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Air France Business Class A350-900 review
I’ve had my eyes on Air France’s A350 business class for quite some time. A350s offer an incredibly smooth and quiet ride and Air France has a cabin with just 34 seats. The A350 also offers the latest iteration of business class in the Air France portfolio, and I wanted to see how it stood up to the Cirrus business class offered on the 777s which I reviewed a couple years ago.
Long story, short. The ride was smooth, service superb, food was mostly great, but the seat just doesn’t really do it for me. THE SEAT. The most important part of business class is getting a good night’s sleep so you can head straight to the office. Did I sleep? No. Not one wink.
The introduction of this seat seems to be a solution for a problem that didn’t exist. The reverse herringbone seat on the 777s is super comfy, offers more storage, and much more comfortable than these.
Air France Business Class A350-900 details
- When: January 2022
- Route: Atlanta to Paris
- Flight: AF 681
- Seat: 2E
- Flight Time: 9 hours
- Booked with: 55k FlyingBlue Miles and $226
Booking Air France Business Class with points
Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles are some of the easiest points to earn since they partner with so many bank partners. I actually earned the miles for this trip in 2020/2021 when Brex had a couple of very lucrative 100k offers, but you could transfer any of the following programs:
- Capital One
- Marriott ( 60k = 25k )
I booked this from Atlanta to Paris to London for 55k + $234.
Choosing a seat
This proved to be quite cumbersome – I couldn’t choose a seat when booking, at check-in, and only when we got to the Delta lounge could someone seat my wife and I.
Best seats on Air France A350:
- Couples – Middle Even Rows
- Single –
- Best – Even Rows on the A or L line
- 2nd – Odd on the C or J line
We had 2 E/F in the center:
You can see how close they are to one another, which is a great for couples, but not for those who don’t know each other.
I would highly recommend the odd rows for singles which place you right next to the window and have a small aisle to the seat on the A line vs seats on the C line which sit closer to the aisle.
The first row does have a larger footwell, so that’s worth considering
Quick and relatively easy; however, again the seating situation was an issue. How Is it possible that you can’t choose the seat you want at check-in, but when you get to the lounge they can? Fishy…yes. Am I dubious that it was a software issue? Yes.
Delta Lounge Atlanta International Terminal
While some lounges are worth arriving to the airport early to experience this one is not. It’s a place to sit down, do some quick work, and perhaps if you have extra Delta Skymiles to burn – buy a bottle Dom Perignon with them. Otherwise…it’s a pretty typical lounge with unexciting food and beverage options.
After 7 years of blogging I finally think I’m getting the hang of when the right time to snap a quick, relatively clean cabin shot, and that’s immediately after take-off just when the seat belt sign turns off.
You’d think lining up first in line under the zone 1 sign would afford you the opportunity to do it when stepping foot on the plane. No…not only did we somehow get cut in front of, but the amount of people who need pre-boarding with kids that could be old enough to pitch me a new social media app are astounding. I don’t have kids so maybe I will need the same assistance, but it seems to be a rule that is often exploited.
The cabin is attractive and intimate with just 34 seats.
I’m not a big fan of this layout nor this seat. It’s very similar to what’s found on Etihad, some Delta planes, an iteration of Virgin Atlantic on refit Air Berlin aircraft, and makes me scratch my head over why it was chosen to the great Cirrus seat found on AF’s 777s. That Cirrus seat is one of the best and maybe it was a size issue, but as I said before, this seems to be a solution for a problem that didn’t exist.
Here is the Cirrus seat from the 77W – it’s comfy, well padded, enough storage, etc.
Here is the seat on the A359. The color scheme is great, but it’s just not comfortable.
The padding is thin, the footwell angles in, and there is a major gap when the seat is in bed mode. Notice how the center divider is down in this picture.
The IFE, seating controls, power, and storage are all quite sleek looking and sufficient. I realized that I forgot to photograph it, but there is a small storage area next to the seat as well that can hold a wallet and amenity kit. That’s a nice feature often overlooked and while it isn’t the biggest area, it’s something large enough to store your valuables.
I have been impressed with the food on Air France on each occasion I’ve flown with them…that’s a few flights when counting inter-continental flights around Europe.
Although it was all served on a tray with plastic coverings, rather than in courses as I experience pre-covid, this was no exception with a big caveat – they offered me a shrimp dish and they were out of stock and served fish instead. Not a big deal to me, the potatoes were delicious but the fish itself was quite tough, and when I requested a pasta dish instead it was promptly served and was very tasty.
This was one of the few times in recent memory that I took a redeye and just simply couldn’t sleep. Not even for 5 minutes. I tried and tried and tried, but the cabin was a bit hot, the seat wasn’t comfortable, and departing at 5pm didn’t help.
Air France will continue to add A350s to its fleet, and while I’d assume they will continue to equip them with this current seating option, I’d love to see some other configuration adopted that was more comfortable, and a seat that had one continuous surface when in bed mode.
While I wouldn’t hesitate to fly Air France again I would definitely prioritize flying the 777s to enjoy their seats vs these.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.