s newer business class products, never mind what’s offered on other airlines.

Air France 777 Business Class Bulkhead
A drab, poorly lit cabin.

Business class on this particular aircraft consisted of 42 seats laid out in a forward-facing, 2-3-2, angle-flat configuration across 2 cabins. The forward cabin had 4 rows of 7 seats each, while the minicabin behind it had just 2 rows with 7 seats each.

Air France 777 Business Class Business Class Cabin From Front
I couldn’t believe this was really happening.

This seat type provided virtually no privacy for anyone in the cabin, and there was nary a divider in sight.

I took a quick peek at the premium economy and economy cabins before returning to my seat to get settled in.

Premium economy here, while also dated, was a standard offering, with 24 recliner seats arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration across 3 rows. Honestly, to the untrained eye, it would’ve been hard to tell the difference between the business and premium economy cabins, though at least the business class seats reclined almost flat.

Air France 777 Premium Economy Cabin
The premium economy cabin didn’t look much different from the business class cabin.

Economy consisted of 315 seats in a standard-for-the-777 3-3-4 configuration. Predictably, the cabin also looked tired and was practically begging for a complete overhaul. Hopefully, that happens in short order.

Air France 777 Economy Cabin
The economy cabin featured a standard 3-4-3 configuration.

I made my way back to my seat and saw a pillow, blanket, and a hanger waiting for me. I didn’t need the hanger, as I was traveling to much warmer climates, so the flight attendant promptly took it away.

Air France 777 Business Class At Seat Amenities
Amenities waiting for me at my seat.

He then distributed a predeparture beverage to all passengers — a choice of water, orange juice, or Champagne. I took a glass of the bubbly stuff, and my seatmate asked for 2, explaining to me that she was going to need help falling asleep in an angle-flat seat. I wasn’t the only one upset with the swap!

Air France 777 Business Class Welcome Champagne
A predeparture Champagne was certainly needed.

Business Class Seat

It’s a bit of a dead horse by now, but these business class seats were simply unacceptable in 2023 from an airline that not only has far superior products in its own fleet but also charges passengers thousands of dollars for a one-way journey across the Atlantic.

Air France 777 Business Class Pair Seats
Ugh.

I was assigned seat 5L after the aircraft swap, which was next to the window in the first row of the minicabin. There was a galley just beyond the bulkhead in front of me, and I was worried this would contribute to a miserable sleeping experience (it didn’t, however).

Air France 777 Business Class Seat 5L
Welcome to 2008.

Each seat measured 21.5 inches wide, which is standard even by today’s standards. No complaints about seat width.

The seat itself was actually quite comfortable, with plenty of padding and a nice leather headrest.

Air France 777 Business Class Seat 5L Windows
At least the seat was plenty wide.

As I mentioned earlier, the seat didn’t recline to a fully flat position but rather an angle-flat position. This meant the seat angled down at the end where your feet go, creating a potentially awkward sleeping position.

Air France 777 Business Class Seat Reclined
My not-fully flat-bed seat for the evening.

In all honesty, though, I actually didn’t have any trouble falling asleep on this flight. I’m sure I was extra tired from all the frantic, last-minute planning and packing I had been doing up until I left for the airport, my drive across the state, and my overdramatic fretting about the seat before I got on the plane. Maybe it was the perfect combo to allow me to overcome the seat’s deficiencies and get several hours of solid sleep on this relatively short transatlantic hop.

One of the very few upsides to this seat was that there was no footwell to worry about, meaning my feet had the space to move wherever they pleased while I was sleeping during the flight — 1 point for the ancient business class seat!

Air France 777 Business Class Legroom
Look at all that legroom!

Because of the substandard seating configuration, not every seat got direct access to the aisle, but I made sure to time my visits to the loo such that I wouldn’t have to get up during prime sleeping time. This configuration also made it such that passengers had essentially no privacy, but I struck up a fun conversation with my seatmate about travel and airplanes, so I was ultimately not too concerned about the lack of privacy (I hope she felt the same way …).

The tray table came out from the side — the panel it came out of was literally held together by duct tape … yikes. The basic seat controls were housed in this armrest unit, as well.

Air France 777 Business Class Seat Controls
Part of my seat was actually held together by duct tape.

Once I unfolded the tray table, I noticed some residue on the right side. I asked for a wet towel from the crew, and they were quick to give the tray table a good scrub.

Air France 777 Business Class Tray Table
At least the tray table felt fairly solid.

The remote control (yes, it was ancient-looking) came out of the armrest, as well.

Air France 777 Business Class IFE Remote
The remote control popped out from the armrest.

Toward the rear of the seat were the provided over-ear headphones, which were adequate — nothing more, nothing less.

