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A year ago, Air France debuted nifty new business class seats for its Boeing 777s as part of a $500 million investment in new products and services. And now we've been able to see this pricey investment up close.
We recently flew in the new business class cabin on a 777-300ER plane from Paris Charles de Gaulle to JFK. The configuration of seats was shrunk from the normal 2-3-2 layout to a 1-2-1 layout (up in La Premiere there were just four seats).
The best features of the new seats are not just the lie-flat beds which extend to nearly 6.5 feet and come with full-sized pillows and soft duvets, but also the little things that surround it. Like the 16-inch touch screen TV. The screen swivels out to face you and can be adjusted for your height level. Once you're lying flat in the bed, you can control the screen via a remote control. You can choose from a variety of movies and French TV shows as well as music and games.
If you're not lying flat, your seat can recline to other comfortable positions and there's a foot rest in front of you to keep your back in good support.
Apple Watch / Apple Watch Travel Apps / Airline Apps / Air France / Travel Tech / Travel Apps / → All Tags
Apple Watch debuted just two months ago, but from the get-go 10 airlines were ready for the gadget's launch, enabling their mobile apps to work with the flick of a wrist. Yet while having your boarding pass basically imprinted on your body is a technological marvel, using Apple Watch to check in for your flight and board the plane is not as easy as we hoped it would be. Here are some tips on using Apple Watch for your next flight.
1. CHECK-IN ON YOUR IPHONE FIRST
Air France was one of the first airlines to update their app to work with Apple Watch and indeed, the app works like a dream. This contributor could pull up my boarding pass, bar code and all. However, like most functions on the Apple Watch, the app is tied to your iPhone via Bluetooth. So you must log-in to the app on your iPhone first, check-in there and then your watch app will be updated with your flight info and boarding pass.
2. SAVE YOUR PASS TO PASSBOOK
This sounds obvious, but when I arrived at CDG to check-in for a flight, I consulted my watch to show my boarding pass. Except I stupidly went through the Air France app instead of my Passbook. The Air France app was logged out, probably because my phone was in airplane mode (I was trying to save on my international roaming costs), which turns off the Bluetooth connection. Flustered and afraid of making people behind me wait, I pulled out my iPhone and showed my mobile boarding pass at the ticket desk. If only I had pulled up Passbook first.
3. HAVE A BACKUP PASS READY, JUST IN CASE
Whether it's on your iPhone or a paper pass, have it somewhere close-by in case you encounter an airport employee who's not ready to deal with your early tech adopter-ness. This is especially true for customs. The agents stamping my passport needed to see the boarding pass with my name on it. With the Watch, you have to hold out your wrist at an awkward angle and then scroll through the different parts of the pass. It's far easier to carry a paper pass or show your mobile pass, especially when you don't speak the local language. In America, TSA checkpoints should be able to accept your Watch scans, even if you might have to loosen the Watch to get it in front of the scanner.
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With summer officially in swing, we no longer feel the need to hide our rosé
drinking problem obsession. (Even though it's possible to drink rosé all year long, the blush pink wine is typically meant for summertime.)
While rosé is popular at restaurants and bars all over right now, we were quite surprised when we found a Cotes de Provence Rosé on the business class wine list aboard Air France, as usually airlines just offer white or red, but never in between. Paired with the rich butter cookies, it made for an excellent pre-meal treat. (However, if you're looking for rosé champagne, you'll have to fly Qatar business class for that.)
We'll have more on the rest of business class meal, and the flight, later this week but for now, sip on these travel news tidbits compiled by Conde Nast Traveler:
The French take their food seriously — even their in-flight meals. They scoff at your cheese and cracker plate; they sniff at your soggy salad; they turn their back to that handful of M&M's you grabbed from Hudson News before takeoff.
Um, not us though. Can we have a couple?
So endowed with epicurean greatness are they, that this week Air France released info on their new a la carte dining options, and they look like stuff from the goddamn cover of Food & Wine. For reals. There are six categories of plates: Traditional Chinese, Flavours of India, Thai cuisine, A taste of Korea, Japanese delights, and a Seafood basket. And each category has an interpretation for both La Première and Business class. That's 12 new dishes, available for ordering up to 24 hours in advance of your flight.
And even the plate wear is fancy. Famed French architect and designer Jean-Marie Massed designed the service, pulling together dozens of different pieces: think delicate champagne flutes, fine porcelain Bernardaud plates and Christofle cutlery. Ooh la la. Above, you'll see the seafood basket for La Première flyers. And here are a few more food porn money shots to whet your appetite.
