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The Definitive Guide to Air France’s Direct Routes From the U.S. [Plane Types & Seat Options]

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Stephen Au
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Stephen Au

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Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used...
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Air France, the flag carrier of France, has some very intriguing products from an aviation perspective — and there’s no question that it’s one of the top ways to fly to Europe. The program has a combined loyalty program with KLM called Flying Blue.

The Flying Blue program is incredibly underrated. It has a good list of credit card partners, Promo Rewards, and a vast selection of airline partners within the SkyTeam Alliance.

Air France also has a huge route network to the U.S., thanks to the massive tourist appeal that France offers to America, and the market is very strong in this space, since these 2 countries aren’t all that far apart.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the ultra-exclusive La Première First Class, the business class products offered by Air France, and the preferred economy seats to take when you fly with them across the Atlantic. There are quite a few options here, so let’s get started!

Air France Seat Options by Aircraft Type

Air France’s plane selection is complicated. It operates at least 6 different aircraft on flights to the U.S., and aircraft swaps are common, especially on routes other than the flagship routes, such as between Chicago and Paris. Keep that in mind for when we do our analysis and ranking of seats and planes.

Here are the aircraft summarized in the table below:

  1. 777-300ER (4-class)
  2. 777-200ER (3-class)
  3. 787-9 (3-class)
  4. A350-900 (3-class)

Additionally, these aircraft can have different seat maps, so be on the lookout for this. Usually, the configuration and seat sizes are the same, but the number of seats offered in a particular cabin could vary a lot.

SCROLL FOR MORE
Air France RoutesFlight No.AircraftCabin ClassesFrequency
Atlanta (ATL) – Paris (CDG)AF 681/689

AF 681: 787-9

 

AF 689:A350-900

Business, Premium Economy, Economy2x daily
Boston (BOS) – Paris (CDG)AF 321/333A350-900Business, Premium Economy, Economy2x Daily
Chicago (ORD) – Paris (CDG)AF 137Both 777-200ER/A350-900Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) – Paris (CDG)AF 159787-9Business, Premium Economy, Economy5x weekly
Detroit (DTW) – Paris (CDG)AF 377A350-900Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Houston (IAH) – Paris (CDG)AF 695A350-900Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG)AF 65/69/77

AF 65/69: 777-300ER

 

AF 77: A350-900

777-300ER: La Première, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

A350-900: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

 

3x daily
Miami (MIA) – Paris (CDG)AF 95/99777-300ERBusiness, Premium Economy, Economy2x daily
Minneapolis (MSP) – Paris (CDG)AF 673777-200ERBusiness, Premium Economy, Economy5x weekly
New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG)AF 1/3/5/7/9/11

AF 1/5/7/9: 777-300ER

 

AF 3/11: A350-900

777-300ER: La Première, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

 

777-200ER: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

Up to 6x daily
Pape’ete (PPT) – Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG)AF 77A350-900Business, Premium Economy, Economy5x weekly
San Francisco (SFO) – Paris (CDG)AF 83777-300ER777-300ER: La Première, Business, Premium Economy, EconomyDaily
Seattle (SEA) – Paris (CDG)AF 367787-9Business, Premium Economy, Economy3x weekly
Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Paris (CDG)AF 27/55

AF27: 777-200

 

AF55: 777-300ER 

777-200: Business, Premium Economy, Economy

 

777-300ER: La Première, Business, Premium Economy, Economy

Daily

The analysis may get a bit convoluted because of the sheer number of aircraft we’re analyzing. However, this information is extremely useful, as there are so many different aircraft. The last thing you want is to be disappointed that your seat isn’t what you were expecting.

Best Points To Earn To Fly Air France

Air France is a member of SkyTeam, so there are plenty of ways to book Air France award flights. This includes partner programs such as Delta SkyMiles, Korean Air SKYPASS, and, of course, its own Flying Blue program.

It’s worth learning which programs use an award charge and which have dynamic pricing. Flying Blue often has the best pricing for many SkyTeam awards, even with a dynamic pricing model.

Additionally, Flying Blue is a transfer partner with all the major transferable currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Let’s get started.

Air France La Première Options

Air France La Premiere B777 300 lie flat
Lie-flat La Première seats aboard Air France’s 777-300ER. Image Credit: Air France

La Première on Air France is somewhat of a unicorn in the points world because it’s very difficult to book with points and miles.

First, you can only redeem miles for Air France first class directly through the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program and only if you have Flying Blue Platinum status. You can’t redeem any partner loyalty program miles.

