Paris-Gothenburg on Air France in business class: really bad

This business class flight between Paris and Gothenburg on Air France only confirms the poor quality of the French airline’s medium-haul product. Terminal, aircraft, service, punctuality: nothing was up to scratch.

This is my big comeback to the Air France medium-haul network, which I have largely abandoned in recent years. Firstly, because accumulating enough XP in 5 years to obtain lifetime Platinum status had led me to overdose at one point, but also for more down-to-earth reasons: the product isn’t the best on the market, far from it, and the price is rarely competitive.

However, earlier in the year I had flown between Bordeaux and Paris with an excellent crew, which gave me grounds for hope. After all, the overall quality of cabins and service has made significant progress in recent years, as reflected in the various rankings and awards received by the airline, and I thought that perhaps short- and medium-haul services were finally following the trend set by long-haul services.

So this flight to Gothenburg, prior to a trip to Australia, was a good opportunity for me to check all this out. In fact, I found the prices of other airlines prohibitive in business class, so I decided to take an economy ticket, but if I had to travel in this class, I might as well not have too many connections: so I decided to take Air France, which operates a direct flight to Sweden’s second largest city. And finally I ended up taking a business class ticket, paying for it in miles (the price in euros was horrendously high, over 700 euros to my recollection).

After all, the airline has changed a lot in recent years, which is why we’ve been singing its praises recently, and I was all set to be in for a pleasant surprise.

Here’s a reminder of the air routine for this trip.

You’ll find a summary of articles about this holiday in Australia at the bottom of the page.

Booking

I made the booking about two months before my trip and, as already explained above, I booked an award ticket with my miles, so €0 plus a few taxes.

Check-in

I try to check-in online the day before and the application asks me for my date of birth again, as if it hadn’t been in my profile for ages. In the end it’ll end up with a bug and I’ll have to try again in the evening for it to work.

Ground experience

I reach Roissy and its famous Terminal 2G (also nicknamed Guantanamo), by Uber. It’s not exactly a bright or cheerful place to be.

IMG_1307

The staff direct you to one of the many self-check-in kiosks, where you can print out your boarding pass and baggage tag yourself.

IMG_1309

It makes you wonder what the staff are for.

Then I head for the baggage drop-off area, where I finally get a skypriority queue.

IMG_1308

But with just one agent, things are going slowly and eventually another agent will come and look after me.

Security checks go smoothly and I make my way to the Air France lounge upstairs to kill time before boarding.

IMG_1321

In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much and I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I’ll wait until the last moment before going to the gates as they are only indicated shortly before boarding.

Meanwhile, passengers of all flights are waiting in a huge waiting room that looks a bit like a zoo.

IMG_1333
IMG_1334

Tripit will tell me what my boarding gate is several minutes before it’s displayed, and I’ll get there before the rest of the passengers.

Boarding

For the moment, the flight is on time.

IMG_1339

Our Embraer 190 is there and waiting for us.

IMG_1337

Finally, we were told that boarding would be delayed by 20 minutes due to a technical check.

After 20 minutes we’re released and I race to the aircraft, not wanting to hang around on the tarmac in this wintry weather.

IMG_1340

The business class cabin on the Air France Embraer 190

This aircraft features a classic cabin with a 2-2 configuration and 2 rows of business class.

IMG_1341

The seat is flattering in appearance but will prove hard and not particularly comfortable.

There’s plenty of legroom in the front row.

IMG_1342

Air France doesn’t block the adjacent seat in business class on its Embraers, but luckily I won’t have a seatmate and there will be 6 of us for 8 seats.

The flight and the service

We are given a bottle of water and a wipe during boarding. This will be the only time before departure that I will see an active flight attendant in this part of the cabin.

IMG_1343

Once the passengers have boarded and been welcomed, the door remains open and the flight attendant disappears into the cockpit and comes out again. A passenger comes up the aisle to speak to her and a long conversation begins. A passenger comes up the aisle to speak to her and a long conversation begins.

Ground staff come on board and then leave…

We understood that something was wrong, but for more than 20 minutes we were left without any news, what’s more with the front door open when the temperature was below 10°C.

We finally got some explanations: a passenger with reduced mobility needed her walker, which had obviously been left unloaded during the connection, so they were trying to find it.

We’ll have to wait a little longer, but I think we’ll end up leaving without. Anyway, given the weather in Gothenburg at the time, she would have needed a sledge more than a walker.

We finally made our way to the runway and took off.

IMG_1345

The flight attendant appears and closes the curtain separating economy from business class. It’s the first time I’ve seen her pay attention to passengers, apart from handing out bottles of water.

We break through the cloud cover, which provides an opportunity to take a photo of the sunny blue sky. This will be the last time I see one for several days, as the weather in Gothenburg and Munich will not be very nice.

IMG_1347

The service then began. It will be done by trolley, although given the number of passengers a tray service would have been more elegant! Other airlines even do this with a larger cabin.

The two passengers who were offered the tray before me declined… perhaps they weren’t hungry.

The platter will include a creamy polenta, tangy porcini mushrooms and coulis, roasted buckwheat, cheese (Cantal AOP, Comté AOP) and a chocolate Moelleux.

And when I saw the tray, I understood the refusal of the two passengers.

IMG_1349

They could have taken the trouble to remove the lids before serving… but no. It’s a real lack of elegance for the epitome of French service…

It makes a better impression that way.

IMG_1350

To say that it’s not at all appetising is an understatement, especially where the dish is concerned.

IMG_1351

If it doesn’t look particularly convincing, it tastes even worse.

First of all, it looks like a dish that’s just come out of the fridge, or even the freezer. It’s really cold and bland. After a few minutes the taste will arrive as the dish warms up….and well I regretted that it hadn’t stayed cold. If the polenta is just right, the acidic porcini mushrooms and the coulis will frankly taste strange. I’m not even talking about the texture: neither solid nor liquid, a little gelatinous.

The moelleux will be quite good and light and the cheese good.

The flight attendant even forgot to serve me bread, which I had to ask for.

It’s the first time I’ve sent back a dish without having eaten half of it for a very long time. And it’s a good wake-up call: I was starting to become critical of Lufthansa’s business class catering, so this is putting the church back in the middle of the village.

I’ll finish off with tea and sparkling water.

IMG_1356

End of the service and I’ll be watching a series on my iPad until we arrive.

The flight attendant will disappear from the cabin and will not be seen again until the flight arrives. No additional drinks service will be provided.

The crew

The bare minimum. They don’t bother removing the lids, they forget the bread, they don’t refill… As for his attitude, it wasn’t bad or haughty (which is already progress) but simply sad and disillusioned, without passion.

Arrival and disembarkation

The descent begins, a reminder that in Sweden the sun sets very early in the winter.

IMG_1357

We land safely and it comes as no surprise to see that it has snowed.

IMG_1358

Fortunately Air France didn’t forget my suitcase, as Lufthansa had done a year earlier for the same destination.

Bottom line

What to say…. 1 hour late, poor service, bad catering, absent crew…

It’s a good thing it was an award ticket – I feel sorry for those who paid 700 euros for it!

In any case, this confirms to me that although the airline has made enormous progress in recent years, the medium-haul sector remains a real weakness.

The articles about this trip to Australia

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
1,324FansLike
936FollowersFollow
1,272FollowersFollow
353SubscribersSubscribe

Trending posts

Recent posts