Friday, August 14, 2015

The AirFrance La Première Experience

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.

The Cabin:

I most especially love this lamp that you can dim or brighten as you want.



They've put a mattress and duvet when I came back from freshening up. Up on the headboard is a small reading light

The huge entertainment screen right on top of that extra seat right in front of me

Magazine rack
My baby, all tucked in

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

Toiletries by Givenchy on top of the Food Menu

Inside this dust bag is a pyjama set in Merino Wool by Christian Lacroix

Contents of the toiletry pochette -- lip balm, facial and hand moisturizer, ear plugs, eye mask
the pochette also has a tiny mirror

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.

Foie gras -- the best part of the dinner for  me

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:

This limo picked us up right after stepping off the plane... we really felt like VIP's! :)

One of the cozy nooks of the huge AirFrance lounge, Salon VIP in CDG, Paris

Dining area with huge selection of charcuterie, cheese, fruits, patisserie, etc.

Their very own spa with free facial and back/foot massage

Relaxation/sleeping area... very inviting!

I knew I was back in France when I got a small cup of black coffee and these cute sugar cubes in a bowl.

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... :D

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!

Lobster and pasta, from a menu prepared by three-michelin starred chef, Alain Ducasse

Baba au rhum with a bit too much rhum
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.

On the way back to Singapore, we had some caviar and blinis for appetizers... not really a big fan of caviar
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. ;)

4 comments:

Sartenada said...

Must have been fantastic experience!

Rio said...

Yes, it was very nice. Nothing beats a real mattress to sleep on flight. And also, that limousine service that takes you directly from the plane to the lounge and vice-versa. It saves you all that hassle of security and immigration queues. You save plenty of time. And the food is just wonderful, apparently prepared by three-Michelin starred chef(s). You should try it when you get the chance.

Lyka Opeña said...

You were treated like royalty! Haayy sarap buhay.:-)

Rio said...

Lykes, we chanced upon a promo upgrade from Business Class to First Class for only 180 euros. Swerte yung promo natapat sa time na nagbu-book kami ng flight. Sobrang sulit. :)