In this review, we will visit the Air France Business Lounge at Terminal 2E (Hall K) of Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport.
Paris Charles de Gaulle transit
Depending on your arrival and departure terminal, transiting CDG Airport can be best described as a hit-or-miss situation. In some situations it involves lengthy walks, double security and passport checks and inconvenient intra-terminal buses, although if you are lucky it can all be a very straightforward experience.
During my transit this time, it was a bit of both. The path which I was supposed to take this time around was one of the easiest: my flight from Bucharest to Paris had parked at Terminal 2E, and my onward flight would depart from the same terminal as well.
Unfortunately, the queues this morning were just horrendous. There were just two transit security booths open: one line for normal passengers and one ‘access no. 1’ line for priority passengers.
Although I was flying in economy, I could use the priority line thanks to my Air France platinum (SkyTeam Elite Plus) status. Normally this should make a significant difference, but for some weird reason our queue was simply not moving much while the normal queue did move quite a bit.
It took almost a full hour until it was finally my turn to pass through the security check, which was of course the time when two other security agents (who previously were on their morning strike or so) arrived to open two more baggage scanners to speed up the process.
CDG Terminal 2E
In the end it did not matter much as I had plenty of time for the entire transit, with my onward flight to Bogotá only departing at the end of the afternoon. I could have easily hopped on a train into Paris to kill the time during my airport layover, but I decided instead to spend the entire time in the business lounge and get some work done.
Terminal 2E is basically used for every non-Schengen departure of Air France and its SkyTeam partners. The terminal consists out of three different halls or concourses: Hall K, Hall L and Hall M. These halls are also often referred to simply as the K gates, L gates and M gates (in French: Portes K, Portes L and Portes M).
These halls are connected landside (before security/passport control) by an intra-terminal train. Make sure you know from which hall your flight departs before you make your way. You can look this up through the excellent easyCDG website, although I do suggest to confirm this at the flight monitors in the terminal as there can always be a last-minute change.
Which lounge to visit?
Although I have visited Terminal 2E a few times before, I had to this date never departed from the K gates. Each hall has its own Air France Business Lounge, with the Air France Lounge in Hall L being widely considered as the best of all as it has the most facilities and a fresh, modern design.
Do however note that you cannot decide yourself which lounge to visit. If your flight departs from the K gates, you will only be allowed into the lounge in Hall K. It is not Air France which is enforcing this rule, but rather the CDG security personnel, which refuses to let you enter any other terminal besides the one from which your flight departs.
You may of course try to convince the security officials to let you through to the L or M gates, but I did not succeed when I tried. Reports on frequent flyer forums suggest that 99 out of 100 people who attempt this are denied, so your chances are close to zero.
Air France Business Lounge entry requirements
So the Air France Hall K Business Lounge it was for me during this layover. There was quite a line as well at the entrance of the lounge – and inside it was equally crowded, mostly due to the many US departures in the morning and early afternoon.
To enter the lounge, you either need a same-day business class ticket on Air France or a SkyTeam partner airline, or hold SkyTeam Elite Plus status.
According to the Air France website, it is possible to buy lounge access as well if you do not have complimentary access. In this case, it will cost you a steep 50 euro or 10,000 Flying Blue miles.
Priority pass or other lounge membership cards are not accepted at this lounge.
Hall K Lounge
The K gates lounge is basically divided into two parts. As you enter the lounge, you can either turn left or right. Although there are some major differences between these parts, both sides feature plenty of seats as well as identical food buffets and drinks on offer.
I vastly preferred the left part of the lounge, as it has some large windows which make this part feel more airy and roomy. If you can snatch a window seat, you will have some obstructed views over the tarmac as well.
In stark contrast, I find the right side of the lounge to be rather dark and gloomy in character as it lacks natural light and just feels a bit depressive.
The left side of the lounge has two levels. One ground floor level with some seating areas and the buffet, and a mezzanine level which you can reach by walking the stairs up where you can find even more seats.
There are plenty of comfortable sofas, couches as well dining tables to sit at, so it’s entirely up to you what you prefer. On this crowded morning, I did not have that much choice at all as most seats were taken.
I sat down at one of the dining tables, and later moved to a comfortable sofa next to the window when one of them became available.
The right side of the lounge has an equal wide array of seating options available and perhaps is even bigger in size than the left side of the lounge.
Due to the lack of windows and the fluorescent lights, it felt however decidedly gloomy and old-fashioned, especially if you compare it to the design of the renovated Air France lounges such as the one in Hall L.
There is no difference between the food buffets of the Air France Terminal 2E lounges. Being a French airline, you can of course count on Air France to their country proud and to respect their rich culinary tradition.
Although the buffet is certainly not anywhere near as vast as you can for example find at the Turkish Airlines lounges in Istanbul, there are enough choices to keep everyone satisfied.
There are always some hot dishes available, including a vegetarian option, as well as plenty of choice when it comes to bread, cheese, salads, fruits or smaller snacks. Desserts are another thing which Air France always does well in my opinion.
I went for the cream chicken and potatoes for lunch, washed away with a highly drinkable Pouilly-Fumé. For desserts, I overindulged a bit trying out both the chocolate and caramel pie, as well as some chocolate mousse.
The selection of drinks in the Air France 2E Hall K lounge is certainly good. You can get a decent espresso or cappuccino from the coffee machines and there is a small selection of teas and hot chocolate available.
