I don't think many people will rush to take advantage of this opportunity, but I still think it's worth covering.

Air France first class is amazing & exclusive

Air France first class is an incredible product. It is only available on certain routes on certain Boeing aircraft. The cabin has four seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, with each seat having a floor-to-ceiling curtain around it.

Air France is the world's single most well-rounded first class product.

Air France’s La Premiere first class

Booking Air France first class is expensive.

  • Only Flying Blue Gold and Platinum members can redeem miles for first class, and the redemption rates are extremely high (well over 200K miles one-way)
  • Air France sometimes has reasonable first class fares when paying cash, though not as consistently as in the past; add in that there are just four first class seats on select aircraft, and there aren’t all that many ways to try this product

Air France sells first class upgrades at check-in

If you want to fly Air France first class without paying for it, there is one best way to do it. Air France will sometimes try to sell first class upgrades at check-in. The people who booked an award ticket could be eligible.

I booked a family member in Air France business class from New York to Paris using Flying Blue miles. There was a note in the email about the upgrade offer and it was $2,202.50 per person.

Air France first class upgrade offer

When I clicked through, the price went from $2,220 to $2,250.

Air France first class upgrade offer

You can choose your seat when you go through the upgrade process. Three of the four first class seats were empty at the time of check-in.

Air France first class upgrade offer

We didn't take advantage of the offer, but I thought it was an interesting data point. I would love if OMAAT readers could share any upgrade offers they receive during check-in in the comments section, and also share the route and type of fare that was booked.

Air France’s first class experience is exceptional

Is an Air France first class upgrade worth it?

Air France's business class is already very good, and a first class upgrade on a seven hour overnight flight is $2,220. I am not suggesting that this should interest everyone, or that there will be widespread appeal to this.

There are a few thoughts.

  • If you’re an airline product geek and want to experience Air France La Premiere on one segment as economically as possible, a paid upgrade on a one-way award ticket is probably the best way to do this
  • In general there’s more value to this if you’re either originating in Paris, or flying to Paris and connecting same day, so that you can use the Air France La Premiere Lounge in Paris, which is half of the experience
  • Since Air France has flat beds with direct aisle access on 777s, I’d be more interested in this on a daytime flight than an overnight flight, since I’d be more likely to stay up and “party” on the latter
  • Since Air France only has four first class seats in a cabin, expect that these upgrade offers often won’t be available, as Air France often sells out first class in advance (especially to Los Angeles and New York); I suspect these upgrade offers don’t get last seat availability either
Air France’s first class ground experience is incredible

Bottom line

Air France gives paid upgrades from business class to first class. This is usually available at check-in. A family member was offered a $2,220 upgrade from business class to first class on a recent flight from New York to Paris.

If you're a huge airline product nerd, or want to experience one of the world's greatest destinations, you should be aware of this option.

Would you take advantage of a paid upgrade to Air France first class? If you've been offered a paid upgrade, please report it back to me as I think others will appreciate the data points.