Air France 777 Business Class Headphones
These headphones were fine.

On my left, there was a reading light that had no doubt seen better days, though I found it worked OK.

Air France 777 Business Class Reading Light
It may not look pretty, but the reading light worked just fine.

The inflight entertainment screen emerged from the front of the armrest, and it was old, small, in fairly rough shape, not very sharp, and slow to respond to input from the remote (no touchscreen here). That should come have come as no surprise.

Air France 777 Business Class IFE Screen
This … wasn’t great … for a business class seat product in 2023.

I was at least happy to see power outlets at the bottom of the armrests at the very front of the seats. They were inconveniently located, but I was just happy to have power at this point, as I was definitely going to need my phone during the mad dash to make my connection in Paris the next morning.

Air France 777 Business Class Power Outlets
Thankfully, the power outlets worked.

Finally, there was really no storage space whatsoever. I could barely find a slot for my passport, wallet, and AirPods, never mind a compartment for a laptop or a phone.

Yes, these seats were embarrassingly outdated, and Air France simply shouldn’t fly these jets until they can be retrofitted with its new business class product — which is pretty fantastic, from the looks of it!

Air France 777 Business Class Middle Seats
This product needs to be eliminated from Air France’s fleet as soon as possible.

All that said, at the end of the day, these were Champagne problems, and regardless of the fact that the seat was woefully outdated, I was able to get some shut-eye on this flight. That was crucial, considering that the next night I’d be sleeping in an upright economy seat on a flydubai Boeing 737 (stay tuned for that review).

And, despite the disappointing seat, the rest of my flight was pretty great, as you’ll see.

Food and Beverage

Especially in recent years, I’ve had pretty positive experiences with Air France’s onboard food and beverage service. This flight turned out to be no different, and it went a long way toward rescuing this part of the journey from being a total dud.

While I was sipping on my predeparture Champagne, flight attendants passed out menus for the flight.

Air France 777 Business Class Menu
The business class menu from Air France.

These were tailored specifically to the route, which I thought was a neat touch.

Air France 777 Business Class Detroit Paris Menu Page
I loved that the menu was specific to the route.

Just after the menus came hot towels.

Air France 777 Business Class Hot Towel
Always love the hot towel service.

And just after the towels came another glass of Champagne — a Pommery Brut Royal — and a box of truly delightful cheese snacks.

Air France 777 Business Class Champagne and Snack
These cheesy snacks were excellent.

I had selected my entree a few days before this flight, and the flight attendant confirmed with me that I still wanted that choice, which I did.

Air France 777 Business Class Menu Food Options
Entrees for my flight.

I’d chosen the braised beef with thyme sauce, which was served with porcini mushrooms and vegetables. Other entrees included duck confit gratin with foie gras sauce, potato purée, Romanesco broccoli, and julienned carrots; sauteed shrimp with vanilla beurre blanc sauce and mozzarella cheese; and mushroom risotto with chestnut cream.

All the entrees were served with the same starter: a foie gras terrine with pear jelly and a quinoa-and-vegetable medley.

Instead of bringing out each course separately, Air France sets up a tray with the starter, bread, salad, cheese, and dessert first. Then, when the starter is finished, FAs replace the starter with the entree, leaving the rest on the tray.

I like this concept, as it saves time in service, which is super important on short transatlantic flights such as this one.

The meal started off strong — I combined the quinoa-vegetable salad with the bowl of lettuce to make a more substantial salad and skipped the foie gras, as I’m not a fan.

Air France 777 Business Class Foie Gras
I loved the quinoa salad but passed on the foie gras.

The bread was delicious, as well, and, wow, Air France’s butter is something special.

I loved how the silverware came wrapped with a leather bow around the napkin — definitely a nice touch.

Air France 777 Business Class Silverware
A nice detail in the meal service!

Shortly after I finished my starter, my entrée arrived. The braised beef with vegetables came with a delightful jus on the side, which I promptly poured all over the dish before digging in.

This meal was truly spectacular, possibly the best beef dish I’ve ever had on a plane. It was delightfully tender and had so much flavor, thanks in no small part to the jus. The vegetables on the side were cooked perfectly, as well.

Air France 777 Business Class Beef With Jus
A delicious dish at 35,000 feet.

I enjoyed the trio of miniature sweets for dessert and finished off the rest of the cheese that made it this far into the meal.

To accompany the beef, I had a glass of French cabernet franc, which I loved.

Air France 777 Business Class Menu Wine Options
Here’s a look at the wine list for my flight.

I typically don’t eat breakfast on flights like these, as I prefer to maximize the sleep I get, so, before I drifted off to my surprisingly restful slumber, I asked the flight attendants not to wake me up.

