REVIEW Air France, Business Class A350-900 – Business Traveller

REVIEW Air France, Business Class A350-900 – Business Traveller

(feelgood music) – Well, here we are. We’re at Charles De Gaulle Airport and today, we’re going to be reviewing the new A350-900 Air France
Business Class seats. The seating on the aircraft
has a staggered formation. So, one seat will be close to the window and the next, close to the aisle. On this aircraft, C is close to the aisle, and A is close to the window. For these window seats, then the choice is whether you want to be on the aisle and have your side
table against the window or alternatively, you could
sit next to the window and have the side table on the aisle side. I mean, that’s what I pick for privacy and also, not being disturbed, and so, in that case,
you would go for Row 2. So, that would be 2A. Then, ignore 3C, that’s where I’m sitting. So, this is seat 4A by the window. I’d definitely go for 2A, 4A… 6A, miss out 7C. Those C ones aren’t so good and then 8A. Interesting point of these seats, okay, they have more privacy because they’re by the window, but then they also have… a slide, just to give that extra bit. Okay, so, we’re saying normally, you’d avoid the C seats and the J seats. In this case, with it being the front row, you just get that much more leg room, and also, a lot of room
on that side table, and that would be true on the other side, which is not C, but J. Of course, one possible disadvantage is that you’re so close to the galley. Unlike some of the other
A350 combinations that British Airways and the Air France, there seems to be a bit
more room in the aisle, and I guess the aisle is
probably the same width, because you don’t have the doors as you do on Virgin and BA. It feels more roomy. I mean, there are overhead lockers above both the window
seats and the center seats, but the cabin does feel very roomy. See that that sign up front, “Welcome to the A350.” For the center seats, you really need to pick a row where the seats are next to one another because otherwise, you have just this very small side partition between. You wouldn’t really be able
to talk to one another at all. So, Row 2 is good if you
wanna be with someone and Row 4 and 6, and I think there’s a Row
8 a bit back, as well, but the odd numbers in the middle, so, 3, 5, 7, that means you have got a lot of privacy or you’re with someone you don’t
really want to speak with, and like many of these seats, this one… requires for takeoff and
landing, a shoulder strap. – (French spoken over intercom) – [Tom] One good point here, is that the table completely
recesses under the screen and then you just push to pull it out, and then, you can adjust
it how you want it. So, this is where you have
the room for headphones. There’s a decent amount
of storage space in there, and also a vanity mirror. That is really the principle
place for storing things on this new business class seat. You can also see that’s where
you plug in the headphones. The power isn’t easy to
find and to be honest, it’s not easy to plug in, either. It’s under the side cupboard area. Just see under there. Probably can’t see, but that’s changing how bright that light is. Controls there, the one on the left is saying leave me alone, I’m asleep, and this one turns the light on in the side compartment
where the headphones are. Calling a flight attendant and then up and down for the seat. That’s the detailing of the seat. It’s a nice little bit of leather around the top of the… shoulder belt and the red,
sort of slash, for Air France. That leather is also identifiable up here. See that there’s room for a few items, already filled with magazines. So, despite leaving
London and going to Paris, to pick up this flight,
that’s going to Toronto, I’m now flying back over London with that amazing view. There’s plenty of times
you get a view from London, but not normally from,
well not normally for me, this high up. You can see The Thames just snaking away. So, this is what the seat
looks like after it reclines. There are different positions you can have on the way down, but very helpful flight attendant is just doing this for me so, we can see what it looks like. Now, what’s interesting is that there is actually no mattress
topper, at the moment. That’s something that’s coming. So, it might seem like a
mattress topper’s a small thing, but imagine you’re lying on this bed, look at the gap there between the back of the seat and the seat pan. That’s probably, I don’t
know, two-three inches, which is not gonna add to your comfort. Now, my understanding is
that the mattress topper’s coming and how it will come, is that it will be waiting for you at the seat, hanging from that thing here. I’ll show you… that pops out there. So, it’s going to be hanging
there waiting for you, and then, you’ve got the option, say if you’re on a night flight, just to put it on the
seat and then recline into a bed position. That armrest, which is either
on the left or the right, depending on which side
of the aircraft you’re on, does go up and down. It doesn’t go all the way up and down, but I think in the up position, it gives you a bit more
room for your shoulders and also a bit more
protection from the aisle, if you happen to be in
one of these aisle seats, which is on this side, C
so, 3C, 5C, 1C, as well, and that’s the foot room that you get or where your legs go. So then, here we are onboard. It’s a surprisingly
spacious seat, in many ways. It’s based on the Optima Seats, which is the same one
as The United Polaris. It’s in a staggered formation,
as we’ve already described. It has a good amount of space for working and also, if you’re doing some work and then, for instance, the drinks or the appetizers coming, you kinda want to carry on working, there’s enough room for that to happen at the side of the seats. One way, this choice of being on the aisle or being on the window seat, it doesn’t make any difference because you don’t have to step over anyone to get to the aisle and go
to the washroom or whatever, so, it’s a 1-2-1 configuration, but does, at least, give you the choice of either being by the window, if that’s what you want,