Even if you’re eligible for these mileage redemptions, award prices are quite high. For example, a one-way, first class ticket from New York to Paris would cost 220,000 Flying Blue miles, up to 4 times the price when compared to business class. This price is simply unreasonable for most travelers, and the elite status requirement doesn’t make it any easier to book.

Hot Tip:

Want to earn more Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles? Check out our guide on the best ways to earn lots of Flying Blue miles.

However, if you can meet the criteria and are thinking about flying on La Première, it’s useful to know that it’s only offered on 1 aircraft: the 777-300ER. Each of these planes is configured with just 1 row of 4 first class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Air France’s first class is truly a unique experience. There is consistently great service, fantastic dining options, and a ton of privacy with its floor-to-ceiling curtains.

The 777-300ER’s La Première seats measure 35 inches wide, 81 inches for pitch, and 79 inches long as a bed. 

Let’s look at the 777-300ER’s seat map:

Air France 777-300ER 4 Class La Premiere Seat Map
Air France 777-300ER 4-class La Première seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Here are the routes on which it’s offered:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Paris (CDG) on AF 65 and 69
  • New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG) on AF 1, 5, 7, and 9
  • San Francisco (SFO) – Paris (CDG) on AF 83
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Paris (CDG) on AF 55

Air France has mentioned that they plan to introduce a new first-class cabin, although details have been hard to come by.

Bottom Line:

Air France’s La Première first class product is one of the world’s best first class experiences. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult to book with miles.

Air France Business Class Options

Air France's new Boeing 777-300 business class cabins
Access Air France’s best seats in business class on most 777s. Image Credit: Air France

Now, let’s take a look at Air France’s plentiful business class options. Air France’s business class seats vary slightly depending on the type of aircraft and the route.

In 2022, Air France introduced its version of a business class seat with closing doors. Although similar to Air France’s longstanding business class, these seats are quite a bit different. The doors provide a new level of privacy, unlike any previous Air France business class seats.

Air France has begun rolling out its new business-class cabins on its Boeing 777-300ER. The new business-class cabins feature 48 pod-style Safran Versa seats arranged in a 1-2-1 reverse-herringbone configuration. Air France also introduced new features, including Bluetooth connectivity, wireless charging stations, and a Do Not Disturb option.

However, not all 777-300ERs feature the new business class cabin yet. This has been alleviated since Air France decided to load its U.S. routes with solid aircraft. Here’s a table summarizing the key differences between the 4 available products.

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AircraftSeat WidthSeat PitchBed LengthConfigurationNumber of Seats
777-200ER (3-class)21.5″61″77″1-2-1 (lie-flat)40
777-300ER (4-class)21.5″61″78″1-2-1 (lie-flat)48
787-9 (3-class)21″42″77″1-2-1 (lie-flat)30
A350-900 (3-class)21″74″78″1-2-1 (lie-flat)34

As of now, these new seats are only available on a handful of planes and routes.

Hot Tip:

For more details, check out our complete guide to booking Air France business class with points.

Air France 777-300ER (4-Class) Business Class

Although Air France has 4 different variations of its 777-300s, it has only 1 new variation for its 777-300ER.

Air France’s new cabin features a forward section consisting of 7 rows with 28 seats and a rear minicabin with 5 rows and 20 seats.

Air France new 777 300ER business class seat map
Air France’s new 777-300ER business class seat map. Image Credit: Air France

Rows 1 and 9 feature a ton more space, as they are the covered bulkhead rows.

As mentioned, not all of Air France’s 777-300ERs have been fitted with the new business class yet. However, Air France does plan to outfit all Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with the new business class soon.

Air France 777-200ER (3-Class) Business Class

When compared to the older 777-300ER, we prefer the 777-200ER in business class, as there are only 40 seats along 10 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Let’s look at the 777-200ER seat map:

Air France 777-200ER 3 Class Business Class Seat Map
Air France 777-200ER 3-class business class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

As you can see, there are 2 cabins. On the 777-200ER in Air France business class, the best seats are in Row 12: They’re the most private and experience the least foot traffic.

Air France A350-900 Business Class

Air France also utilizes the Airbus A350-900 on plenty of its routes. However, the A350-900 also has 2 variations: 1 with the older business class cabin and 1 with the newer business class cabin.

Unlike with the 777-300ERs, Air France does not plan to retrofit their A350s with the new business class. The new seats are only coming to newly delivered A350s from Airbus.

