I’m blown away, and I’m not even on the damn plane yet!

I’m flying from Los Angeles to Paris today in first class on the Air France A380, and it’s the single most expensive one-way award redemption I’ve ever booked.

Upon check-in there’s a separate first class queue which is “closed off,” and they only open it when you arrive and they confirm you’re in first class (as opposed to other airlines, where a good number of business class passengers seem to use the first class queue, not knowing the difference).

Air-France-First-Class2

Air-France-First-Class1

Check-in took less than a minute, at which point I was introduced to a lady that would be escorting me to the lounge. Now if I were in any country other than the US I’d almost take that for granted, though I’ve flown Lufthansa and Singapore first class out of Los Angeles and have always been told that they’re not allowed to cut the security queue. And security queues at Bradley Terminal are especially horrendous, so I was most pleasantly surprised when she brought me to the very front of the line.

Not only did she bring me to the front of the line, but we then cut over to the crew line, where she actively placed my bags in front of the Singapore Airlines crew that was queuing to go through security. I almost felt a bit guilty based on the looks on their faces.

She escorted me up to the OneWorld first class lounge (rather odd that Air France uses a OneWorld lounge, in my opinion), and said she’d pick me up when they’re ready for boarding. I’m the only passenger here, minus some guy that’s fixing something and literally yelling into the “hole” at the top of his lungs. Fun times.

OneWorld-Lounge-1

OneWorld-Lounge-2

This was hands down the most impressive ground handling I’ve ever experienced in the US. If the experience continues similarly aboard, I may just have a new favorite airline. :D

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter and Instagram, as I’ll be sharing my journey every step of the way.

  1. December 10th, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    MilesFromBlighty said,

    I am doing this on Monday – just hope the ‘hole man’ is finished by then!

  2. December 10th, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Stuart Falk said,

    Formidable!

  3. December 10th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Calvin said,

    Had an escort through security flying LH F ex MCO and cut through a bunch of flight attendants who weren’t too happy as well :P

  4. December 10th, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    jon said,

    Amazing to see that lounge so empty, when I’ve been there it’s always chockablock full of QF94 and QF108 pax.

  5. December 10th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Ozaer N. said,

    is this from DL miles?

  6. December 10th, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Levy Fight said,

    Nice! I like the flight crew cut in

  7. December 10th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    De said,

    Ben, was it difficult for you to leave the lounge with all that eye candy on the ladder?

  8. December 10th, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    ADD said,

    @Ozaer You cant book first with skypesos.

  9. December 10th, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    wwk5d said,

    “where she actively placed my bags in front of the Singapore Airlines crew that was queuing to go through security.”

    Good thing Janesis wasn’t there, because, awkward…

  10. December 10th, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Mitchzmagic said,

    I like that you observed the look on the Flight Attendants faces, recognised that there was a reason for guilt but that you ‘almost felt guilty’. Ha!

    Also, I find airport lounges between airlines extremely interesting. I was surprised to find that GA shares QF’s business intl lounge in Sydney. However, at the moment Sydney is building a SkyTeam Lounge and GA is going to become a Sky Team member next year, so there is talk that they will move to there shortly.

    I hope you’re pleasantly surprised with AF!

  11. December 10th, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    justSaying said,

    I so disrespect you for not panting the guy on the ladder……..that’s a photo I would pay to see to determine if he was French or just One World!

  12. December 10th, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Jorge said,

    Well at least you did not see a crack…on the plane that is!

  13. December 11th, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Soran said,

    Flying out of Paris we were escorted all the way to the lounge bypassing every queue. Then my wife needed something at the pharmacy and the only one was back landslide so someone in the lounge escorted my wife back out to the landslide of the terminal took her to the pharmacy, translated for her and escorted her back through the queues. Amazing.

    Then on landing in JFK we were escorted all the way from the plane to kerbside and included cutting all the immigration lines and customs. No other airline does this in New York. I asked her how come they do this and she said they wanted to differentiate themselves to the other european airlines.

  14. December 11th, 2013 at 3:36 am

    lucky said,

    @ Ozaer N. — I used FlyingBlue miles. More details in this post:
    http://boardingarea.com/onemileatatime/2013/12/10/redeeming-flyingblue-air-france-first-class-award/

  15. December 11th, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Noah said,

    This was actually identical to my Lufthansa First experience in November. Gate Agent walked me through security to the United Global First lounge…

  16. December 11th, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Nick said,

    Enjoy, Lucky! We flew AF J back in May out of LAX, and we were directed to the Korean Air lounge, which was underwhelming (though it did have a special “First Class” section). Perhaps AF realized that putting its F passengers in the Korean Air First lounge would not be up to snuff? Anyway– AF gets a lot of bad flack, but I thoroughly enjoyed our flight even in business– food and IFE were above average, wine was spectacular and the service was charming. So I can only imagine in First!

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