Someone once said there are no time zones when you’re on an international flight, and I agree. That’s exactly how I felt on my trips from Lagos to Amsterdam to Paris to Lagos via the Air France and KLM A330 aircraft.
I truly felt like I was on top of the world (quite literally) and it was the best feeling ever.
Here’s how it all went down.
My boss reached out to me very early in June to let me know there was a travel opportunity to Paris. She asked if I’d be interested, and before she finished, I’d said YES!
Days later I found out that the trip was going to be for only 3 days, and I panicked at the thought of how stressful it was going to be. Thankfully, with the top-notch service and Business Class cabin experience on Air France and KLM, it was far from stressful.
I had very clear objectives for this trip:
- Review the Air France & KLM newly refurbished A330 Business class cabins and
- Have fun!
Easiest things ever.
Air France first unveiled its new A330 business class cabin in February 2019. I can imagine that it’s no easy task to overhaul an entire fleet of 15 Airbus A330-200 aircraft by retrofitting them with new business, premium economy and economy cabins.
Let me share my experience with you.
Business Class Lounge at Murtala Muhammed International Airport
My experience started right from Lagos when I arrived for my 9:45 PM flight on Monday, 8th of July, a few hours early. The check-in process was super fast and smooth. Not long after arriving, I was able to head to the Business Class Lounge at MMIA.
The business class lounge at MMIA looked like it had some upgrades I could already see. I noted see some interesting touches since the last time I visited in 2016. First, there was now a drinks bar. They had also switched up the food menu to include some Nigerian touches – from Jollof Rice to Ewa Agoyin. They had also fitted more seats, boasting now of capacity for 70 people.
I got the chance to chat with Michel Colleau, the General Manager at Air France KLM Nigeria.
KLM World Business Class Cabin | Flight KL588 to Amsterdam
Next step, discovering the KLM World Business Class Cabin on my flight to Amsterdam from Lagos.
I kicked off my relaxing evening with a glass of champagne. A short while after that, we were handed hot towels to sanitize our hands with, and given our menu for the evening. I went with a duck breast salad for my appetizer, a grilled Hake fillet for my main, and a chocolate tart for my dessert.
I wrapped up my menu with the KLM Signature Cocktail and a cup of coffee while watching Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston in the 2017 movie “The Upside.”
After all the excitement of the day, I was happy to use the new lie-flat feature of the KLM seats. It was sooooo comfortable for me and I dozed off in seconds.
My favorite features from the newly refurbished world business class cabins on the KLM Airbus A330-200 were:
- Full Flat Seat
- In-Flight Entertainment – 18” screen, HD quality films and a touchscreen navigation menu
- Cabin Interior – Renowned Dutch designer, Hella Jongerius, designed the new seats
New Crown Business Class Lounge in Amsterdam
We landed in Amsterdam in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Amsterdam airport is everything I imagined it’d be and so much more.
There are essentially two Crown Lounges at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; the Non-Schengen Crown Lounge for long-haul flights, and the Schengen Crown Lounge for people flying within Europe.
As a VIP, I experienced both.
What I loved the most about the lounges were the stylish and serene environments, with loads of space and privacy.
A unique touch was a spectacular vertical wall that comprised of more than 1,000 KLM Delft Blue houses.
The Non-Schengen Crown Lounge features several themed areas, with a spacious quiet area, sleep cabins, showers, a restaurant, an entertainment area, and a buffet station that changes through the day.
The Schengen Crown Lounge is the perfect place for a small break or quick moment for yourself before heading off to your destination. I loved some of the easy features of the European lounge, from basic amenities like work areas, fast WiFi, showers and a buffet station with food and drinks.
Paris, Paris, Paris!
After exploring the lounge, we had a quick breakfast and briefing before taking our flight KL1233 to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport.
Finally, I was in Paris!!!!
Thankfully for us, even though we had a really short stay, our hosts had picked out the Pullman Hotel for our one night stay. The hotel was right next to the Eiffel Tower, so I can tick visiting it off my bucket list – kinda, sorta.
I enjoyed a quick personal tour of the neighbouring streets beside the hotel, and then I headed back to change for dinner.
Dinner was a lovely 6-course meal atop a moving bus that toured Paris while we ate.
We took off from the Arc de triumph to have dinner on the Bustronome, and we spotted iconic landmarks like the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Place de l’Opéra, the Pantheon, and so much more.
It was a 3-hour dinner.
Paris Charles de Gaule Airport HUB Tour & New Business Lounge at Terminal L
One of the first things that stood out for me at the Paris CDG Airport was how much space it has. Did you know it is the largest international airport in France and the second largest in Europe?
Here are some more fun facts I learned during the tour:
- 900 daily flights (450 arrivals, 450 departures).
- In 2018, the airport handled 72,229,723 passengers and 480,945 aircraft movements.
- Terminal 2 is spread across seven sub-terminals. Terminal 2 was originally built exclusively for Air France; since then, it has been expanded significantly and now also hosts other airlines.
- Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport is under a renovation program. The aim of the project is to modernize the airport facilities to be able to accommodate a larger number of passengers and increase the air traffic to reach the milestone of 80 million passengers per year.
Two major things that stood out for me were the Yotel Air facilities and the new Air France Business Lounge.
Yotel Air, housed in a space called Instant Paris, is an accommodation facility for people who have long layovers or don’t have a Schengen visa for their connecting flights. It gives the opportunity to either book a room for a few hours or for an overnight stay.
There are three room types – a wheelchair access room, a room for a family of four, and a single room. I was so impressed with the thought that went into the spaces.
In another part of the Instant Paris space, you can have naps, shower, and get your clothes ironed while waiting for a flight.
How cool is that?
The Air France Business Lounge was another fascinating space for me.
It boasted of:
- “Le Balcon,” an exclusive space created by the designer Mathieu Lehanneur;
- A chic and elegant cocktail menu created by the Hotel Lancaster in Paris;
- The largest wellness area of all the Air France lounges;
- A spa;
- A detox bar;
- A nap area;
- Two private saunas;
- A kids area to entertain children before their trip;
- and The “Gourmet Table,” a catering area where a chef prepares the dish of the day in front of customers;
So much thought went into the gorgeous interior of champagne gold hues and blue accents. It was elegant and lush.
Air France World Business Class Cabin | Flight AF104 to Lagos
One of the downsides of traveling on a long-haul flight is how tired you feel after the flight. Air France is changing that with its new A330 aircraft.
My flight back to Lagos was so comfortable, enjoyable and elegant. It was a great experience for me.
New seats, a new cabin interior, and new products and services ensured I felt like my flight was a brand new journey on an aircraft.
My favourite part of the business cabin was how perfectly it combined comfort and elegance.
The seat converts into a lie-flat bed that is 2 meters long, and wide enough to ensure a smooth experience across time zones. There was also an option for total privacy, thanks to a sliding panel separating the seats.
The brand new 18-inch HD touch-screen offered 1,400 hours of entertainment. I watched two movies (Widows and Vice) and was still able to get a restful sleep.
I fully utilized the self-serve bar and loved the blue and champagne color scheme it had.
The on-flight service was another extraordinary experience. Michelin-starred chefs are constantly crafting new meals to delight the taste buds for business class travellers. To accompany these gourmet dishes, there was also a selection of wines and champagnes.
Trust me when I say you’ve got to fly Air France and KLM this summer.
Luckily, Air France says that, during summer, it will start deploying refurbished aircraft to Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Indian cities Delhi and Bengaluru, Cotonou in Benin, Lagos in Nigeria, and Niamey in Niger.