Tim Foolery

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Air France – An Infatuation

I have never flown Air France, but I am obsessed with them lately. I stumbled across their most recent safety video – take a moment and watch:

Some of my favorite parts of this video: The safety belt will elegantly highlight your waistline; A non-smoking flight is simply chic; If you lose your mobile, don’t manipulate the seat, call a crew member (which is a great piece of advice, as in BusinessFirst on United I lost my Bose headphones and nearly lost my arm trying to retrieve them – I was too embarrassed to ask for help). Also, why are there only French women as flight crew in this video? I’m sure Air France has some hot young French male stews, right?

I love France. I’ve been to Paris (twice – read about it here and here); Nice (and Monte Carlo, but before I blogged) and Southwestern France. I have never flown on Air France – and I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous to do so. Not because of any flight safety issues, but because of the pitch (distance between the back of your seat – as far back as you can scootch your body) to the back of the seat in front of you – basically your usable space in the seat for your body and legs. Air France flies an A330-200 (A332) between Chicago (ORD) and Paris (CDG). In economy this plane has 32” of pitch, which is the same as some of the United Regional Jets (the ones I often take to Nashville). I can (barely) handle the 62 minute flight to Nashville in these tiny little seats. I can’t image flying 8 hours to Paris in a seat like this. Air France does offer a Premium Economy seat – it looks to cost about 40% more than regular economy (I just did a sample search over 4 different dates and it was pretty consistent). That’s a big premium – but Premium Economy has 6” more pitch (than regular economy).

Air France serves much better food in coach than United does (or so I’ve heard) – which isn’t very hard to do.

I’d love to fly their Business or La Première class as well. The A380 service from LAX to CDG would be a great way to cash-in (blow) miles. Take a look at this review from Lucky, here.

Since I’m not going to be paying for Business or La Première seats, I’ll have to either wait for a mistake airfare and hope they honor it, or cash in miles. Air France is a transfer partner with Starwood Preferred Guest and American Express Membership Rewards. You’ll have to do the math yourself to see if transferring points into their program makes sense.

Flying Blue (the Frequent Flyer Program for both Air France and KLM) offer regular discounts on mileage redemptions. They send an email that outlines the current month’s promotions. I haven’t seen anything for La Première before, but I have seen options from Chicago to Europe in Economy, Premium Economy and Business. Keep your eyes peeled.

Should I be infatuated with Air France? Does the promise of marginally better economy food and a fun safety video warrant my time? What are the chances that I get half way through my trip with Air France and find that I just hate the tiny/tight little seat? Should I let it go or should I give it a go?


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