Review: Air France Business Class E190 (FRA-CDG)

My short business class flight on Air France’s E190 from Frankfurt to Paris held the positive distinction of having different business class and economy class seats–rare among European narrow bodies. Unfortunately, my flight held the ignominious distinction of serving the worst onboard meal I’ve eaten in recent memory.

How I booked my Air France business class ticket

This flight was the first leg of my Frankfurt to Mexico City itinerary for which I paid 65,000 Flying Blue miles and $385 in fees. I earned most of these miles through a 50,000-point signup bonus on the Bank of American Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard and earned the rest of the miles through spend. Flying Blue has a large number of transfer partners, so I could’ve transferred points from any one of them: American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, or Marriott Bonvoy.

My flight details were as follows:
Air France 1019
Frankfurt (FRA) – Paris (CDG)
Departure: 7:05 AM, March 8
Arrival: 8:35, March 8
Flight Time: 1h 30m
Business Class, Seat 4A

Air France E190 business class boarding

I arrived at Frankfurt International’s Terminal 2 groggy, around 5:45 AM, ahead of a 7:05 AM departure.

a sign in front of a building

Because I wasn’t checking luggage and had checked in the night before, I walked straight to the business class security line and scanned my mobile boarding pass. I find Frankfurt Airport’s security (and German airport security more generally) agonizingly slow, and despite there being just eight people ahead of me, it took me 15 minutes to get through.

a woman standing in front of a glass wall with luggage

Our flight was boarding from gate E24, about a 10-minute walk from security. We boarded on time, and by 6:50 I was in my seat. At 7:15, our captain announced over the intercom that due to “ATC regulations” we wouldn’t be able to pull back for another 20 minutes, and we ended up pulling back from the gate at 7:45.

Air France E-190 business class cabin & seats

This Air France E190 contains 40 business class seats and 60 economy class seats. Generally, intra-Europe business class seats are identical to economy class seats and have the seat next to them blocked off. Since the Embraer 190 is laid out in a 2-2 configuration, that usually means business class passengers get the row to themselves, which I really like. Not so on this plane. No seats were blocked off but, to my surprise, the business class seats were slightly roomier than economy class seats, measuring 19 inches wide (instead of 17.3 inches) and having 36 inches of pitch (instead of 31 inches). The extra space means the business class cabin has a slightly narrower aisle.

a group of people sitting on an airplane

Overall, the cabin itself is fine. I like that the windows are big which lends the cabin a sense of spaciousness, but I found the seats poorly padded.

Air France business class amenities

Consistent with the barebones norm for European business class, no amenities–pillows, blankets, pre-departure drinks–were offered.

Air France entertainment & Wi-Fi

There was, disappointingly, no IFE or wi-fi on this flight.

Air France E190 business class meal service

Air France’s business class meal was terrible. It comprised a bowl of pineapple, my choice of bread—I chose a croissant, and what I can only describe as a cheese sandwich made with half-frozen pancakes instead of bread. While the pineapple and croissant were palatable, the pancake sandwich was horrible—sawdust dry, frozen in the middle, and bland. The meal was the worst I’ve had in recent memory, in stark contrast to the excellent Do & Co catered meal I had a few weeks ago in British Airways intra-Europe business class from Stockholm to London.

food on a tray on a plane

Air France E190 business class lavatories

There was one forward lavatory serving 40 business class customers, which meant the bathroom was always occupied. The bathroom was already dirty about 30 minutes into the flight–a large wad of toilet paper that wouldn’t flush was stuck to the toilet bowl. Yuck.

a toilet and sink in a bathroom
a sink with a soap dispenser and a bottle of soap

Air France E190 business class service

Service was good. The flight attendants were mostly warm and attentive and came through the cabin a few times to clear trays, offer food, and check on passengers. Service on Air France, and especially on Hop, their regional carrier, is hit-or-miss, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Air France E190 arrival in Paris

We touched down at a cloudy Charles de Gaulle Airport about 35 minutes late and taxied for 10 minutes to a remote stand. It was here that I was greeted by a black BMW Series-8, and where my La Premiere ground experience would begin. You can read all about that here.

a group of people standing outside a building


This flight was a mixed bag. On the one hand, the service was good, and I was pleasantly surprised by the slightly roomier business class seats. On the other, it featured the worst onboard meal I’ve had in a while. Though my flight was a marginally better-than-economy experience, I certainly wouldn’t pay extra for it.

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