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Air France Premium Economy

We have never flown AF before, and so have no idea what their Premium Economy is like or worth the extra money. We would probably only do it on the outbound for a 9 hr. flight. Currently we are in Economy in the two seat row. Worth the splurge or should we just save the money? It would be on the 777-300 ERV3 And we looked at what few reviews on Seat Guru but want honest opinions on cost vs worth.

Posted by
229 posts

premium economy on all airlines is fairly similar.

if you are in the two seat row, thats kinda nice and private. you can get up anytime for the bathroom or to stretch legs. i never fancied premium economy since its only extra legroom (if you are tall it may matter), the seats barely recline and its not enough for a resting. the food is the same as economy. and the price premium is high.

if i had to splurge, i would on business (lie flat seats, service, food, all are a leagues better than premium). i have flown business several times for work last year and its terribly hard to go back to economy! (but i will for my solo trip)

but many of this forum seem to like premium ... lets hear from them!

Posted by
1016 posts

On their 777's in Premium Economy, Air France uses their shell seats. The good news is that nobody can recline into your face. The bad news is that your seat doesn't recline either. Instead, the seat cushion moves forward to give a faux-recline. Some people are okay with this, most people hate it, especially if trying to sleep. The seats are wider than the skinny ones in regular economy. Food/service will be the same. You will get off the plane quicker in PE, if that matters.

Posted by
3838 posts

The AF premium economy seats are terrible for sleeping in my opinion, their "recline" position just slides your lower back forwards while keeping your upper back at the same angle. Sore lower back almost guaranteed.
Of course, for some people it still works, but I wouldn't risk spending significantly more money for that. In my particular case, the extra cost of premium economy is typically more than a day's wage, so I'd rather just take an extra day or half-day off!

Posted by
846 posts

Thanks. That's kind of what I took from the reviews on Seat Guru as well. I would like to get the two seats at the front of the economy section - exit row - but they are still marked off as not available.

Posted by
8409 posts

I thought they had started changing those out? I read reviews when we were booked in PE three months ago. We ended up in biz that flight though, so no personal knowledge. It was the 777 CDG to DTW.

The thing is that PE is a separate class of service that includes priority check-in, priority baggage, access to the AF lounge in Paris, and supposedly an upgraded meal. It's like a domestic business class or what business was like before the lay-flat seats.

This is unlike Delta Economy Comfort which gives you only a few inches of leg room, dedicated overhead baggage bin, and boarding before regular Economy .

Here are two videos from December and January by people in the PE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8abL8w99V8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wd45Mmi5KE Shell seats.

Posted by
1016 posts

Their A350's and B787's have the new, non-shell, PE seats.

Posted by
845 posts

What is the price difference per person? Are either of you over 6’ tall? Legroom is a big deal for my husband who has a bad knee and needs to stretch his leg often. But recently the PE seats have been ridiculously priced (hundreds of $) for routes I’ve been watching. A couple years ago we lucked out with bulkhead emergency row seats on Air France that had about 6 feet of space before then, for only about $75 more each way. That was wonderful because we could stand up and stretch often. Seats are a bit narrow due to the tray tables in the arm though.

Posted by
846 posts

travel4fun, we estimated around $220 each extra for just the one way. I don't know that it's worth it. We have never flown AF before so have not idea what to expect. We have always flown United, BA or Lufthansa. Our last trip was Lufthansa Business Class. On BA we always were able to book the exit rows in economy or the bulkheads in Economy Plus.

Posted by
845 posts

If I was going to upgrade, it would be for the trip home. Adrenaline carries me through on the flight over. I can’t sleep in planes at all, so I’ve given up on that idea. But on the flight home I know I’m going to be tired and grouchy with nothing but jet lag and work to look forward to. Others who might have a chance at sleeping may prefer to upgrade for the trip there, hoping to be more refreshed upon arrival.

Posted by
175 posts

I generally fly Business with a lay flat seat- bad lower back. In Sept 2017 I booked Air France Prem Economy based upon strong raves by a friend and an insane dirt cheap seat sale for a trip to Paris (out of SFO). 380 going over and a 777 I believe coming back. I HATED those damn shell seats with a passion. Now a friend of mine and his wife (both large size, understatement) loved them. I learned later they didn't care about 'tilt' but just need width and space. Would I pay extra for those seats- no. Would I fly SFO to CDG in those seats if you gave me a free ticket- Hell NO. I will note the return trip was a little better- it as a day flight so I had no interest in sleeping. The night flight going over was beyond miserable; slipping was not an option.

For future reference please be aware that Premium Economy is NOT the same nor even similar within the industry (Virgin Atlantic PE seats are 21 in wide, wider than a United Business seat). It is radically different from Airline to Airline. New Air Farce planes are using better seats but double check the seats on your 777- I believe those have not been changed out. Really read the points guy review of the SEAT. The reviewer is dead on as to just how bad they are.

