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Air France Business Class Review Old B777-300ER CDG-DXB

June 24, 2023
Osman Dadi
This was an interesting experience, to say the least. I had no intention of flying Air France business class; however, a missed Emirates flight turned into a last-minute (three hours before the flight!) points redemption using Delta SkyMiles on Air France. The B77W on the CDG-DXB route was old and tired, but Air France still […]

This was an interesting experience, to say the least. I had no intention of flying Air France business class; however, a missed Emirates flight turned into a last-minute (three hours before the flight!) points redemption using Delta SkyMiles on Air France. The B77W on the CDG-DXB route was old and tired, but Air France still delivered with great food and warm service.

Air France Business Class May be a little old on these aircraft, but it still delivered excellent service
Air France Business Class May be a little old on these aircraft, but it still delivered excellent service.

The back story

This was supposed to be my second flight on my journey to Phuket, Thailand! On the morning of Friday, December 23, 2022, the start of the Christmas holidays, I was supposed to take a 10 am Emirates flight from Paris to Dubai (and then onwards to Muscat and Phuket). However, I was careless twice the day before. First, I forgot to use online check-in (I only had Carry-Ons), and on the morning of the flight, I chose the wrong Terminal for my Uber destination and Check-In at CDG. When I showed up to the correct terminal/counter, Emirates Check-In was already closed; unfortunately, I regrettably missed my flight.

Booking Air France Business Class Ticket

With the chips down and my vacation on the line, it was time for a Hail Mary pass. , I checked my Delta App and found a 1:30 pm Air France flight with a ticket still available for 42,500 SkyMiles and $287.50 USD.

Although, generally, SkyMiles suck and are a pretty low-value points currency for most cool trips, but this routing CDG-DXB (Europe to the Middle East) is one of the redemption sweet spots. It was pure luck to find this three hours before the flight, on a peak travel day for Christmas!

While I lost my 45k Aeroplan points and wasn’t able to try Emirates Business in an A380 to DXB, this alternative routing from CDG-DXB is one I’m very familiar with, having tried it many times in the past.

Booking was a challenge; I tried booking this ticket on the Delta app directly, but unfortunately, the booking would not go thru on the app. By this time, it was 9:45 am, and this flight was departing at 1:30 pm. I figured it was probably because the departure was so soon, so I called Delta and tried booking by phone instead.

I was connected in just three minutes; the agent took twenty minutes to make the booking. First, it was denied, but she called Air France, and it was accepted in their system, and thankfully for my vacation, it was confirmed!

Only a single seat remained in business class; I was assigned Aisle seat 3E (at the front of this cabin).

The Ground Experience

The ground experience was interesting and involved going through checking in and rushing to get the flight in the pre-Christmas rush at one of Europe’s biggest airports.

Checking In

Having messed things up once, caution was on the cards after finishing my booking, I opted to Check-In at the counters at CDG. Given the Christmas travel day, the airport was incredibly congested, and there were lines everywhere. I started to doubt if I would have made the Emirates flight in any circumstances.

Business Class has Sky Priority, which is a separate check-in at Terminal 2E. There was a line just to enter this area, but it moved quickly, and I got my boarding pass from just a mobile station. Plenty of friendly agents were ready to assist, but it was chaotic.

A busy Air France Business Class holiday Check-In at Terminal 2E - counters packed with passengers.
A busy Air France Business Class holiday Check-In at Terminal 2E – counters packed with passengers.

It took about one hour total to get through Immigration and Security. I then had to take the shuttle train to transfer to Terminal M for my flight. By the time I got through everything, it was 12:15 and already almost time to board.

CDG was packed before the holidays
CDG was packed before the holidays

The Air France Business Lounge and Boarding

I couldn’t try the Air France Lounge, although terminals M and L have my favorite Air France lounges.

It took some time to navigate but i had to hurry to get through the crowds
2It took some time to navigate but i had to hurry to get through the crowds
The transfer shuttle between the 2E, L and M terminals at CDG.
The transfer shuttle between the 2E, L, and M terminals at CDG.

Boarding Air France Business Class

Boarding began soon after I got to the gate area at 12:25 pm. It looked like the flight was packed full – so they started early and got through the process quickly.  

My flight was departing from the M concourse at Paris CDG
My flight was departing from the M concourse at Paris CDG
Crossing into the M concourse, for Air France international flights.
Crossing into the M concourse for Air France international flights.
Our Dubai flight will board through Gate M26.
Our Dubai flight will board through Gate M26.

I managed to snap a quick picture of our plane parked at the gate; on a side note  Air France has one of my favorite liveries.

Air France Boeing B777-300ER for flight 662.
Boarding through Gate M26 - by the time I got there, it was really packed
Boarding through Gate M26 – by the time I got there, it was really packed

The Air France Business Class Cabin and Seat

Upon boarding and reaching my seat, I was offered an amenity kit and a pre-departure beverage. Unfortunately, in my rush, I neglected to grab pictures of these.

Seat 3C

I’ve flown this route on Air France a couple of times in 2021 and 2022. Unfortunately, Air France doesn’t operate its newest jets on the CDG-DXB route.

the older style Air France business class seat
the older style Air France business class seat

This really showed on this aircraft. I got a particularly tired aircraft interior on the flight, with a torn seat and some food stains. However, Air France is releasing new seats as of 2023 and has started retrofitting old aircraft with the new Suite configuration. So hopefully, the next time it will be the new suites.

The flight featured the standard Air France B77W seat. A comfortable and very spacious herringbone configuration with ample legroom and storage. The seat is fully lie flat, and operated by four basic controls on the side of the seat. The tray table is a single unit and very sturdy.

