A quick read on all that you need to know about traveling Air France La Premiere!
Obviously, I am not affiliated with any airline or credit card company. I do not make money from this, I simply enjoy travel.
I am not a blogger, actually this is my first travel blog. Not looking to make it a thing, just documenting my perspective on travel. If I do more blogs in the future, I will add more details especially related to the name of the blog.
But first, let’s set the stage.
I have been a Delta Diamond for number of years. I am literally just a number, one of the 1000s, 100Ks or millions of Diamonds out there ( I really do not know how many there are). I am one of those who prefer to fly delta metal, but in the past couple of years, probably half of my travel has been on Air France, KLM or Alitalia. I travel in all classes and I also travel w/ different airlines even though the bulk of my travel is with Skyteam! You can say I’m a fan.
I booked my ticket back in January of 2018. I was starting the year in a bad mood and wanted to treat myself to something special. I paid for the ticket, so it was not booked with miles. I booked early to make sure I get a reasonable deal and be able to design my trip to my liking.
When I booked the ticket, I made sure I had plenty of time in Charles De Gaulle to enjoy the lounge and sure enough, I managed to book a 7-hour layover on both the outbound and inbound legs. So, few weeks before my trip, I communicated w/ the Air France Twitter team and the La Premiere team via their direct number in France and basically I wanted to get 2 things squared:
- Book a massage at the Biologique Recherche center for both outbound and inbound layovers.
- I am starting my trip by flying into JFK, arriving on a Delta flight to Terminal 4 and I wanted to see if Delta or Air France can transfer me from the domestic Delta flight to Terminal 1 Air France Lounge
The first one was taken care of without any issues and actually both the Air France twitter team and of course the La Premiere team were very helpful there. The 2nd one was challenging. Air France staff at JFK do not have authorization to pick up passengers at Terminal 2 or 4, so they pinged Delta to see if Delta would do it.
Travel Day – Arriving into JFK & Checking-in w/ Air France
As mentioned earlier, I was flying into JFK on a domestic flight. I had purposefully booked my domestic ticket early in the day for couple of reasons, one was cost and the other was that I had to join some conference calls. I landed in JFK around 10AM, was full of hope that Delta won’t let me down and will send a Delta rep to pick me up from the gate at terminal 4 and transfer me to the lounge. Upon landing and when the door opened, I saw a delta staffer w/ a passenger name illuminated on an ipad, I got super excited and I was like that’s MY DELTA…but no, the ipad had a different name, actually a platinum passenger who needed a transfer to another domestic flight out of terminal 2. I did not want this to bug me especially that the Delta twitter team had told me earlier that they do not really deal w/ La Premiere and that Air France should take of things (potential gap?). So I headed to terminal 1 via Airtrain, arrived there pretty early. The Air France counter was still closed as their first flight is not until 4:20PM. Having my boarding pass on my phone, I went through security relatively fast and made my way to the Air France lounge.
Air France JFK Lounge
I have been to that lounge like a gazillion time and some of their staff recognize me by face. So when I entered the lounge that morning, the agent at the desk asked for my boarding pass and passport to check me in and when I handed my boarding pass and once she realized I was traveling in La Première things went from nice to great! She apologized that the La Première staff were not in yet, and I said that it’s my fault since I arrived super early. I asked if I can use the SPA, but she said that the SPA was closed and instead offered to take me to the VIP room in the lounge which is reserved for La Première. I enthusiastically said yes PLEASE since I have some conf calls to dial-in to. I had seen the room before and read online that it’s small and it gets hot since one of its walls is entirely windows. When I got into the room, the agent told me that unfortunately catering was not available yet and that there were some snacks & drinks in the lounge room and some where outside. I was in the lounge for number of hours before anyone else showed up around 2pm. The VIP room was very comfortable, super private and had all the amenities that I needed. By this point, I was starting to feel good about spending that money on the ticket and from here things just got better.
At 2PM I was asked if I wanted anything to drink & eat. I made my selection (see pictures). Food was ok and service was superb. By then, few Air France staff had showed up, introduced themselves and asked if I needed anything. Then some passengers started arriving…well one in particular I was super excited to see…hmm can you guess from the picture? It was freaking Morgan Freeman! I could not contain myself (but I did) and I so wanted to go and just say hi but I opted to keeping a distance to respect his privacy (I also thought they would be sitting next to me on the flight and that I am sure I will have a chance for a quick chat, but turned out they were on a later air France flight).
One of the lounge staff asked me if I wanted to board first or last and since it was my first Air France flight, I opted to boarding early so I can take some pics and enjoy the cabin as much as I can. So early in the boarding process I was escorted by a super professional and friendly lounge agent all the way to the plane. No boarding pass or passport check, they did all that in the lounge and the boarding was seamless, and fun.
All in all I want to say Air France truly has a great team at JFK. The entire experience felt consistent w/ the Air France messaging. I was expecting the lounge to be inadequate but in all honestly it exceeded my expectations on every level.
La Première 777 – Boarding!
Did I mention that I had selected both outbound and inbound to be onboard Air France’s 777? The 380 has an older La Premiere product so I wanted to make sure I see the latest & greatest.
Once we arrived at the gate, as mentioned the Air France lounge agent showed her badge to the gate agent, and we were let through to a different boarding bridge that’s only for La Premiere passengers. Once we got to the plane, I was greeted by the attendants, 3 of them to be exact and then both the La Première FA and the lounge agent escorted me to my seat 1L.
