If I was a functioning and coherent speaker in the first leg of my tour, it’s entirely because of Air France. As a partner for my tour, they offered me a chance to slip into the front of the plane — you know, that section behind the curtain where Champagne is free-flowing, the seats recline fully and the cutlery isn’t plastic — and experience their new business class cabin. With an 11-hour flight to Los Angeles, I knew that sleeping for a solid 6-7 hours would be my only hope for minimizing fatigue upon arrival. I’ve always had positive experiences on Air France over the years, both in economy and premium economy (which I flew often for several years for meetings in Geneva), and I knew I’d be in good, capable hands for this journey.
Service in all AF classes soars above the American carriers I have flown with most and I was pleased by how effortless the experience was from check-in to boarding. The biggest difference this time was the much-coveted lounge access in Terminal 2E, which comes with an array of cold and hot dishes, and endless supply of drinks, coffee, excellent reading material, loungers and quiet zones to work, but most importantly, a Clarins spa outpost. All guests with lounge access, even those not flying AF, can request a complimentary 20-minute pre-boarding facial developed exclusively for the airline. My friends awaiting my arrival in Los Angeles can write thank-you missives to both AF and Clarins for greeting me without the horror of my usual post-flight ghoulish, dehydrated complexion. The treatment was relaxing, to be sure, but also prepared my skin with enough moisture to keep me hydrated throughout the flight. That option was also waiting for me in the lounge at JFK, perhaps even more crucial then on the heels of an intense week in NYC and before a 6.5 hour red-eye flight back to Paris.
Michelin-starred chefs developed the bright and flavorful on-board menu, which was a pleasant discovery. Going, I discovered the cooking of Michel Roth, also a Meilleur Ouvrier de France award winner, while on the return I got a little taste of Daniel Boulud’s work. At JFK, I opted for the night service, a 6-month old offer allowing business class passengers to dine prior to boarding, with lovely table service and a nice selection of wines.
If I have to call out a few of the features that were most useful for me, however:
- Cocoon-like seats with privacy for each passenger
- Padded headboard (AF signature) and leather headrest, with fully reclining, comfortable seats. In other words, a sleep cloud.
- Excellent storage (including a cubby with a mirror, noise-reduction headphones, and ample space for any variety of travel totems people like to bring with them)
- 16-inch high definition screen that rotates + a separate handset which acts as a second screen.
- USB port and electrical outlets
The only downside has a familiar tune: how do you return to economy after such comfort?
Thank you to Air France for making this journey possible. I cannot think of a smoother and more relaxing way to have kicked off my book tour!
Discover “The New Paris” in real life! Enter my Air France Sweepstakes through May 17 for a chance to win two economy-class tickets to Paris. I, and a host of experiences inspired by my book, will be waiting on the other side! Open to U.S. residents only at this time. ENTER HERE.