La Première, Air France’s first class, is distinctive—even among its peers.
Available on the Boeing 777-300 in only a handful of nonstop markets, La Premiere is a refreshing antidote to some of the overbuilt “suite” seats on some other carriers, harkening back to the clean simplicity of an earlier era of luxury travel. Immaculate and exhaustively considered, La Première is one of the top tier first class cabins across the industry.
What to know about Air France La Première first class
La Première is denoted by Air France with a splash of bright red, but the ultra-private cabin of just four seats is decorated in soothing neutral colors. Specially-trained flight crews provide charming, unobtrusive service, from making up comfortable seats into luxury hotel-class beds, and serving meals designed by France’s top (often Michelin-starred) chefs. Little touches like bespoke Limoges porcelain and a crystal glass of still water set bedside at turndown set La Première in a class of its own.
La Première is also noted for its exclusivity. Mileage redemption is only available for Platinum members of Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program and award space is not released to any partner carrier programs.
- Flying in Air France's business class
- Flying in Air France's premium economy
- Flying in American Airlines' Flagship First
Some of the best deals we've previously found on Air France
With the La Première first class only available on select planes and routes, we haven't seen any fares yet dip into what we'd consider worthy of a Going deal (but we're looking for them!). However, we have found several great cheap flights on Air France business class.
- NYC nonstop to Paris for $2,197 roundtrip
- Miami nonstop to Paris for $2,497 roundtrip
- Atlanta nonstop to Paris for $2.996 roundtrip
- Boston to Florence for $2.090 roundtrip
The Air France la Première first class experience at the airport
At Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the La Première Lounge is dedicated to travelers flying in La Première. Passengers feeling peckish can enjoy table service (the dishes are cooked to order and even presented by a uniformed chef), with a menu designed by Alain Ducasse. There’s also a new spa space by the French luxury brand Sisley, offering facial and body treatments (30 minutes free for La Première passengers, longer treatments available at a charge). Treatments can be booked in advance by calling the dedicated La Premiere service line. There’s also plush seating, a selection of newspapers, magazines, and a top-end bar including a large selection of bottled sparkling and still waters, wines, and spirits.
In select cities, Air France La Première passengers can book transfers to the airport at New York JFK, Paris, and five other French airports—included in their ticket price—by calling the dedicated La Première number they receive at the time of booking. It’s worth noting the number is a French number—there is not an international number for US-based passengers to call locally—but it’s available 24/7. Connecting passengers who are inbound to Paris on an Air France flight in La Première and also connecting to another Air France flight in La Première can book the transfers from the airport into Paris, and back to the airport if they have a long layover—included in the ticket price.
La Première passengers benefit from dedicated check-in spaces, and are directed to a specific area at CDG Airport for check-in. From there, they’re fast-tracked through security and immigration formalities, then escorted to the lounge or to their aircraft. In Paris, all passengers are transferred to and from their arrival and departure gates in luxury cars across the airport ramp. Arriving passengers in Paris are also escorted to a private Customs line.
La Première passengers are entitled to check three bags up to 70 pounds / 32 kilos each. Flying Blue Gold, Silver, or Platinum members and SkyTeam Elite Plus members can check an additional bag. La Première passengers can carry on two bags plus a personal item, the combined weight of which should be less than 40 pounds / 18 kilos.
Checked baggage is priority tagged with a special La Première tag, as Air France staff will also collect bags from the carousel and escort passengers to their transportation.
The Air France first class experience in the air
Seats in Air France La Première
The La Première product is identical onboard every flight that offers it. It’s only available onboard the 777-300 series aircraft, and the cabin is always just four suites.
The suite is custom-designed for Air France and won’t be found on any other airline. While many carriers have elected to fully enclose their suites with permanent walls or half walls, Air France has chosen to keep their suites open, although passenger desiring privacy can raise electronically-operated solid partitions, or completely enclose their suite with a floor-to-ceiling curtain reminiscent of earlier days of long-distance overnight air travel.
The seat has an integral coat closet just behind, and an ottoman situated opposite the seat which becomes part of the flat bed, or is cozy enough for another passenger to join the suite to dine. The window blinds are electronic, controlled with a seat side switch, and there’s a range of lighting options, from full light to just the glow of the seat-side lamp at turndown. Passengers will also find a cozy throw on their ottoman.
The suite also has a 24-inch HD touch screen entertainment system with a separate touch screen tablet control.
When it’s time to sleep, the seat becomes a fully flat bed, which flight attendants will outfit with a mattress pad, pillow, and duvet from the French luxury hotel brand Sofitel.
