Good Advice Tried and Tested

Air France A319 business class

24/06/2014

CHECK-IN

I checked-in online for my 1215 departure on AF0023 to Paris Charles de Gaulle the previous day, selecting seat 2A.

Air France online check-in

On the day of departure, I arrived at London Heathrow Terminal T4 at 1100 and dropped off a bag, then went through fast-track security and walked to the Skyteam Lounge.

THE LOUNGE

This lounge is set over two floors. If spending a long time there, I usually go to the upper level, but I only had a few minutes on this occasion and so stayed downstairs.

By now it was 1130 in the morning, but there were only breakfast items available to eat, so I just had a coffee.

I then walked to Gate 19.

BOARDING

As I arrived at the gate, the flight was called. Joining theSky Priority queue, we were first through the gate.

There was then a short wait at the bottom of the slope down to the aircraft, and then another wait just before the air bridge where a selection of newspapers and magazines was on offer.

THE SEAT

Air France has a number of different configurations of the A319.

This two-class aircraft is in a ABC-DEF configuration and has a number of rows in business class with a table set across each middle seat (see below image). To view a seatplan, click here.

Air France middle seat in business

Air France bag stowage

I was one of the first on board, and so stowed my bag under the middle seat (see above image). The flight attendant thanked me for doing so since it was a busy flight and there would be a shortage of room in the overhead lockers.

I then waited for other passengers to board. Some of these did so with hot food they had purchased in the terminal including, in one case, a pizza, which filled the aircraft with a lovely smell, although if I hadn't have been very hungry, perhaps I might have felt differently.

This is definitely an older form of seat, and was a little battered but comfortable, although not with much leg room.

Air France middle seat in business

THE FLIGHT

We pushed back on time at 1215 and then taxied a short while before a ten-minute wait ahead of take-off. The ascent was quite bumpy, but once above the clouds the flight was smooth.

Once we had levelled off the food service began, with a meal of cold meats and various snacks which was delicious (although to be fair, I would have thought any food was tasty at this point).

Air France short-haul business class meal

Drinks were offered — I had a Coke Zero, and then a few minutes later was offered another drink, so had another.

We then began our descent, and landed at 1420 (1320 BST). On the approach out of my window on the port side I could see an aircraft landing at almost exactly the same time on a parallel runway.

Once we were at the gate it took five minutes for the airbridge to be attached, and we then disembarked.

VERDICT

A good flight, friendly crew and comfortable, if unexceptional, seating.


Tom Otley