I took my time discovering the seat and provided amenities – see pictures 🙂 The FA took my jacket and asked me if I wanted anything to drink and I said sure what do you have and her response was epic “whatever you want” J So I asked for a glass of Champagne which I quite enjoyed alongside some mixed nuts. As I was taking some pictures, the other passenger in 1A arrived, I had met her earlier in the lounge and the FAs were kind enough to offer to take my pictures number of times which I was happy to accept.
Then the flight purser came and introduced himself, at that point I had received my La Première pajamas which looked really nice, so I decided to change into them and they felt even better than what they looked like. After I changed, the captain stopped by and introduced himself and asked if I had any questions.
Right after take off, the FA asked me what I wanted to drink, my appetizer options which I chose Caviar and she suggested also adding a salad & soup. So the dinner service consisted of:
(see menu & pics)
- Multiple drinks
- Mushroom soup which was amazing
- Caviar – really tasty
- Main-course – I chose the lamb
- Deseret & Cheese. I opted for the gelato, lemon and it was amazing! Reminded me of lemon gelato you can get in Amalfi!
- + Espresso which was nice
After dinner, I was asked if I wanted the bed prepared and I said yes. The FA added the mattress pad, duvet and pillows and then later she closed the curtains. I watched some TV and eventually slept for about an hour.
An hour before landing, breakfast was offered which consisted of pastries, crepe, juice and coffee. It was pretty good and I was still full from the dinner service.
During breakfast I asked the flight purser to see if I can go the cockpit and take some photos, he said he would check w/ the captain…moments later he came back and asked very gently if it was ok to wait until after we land and I said of course, I totally understand (more on that later on maybe…one day 🙂
After breakfast, I went to the lavatories and changed out of the air France pajamas.
Once we landed, the door was opened & we were met by the ground staff . I asked if she can wait while I go to the cockpit and take some pictures which I did. Afterward I was whisked to the lounge.
Take a look at the pics, I was in 1L. The specs can be found on the Air France site and many other blogs. The comfort to be honest was ok. The seat is wide, and there’s plenty of room but I was expecting the cushion itself to be more comfortable…but trust me, it’s NOTHING to complain about. The tray was huge and could allow for 2 passengers to dine on (you can invite someone to join you for dinner).
When made into a bed and with the added bedding, it’s super comfortable to sleep in! I just wish the flight was a bit longer to catch a little more Zs.
Gorgeous amenity kit:
- Pajamas – 100% cotton, navy color, long sleeve & super comfortable pjs. No indication of a brand other than the La Premiere label.
- Amenity kit which includes Carita products (moisturizing face cream, hand cream, lip balm and “wrinkle solution” for the eyes) as well as a comb, and a pen.
On the 777, La Première passengers have access to 1 “upgraded” bathroom…there’s a 2nd one but that one is behind the curtain separating the galley from the cockpit and seems to be reserved for the crew, even though I was able to use it while the other bathroom was occupied. The main one did include nice touches such as towels, Carita products, shaving and dental kits. The crew kept the lavatory super clean throughout the flight. Only negative is the configuration and size of the lavatory itself, it makes it a bit challenging to change into the pjs & I think the one on the 380 is larger.
Once we left the plane, I had my carry-on w/ me (and no checked luggage), after the jet bridge, she took me to an elevator which took us down to the BMW 7 series w/ Hertz and La Premiere logs on it. Another staff member took my bag and placed in the trunk, the door was opened for me and I was driven straight the lounge. The lounge rep, took my passport and brought it back in few minutes
Great & comfortable lounge. Not ideal for long layovers but overall great, few points:
- Large sitting area, comfortable benches, seats – not super huge and decent size especially for a 1st class lounge
- Toilets – walls covered w/ leather panels, chandeliers, round-shaped rooms.
- Dinning – there’s a sort of open buffet where you can grab water, appetizers, cheese, sweets…etc. I felt that they prefer to serve directly. So you can sit at one of the tables and order from the buffet or the a la carte menu. Food was great! Def make sure you grab a meal and leave room for dessert.
- Showers – super comfortable shower rooms, stocked w/ amenities, definitely the best I have seen at a lounge.
- Rest area – there’re chairs where you can lay down for a quick snooze….I was quickly offered a pillow and a blanket.
If you have couple of hours to spend at the lounge, you will enjoy every minute of it…longer stays can get a bit boring for you and the lounge staff 🙂
It’s hard to say this but this is how I felt at the time. This was the highlight of the lounge. I had a 20-minute massage that was the best I’ve ever had. My neck has been hurting for a while and whatever she did took care of that! The Biologique products they use, the techniques and ambiance was all perfect. I’m looking forward to longer session on my return layover…I will probably choose a facial. As a La Premiere passenger you’re entitled for a free 30-minute session.
Connecting Flight to Spain
When it was time to board my next flight to Spain, I was escorted in the BMW 7 series to the plane. The plane was at a remote gate, so that took a while. The flight to Spain offered Europe business class (regular seats w/ blocked middle seats), which was ok. Business class was half full, a meal was offered
All in all, what a fantastic experience! I know it’s pricy but if you have the travel bug and want to experience 1st class, I highly recommend La Premiere!
I yet to take my return trip…so I will update this blog or write another one w/ the details from the return trip.