Air France Business Class Stockholm-Paris – A breakfast flight
At the Airport
The morning started early at 4am and thanks to a bit of traffic on the way to the airport this July morning; I arrived at Arlanda airport at 5:20am. Air France uses terminal 2 at the airport along with Skyteam colleagues KLM and Lufthansa.
Air France and KLM had a common check-in area in the southern part of terminal 2. When Air France and KLM moved to Terminal 2 in late spring 2012, Sky Priority was also implemented at Arlanda airport, the standard priority concept for Skyteam which means that passengers in business class, first class or SkyTeam Elite Plus status should have access to a separate check-in, security screening and boarding at the airport.
Five desks were open for Air France and KLM; four baggage drop counters for economy class and a Sky Priority counter for business class and status members, where I checked in with a friendly woman. The first part of the trip included three flights and the bag was checked in all the way to the final destination, although the woman could only print the boarding pass for the first two flights. As a Gold Card holder, my bag also got the customary Skyteam priority tag.
At the security check there was a separate queue for Sky Priority, which I could use even though the regular queue was relatively short. I then went to the newly built Menzies lounge on the first floor. The lounge primarily offered breakfast food but a cup of coffee and a sandwich was all I needed this early in the morning.
Boarding and First Impressions
25 minutes before departure, boarding began at gate 64. Sky Priority passengers could use the queue to the left of the podium and this was demonstrated by the staff. As someone in the Sky Priority group, it also clearly states this on the boarding pass. I was the first passenger to board and was welcomed at the entrance by a friendly flight attendant. I had pre-booked place 02A, a window seat on the second row.
We had a punctual pushback and after a safety briefing in English and French, followed by a pre-recorded summary in Swedish, we departed Arlanda just after 7am.
It was an Airbus A319 that would take us to Paris this morning. Two rows were used for business class and it turned out I was the only passenger in business class. Just like in most European airlines, there was a 3-3 configuration in business class, but my seats remained empty and were replaced by a table, which in practical terms meant a 2-2 configuration.
Behind business class were five rows of premium economy, followed by the obligatory curtain and then voyageur (economy class). Eight people sat in premium economy and there was a low overall occupancy of around 60-70 percent.
Up in the air breakfast was served. In business class, I was served a hot breakfast with scrambled eggs, bacon, spinach and a tomato. It tasted completely okay. On the tray was also a yogurt, fruit salad and marmalade. The stewardess in business class offered warm bread and croissants from a basket followed by coffee, tea, juice and water.
Later during the flight another drink was offered and I ordered another cup of coffee. It would have been nice to get a decent cup of coffee in business class instead of the plastic cups that were used. On the whole, I felt tray and presentation was fairly simple for business class. From experience I know that, however, it is slightly better on the Air France long-haul flights.
Otherwise it was a pleasant and uneventful flight with friendly service from the staff.
Shortly before 9 o’clock, we began to descend towards Paris. We were approaching the capital from the northeast and made a large part of the approach to the West, right alongside the Charles-de-Gaulle and with a nice view of downtown Paris. We even got a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Finally, we made a 180-degree turn back towards the airport where we landed ten minutes before schedule and taxied to the terminal 2F, used for all flights to Stockholm, where I would change for further travel to Asia.
A pleasant but ordinary two-hour flight within Europe with nothing whatsoever to complain about. However, I prefer to travel in business class later in the day when you get a decent lunch or dinner, maybe with a glass of champagne or a good glass of wine. You cannot make that much of a morning flight with breakfast.