Review: Air France A350 CDG-ORD

Return to International Travel – Introduction
Review: SWISS A340-300 ORD-ZRH and Marhaba Lounge ZRH
Lodging Review: Sina Villa Medici, Florence, Italy
Our Time In Florence, Part 1
Our Time In Florence, Part 2
Lodging Review: Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris, France
Our Time In Paris, Part 1 (Louvre, Sainte-Chappelle, Arc, Eiffel Tower)
Our Time In Paris, Part 2 (Versailles)
Our Time In Paris, Part 3 (Catacombs, Musee d’Orsay)
Viking Kari and an Afternoon in Montmartre
Our Time in La Roche-Guyon and Vernon/Giverny
Our Time on the Normandy Beaches
Our Time in Les Andelys and Le Pecq
Lodging Review: Renaissance Republique, Paris, France
Review: Air France A350 CDG-ORD

Since I had never flown Air France, I figured this was my best shot to do that. I looked for a flight that would connect in the US and fly me all the way back to Memphis on the same ticket but for whatever reason Delta was not making any saver-level award space available. We had originally planned on returning to the US on a Wednesday, the day our cruise ended, but I found business class award tickets that day were (if I remember correctly) about 95K miles. Then I noticed that by returning on Thursday to Chicago, which is not a Delta/SkyTeam hub, the cost was only 58K miles. Sold! I then bought a separate cash ticket on United back to Memphis.

Air France 136
Aircraft: A350-900
Depart: 13:35, actual 13:59
Arrive: 15:25, actual 15:15
Seat: 2A (Business Class)

It was my first time at CDG airport so I was thrilled to find a luggage cart right where the taxi let me out. With my bum knee everything was taking longer to do so I was glad we had arrived quite early. Not being familiar with the airport’s layout I had hoped to reconnect with my friend, who was flying AA, once we went through security but I later realized that wasn’t practical. After checking my luggage I hobbled through the airport, on to the train and disembarked at Concourse M.

As I had plenty of time I visited the Air France lounge in Concourse M and would have liked to have reviewed it but thought it better to rest my knee. I did sample the chocolate mousse and loved it.

I left myself plenty of time to walk to the gate, though it wasn’t that far from the lounge, but I was moving slowly. Even while at the gate I had difficulty understanding the gate announcements as the acoustics in that building are such that the sound bounces all over the place but eventually we began the boarding process.

Air France A350

I made my way to seat 2A and one of the first things I noticed was how narrow the entrance to the seat itself was. When one leg is in a knee brace and relatively stiff, suddenly little things become much more apparent. What I did like was that I had a good view out of the window. I find it odd that so many premium seats are angled such that there’s no easy way to look out the window!

The crew stopped by and they were quite friendly. They took my crutch and put it in the closet, which I appreciated. I could maneuver up and down the aisle by holding on to the seats and I’d have had to collapse it to put it in the overhead bin so I was glad for one less thing to deal with during boarding.

We were offered a pre-departure beverage choice of orange juice or champagne, though I didn’t take a photo.

Waiting for me in my seat were a pillow, a coat hanger and a packaged blanket.

Air France A350 Seat and Pillow

Beside the seat was a slot for magazines and the safety card.

Air France A350 Document Holder

The seat had ample leg room for me and the footwell did not make my feet feel constrained.

Air France A350 Legroom and Ottoman

Next to the headrest was a compartment with the headphones, a water bottle and a mirror on the door. Beside that was the IFE and seat controller and below that was a outlet that supported both US and European electrical outlets and a USB-A port.

Air France A350 Storage Compartment and Outlets

On the outer wall was a reading light and the flight attendant call button.

Air France A350 Reading Light

I liked how the tray popped out from under the IFE screen and then turned sideways.

Air France A350 Tray as popped out from under the screen

Air France A350 Tray set for use

There were buttons over the window to dim it instead of a physical window shade. I was not a fan as it didn’t get very dark at all. Fortunately I didn’t need to sleep deeply on this flight because there was no amenity kit and thus no eyeshade.

Air France A350 Window Dimming Controls

And then there’s the food. I don’t know if I selected the wrong thing ahead of time or if I was just forgotten or what. But it doesn’t seem I got a true entree on this flight.  Here is the menu:

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The meal started with a cheese appetizer – which was virtually a better class of Cheetohs.

Air France A350 Cheese Crackers

Next came the meal on one tray. I thought this was the first course but no, this was the entire meal except for the cheese and the dessert. Again, maybe I didn’t order what I thought I did (and at this point I can’t even remember what that was) or maybe I’m just used to American-sized portions but I cleaned my plate.

Air France A350 Lunch Service

A cheese course followed.

Air France A350 Cheese Course

And then the selection of desserts and a cup of tea.

Air France A350 Dessert

Our snack before landing included smoked salmon, red berry coulis on plain yogurt and a vanilla cream puff pastry.

Air France A350 Arrival Snack

While all of these were good I must admit I was expecting more elaborate French cuisine and perhaps that’s my mistake.

In the end

The hard product was quite good. The IFE controller was a little wonky but I got it to cooperate enough. The staff was wonderful and checked on me throughout the flight. I’m still confused about the food but I’d love to fly Air France again and see if I did something wrong.

Categories: Air France, Award Travel, Flight Review, SkyTeam, Trip Report | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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