The Flight That Was ~マイラー人生の始まり~

As someone who traveled quite often within Japan and between Japan and Indonesia, I saw the value in joining a frequent flyer program. And as any good frequent flyers (or “マイラー” in 日本語) out there, I strategically banked my miles to the program where I believe I could get the most out of, such as priority status, upgrades, and award miles. I was able to collect a decent amount of miles throughout my early years in Japan – or so I thought. When my firm assigned me to their US office, I was shocked to see how easy it was to rack up miles in the States, both from the air and the ground. Still, I didn’t really pay much attention as I thought it would be more simple to just continue with the japanese ffp I was already in. However, this particular flight changed how I think about ffp and mileage in general.

I had been wanting to visit Morocco for a while but did not want to spend too much on the airfare. When I looked for award flights with my ANA Mileage Club, there was availability but most options involved flying with European carrier that charge hefty fuel surcharge (this is before the oil price plummeted). Fortunately, I had enough Delta SkyMiles to book an award ticket with Air France (the account was opened before Delta & Northwest merger but I rarely flew Skyteam then, so thank you Delta for the “your miles never expire” policy). Not only was the amount of miles required less than what ANA asked for which enabled me to book a business class award ticket, Skymiles award tickets with AF do not have any fuel surcharge on them. In short, this was the moment I found out that I can gain more and spend less if I stick with US airlines’ ffp and mark the beginning of me getting sucked into the crazy world of miles and points (hello, flyertalk!).

Having said that, my posts will focus more on the redemption side instead of the collection side (mileage run, credit card deals, etc.) as the original objective of me setting up this wordpress site is to log my travels. So here it is, the flight that took me to the world of a privileged travel, and for which I’m eternally grateful.

The Flight

  • AF 347 Classe Affaires (Business Class)
  • YUL (Montreal) -CDG (Paris)
  • 18:25 – 07:15 +1 (6h 50m)

First of all, I was already excited to know that I will be flying a 747 across the Atlantic as less airlines are using the ‘Queen of the Sky’ recently. Check-in was smooth and the agent issued my boarding pass through to my final destination (Rabat). I like how simple AF/KL boarding pass is, with only one pass required for all legs. I then proceeded to AF Lounge to nibble some snack and drink. Nothing outstanding about the lounge offering, but they do have a cool model of concorde at the entrance and the lounge gives you full view of the tarmac and the 747.

As for the service onboard, the seat did not recline to a lie-flat position (only about 165°) but was still comfortable enough for me to sleep in this 6-hour flight. The layout and colour scheme also helped make me feel relaxed during the flight and despite being close to the nose of the airplane, the cabin did not feel cramped at all.

 

I always like to watch movies or catch up with tv shows when I’m flying but unfortunately, AF in-flight entertainment on their 747 was inferior to many of their competitors. The screen was small and the content was quite limited which was a let down. They do have french-speaking movies which I’m not familiar with so I ended up watching one of them.

Aside of the IFE, I had a quite pleasant flight experience. The food was a treat with a  vibe of  modern french dining (too bad the portion is also french standard), and the crews working on my flight were very attentive without being intrusive. I think AF crews in premium cabin in general have a good balance between being polite and warm. I was also happy to receive their 80-year anniversary pouch, although the amenities inside it were not too exciting.

 

Final words

All things considered, it was an enjoyable red-eye flight. The flight arrived on time and all of the cabin crews took care of me well with their service. However, based on the hard product and the cost for this flight, I don’t think AF value proposition is good enough for me to buy their revenue ticket. Hopefully, the next time I fly with them will be in their refurbished cabin – that is something to look forward to.

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