May 23, 2013

From Beirut to Paris... An Enjoyable Flight On Board Air France's Premium Class

The Premium Economy cabin on board Air France is truly a great invention especially for those traveling on short trips - up to 4 hours or so. Traveling Premium Economy you will enjoy a relaxed ambiance, the comfort of more space, a reclining seat with larger screen in front of you to watch the latest movies - all at a reasonable price. Between paying $1,200 for Premium Class and $2,200 for Business Class, I'll definitely go for the premium one on route to Paris.

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As usual, the staff on Air France is cheerful, full of life and ready to serve everyone on board with a smile at all times. You are welcomed into the plane at the door as if you were entering into a palace. You reach your seat where a bottle of water, Sennheiser headphones, an individual head lamp, a thick pillow and a wrapped blanket, await you. What I like about this class is that it's almost always empty. I think people don't  know yet about it or do not know its benefits, which I have already described in details in my previous posts. It's 10am and everyone is on board even though we're scheduled to take off at 10:15am.

On this beautiful sunny day, I left Beirut and just imagined a joyful and smooth trip ahead of me.

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As soon as we were airborne, the entertainment program started. I usually hate those first 10 minutes of advertisement we are obliged to watch while traveling on MEA. Luckily Air France doesn't have them.  They are a company that respects the traveler's needs: Remember we paid for the ticket to enjoy our time not watch your advertising material which aim at generating more profit for your company... We were offered a refreshment kit. This time the packaging was different. I like it. It's denim with classy red lines. The kit includes a toothbrush, earplugs, socks and sleeping eye mask. I will let you in on a secret, I always take these kits and reuse them later as a cover for my camera and iPhone.

The movie I chose to watch is The Last Stand, Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest.

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Today's menu printed on the signature colorful cartons was simple yet varied, prepared by the Beirut's kitchen:

  • Smoked salmon fillet, Lebanese-style eggplant purée
  • Turkish-style Daoud Pacha meatballs with tomato sauce, rice with vermicelli
  • Poached fillet of cod with lobster sauce, potatoes with parsley, French green beans with carrots
  • Cheese
  • Coffee mousse, baklava
  • Coffee or tea

Wines proposed:

  • Vins de France La Vieille Ferme 2011, Perrin & Fils, White Wine
  • Pays d'Oc 2012 Reserve de la Baume, Red Wine

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Lunch started with a bag of crackers produced by Scrocchi. Sesame crackers baked in the oven, without seasoning and no preservatives. Coupled with the white wines, I enjoyed a nice aperitif. Lunch was served and we received a filled platter of three plates, cheese and butter. Philippe, our flight attendant took really good care of me without me even asking. Noticing that I was enjoying the white wine and asked to continue with the red one, he went up front to the business class to get me a cup of red. Cote Fleuri, Beaujolais Nouveau. A gesture amazingly appreciated. After that, Phillipe discreetly asked me if I like the Lebanese dessert offered in Premium or would I rather have the chocolate cake served in Economy. I chose the chocolate cake. To accompany this delicious meal was the red wine served in an individual 187ml bottle.

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I enjoyed my meal. The Daoud Pacha was very well cooked: pine nuts, cooked onion rings, five balls of meat, red sauce served with a generous portion of rice. I would surely add salt to the rice though, as it was a bit dull in taste. It wasn't oily and was adequately cooked but it just needs a hint of flavor. Next to it is a salad plate that is also very well presented especially with its two thick slices of premium quality BBQ salmon that's soft and tender and not oily. What I love about Air France's meals is the Cristaline water cups, Bridel butter and the President cheese proposed. Premium products from France. Yummm... This chocolate dessert is great! Congrats to the chef who made it. I enjoyed it to the maximum. Sorry for my fellow passengers in Premium cabin who didn't have the chance to taste it.

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Afterwards, Philippe proposed coffee, tea and a digestif. I asked for a Perrier which he got from the kitchen in seconds. The smile was never wiped of his face...I finished my meal and continued my movie peacefully.

I say it again: With the same price paid for a ticke to France on board MEA or Air France, I would definitely choose Air France and I think you would too.

A imperative needed change:

  • The sponge in the seats should be thicker. I felt like I was sitting on a piece of wood. Even the seats in the economy are more relaxing around this area. Simply add a 2cm layer of sponge under to make the seat more comfortable. It will change a lot. I had to add my neighbors pillow under my ass to ease the stress on my behind.
  • Unfortunately my footrest was broken. Please make sure to check the broken parts of the plane more frequently

The bad:

9 out of 10 times, I discover a woman's hair on my pillow. Maybe an explanation is needed here: why should the covers be wrapped and not the pillows? We put our heads on the pillow after all and not on the bed covers! A must look at immediately.

A nice and easy flight which I usually take once a month and enjoy fully. Have you tried it? What do you think about it?

Categories: Airlines Travel



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