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Air France Airbus A319 at CDF
Air France is the flag carrier of France. Its fleet has many Airbus A319 aircraft.

Review: Air France Economy Class

  • By Finnoy Travel
  • October 06, 2020

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Air France

Air France is the flag carrier of France. The airline belongs to Air France-KLM Group and it is also a member of Skyteam Alliance. Air France has been founded already in 1933 and today it is a global player in the aviation market.

Air France has two hub airports: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Orly Airport (ORY).

Traditional Carrier with a Good Brand

While being over 85 years old, Air France has a long history and keeps its name as a respected brand. The airline has still complimentary onboard service. However, throughout the years, the service quality has gradually gone down. The cheapest ticket classes do no anymore include check-in luggage and you need to pay extra for your preferred seat. Otherwise, the airline is following a traditional business model not being a low-cost airline.

Luggage Policy

The cheapest economy class ticket of Air France does not include any checked luggage. They can be bought for an additional charge.

All passengers are allowed to have at least one normal-sized hand luggage and also a personal item weighing no more than 12 kilograms together. In better ticket classes, it is allowed to have one more hand luggage and better-checked luggage conditions too.

The luggage policy of Air France is typical for a standard airline. There are limits but not as strict as with low-cost airlines.

Our Air France Flight Experiences

In February 2020, we travelled from Helsinki to Lisbon via Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. The first leg of the flight was marketed by Air France but operated by Finnair. The second leg from Paris to Lisbon was operated by Air France itself.

The flight from Paris to Lisbon was flown with an Airbus A318. This type is the shortest version of the Airbus A320 family. Only 80 aircraft of this model have been built so it was a rare moment to step into this exciting aircraft model.

The aircraft was old but in a good condition. The boarding happened fast via a gate and the flight departed on time. It also arrived in Lisbon according to its schedule.

Airbus A318 in Lisbon Airport
We arrived in Lisbon on time. Our Airbus A318 didn't have a gate but we took a bus ride to the terminal

How to Find an Inexpensive Flight?

Follow our simple checklist to find a good deal:

  • Compare flight prices on Skyscanner on different dates.
  • Choose the most suitable schedule and price.
  • Decide whether to book directly from the airline or via an Online Travel Agency (OTA)
  • Let Skyscanner to forward you to the chosen booking site.
  • Go through the booking process and avoid buying unnecessary extras.
  • Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.

Rating

Friendliness of the Cabin Crew

The boarding process in CDG was arranged efficiently and the ground staff were friendly. The cabin crew were also helpful and friendly for the whole duration of the flight. Pilots gave an informative speech during the cruise period. Unfortunately, the sound quality of the announcement system was poor.

Air France CDG terminal
In Paris CDG Airport, we boarded via a gate. The boarding process was efficient and fast.

As a nice extra, the flight attendants were distributing hand sanitising towels while passengers were boarding.

Cabin

There are not many airlines in the world operating Airbus A318 aircraft so we were lucky to board one. The aircraft was old but still in good condition. The cabin was clean and the seats were slim. That gave an impression of more space than the plane had.

Three first rows were reserved for the business class passengers and the rest of the cabin was for the economy class. Because the cabin was full, the overhead bins were all fully occupied. Luckily, we found a few free slots for our carry-on luggage. As a funny detail, one of us had a pillow on the seat while other passengers didn't.

The cabin of Air France Airbus A318
The cabin of Airbus A318 is short. Three first rows were allocated to the business class and the rest to the economy class.

The Airbus A318 is so small that it has only one toilet in the economy class. The toilet was shaky and vibrating while the flight otherwise was smooth. There were no long queues.

Onboard Services

Air France has still complimentary onboard service even on short-haul routes. On our flight, the crew served coke, sprite, water, beer, wine, and surprisingly tasty coffee and tea. In addition, a muffin was given.

Our meal in Air France economy class
We were offered complimentary coffee, a coke and a muffin.

The aircraft had also WiFi which was a surprise for us. The WiFi was free to use for instant messaging. For example, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger worked well. Better quality WiFi for web browsing would have cost 10 euros and WiFi for streaming 20 euros for the duration of the flight.

There were no information screens. The only entertainment was a thick onboard magazine. USB charging sockets are useful for all kinds of travellers.

USB sockets between the seats
On Airbus A318 fleet, there were USB charging sockets between the seats.

Ticket Price

Air France is not a cheap airline. French cabin crew and pilots are paid well and they are also prone to have strikes now and then to get better working conditions and salaries. Like all other airlines, Air France has often good sales campaigns.

Our flight from Helsinki to Lisbon via Paris cost about 85 euros. That was an affordable deal from a traditional airline.

Price-quality Ratio

Air France has good quality service but tickets are often pricey. The price-to-quality ratio may become great if you find a great deal. Otherwise, the airline tends to be expensive.

Overall Rating

On our trip to Lisbon, we had two Air France flights but the first one was operated by Finnair. Finnair had also good service, but Air France did it even better. Air France still has complimentary onboard service and also a free instant messaging WiFi.

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Bottom Line

We do not fly often with Air France since they do not have their route to Helsinki. They have outsourced Helsinki to Paris route to their partner, Finnair.

Air France Airbus A319
Many short-haul routes of Air France are operated with Airbus A320 series aircraft.

If Air France had better-scheduled connections from Helsinki and the price was good, we would fly more often with them. The airline gives value for your money.

Have you flown with Air France? Comment below about your experiences!

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Enjoy Complimentary Services at Lounges

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Get a Private Transfer

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Readers' Comments (2)

  1. 02-27-2022 at 6:00am UTC by Wanka de la Cruz :

    Worse experience ever ! Bought flights from Atl to CDG & CDG to DUBAI . From CDG to DUBAI after 12 hours lay over got to the airport and they said they had no seats. Even though I have my purchases confirmation and I arrived in the morning from ATL they didn’t have any info and I couldn’t board . I have 3 little girls cold , and hungry and the crew were extremely RUDE they showed no care which it’s amazing .. I was there hours standing at a window while finally some lady came and tried to put us on the next flight the next day and since I was so upset because my girls were exhausted I asked if I was supposed to sleep with them on the floor then she went and got a hotel for us .. this has been the worse nightmare ever , rude employees. no compassion or respect . I am still stuck in France still and I know when I got back to the airport will be something else .. they are discriminatory toward American citizens .. I don’t think I will ever recommend ever again .. so dissatisfied . The 5 of us stuck all our reservation at risk in Dubai and they don’t care at all

  2. 05-30-2021 at 11:23pm UTC by Brian Brand :

    I like AF. efficient and professional airline in the "full service" class. provide business class passengers everything possible and do it well. I often fly with them even on leisure flights across Europe.

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