The fridges are well-stocked with cans of beer and different soft drinks, as well as small bottles of Evian water.
When it comes to alcohol, the selection is certainly good too. There are always two different bottles of white wine as well as two reds available of quality French wines.
Needless to say, there is champagne as well. During my visit, Joseph Perrier was one offer – certainly a decent choice and one of my own personal favourites.
There is also plenty of booze available, with a wide choice between known mid-shelf brands of whiskey, gin and rum as well as of course some quality French cognac and other liqueurs.
Some of the Air France lounges have a Clarins Spa in which passengers can receive a complimentary 15-minute facial massage. The Air France 2E Hall K Lounge is one of the lounges which have such a ‘spa’.
You cannot just hop into the spa area demanding a massage. Instead, you need to reserve a spot on an easily overlooked tablet at the spa entrance.
If you want to get a massage, I highly recommend to walk to this computer as soon as you enter the lounge to reserve a time slot. Needless to say, these free massages are extremely popular. If you wait til mid-afternoon, the chances are that every spot for the rest of the day will be reserved.
There is no possibility to reserve a time slot in advance – you can only do it yourself upon entering the lounge.
Five minutes before the start of your session you are asked to wait in front of the cabin which is listed on your reservation. The masseuse will confirm your name, and you are then let into the cabin.
The facial massages of the Clarins masseuses are high quality and I do always feel relaxed and rejuvenated when coming out of it. It really is a great addition to the lounge experience and something which make a long airport layover so much better.
At the end of the massage, you always receive some complimentary Clarins miniature products to take along on your trip, which is another nice touch.
The Air France Business Lounge in Terminal 2E Hall K does of course have showers available. Although there are restrooms in both sides of the lounge, you need to hop over to the ‘dark side’ (the right hand side of the lounge) in order to fresh up as this is the only part that has shower rooms.
The shower room is perfectly acceptable and large enough, and is well-stocked with Clarins products and other amenities such as shaving and dental kits.
The lounge as a working space
Although I would not say that the Air France K gates lounge is a great lounge, it was certainly sufficient enough for my own needs. After a shower and massage, I managed to spend quite a few productive hours working in the lounge.
WiFi internet is fast and worked like a charm during my entire stay in the lounge. Not every seat has however easy access to power sockets, so this could be a potential issue if your visit coincides with crowded rush hour traffic.
Due to the crowds and the lounge design, most seats lack a bit of privacy as well.
Exploring Hall K
Fortunately, the time went by fast during my layover. About thirty minutes before boarding started I left the lounge for a walk through Hall K, which felt surprisingly large and airy.
There are plenty of shops, cafes and other concessions here, making this one of the better terminals of Paris Charles de Gaulle to spend time in if you don’t have lounge access during your layover.
The Air France Business Lounge in Terminal 2E Hall K is an above-average lounge with some nice extra facilities such as a spa, but with an equal number of drawbacks as well.
To begin with the positive, the big lounge does have plenty of seating, as well as a good buffet. There are always some tasty hot food options available, and you can certainly get a good meal here before your flight. If you are just stopping by for a drink, this lounge is great too, with free-flowing quality champagne and a wide booze selection.
Another fantastic addition to the lounge is the Clarins Spa, where you can get a complimentary 15-minute facial massage.
Unfortunately, the lounge design leaves a lot to be desired. Especially the right side of the lounge feels just dark, gloomy and old-fashioned. Overall, the entire lounge feels like it can do with a renovation.
Of all Air France Business Lounges in Terminal 2E, I also think that the Hall K Lounge is by far the most prone to overcrowding. I’m not sure what the reason is (perhaps due to the fact most flights departing from the K gates are premium-heavy routes such as those to the US?) but I feel the issue could be addressed better.
That said, the crowds certainly swindled after the morning departures bank, and overall I did have a good time in the lounge. When you however compare it to some more recently renovated Air France lounges such as the one in Hall L, you can clearly see this lounge does rank a bit behind the others.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘A Piece of Panama With a Bit of Bogota and a Slice of San Jose‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Air France Economy Class Bucharest to Paris (Airbus A320)
2. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Airport Terminal 2E – Hall K (current chapter)
3. Review: Air France Economy Class Paris to Bogota (Boeing 787)
4. Review: Hotel Morrison 114, Bogota, Colombia
5. A Short One-Day Stopover in Bogota, Colombia
6. Review: Copa Club Bogota Airport, Colombia
7. Review: Copa Airlines Economy Class Panama to Bogota (Embraer RJ-190)
8. Review: Tryp by Wyndham Panama Centro
9. How to Visit the Miraflores Locks on the Panama Canal
10. Into the Casco Viejo – Exploring Panama City’s Old Town Centre
11. Isla Taboga: A Day Trip to the Island of Flowers
12. A Panama Day Trip to the Portobelo Forts and Tropical Isla Mamay
13. Review: Copa Club Panama Tocumen International Airport
14. Review: Copa Airlines Economy Class Panama to San Jose (Boeing 737-800)
15. Destination San Jose: A Day in the Capital of Costa Rica
16. Review: VIP Lounge Costa Rica, San Jose Airport (SJO)
17. Review: KLM Economy Class San Jose to Amsterdam (Boeing 787)
18. Review: KLM Crown Lounge (Non-Schengen) Amsterdam Airport
19. Review: KLM Economy Class Amsterdam to Bucharest (Boeing 737-800)