I was impressed by many things on my recent Air France first class trip, but what impressed me most was the ground service.
Although I already reviewed the La Premiere lounge in Paris yesterday, the whole ground service experience deserves a dedicated post. Many airlines offer excellent ground service, but none as comprehensive as Air France.
Air France’s superior service started at the moment of check-in at LAX. While checking me in, an agent summoned his colleague to escort me through security and to the lounge. This was a lovely agent who was professional and yet made small talk, making me feel at ease. She helped me load my carry-on items into bins and then helped me assemble them after passing through the metal detector.
Prior to boarding, she picked me up in the lounge and we proceeded together to the gate, where I was walked directly onboard without having to scan my boarding pass or check my passport.
In Paris, an agent was waiting at the door of the aircraft upon arrival. She offered to carry my bag and we headed immediately downstairs and into a waiting car. There, I was whisked away to the La Premiere lounge.
Inside the lounge, an agent welcomed me and invited me to relax. My stay was five hours in the lounge and I ended up receiving an extra car trip to Terminal 2E and back during my stay. The Air France Business Class Lounge in Terminal 2E has a sauna, which I asked to use since the spa in the La Premiere lounge was closed. No problem, said one of the agent. She told me she would call to make sure it was available, then drive me over.
Turns out, sadly, that someone had vomited in the sauna the previous day and health officials had ordered the sauna quarantined until it could be properly sanitized. But as a consolation, the agent suggested I get a facial in the business class lounge.
Sure, why not? I even got to review Air France Business Class Lounge in Terminal 2E. And I got two more rides across the CDG tarmac. I loved it. I’ll post a review of the new 2E lounge tomorrow.
Back in the La Premiere lounge, I enjoyed an exquisite meal with more excellent service before I was ushered downstairs once again to be driven to my connecting flight to Basel.
I figured that was it, but received a surprise when I landed in Basel. The duty manager was waiting at the aircraft door. He escorted me downstairs and to baggage claim. There, we waited together for my bag and made small talk. After my bag arrived (first bag out thanks to my special La Premiere tag), he offered to walk me to my car. We headed out to the arrivals area, but I bid him adieu because my wife had not arrived yet.
You could argue that Emirates or Etihad go one step further with car service from door to door, but I really appreciated the ground service on Air France. Not only did it span my entire trip, but it felt genuinely friendly, making me feel like a valued customer.
The ground experience makes me look forward to flying Air France again soon.