La Première New Cabin JFK – CDG March 2016
Author & Pictures: J Todd Wheeler
I am an Atlanta captive and fly Delta and its SkyTeam member, Air France, regularly. I had often wondered about La Première class while staring at its red carpet from the business class cabin. La Première is Air France‘s first class and now has a redesigned cabin. It represents the ultimate in understated luxury, polish, and design.
Upon arrival in terminal 1 in JFK, we were greeted by a La Première agent with private check-in and seating area. The agent quickly provided us with new boarding passes, checked the status of our connecting luggage from Atlanta and escorted us to the lounge. The agent whisked us past the stations of passengers waiting in the security line and we were through security in moments.
We then entered the renovated two-story Air France lounge and went in a private elevator to the second floor to a private lounge. An attendant greeted us with a menu for the day of lobster salad, duck confit, cream of cauliflower soup, and chocolate brownie. In addition, first class passengers have access to a full bar, selection of teas and coffees and anything offered in the business class lounge also. From the lounge we had views of our 777-300ER aircraft, lower Manhattan and a busy runway. An agent periodically checked on us advising of our boarding and then escorted us through check-in and onto the plane. She introduced us to the smiling flight crew and to our seats.
The New La Première Cabin
The new cabin is lovely. Arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, you immediately have the impression of space privacy. Soothing and muted colors of sea blue, marshmallow, and light brown are punctuated by a vivid red woolen and tasseled blanket placed on the companion seat in my suite. An elegant dimmable lamp sat to the right of my seat. At my disposal were a large overhead bin and two large closable side pockets, each with a power outlet and USB port. The pocket closest to me also housed Bose noise canceling headphones, a jack for your own selection of headphones, and the new Air France Touch video control. I found the controls to be intuitive, but the movie selection felt reduced in number from what I had seen on previous flights. Size-specific cotton pajamas were provided along with a Givenchy amenity kit.
A pre-flight glass of 2004 Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Alexandra Rosé was served in Air France’s new elegant crystal glasses. After our on-time, smooth take-off we were presented with menus and carte des vins. Sadly, the flight had only been catered for two passengers and an AF flight later in the day had been cancelled, moving two other passengers to what would have been our private cabin.
The lamb chops that I preferred weren’t available when they took our order. This was the only service misstep of the flight. The flight attendant was extremely apologetic and offered me all of the menu items from business class if I preferred. On this flight I chose the mise en bouche (scallops with salmon, grapes with goat cheese and pistachios, parma ham canapé with Parmesan cheese), cream of shitake mushroom soup, beef from business class (in the absence of the Provençal lamb chops), and created my own salad which was served with a delicious tomato/balsalmic vinaigrette.
The suites provide lie-flat beds were made up with mattress and Sofitel linens and was quite comfortable. Curtains with magnetic fasteners can be drawn to enclose your suite and provide the ultimate in privacy and comfort. After a quick sleep, I asked to be awakened for breakfast which included a delicious bread pudding with berries and bakery and juice selections.
We arrived 45 minutes early and were greeted by a La Première representative and escorted through security and taken directly to the La Première lounge.
Coming soon: The La Première Lounge Review
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