La Première passengers can board the aircraft at their leisure, choosing to be the first onboard or the very last onboard, alighting just before the aircraft door is closed. Passengers board through a dedicated jet bridge at most stations, that is only used by La Première passengers.
Passengers also receive amenity kits containing Sisley products, including moisturizer, hand cream, lip balm, and anti-fatigue cream.
Pajama sets, socks, and slippers are also offered to passengers during boarding.
La Premiere lavatories are generously sized, and have a fold-down padded bench for dressing and changing. Passengers are given a hangar for their street clothes if they wish to change into the provided pajamas or other sleepwear. The clothes are then whisked away by the flight attendant for safekeeping until requested prior to landing.
Lavatories are also outfitted with additional Sisley products and toothbrush sets.
Meals in Air France La Première
The meals served in La Première are designed by a rotating cadre of France’s top Michelin-starred chefs—personalities like Joël Robuchon, Régis Marcon, and Guy Martin. Meals kick off with champagne, an amuse bouche, which can be served on the ground prior to takeoff, caviar, then soup, followed by main courses presented elegantly on Bernardaud Limoges porcelain with the stylized Air France flying seahorse logo prominently featured.
Specimen main courses might include lamb tenderloin, monkfish, creamed vegetables, john dory filets, beef tenderloin, scallops, or shrimp. Main courses are presented with flair underneath a silver serving dome.
Main courses are followed by a made-to-order salad (proteins like smoked salmon, anchovies, shrimp, or grilled chicken can be added), cheese selection presented from a cheese board and taken back to the galley to be sliced and arranged, desserts by Lenôtre, and capped off with fresh fruit and sorbets.
Breakfasts feature fresh-baked croissants and brioche, eggs made to order, often a pancake or waffle option, and fresh fruit.
Non-alcoholic beverages include Illy espresso or cappuccino served with a box of chocolates, or a selection of teas.
Alcohol is included in the price of the ticket.
Champagne kicks off the flight; Air France tends to pour prestige brands like Perrier Jouet or Veuve Cliquot. The La Première wine list is understandably well-curated by a top sommelier; selections rotate frequently.
The liquor list is slightly upgraded over the Business Class cabin, with upgrades to the cognac and Armagnac selections.
What’s the difference between first class and business class on Air France?
La Première offers more space, more personalized service, greater comfort, on-demand dining, and an overall more premium experience than Air France Business Class. When the curtain is closed on a La Première suite, passengers enjoy three square meters of personal space.
How to book Air France La Première first class
How much does it cost for a first class ticket on Air France?
Fares are generally commensurate with distance. One of the shorter segments with La Première available is New York JFK to Paris, where one-way fares are rarely lower than $9,000. Air France sometimes offers significant discounts for roundtrip travel, sometimes from just over $4,000 each way. Fares are sometimes more competitive in markets beyond Paris.
How to upgrade to first class of Air France for free
Air France sometimes upgrades passengers to premium cabins for operational reasons; however, bearing in mind that the sky-high fares commanded by the La Première cabin are because of its exclusivity and seclusion, the airline also takes pains to maintain that atmosphere. It’s generally understood that complimentary upgrades into the La Première cabin are extraordinary.
How much does it cost to upgrade to first class on Air France?
Air France does sell last minute upgrades to La Première, both during online check-in and at airport ticket counters. On a recent flight from New York JFK to Paris, the upgrade was offered at the ticket counter from a Premium Economy ticket for just over $2,500. It’s worth noting that some benefits of traveling La Première (like airport transfers) require the La Première seat be confirmed more than 24 hours prior to departure.
How many miles to upgrade to Air France first class?
Air France tightly controls mileage redemptions in La Première. Upgrades in advance are only available from non-discounted paid (not upgraded or mileage redemptive) Business Class fares for passengers who are also Gold or Platinum members of the Flying Blue program (not SkyTeam partner programs). A recent mileage upgrade offer for a flight from New York JFK to Paris was for 255,000 Flying Blue miles (it’s worth noting the number of miles needed for a full mileage redemption one-way from the US to Paris at the time was 240,000 miles).
La Première on Air France is one of the most exclusive international first class products on the market, because of the restrictions on mileage redemptions. The experience is designed around the best of French luxury products and experiences, with a distinctive style and atmosphere that makes it unmatched among the world’s airlines.
At a time when demand for international first class is waning and many airlines struggle to differentiate their first class cabins from the ever popular and dynamic business class cabins, Air France continues to invest in keeping the La Première a pleasantly rarefied one.