Posted by
1842 posts

It's great if you get the 2-seat. We arrived in London much more rested than in coach.

I will differ in that flying east is when you need to most comfort due to jet lag. Flying west is much easier in that regard.

Posted by
229 posts

220 extra is not bad, esp if you can get the 2 seat thingy. At the moment, Lufthansa wants 500 plus from me for a Munich flight

Posted by
1821 posts

I'm another who can't justify paying extra.
I can use that money for when I am at my destination.
I look at PE prices and it seems to me you really don't get that much more for your money.

I look at an economy flight as just one night's bad sleep.
I have flown Air France's regular Economy twice now; and thought it was very good.
I would definitely fly with them again.
The food was pretty good, and I don't remember being overly cramped in my seat.

Posted by
846 posts

Thanks everyone for the input. I agree that it's not worth the splurge based on reviews.

Posted by
2580 posts

I just did Paris on Delta in prem econ and it was well worth it for the extra space. Who cares about the food? Also at CDG, we were able to use priority check-in and our bags were tagged as priority (although of course at JFK our bags were far from the first off the plane).

I would follow the suggestion to do it on the way home, when you're really tired and will benefit from it.

If you follow the vlogger Paul Lucas, who makes a living out of flying first and business, he just posted a BA flight to J'burg in premium economy. He was not impressed, but then again he's been spoiled.

Posted by
3304 posts

“I just did Paris on Delta in prem econ and it was well worth it for the extra space.”

I’m thinking about getting tickets on Delta’s premium select between JFK and FRA. I have FF miles for it. How was your experience in that cabin? I usually fly in Delta Comfort but this new premium select class has me interested.

Posted by
2580 posts

I'm not really clear on how Delta's different classes are, well, different. I think it comes down to the airplane and how they can configure it. I upgraded on 3 out of 4 legs of my trip and I think each time it was called something different, but as noted I wasn't worried about the food or the amenity kits or sterling service, I wanted the room which I got. It also depends if you're in the section in the middle of the plane or one of the side sections.

Posted by
3192 posts

When we were there in Oct 2019, the Air France Lounge had the best food of any airport lounge I've ever been in-Venice was also good.

Posted by
1 posts

I would be travelling to Congo in about a week in the PE 777-200ERs for most of the trip back and forth to Vancouver with one returning flight being 777-300ER.

What seat would ideally be the best for these flights, since all the flights are over 9hrs long, and I plan to sleep in atleast one of the outbound and inbound flights.

Any response is greatly appreciated, I hope you’ve a nice day/night!

Posted by
91 posts

We flew Air France PE last summer Detroit - Paris, and then home again. For us, it was worth it. I had read the reviews about the shell seats, and I’ll agree they were a bit weird. But, we still overall really enjoyed the experience. We have only flown economy before on long-hauls, so the upgrade was noticeable to us. My husband is 6’3”, so he is pretty miserable in economy. He particularly appreciated the extra room. There were other perks to the PE experience: Air France has a decent inflight entertainment system, and PE comes with noise cancellation headphones; charging capabilities in the seat; water bottle waiting at your seat; amenity kits; real glassware at dinner; a much more plush pillow and blanket waiting at your seat; a “snack bar” at the front of the cabin which is open during the flight. I wouldn’t pay extra for any one of those things individually, but as a package, it felt like a nice splurge. We actually got some sleep on the way over, which was nice because we had to drive to Normandy from the airport upon arrival. PE also has a small, dedicated cabin on Air France, which really was nice. We “justified” booking PE precisely because of the smaller cabin size - we flew in the earlier days of international Covid tourist traveling, and it just felt better to have fewer people around. Honestly, I think now we’ll seek out PE whenever possible when flying internationally. We may be in the minority about PE on Air France - I have read plenty of negative reviews (most revolving around the seats) - but we would do it again. If you decide to do it, just know ahead of time that the seats are a bit odd. I had also read a review ahead of time that recommended still bringing a neck pillow, and then using the (decent sized) pillow that AF gives you as extra cushioning on the seat - great advice! Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
846 posts

Heather., You sold it! Thanks for your input.

Posted by
1749 posts

The quality of premium economy seats differs by the aircraft. They are not all created equal. We got switched to Lufthansa premium economy recently for our trip to Edinburgh which was booked on United and it was the same 3-3 configuration as economy. And it said the seats didn’t recline. I got that switched pronto. It was not what I paid for. Be sure to look at seat guru to be sure what you are getting. At our stage in life, premium economy is worth the splurge and it’s more important going than coming home as we arrive more rested in Europe. We are retired so coming home is no big deal as we don’t have to go back to work and can adjust to the time difference on our own schedule.