Our family would always visit Europe during the summer. For this year, the opportunity of traveling on the New Air France’s La Première (First Class) flight presented itself right around the time we were planning our trip. This first class cabin was only introduced late last year! We were so happy and looking forward to the experience, especially since it will be the same time as our Fourth Wedding Anniversary. And indeed, it was, just as imagined.
First of all, I love that my seat spanned four windows in all, meaning, it was huuuge! Also, since the First Class cabin of this Boeing 777-300ER plane only has four seats in it, we practically owned the whole cabin. Tough luck for the other person who was with us who had to endure our makulit and malikot baby.
I love the huge entertainment screen. Both the viewing screen and the hand-held console are touch-screen. For the best sound quality, they use Bose headphones. I was a bit disappointed with the limited selection of Hollywood movies and TV series, though. But then, I really didn’t have time to watch a lot. I mostly slept after dinner and then had to attend to my hyperactive daughter when she woke up.
There is also plenty of stowage space. Aside from the overhead compartment, there are a couple of stowage spaces right next to the windows, and another one below the seat right in front of me. Speaking of which, I totally loved this extra seat. Because of it, I was able to have dinner face-to-face with my husband. And we were able to enjoy each other’s company even more, like we were in a very special and private restaurant.
They give you very comfortable futon mattress and duvet by Sofitel My Bed for the most comfortable sleep. The window shades are controlled with push buttons on the arm rest. I also noticed that the temperature within the cabin is at a comfortable level. Unlike in the Business and Eco class where it’s always super cold. Best of all, you have curtains that you can close for maximum privacy.
The Amenities Kit
I found the Givenchy Amenities Kit really sleek and stylish in its packaging. But I was not too crazy about the contents. I am not really a big fan of strong fragrances. Everything was much too scented for me — the hand cream, the lip balm and the facial moisturizer. I didn’t like the eye mask so much either. The fabric is too rough on the sensitive skin of the eye area. Too bad I forgot to bring my old one that is really soft and silky. There was also an eye cream but I haven’t had the chance to use it yet.
On a better note, I appreciate the pyjamas. But since the mattress was quite hot, and it was not that cold in the cabin, I only wore the bottoms. Also, it was a bit huge for me since it only came in Medium size, but it felt nice and comfy. I didn’t find it nice-looking enough to post, though.
When you just arrive inside the cabin, they serve you champagne (just like in Business Class). I am crazy about champagne! And for this flight, I was really looking forward to it. They served us glasses of Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame 2004, which is one of the most expensive champagne I know. It was so smooth! I wish I could’ve drunk more, but I left room for the Rosé, which was also very good, and the Chardonnay, which I didn’t really like so much. On the way back to Singapore, I promise to drink more of that gloriously bubbly champagne!
The dinner started with a Mise en Bouche composed of grilled scallops, a sushi of some sort with duck and mandarin orange, and a brochette of bocconcini, olive and cherry tomato. I really loved it. We decided to skip the soup and proceeded with the Entrée which was foie gras (my favorite). Hubby and I agreed it was one of the best foie gras we ever tasted. I took a main dish with fish which was not so special in my opinion. Hubby didn’t like his grilled beef either as they always tend to overcook beef on the plane, which is quite forgivable. We decided to skip dessert since it was way past midnight and we were both full. And I was getting sleepy with all the alcohol.
It was a very good Fourth Anniversary dinner date all in all.
As for the breakfast, I really liked my omelette and sausage. My daughter and husband had the pancakes. But they were in a sad soggy state so my daughter was left to eat the bread and yoghurt.
The Salon VIP Lounge in Paris:
One of the best parts about the First Class flight was the limo that picked us up immediately after getting off the plane. It rid us off of the whole hassle of the crazy immigration queues that CDG, Paris is famous for. It took us straight into the Salon VIP, where we spent the time relaxing, before picking us up again to bring us straight to our plane on the way to Toulouse. It was so surreal, it made me feel like a movie star or a real VIP.
I must say, I was impressed by the immensity of the Salon VIP. They have plenty of nooks and spaces for lounging, a work area, a bar, a dining area, a reading area, sleeping/relaxing area, and a spa, which offers free facial, back or foot massage. I’m definitely trying it out on the way back to SG when we will have more time to spend in the lounge.
As for the service, the flight attendant was very nice and accommodating to us. She was always attentive and ready to serve. The lady limo driver was also very nice and welcoming. And like in the Business Flights that we usually take, they spoiled my daughter with sweets and gift packs. Although, the Salon VI staff could use a bit more of ‘out-of-the-usual’ friendliness and cheerfulness.
The ONLY thing that I didn’t like so much was the rude staff at the La Première check-in counter in Singapore. She was very unfriendly and didn’t want to check in our baggage for some reason, and very grumpily told us to queue at the Business Class counters instead. I expected more courtesy and professionalism, especially from the La Première staff.
Cheers to a good weekend! 🙂
UPDATE (Toulouse to Paris to Singapore):
At the Toulouse Airport, we were surprised to be approached by one of the AirFrance staff immediately upon approaching the check-in counters. They recognized us from our faces, without even looking at our passports first. I’m not really sure if I find that very thorough and professional, or just a teeny bit creepy… 😀
At the Paris Lounge, we had plenty of time spent at the Salon VIP (the AirFrance First Class Lounge), I asked to be booked for a back massage, but was told that it is only available at 3:30 PM (we arrived around 2PM, I think), since the masseuse leaves at 4PM. Too bad for me because I was having lunch came 3:30PM. Filling in my empty stomach was my priority at the time. It was a pity though, that they only offer this service at such a limited schedule.
Meanwhile, I really enjoyed the lunch. Apparently, the menu was prepared by no less than three-Michelin starred chef, Alain Ducasse. The meal was superb!
During the flight, the staff, as usual were very accommodating, even the Captain came to welcome us personally when we arrived. Although, the flight attendant who was dedicatedly serving the First Class cabin seemed to be too busy doing a lot of things and was not as attentive as the flight attendant on our way to Paris.
The food during the flight was also not as nice as the ones served on the way to France. I didn’t drink a lot of wine this time. I only had a couple of glasses of champagne. Even the champagne was not as good as the first one. Although, it was still of premium quality.
The best part of the trip coming back to Singapore was our arrival at Changi Airport. The woman accompanying us to the immigration took care of everything — she drove us to the immigration counters, took care of the immigration stuff, accompanied us to the baggage belt where our baggage was already waiting for us upon arrival, and then to the taxi stand priority queue where there was nobody at all. It was so fast! we really appreciated it. Especially since we saw this really long queue of people trying to get past the immigration when we arrived. We could actually skip this queue because there are dedicated entryways for Residents, but my daughter does not have access to this yet because of her age.
This is what i best loved about being on First Class — avoiding all that hassle, which buys you a lot of precious time… because as we all know it, Time is Luxury. 😉