Review: Air France JOON A320-200 Business Class Paris CDG to Rome

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YOUTUBE: Air France: Washington DC to Paris CDG
YOUTUBE: Air France JOON: Paris CDG to Rome
YOUTUBE: EasyJet: Rome to London Gatwick
YOUTUBE: KLM: London Heathrow to Amsterdam
YOUTUBE: KLM: Amsterdam to Toronto
YOUTUBE: United Airlines: Toronto to Chicago
YOUTUBE: United Airlines: Chicago to Santa Ana



After a nice 9 hour layover at Paris Charles De Gaulle, it was time for a flight on Air France’s leisure branch called JOON Airlines.

Air France called this the “new generation of travel”. They serve some of Air France’s more “vacation-like” destinations such as Lisbon, Cape Town, Seychelles, and even Rome, where I am flying. Typically airlines doing this try to cut costs and that is clearly visible like on my Air Canada Rouge Flight, though I’m not sure what Air France was up to on this one.

For those in business class, the same lounge access, SkyPriority boarding, baggage, etc allowance applies as on mainline Air France.

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JOON A320-200

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Airbus A320-200
12/25/18

After boarding through the SkyPriority lane, I came to my seat at 1F.

Business Class on most European carriers are just economy seats with a blocked middle seat. So in essence, every aircraft is configured in the usual 3-3 economy format, and the number of seats that act as business class depends on the demand. Often times the curtains that separate economy and business can be adjusted throughout the cabin. And on this flight, at the time of booking, there were rows 1-5 available to select seats from, then 2 weeks later, I only saw rows 1 and 2 to select seats, and at check in time, there was only row 1, which was a bulkhead row.

If you fly on Joon’s airplanes, or even AF for that matter (Joon airplanes are just converted Air France planes), pick seats in row 1. Yes, there is the bulkhead but the legroom is much more than what you’d get in the rest of the plane.

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seat 1F

The seat cushion was hard but alright for the short flight. The seat back was also just fine but the pillow provided to business class passengers made leaning back into the seat a lot plusher.

Now I’m 5′ 10″ or 1.78 meters and this is what the legroom was like. It may look tight based on the photo but it was actually good. The bulkhead seats on this plane are good.

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legroom

As I said, there was a pillow at each seat provided for business class passengers.

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pillow

Water bottles and refreshing towels were also given out to Business passengers. On this flight, there was only 1 additional person in Business including me. That person was in 1A. So 1C and 1D were empty. The service, therefore, was quite personal and I liked it! It also helped that the one crew member in business class was awesome. And I mean he was really awesome!

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pre-departure water bottle and towel

Each seat also had a USB port in the armrest. Now, remember the number of business class seats is adjustable, so every seat, economy or business, has these USB ports. I’m very happy that Air France did this.

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power port

Every seat also had individual air nozzles and lights overhead which I was very very happy about.

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air nozzles and lights.

The sun was just setting during our boarding and departure so the views were lovely. Sadly, the window was super dirty so pictures/videos came out a lot worse than they should have.

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views

We eventually began our taxi right on time.

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taxi

 

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views

After taxiing to runway 8L, our departure runway, we had a nice takeoff and climb and the views were lovely. But the window dirt was really killing my photos.

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photos

Only 3 minutes after takeoff the crew working business class drew the curtains between the two cabins. Having 1 row of business class on this flight made the cabin really, really private, especially when only half of that 1 row is occupied.

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Business class

The views were also lovely during our climb as we headed south meaning I was facing west since I was on the right side, directly into the sunset.

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views

 

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views
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views

Shortly after settling in, the one crew member servicing business class brought out a tray full of food for us. I mean this Air France’s leisure airline but I honestly don’t see any difference between what they serve in their mainline Air France European business, and JOON business.

Anyways, there was no choice; it was all one item.

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meal

Initially I didn’t even know what I was eating. But if you look in the photo above under the dessert tray in the top left corner, you’ll see this green and red paper. I took it out and saw this:

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menu

Ahhh good, I can know what I am eating now. I’m not sure why this wasn’t given beforehand. I don’t mind that it’s only one item, but at least we can know what we are eating. Prior to seeing the menu, I didn’t know what half of my tray and I can’t see everyone finding that menu under the dessert tray.

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menu

I’m pretty sure the bread was the “Mediterranean vegetable cake” item on the menu, and it was quite good. It was warm, soft, and had a tasty vegetable stuffing.

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Bread

The chicken with the chive sauce was chilled was fairly good, but it was incredibly tough and difficult to cut, and chewy. I mean it was so tough I had put my fork into the whole thing and eat it. I couldn’t cut it piece by piece. The black quinoa flan was decent though nothing above and beyond. It’s a quinoa flan so you can only have so much flavor in it.

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chicken and quinoa flan

The “exotic fruit tartare” was pretty tasty as it was sweet with a hint of sour. It consisted of your usual sweet and slightly tangy fruits like mangoes and pineapples.

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exotic fruits

The dessert was overall good too. The brownie was sweet and chewy, and that’s all I like in brownies. It wasn’t anything special but it was good. The salted caramel pastry was delicious! It was sweet, and the bread batter part was soaked in caramel making it very very satisfying to eat.

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dessert

The crew member also brought sparkling water with my meal which is what I had asked for. He was phenomenal. Every time he came by and interacted with me, it was always with a smile.

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sparkling water
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total meal

Overall the meal was pretty good for a leisure version of Air France, and to the point it leaves me confused as to the difference. I’m not sure if they are simply paying the crew working JOON flights less than mainline crew, but service seems about the same. I’m really wanting to try economy class now just to see if it’s really any different.

I can’t say enough good things about the crew member taking care of me. There were only 2 of us and so it wasn’t too much to take care of us. But when he wasn’t helping us out, he went back to economy to help out there. I don’t think I saw him sitting ever until the last 20 minutes of flight.

After my meal, he asked if I wanted anything else to drink to which I just asked for some hot water.

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hot water

We continued with nice views for the rest of the flight.

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views
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views

After the passenger in 1A got up to use the restroom, I took another picture of the business class cabin on this flight just to give you another sense of how private the cabin was.

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cabin

Now as to wifi, there was a network throughout the flight called “JOON” which tells me there is wifi for use, but it was so bad I couldn’t even load the page to see what the prices were like for a couple hour flight.

Shortly I got up to use the restroom and it was fairly basic as usual.

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restroom

Though there were some Air France branded refreshing towels in there, the same packages we were given at the start of the flight.

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towels

Eventually it got dark and even too dark for photos as during descent I was facing into the dark Tyrrhenian Sea. But the rest of the flight was uneventful anyways as we had an on-time arrival at the gate and parked right next to an Alitalia A321.

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Alitalia A321
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JOON wing view

Overall, this flight was solid across the board and that’s the part that leaves me confused.

The food was mostly good (for leisure airline standards), the crew was excellent, the cabin was private, and there were power ports! The seats were obviously sub-standard however given that that’s the case for mostly all European business class seats, no point complaining about that. But the fact that this was overall a pleasant flight leaves me wondering where the cost-cutting is that makes this a leisure airline compared to mainline Air France.

 

 

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