In the morning, however, my body must have processed the smell of breakfast, and I shot up from my seat as breakfast service was starting about 90 minutes out from landing in Paris.

There was essentially only a single kind of breakfast, a continental service. It came with a choice of juice, coffee, tea, or hot chocolate; bread and breakfast pastries; yogurt; and fresh fruit. But you could also ask the FAs to add a hot dish: scrambled eggs with chicken and chives.

Because I was now wide awake and knew I wouldn’t be eating until I arrived in Istanbul later that evening, I went for the full breakfast.

Normally I stay away from eggs on planes, but these were delicious and served with roasted potatoes and a roasted tomato. I loved all the sides, as well — the fruit was fresh, the granola and yogurt were sweet but not too much, and you simply can’t go wrong with a croissant in (or over) France!

Air France 777 Business Class Breakfast
These plane eggs were great!

I was pleased to have had breakfast on this flight — it did a lot of work to redeem the pitiful seat and kept me going until my next meal several hours later.

Amenities

I’ll start with the bad. The IFE, like the rest of the hard product, was terribly old and had no place flying in 2023.

The screen itself was very small and controlled by a laggy — and also ancient — remote control.

Air France 777 Business Class IFE System
The IFE system was slow to respond.

I will say, however, that the system did have enough variety of content to keep me entertained. I barely made it through 1 movie before falling asleep, though, so that wasn’t a high bar.

Air France 777 Business Class IFE Menu
I was able to stay entertained before I fell asleep.

FAs handed out amenity kits after the passengers took their seats. This was an Air France-branded kit that wouldn’t win any awards for chic French style, but they were functional. I’ve already found a new use for it as a passport-and-other-important-documents carrier on this trip.

Air France 777 Business Class Amenity Kit
The amenity kit was pretty bland.

Contents included a pair of socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a pen, earplugs, and 2 skin creams from Clarins. Nothing extravagant, but it got the job done.

Air France 777 Business Class Amenity Kit Contents
The contents of the amenity kit.

I was shocked to learn Wi-Fi was available (at least in theory) and tried to connect to the complimentary messaging feature, as I didn’t need the full Wi-Fi on this flight. I’m glad I didn’t pay for the service, as even the messaging barely worked. I gave up trying after a little bit and decided to enjoy my movie and go to sleep instead.

Air France 777 Business Class Wifi Options
Image Credit: Air France

Service

Service was a bright spot on this flight. I was addressed by name multiple times, and every flight attendant I interacted with was very professional and friendly. A few of us joked with the FAs about the terrible seats — they were similarly disappointed in the hard product.

Arrival

We landed at a rainy Charles de Gaulle about 15 minutes before our scheduled arrival time of 10:35 a.m. But we made one of those dreaded stops on the tarmac before pulling into our gate, as another plane was still occupying it.

Luckily, this delay wasn’t too long, and I was able to disembark and enter the frenetic maze of CDG just a few minutes later to begin the sprint to my connection. I made it, luckily, though I’ll do anything possible to avoid such a short connection in Paris in the future — and Air France’s lounges are pretty great throughout the airport!

Final Thoughts

I got unlucky with an aircraft swap and didn’t even think to check that the replacement plane could have had this inferior product on board. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.

I still got to fly comfortably across the Atlantic for a very reasonable price, and I found the soft aspects of this flight to be pretty fantastic overall.

Chances are high I’ll fly Air France again soon, but next time I’ll be more vigilant about checking my reservation in case something like this happens again. I hope the airline realizes it has to fix these old birds as soon as possible, though, as many more flyers — especially those who paid cash for their tickets — are bound to be justifiably upset with this ancient, uncompetitive product.

Luckily, travel is ultimately about the destination and not the journey — in the end, while disappointing, it had no real impact on my travels whatsoever. I look forward to flying Air France’s new business class as soon as possible so it can prove itself to be world-class once again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What plane does Air France fly on the Detroit-Paris route?

Normally, Air France flies the Airbus A350 from DTW to CDG. But not always — on this particular flight, I was stuck with an outdated Boeing 777-300ER.

Does the newly refurbished Sky Club at Detroit (DTW) Gate A43 have special amenities?

No, despite its recent renovation (in 2021), the small Sky Club in DTW’s Concourse A at Gate A43 has no special amenities.

How is the food and service in business class on Air France?

Both the food and the service on my Air France business class flight were excellent and went a long way toward making up for the subpar hard product. The braised beef may have been the best beef I’ve ever had in the air!

When people say an airplane is held together with duct tape, are they joking?

Not always, evidently!

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About Nick Ellis

Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to leverage the perks of each.

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