look out the window and have that kind of light or just being, as I am, in
a C seat, in a window seat of just having the aisle right by me. I guess one advantage of
being here on the aisle, is that I’ve got all my stuff here, I feel secure because
I’ve got that stuff there and I can fall asleep. I still think I’d probably
go for one of the A seats, so like, 2A in front
of me, as opposed to 3C because you’ve just got more seclusion and certainly more privacy and certainly for a night flight, where I just wanted to sleep, ya know, I’d do everything
I could to get one of those or one of the center seats
where they’re close together but you’ve got the window up, I think those are the best center seats, so, those are the ones that are in E ya know, two, four, six, eight and on my side, that would be an E seat. There’s loads of room to work. So, this table is very firm. There’s a good power source. Although, I have to say,
my power doesn’t work, but that’s just a quirk of this seat. So, I’ve got actually my
colleague and friend, Andreas over there, who’s actually my power lead for the computers going over to his seat that he keeps yanking the power out, but still, it’s very nice of him to do it, and you’ve got wifi onboard. So, you’ve got a good quality table that you can work at, you’ve got wifi, you’ve got power, you’ve got two USBs so, you could for instance, power up
your iPad and your phone, which is always worth having because you can never have too much power and the moment you think you’re okay, then something happens
and it starts to run out or you could power up a
power bank, I suppose. So, yeah, I mean it’s loads of space, loads of comfort, sleeping in C, well
that’s a different thing, but it looks okay, at the moment. The one thing I would say is right now, none of the Air France seats
have a mattress topper. Sounds like a small thing, but really ya know,
when this seat reclines, the cushion is very good at being a seat, but that means it’s not
very good for being a bed, even if you like a firm mattress, you wouldn’t have that mattress in a number of different sections, which effectively, is what this is, when you think about is the, this seat and then the seat pan and then the thing that
we’re reclining into, the footrest, so, I
think a mattress topper is very important and it’s something that Virgin Atlantic’s
new seat does very well. Other than that, I’m very impressed with every aspect of it and let’s see what the service is like. Now then, as you’d expect and hope on Air France, you’ve
got a rather lovely menu and hopefully, some rather
lovely food to go along with it. They’ve laid it out very nicely. This is part of what they want to be a restaurant experience so, the menu does have that feel about it. I think it’s nice that
they’ve got that kind of Paris-Toronto thing at the top. It’s obviously in two
languages, French and English, and that’s details of
the cocktail signature, sorry, signature cocktail. The arrangement is with Guy Martin and they’ve had a relationship with him for well over a decade,
from what I remember. I’m gonna flick through the French bit. Apologies, if you are a French reader. So, for the lunch menu, what we’ve got is an appetizer of beet moose
and a cheese cremble, that is a tiny little thing, so tiny, that I ate it before actually you got a chance to see
it, so, sorry about that. Then, there’s a choice of starters. They are champagne and
two pepper foie gras. It wouldn’t be France
without foie gras, would it? With a black carrot onion confe and a variation of artichokes. Then, we have, the choice, is either that or lambs lettuce salad
and julienne beetroot. Main courses are spring lamb stew, flavored rosemary chicken confit, pan-fried shrimp and the veggie option
is zucchini cannelloni. Then, you’ve got cheese,
which says goats cheese, cantal, PDO cheese, cambert. Dessert, mango passion fruit
dessert tart tropezienne. Haven’t I got a good French accent? And then, a choice of fresh fruits, ice creams and sorbets. You can also, if you’re in a rush, just have the express lunch, basically, means you have the cold stuff, and then just before we land, the choice will be butternut
squash in (murmurs), the choice will be a butternut
squash and carrot flan, goat cheese and päron toast, so, if you demand meat,
well, you’re out of luck, and the dairy product
fruit is quork cheese, dessert, raspberry financier
cake and Madeleine cake. Then, a good choice of wines, the champagne is Charles heidsieck. Two whites, both onboard
Sancerre, La Chateau d’Yquem, let’s just give up, let you read it, and a Puy Frese, and the reds are a Bordeaux and chateauneuf du pape. So, we’re just coming to
the end of the flight now, so, time for a verdict on the seat. From one point of view, it’s kind of an odd one because unlike the new seats on the A350 for Virgin Atlantic and British Airways, Air France already had
got a direct to asile access for its seats, it already has a 1-2-1 on the triple seven. So, it’s not an improvement
on the triple seven. Having said that, the
aircraft is an improvement on the triple seven and this seat is perfectly respectable. It’s fully flat and it’s very comfortable, both sitting, working and sleeping. It’s slightly odd in that
the first 10 deliveries of the A350 will have this seat on it and then, the next 18 delivery is going up to 20-25, we’ll have a different seat, we don’t know which one, yet, but that’s, in no way, to
say that this is a bad seat or an interim seat, certainly
not gonna be interim because people will be flying in for the next, say, eight years, but I think it’s comfortable, it’s a pleasure to be on and if you’re on a long-haul flight in it, I think you’ll have no
problem getting your work done and getting sleep if it’s a night flight. So, I think it’s one to look forward to, if you’re lucky enough to fly it. Anyway, I’d welcome your
comments on the video or your comments on the seats, if you do get the chance to fly and until next time, goodbye. (feelgood music)

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