January 13, 2015

A Travel Review: Air France Business Class Revamped

I wasn't planning on writing yet another review on ‘business class’ to Paris. I thought I have done enough reviews onboard Air France but when I discovered all the changes since my last trip, I couldn't but grab my phone and start writing. 

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I was warmly welcomed into the plane as always. As I found my seat, what was waiting for me was amazing - a large and fluffy newly designed pillow, a thick smooth bed cover which is blue on one side and brown on the other, and a water bottle and slippers in their bag. 

What I like about Air France is the fact the Business Class cabin manager introduced himself as soon as the plane took off. 

I thought I've seen it all until the hostess approached with a design bag, which included some personal amenities. Choose between a red, blue or green leather-like bag closed with a plastic security pin for personalized opening. Each includes a lip balm, moisturizing cream, mouthwash, toothbrush; toothpaste, hair comb and shoe fit helper.

The French have a certain savoir-faire, which is not found in many other airlines, especially in the business class. Champagne or fresh juice sir, another hostess continued... Refreshing champagne was a great way to start with a smile.

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The menu sections:

  • Welcome on board
  • Beverage list
  • Lunch
  • Wine list
  • Today's meal suggestion 
  • Business class exclusive duty free selection

On today's menu:

  • L'amuse-bouche: crab roulade
  • Gourmet appetizer and seasonal salad: breast of duck with foie gras, smoked trout with full, asparagus
  • Dessert trio: chocolate dome, seasonal fruit tartlet, and strawberry mousse
  • Sorbet and fresh fruit salad

Choice of main course: 

  • Grilled tournedos of beef with grain mustard sauce, baked cauliflower, rosti potatoes.
  • Grilled filet of salmon, grenobloise-style sauce with capers, carrots and potatoes, buttered spinach.
  • Cepe mushroom ravioli with basil tomato sauce.
  • Filet of hamour fish with lightly spiced hara sauce with saffron rice

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The wine list chosen by Paolo Basso 2013's world best sommelier, Thierry Desseauve and Michel Battane authors of wine books in France:

  • Billercart-Salmon brut reserve champagne
  • Viré-clessé 2011 maison chanson Bourgogne Blanc
  • IGP hauterive l'indomptable de Cigalus 2012 Gerard Bertrand, Languedoc Rouge
  • Medoc Chateau Rollan de by 2009 Jean Guyon, Bordeaux rouge

I was finishing up some reviews when I was approached by the chief of cabin who inquired about my comfort, my flight, the stop-over and if he could be of any help. That's superb! Another subtle and professional way of making you feel special. 

Before lunch, a quick amuse-bouche, served in a plastic spoon came with a bag of cashew nuts and cranberries produced by Kreek's. I loved the salty aftertaste of the cranberries combining sweet and sour as well as the simplicity of the cashew nuts left as is without any frying feel or oiliness and not even strong saltiness like the ones we have in Lebanon. The roulade was interesting, simply crêpe dough filled with a crab mousse; a single quick bite. White wine is excellent, adequately and lightly floral with lots of richness.

Afterwards was the starter. Three slices of duck magret topped with a fat layer and Foie gras in the middle served alongside a slice of truite fish and some fresh crispy green salad - all was tasty, all was good. With that I enjoyed the red Bordeaux wine, an award winning wine that's smooth, fruity and full-bodied. 

I chose to have the salmon with tender photos toes and carrots, smooth spinach and lemony sauce next to a chuck of salmon. Remembering that we are in a plane, I accept the little dryness this salmon has with all the other ingredients, which are very tasty. Generous and tasty, I enjoyed lunch with the Languedoc wine. Rich in body with fruitiness that cresses your palates. No acidity but simplicity of a big wine. Cheese ends lunch while desserts are being prepared. 

I've had them all. The chocolate mousse cake, which is really perfect: loved it and was impressed by it. The strawberry mousse, the fruit tart and with that a strawberry and mango sorbet. What a perfect way to end lunch... A double espresso as an endnote.

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Details I like: 

  • There is no advertising video that takes over your screens.
  • Not much talking is made on the public announcement system. You can have time to relax.
  • After lunch, a hostess passes around and asks if you want to buy duty free items. No prior announcement was made publicly and annoyingly 
  • The staff continuously smiles without even having to fake it.
  • Warm perfumed towels are offered on takeoff and before landing.

All was great. I felt like I had just enjoyed a nice restaurant experience. The service was great; the food was tasty… nice amenities, professionalism... What else would you need?  I have flying onboard MEA airlines lately, but I think I will be reconsidering my choice and fly Air France.

Categories: Airlines Travel



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