Air France’s current A350 business-class cabin has 34 staggered business-class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Air France A350 900 business class
Air France A350-900 business class. Image Credit: Air France

The seats are still fully lie-flat and in a 1-2-1 configuration, but these seats are arranged like this:

Air France A350-900 business class seat map
Air France A350-900 business class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

These seats typically feel a bit less private because they’re angled toward the aisles, although this is splitting hairs. Nonetheless, we recommend window seats for solo travelers, which are even-numbered seats in rows A and L.

The new business-class cabin will feature 48 seats, laid out in a 1-2-1 reverse-herringbone configuration, nearly identical to the new 777 business class seats.

As Air France takes delivery of more than 20 new Airbus A350-900s, it will be increasingly important to know which type of A350 their flights will be on. The old business class features 34 seats, and the new business class cabin features 48 business class seats.

Air France 787-9 Business Class

Lastly, let’s take a look at the 787-9 Dreamliner business class. The aircraft comes with an identical reverse-herringbone product with a slightly smaller seat and a smaller business class cabin.

Here’s the business class seat map aboard the 787-9:

Air France 787-9 business class seat map
Air France 787-9 business class seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

If you find yourself on the 787-9 in business class, Row 7 seats are far enough from the rear galley to avoid disturbances while being far from the front galleys and lavatories.

Bottom Line:

When it comes to Air France’s business class, there are a ton of variations. Air France is currently retrofitting all of its 777-300ERs with the new business class cabin, and all newly delivered A350s will feature the new business class.

Air France Premium Economy Options

AirFrance Economy Premium B787 2
Air France 787-9 premium economy. Image Credit: Air France

Now that we’ve covered the different business class cabins across Air France’s fleet, let’s take a look at Air France’s Premium Economy options

If you’re flying Air France Premium Economy, chances are you will favor the 787-9, as it is the only aircraft that features a 2-3-2 configuration. All other Premium Economy cabins feature a 2-4-2 layout.

Let’s take a head-to-head look at each aircraft:

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AircraftSeat WidthSeat PitchConfigurationNumber of Seats
787-919″40″2-3-221
777-200ER19″38″2-4-224
777-300ER19″38″2-4-228/32/48
A350-90018.8″37″2-4-224/32

Air France 787-9 Premium Economy Class

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the seating configuration on the 787-9 is 2-3-2, so these seats afford you more space.

Also, the 787-9 is tied for the widest seats and has the largest overall seat pitch (i.e., more legroom). There are just 3 rows, with 7 seats in each row, as shown in the seat map:

Air France 787-9 premium economy seat map
Air France 787-9 premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Another benefit is that there are no lavatories at the front of the premium economy cabin, which reduces foot traffic more. We love the bassinet/bulkhead seats at Row 10, thanks to the extra legroom.

Hot Tip:

The 787-9 is the only aircraft operating to the U.S. with a 2-3-2 configuration in premium economy. All other aircraft have a 2-4-2 layout.

Air France 777-200ER (3-Class) Premium Economy Class

Currently, all of Air France’s 777-200ERS feature a tighter 2-4-2 configuration. These seats are 19 inches wide and 38 inches in pitch.

Air France 777-200ER premium economy seat map
Air France 777-200ER premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The most spacious seats are in the bassinet/bulkhead, so pick Row 19, if possible.

Air France 777-300ER (4-Class) Premium Economy Class

Although the 777-300ERs can feature La Premier and a newer business class cabin, Premium Economy is lacking.

Premium Economy seats are also arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration. However, these can also be the largest Premium Economy cabins featuring up to 48 seats across 6 rows.

Here’s what we mean:

Air France 777-300ER 4 Class Premium Economy Seat Map
Air France 777-300ER 4-class premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The best premium economy seats on the 4-class 777-300ER are in Row 26, as it is the furthest away from the lavatories. Here are the route offerings for this aircraft:

Air France A350-900 Premium Economy Class

As mentioned in the business class section, there are different variations for the A350-900s.

Both have the 2-4-2 configuration in premium economy, but the total number of seats varies. When it comes to premium economy on the A350-900s, you will either have:

  • 24 seats across 3 rows
  • 32 seats across 4 rows

The A350-900 premium economy seats have the smallest seats among the other options — 18.8 inches wide and just 37 inches in pitch.

The cabin is arranged in a 2-4-2 setup as follows:

Air France A350-900 premium economy seat map
Air France A350-900 premium economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The bulkhead seats at Row 10 on the older configuration may be the most spacious, with extra legroom, but these are uncomfortably close to the lavatories and galleys.

If you’d like extra legroom, be prepared for galley and lavatory disturbances.

