Air France’s 2024 First Class: Challenging the Best in the World?

Air France has shared updates on its plans for a new first class, and it looks to be amazing. They’ve dropped some new details on the product that will debut in 2024 and begin flying in 2025 in their Investor Day presentation which I first saw highlighted by One Mile at a Time.

It’s not clear how much the seat has evolved, but last year we got a sneak peak of a rendering for their new seat.

Air France promises the “longest cabin” of any first class, which will be fully private (somehow differentiated that the floor-to-ceiling curtains currently installed) and in a 1-1-1 configuration, just three seats in the cabin.

The airline is sharing that the seat will offer sofa, seat, and flat bed and that they believe it will be positioned “as the best in the world.”

We know that the product will be available on Boeing 777-300ERs but there are some reports that a row of some Airbus A350-1000s will receive it as well.

I agree with Lucky that Air France offers the best first class ground experience in the world in Paris. They do a very good job with their soft product in the air. But I think he really overrates the onboard experience overall, since their seat is fairly mid.

In terms of hard product I believe Air France currently lags the new Emirates 777 first class (best overall first class in the world), the Singapore A380 Suites (my rank for number two first class), ANA’s The Suite, and Etihad A380 First Apartment.

Singapore Suites offer separate seat and bed

Singapore Suites

Singapore Suites, two suites combine and offer double beds

While Air France does an exceptional job with onboard food and beverage, I also believe they rank behind Singapore and Emirates (though Singapore could use progress with their midflight offerings) and given my personal preference for Japanese cuisine I prefer ANA’s meal service as well even if it isn’t as impressive as it was years ago.

Although the true key to my heart is flying the new Emirates first class and cabin crew just leaves me the bottle of Château d’Yquem.

And the best ground experience – as amazing as the Air France lounge food in Paris is, and car transfer to the plane – was always having an hour-long massage in the Thai Airways spa in Bangkok and being taken by golf cart to the aircraft.

Maybe the new Air France seat will rival the first apartment? I know that some people complain the Etihad bed is too hard, but the pure dedication of real estate on the aircraft is unbelievable, along with having a separate seat and bed and combining two seats so that you can lay beside someone (from the waist up) in bed is fantastic. Food, service and amenities are top notch. Although the first class shower room is too small.

Air France isn’t adding showers to first class, something only Etihad and Emirates offer on their Airbus A380s.

Emirates first class shower

Air France offers the best first class across the Atlantic. Singapore Airlines isn’t operating its Airbus A380 between New York JFK and Frankfurt, and I consider it better than the old Emirates Airbus A380 suite even lacking a shower (the A380 returns to New York JFK – Milan).

At the same time I think many commentators overrate the product, even though it is among the best in the world. I can’t wait to see the new first class because it may finally live up to its hype.

There will remain, of course, nothing comparable in the sky to Etihad’s A380 Residence – a double seat at the front of the cabin with a separate private bathroom and shower as well as bedroom. That’s currently only sold as an upgrade option for those ticketed by Etihad already in first class, and isn’t itself considered a ‘first class’ cabin product.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Emirates comes across as decadent and Etihad & Air France are more elegant. That’s my personal opinion. I sure appreciate all three of them, each in its own way. Qatar used to be in a class of its own. Enough said.

  2. Sounds really nice. The only problem is how to fly it using miles and points where it doesn’t cost 500K+ of those miles or points.

  3. Could always just pay cash for it, like the airline intends for customers to primarily do for LP going forward…

  4. Unless AF first class flights and onward connections from CDG guarantee not having to suffer CDG’s hard stands and buses to get to and from the terminals during transits at CDG, I still try to minimize use of CDG as much as makes sense for my interests.

  5. Flying Thai first from/via BKK used to be a great ground experience. Just eating and drinking in the lounge for Thai F passengers was a delight like no other airline lounge experience — given my taste for Thai food and drinks. Still have a collection of their Rimowa amenity kits, but that too is part of an era that is now history with the airline. Since then AF has improved its F ground experience at CDG while Thai went in the other direction. But I wouldn’t bet either way on how sustainable AF F ends up being for the airline longer term.

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