Views of Seat 3E, including the wide footwell.
Views of Seat 3E, including the wide footwell. 

I like having the right side of the console as a working surface (or mouse surface); it’s very useful for a right-handed person for productive computer work.

The side table pops out from below the console, beside the IFE and seat controls.
The side table pops out from below the console, beside the IFE and seat controls.
Air France Business Class leg room in the seatwell is spacious even with the herringbone profile.
Air France Business Class leg room in the seatwell is spacious even with the herringbone profile.

There is a storage cabinet on the side of the seat and near the footwell. Shoes can be stored under the Ottoman.

The Air France Business Class seat is in a tired old plane in a tired old aircraft - my seat was torn at the footwell.
The Air France Business Class seat is in a tired old plane in a tired old aircraft – my seat was torn at the footwell.

The footwells are narrow at the ends but generally still wide and comfortable – even as a tall person, I had no issues sleeping. The pillow and blanket were very comfortable.

Some liquid stains on the AIr France Business Class Seat arm rest.
Some liquid stains on the Air France Business Class Seat armrest.

The seats come with power and USB ports; however, Air France turns these on mid-flight after take-off and before landing.

Power outlet, magazine storage, and additional ottoman space on the inner side of the seat.
Power outlet, magazine storage, and additional ottoman space on the inner side of the seat.

Seat 3E has some nice qualities; being at the front of the business-class cabin, it’s incredibly private. Additionally, there’s a large flat surface just above and front of the seat, which is useful when unloading luggage or returning food service items.

Air France Business Class headphones are found inside this large side panel storage, which also comes with a small mirror.
Air France Business Class headphones are found inside this large side panel storage, which also comes with a small mirror.

Even though they are dated, I really like the Air France B77W seats – they are fully lie flat and very comfortable.

The Air France Amenity Kit & The Inflight Entertainment & Wi-Fi

Unfortunately, due to the extreme rush, I did not take any pictures of the amenity kit or IFE system. What’s more, being very tired, I spent most of the short flight sleeping.

Air France Paris to Dubai Business Class

While Air France is one of my favorite carriers for the service they provide on their routes, it’s commonly very much a “luck of the draw” airline when it comes to service. However, I lucked out this time and had a great crew and a fantastic food experience.

Before long, we pushed back from the gate, and the take-off roll was uneventful.

Air France Business Class Meal Service

Shortly after takeoff, it was time for the meal service. Air France offers custom menus that come in multiple languages, including English, French, and Arabic. Each menu is customized to a specific route.

The Air France Business Class menu with a personal message from Michel Roth
The Air France Business Class menu with a personal message from Michel Roth
The Air France Business Class menu cover
Menu cover for The Air France Business Class
The Air France Business Class menu for the Paris to Dubai route

The FA team first offers a tray starter course, followed by service with warm fresh bread and a choice of beverages. Finally, after some time, the starter tray is traded for a main course plate.

Menu

  • Starter Course: Warm Bread w/ Butter, Salmon and Cheese, Salad, and Garnishing.
  • Main Course: Beef filet, Rare Pepper Sauce, Celeriac and Vanilla Mousseline and Asparagus with Almonds.
  • Cheese Plate for dessert, I paired this with red wine.
Starter Course: Warm Bread w/ Butter, Salmon and Cheese, Salad, and Garnishing
Starter Course: Warm Bread w/ Butter, Salmon and Cheese, Salad, and Garnishing

I love that everything is served with real silverware, ceramics, and a wrapped napkin.

Main Course: Beef filet, Rare Pepper Sauce, Celeriac and Vanilla Mousseline and Asparagus with Almonds
Main Course: Beef filet, Rare Pepper Sauce, Celeriac and Vanilla Mousseline and Asparagus with Almonds
Close-up of the tasty Rare Pepper Sauce.
Close-up of the tasty Rare Pepper Sauce.

Coffee and Chocolate were also served prior to landing. One thing to remember if you are an Air France fan is that the best food tends to be on the routes originating at Paris CDG. This one was no exception, and the meal was utterly delicious.

Red wine and a Cheese plate, with a variety of tasty cheeses.
Red wine and a Cheese plate, with a variety of tasty cheeses.

The crew also took time out to talk to me several times during the flight. They were incredibly friendly and made sure I felt well taken care of.

Le Chocolat des Français with coffee served mid-flight.
Le Chocolat des Français with coffee served mid-flight.

Arrival at Dubai DXB

This was a relatively short flight, only six and a half hours long, and I slept for most of it. Our flight landed on time, deep in the darkness around midnight in Dubai. Usually, the approach offers a fantastic view; this time, I couldn’t get a window seat.

I did notice my seatmate playing with the seat controls to find a camera view of the landing. I made a mental note to play around with this on a future flight. We taxied to Terminal 1, where being off the plane first, I was able to get on the airport transfer train to the main terminal very quickly and beat the immigration and customs rush.

In the end, it only took about 20 minutes from being off the plane to getting past immigration to the pickup areas at DXB, which is spectacularly efficient! However, I knew that was not the end of my travels. My journey continues the following morning on EK862 from Dubai to Muscat, Oman.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so this was not my typical flight review. Due to the rush and being tired, I didn’t have a chance to review the CDG Air France Lounge, and I didn’t try the Amenity Kit, IFE, or Wi-Fi, instead opting to sleep for most of it.

That being said, Air France is one of my favorite carriers for intercontinental journeys, and I enjoy using them regularly for their excellent service and amazing food. All in all, considering I booked this trip just three hours before the flight itself and the Christmas Holiday weekend, it was a hell of a deal, and I seriously lucked out, and it didn’t disappoint.