There’s plenty of blue, white, and red, as we learn from some fashionable French folks that the seatbelt will do more than just protect us from bumps and turbulence—it will also elegantly highlight our waistline.
The jokes are subtle and stylish along with the whole video, and we’re thinking that Air France has a hit on their hands with this one. They even remind us what is chic (not smoking) and what is trendy (turning your electronic devices to airplane mode).
In-Flight Meals / Economy Class Travel / TAM / Qantas / British Airways / ANA / Air France / KLM / Czech Airlines / Air Berlin / Food Travel / Airline Meals / → All Tags
Last week some great news for Economy passengers arrived from Down Under, as Qantas' introduced new meals for those flying in the back of the plane.
The Red Roo's overhauled menu includes more choices for in-flight grub via their Select on Q pre-order system, now with 50% larger meals and even special treats like ice cream snacks and a welcome drink. Meals not only do away with trays and feature more destination-based items (like BBQ beef sliders to North America and and full English breakfast to the UK), but they'll even surprise with items like a bread roll already infused with butter to eliminate buttery finger fumbling.
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
For all we talk about in-flight meals, you might think that praising (or criticizing) what's served onboard where is a new concept. A 1958 Air France postcard we acquired proves that obsession with in-flight food is hardly anything new.
Written by an American onboard a flight from Rome to Paris during a European "Grand Tour," the traveler is surprised, in a good way, by the food offered on the flight. On a similar Air France route today, you might be lucky to receive a complimentary beverage and perhaps a croissant.
We’ve seen electronic boarding passes and other unique ways to hop aboard your flight, and now Air France is adding their version of some newfangled technology to the boarding process.
The carrier’s new boarding business is all about near field communication—or NFC—as they’re partnering up with a local mobile provider to get the technology up and running. Basically passengers using Orange mobile smartphones will be able to touch here, tap there, and wave their device in order to make their way through the airport.
Air France realizes that passenger load fluctuates, and since their product is perishable (once a plane takes off, those unsold seats are lost revenue) , they’re hit the chalkboard to brainstorm creative solutions for maximizing passenger comfort while still flying full planes.
The result are new business class cabins across their long-haul fleet, with the unique ability to change up the cabin class when premium travel slows. These seats can be switched into economy class seats, ideal for periods like the summer when tourist and budget traveler numbers to Europe are high and the expense accounts are more likely to stay home.
Throwback Thursday / Retro Travel / Air France / Airlines / France Travel / Airline Ads / Airline Meals / Food Travel / → All Tags
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
We can only imagine what it would have been like in the mid-1960s, planning a trip to France on one of the new Boeing 707s. Dreaming of nibbling croissants on the street, sampling fine French cuisine, and sipping French vintages would be part of the agenda and Air France knew it. That's why it's no surprise their advertisements highlighted the elaborate meals onboard their jet service from New York, Chicago and LA.
This poster above exhibits the nine essential parts of the service, about which Air France was so proud. Not only would De Luxe Class (business class) passengers be treated to the reduced flying time and comfort of jet service across the Atlantic, but also onboard meals worthy of the Paris route. Taking consistency into consideration, all of these beautiful meals will be served depending on mileage from origin city.
It's been quite a while since we hailed any airline advertising as brilliant, but Air France's fresh run of bright images warrants a mention.
The ads, by BETC Paris, utilize bright colors and bold shapes, with more than a touch of high-fashion photography. The impact isn't unlike that of vintage travel posters, still considered stylish today.
In fact, that above A380 image is especially genius; it's a stealth homage to the french new wave film L'Année dernière à Marienbad (Last Year at Marienbad), whose director, Alain Resnais, recently passed away.
In-Flight Drinks / Wine Travel / Drinking Travel / Champagne / Air France / British Airways / Cathay Pacific / Delta / Emirates / Eva Air / Hainan Airlines / Lufthansa / Qantas / Singapore Airlines / United Airlines / First Class Travel / Business Class Travel / Lists / → All Tags
Just because the confetti is cleaned up, Auld Lang Syne is retired in your iTunes playlist, and your outfit from New Year's Eve is at the dry-cleaners doesn't mean we still can't talk about one of the best parts of ringing in a new year: a champagne toast! Since 'popping bottles' is for such special occasions, we can't think of a better way to sip some bubbles than when on a plane heading for a new destination.
While some airlines have a knack for feeding passengers fine food like lobster and caviar, there are thankfully more still taking sparkling wines just as serious. If your 2014 travel plans include flights in First or Business Class on the following carriers, be sure to reach for that PDB (pre-departure beverage) and ask for a flute of these fine pours: