I flew Air France from Nice to Dubai via Paris CDG. During online check-in I decided to upgrade my ticket from Business Class to La Premiere, which is Air France's very exclusive First Class.
Best Way To Fly La Premiere
Air France certainly keep the entry level very high to their First Class La Premiere. Not only does it require a lot of miles to redeem La Premiere, but you also need to be Air France Flying Blue Elite.
The best way is to pay for an upgrade during online check-in, assuming that there are seats available. I did exactly this the day before I travelled and I was offered the upgrade for €1,019. This is significantly cheaper than paying the typical €2,000 plus in fare difference.
Salon La Premiere
After a non-eventful one hour domestic flight I arrived at Paris CDG, where a personal escort and a limo were waiting to take me to the Air France Salon La Premiere. I enjoyed some of the great French food and drink there and headed off for my next flight to Dubai.
Salon La Premiere is consistently rated as one of the very best First Class Lounges, simply because of the great gastronomy and top design. The lounge isn't huge by any means, especially when you compare it to the likes of the Qatar Airways Al Safwa lounge, but it has an understated luxury and a cosy feel with a vibrant red and beige colour décor.
I am also glad to report there are no covid cutbacks in terms of the food/drink offerings. However, the private spa is still closed.
After an hour in the Salon La Premiere, it was time to ride the personal limo to the next flight to Dubai. I was asked whether I wanted to board early or late. I chose to board at the last minute, so I could enjoy the lounge a little longer.
In my opinion, the ground escort service is what sets La Premiere apart from other great First Class products; many of which do not provide any type of ground service at the airport (i.e. Singapore Airlines or Emirates).
The La Premiere agent will also take care of your passport clearance, while you wait in the lounge. There is no need to stand in the passport queue.
The Paris to Dubai flight was a B777-300/ER. I was fortunate enough to be the only passenger in La Premiere. Take a look at the understated luxury design and elegance of the cabin.
The usual First Class amenities, such as the amenity kit and pyjamas, were handed out together with a sanitary kit.
We departed 30 minutes behind schedule on my flight. Flight time to Dubai was six hours 20 minutes.
It was operated by one of the oldest B777-300/ERs in the Air France fleet, F-GSQB, at 17 years old! Air France was the launch operator of the B777-300/ER in 2004.
I was still full from my visit to the lounge, so I opted for an appetizer only and then some rest. I would then be able to enjoy a full dinner before landing.
The next course was foie gras in warm ravioli. This is a great dish as the foie gras literally bursts in the mouth. I also had a glass of red wine to complement the dish.
The bed was changed while I went to the bathroom to change into my pyjamas. The pillow and quilt were both plush and fresh, I believe the bedding is proved by Sofitel.
The curtain can close completely and goes all the way to the ceiling, so you have total privacy. I much prefer the curtain, as it feels less claustrophobic than other fully contained First Class seats. The curtain also gives a more spacious feel to your private space. It is also not transparent, so you can even change clothes inside!
After six hours and 15 minutes of First Class flying, I landed in Dubai with a great experience lingering in my mind. Another ground agent was waiting for me at the end of the jetbridge and escorted me all the way to arrivals.
I would rate Air France La Premiere as one of the greatest First Class out there, together with Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific and ANA. Air France La Premiere is quite a hidden gem and exclusive to most full fare-paying passengers.
- Understated luxury design
- Great gastronomy in both lounge and onboard
- Personal ground escort and limo transfer during transit. They even take care of your passport stamping while you relax in the lounge!
- The catering from Paris is noticeably better than some outstations (such as Dubai) from my past experience.
- Outside of Paris, there is only a La Premiere/First Class area inside the standard Air France/Skyteam Lounge.
Previously the lack of WiFi on the Air France B777 fleet let the experience down, but the WiFi has now been installed.