Air France Economy Options

Air France 777-200ER economy
Air France 777-200ER economy class. Image Credit: Air France

Now that we’ve covered the premium economy seats, let’s cover our last section: coach.

Here’s a quick summary table:

SCROLL FOR MORE
AircraftSeat WidthSeat PitchConfigurationNumber of Seats
777-200ER17″32″3-4-3 and 2-4-2216
777-300ER 17″32″3-4-3 and 2-4-2206
787-917″31″3-3-3225
A350-90017″31″3-3-3266

Air France 777-200ER (3-Class) Economy Class

On the 777-200ER, there are several good seats out of the 216 total in economy: Row 23, 24C/J, and side rows 45 to 47 (which have 2 seats on each side).

Air France 777-200ER 3 Class Economy Seat Map
Air France 777-200ER economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

Air France 777-300ER (4-Class) Economy Class

The next aircraft we’re discussing in economy is the 777-300ER 4-class aircraft.

The seat map looks like this:

Air France 777-300ER 4 Class Economy Seat Map
Air France 777-300ER 4-class economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The best seats are 29C/J, side seats in rows 49 to 50, and seats 39B/C and 39J/K. 

Due to missing a seat, 29C and 29J offer extra legroom, so they’d be excellent for stretching out your legs. Row 28 is not a preferential seat — although it’s in the bulkhead, a wall restricts your legroom.

Side seats in rows 49 to 50 are ideal for couples traveling together, since you’d have a row to yourselves.

Lastly, seats 39B/C and 39J/K are good because they’ve got tons of exit row space to stretch out.

The main disadvantages are that the seat width is reduced because the entertainment screen is stored in the armrest and that it’s so close to the galleys and lavatories, making for a noisy background.

Air France 787-9 Economy Class

The 787-9 Dreamliner offers our third-place economy class product. There is 1 inch less of seat pitch — 31 inches instead of 32 inches.

Also, the 3-3-3 layout can feel cramped at times. Here’s a look at the seat map:

Air France 787-9 economy seat map
Air France 787-9 economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

The best seats to reserve are 30B/C and 30H/J. These seats have the most legroom, thanks to the exit row. However, you might find the proximity to the lavatories cumbersome.

Air France A350-900 Economy Class

Our last-place economy class product is on Air France’s A350-900. The A350-900 narrowly loses out to the 787-9 for 1 simple reason: a larger economy cabin.

The A350-900 has 266 seats in economy, while the 787-9 has around 225.

The seat map looks like this:

Air France A350-900 economy seat map
Air France A350-900 economy seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru

As you can see, the best seats for solo travelers are 31A or 31L. Also, 16D/E/H provide extra legroom for travelers. Row 30 seats also have enhanced legroom but are uncomfortably close to the lavatories.

Bottom Line:

Overall, the best economy seats to book on Air France are the 777-200ER (3-class) and the 777-300ER (4-class).

Final Thoughts

Although we presented a lot of information, it’s worth looking over if you want to experience flying with Air France. Air France is one of the biggest airlines in the world and has various aircraft in its fleet with different configurations.

If you want to fly Air France La Premier first class, it’s only offered on the 777-300ER. You can only book La Premier through the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program, and only if you have Flying Blue Platinum status.

Air France has numerous variations in their business class cabins across its fleet, and has already begun rolling out its new business-class cabins on its Boeing 777-300ERs. Air France won’t be retrofitting its A350-900s with the newer business class; only new A350-900s will feature the new business class.

If you want to fly Premium Economy with Air France, try to see if the route is on a 787-9. That is the only Air France Premium Economy cabin featuring a 2-3-2 configuration. All other Premium Economy cabins are in a 2-4-2 configuration.

Air France has an extensive route network for flights between Europe and North America. It’s worth learning what routes feature what aircraft, as that can make or break a flight experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the best way to book Air France La Première?

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to book La Premiere with points and miles. First, you can only redeem Flying Blue miles for Air France first class and only if you have Flying Blue Platinum status. You can’t redeem any partner loyalty program miles.

What is Flying Blue?

Flying Blue is the loyalty program of AirFrance/KLM.

Can I transfer points to Flying Blue?

Yes, Flying Blue is a transfer partner with all the major transferable currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Does Air France have a newer business class?

Yes. Earlier this year, Air France introduced its version of a business class seat on its 777-300ER. Air France has plans to retrofit all their 777-300ER over time.

Additionally, all new A350-900 deliveries will feature the new business class.

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About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

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