Review: Air France Economy Class Paris CDG to Bucharest (Airbus A320)

In this review, we will fly with Air France on the Airbus A320 in economy class between Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Bucharest Otopeni (OTP).

Lounge

Despite having a delay on my Munich to Paris flight, I still managed to catch my connecting flight to Bucharest easily due to the complete absence of crowds and smooth connection at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Heck, I managed to get from Terminal 2F to 2E so quickly that I even had time for a quick glass of champagne in the excellent Air France Business Lounge in hall L.

Given that I’ve reviewed Air France intra-European economy class product a couple of times before, both on the Airbus A319 as well as on the Airbus A320, I will be brief with this review of my last flight during this trip.

For a more detailed account of what to expect on board of short and mid-haul flights with Air France, I recommend you to check out those two reviews as well to get a full picture.

Boarding

At Air France’s home airport of Paris Charles de Gaulle, priority boarding is always neatly enforced.

There are clearly signposted queues for each boarding group. For flights within Europe, business class passengers and Sky Team elites are bundled together in a joint Group 1 + Group 2 priority boarding queue.

Although I was flying economy class, having platinum status with Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue programme thus meant I was in the first boarding group and actually ended up to be the first one on board.

air france boarding gate cdg airbus a320
The boarding gate for my flight to Bucharest. ©Paliparan
air france airbus a320
My Air France Airbus A320-200. ©Paliparan

Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Bucharest (OTP) on Air France
Flight AF1088 – Airbus A320-200 – Economy class, seat 3A
Departure: 7pm – Arrival: 10.50pm
Flight time: 2h50m – Distance: 1,154 miles
Costs: 99 EUR for MUC-CDG-OTP one-way

cdg otp flight route map
The flight time from Paris to Bucharest is just under three hours. ©Great Circle Mapper

Cabin

On this flight to Bucharest, the business class cabin (the same seats as in economy class with just the middle seat being blocked) existed out of two rows only. The movable divider between the business and economy cabin was thus placed between row two and three.

I managed to assign myself seat 3A for this flight, a “premium” front row seat which normally commands a small surcharge but which is free of charge for Flying Blue platinum members.

For Flying Blue gold, silver and explorer members, there is however a 50, 25% and 10% discount respectively for premium seats such as the front rows in economy and emergency exit rows.

All other (standard) seats can be assigned for free at online check-in, which opens 30 hours before the departure of your flight, as well as at the airport check-in desks.

Air France Airbus A320 seat

The actual seat on the Airbus A320 is comparable to those on the other main aircraft which are part of the short to mid-haul Air France fleet (the A319 and A321).

These are relatively comfortable leather seats with moveable headrest, decent seat pitch and legroom. It certainly makes for an above-average seat for your intra-European flights.

The seats on my flight did have USB charging ports, which Air France has now rolled out at almost their entire fleet.

cabin air france airbus a320 economy class
The economy cabin of the Air France Airbus A320-200. ©Paliparan
air france airbus a319 seat
The typical economy class seats on short to mid-haul Air France aeroplanes (Airbus A319, A320) – which are perfectly comfortable for short hops within Europe. ©Paliparan

Departure

Even though the flight turned out to be quite full, I was fortunate enough to have the complete row of seats to myself.

It is certainly not a published benefit, but I do suspect that Air France holds back the seats next to its own frequent flyers until the very last moment, which means they will only be assigned when the plane is full.

Of course, anyone willing to pay for it (or able to assign such seats for free) could theoretically snatch such seats at any time, but from my experience flying Air France you are most likely having at the very least the middle seat empty if you take a front row seat as a Flying Blue elite.

The flight departed Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport right on time as dusk began to set over the French countryside.

paris cdg departure views
Views from the window upon departure. ©Paliparan

Food and beverages

At the very least, Air France hands out a complimentary snack and beverage in economy class on its intra-European flights. For longer routes within Europe, the meal service is even more substantial as sometimes even hot meals are served.

My evening departure saw some form of ‘express dinner’ being served as we all received a small bag filled with different food items.

The bag contained a small bottle of cold soup, a sandwich, two tiny pieces of an apple as well as some chocolate cake. For an economy class meal within in Europe I actually thought it was quite a substantive snack and an interesting, modern take on in-flight meal service.

Especially the bottled cold soup was refreshing and of good quality, with the cake being tasty too.

Air France serves complimentary alcoholic beverages on its flights, so I went for a small bottle of red wine as well as a glass of water to drink with my meal.

After the meal, there was another tea and coffee round, which I skipped.

One great advantage of the meal bags is that it makes cleaning up the rubbish much easier. As a passenger, you simply put all the empty packaging and cups in the bag, which can then easily be collected by the crew.

There is also a big advantage for the passengers! If you put all the rubbish in the bag and hang it on the hook of your seat, you can already fold your tray table straight away after you finished your meal. You therefore don’t have to wait for a long time until flight attendants come by to collect everything – which is the case for meals served on old-fashioned trays. It really is thought out well!

air france meal a320
The meal was served in a special bag. ©Paliparan
food air france europe
The contents of the bag. ©Paliparan

In-flight entertainment

Don’t expect any in-seat entertainment screens on Air France’s narrow-body fleet. If you want to watch a film or some TV series, it is thus best to bring your own tablet or laptop.

Just like Air France is configuring all its narrow-body aeroplanes with USB ports, it is doing the same with WiFi internet called ‘Air France Connect’. My Airbus A320 had it as well and it was extremely easy to connect to and set up.

There are three different WiFi passes from which you can choose. The ‘message pass’ is free and allows you to send WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger messages and the like.

The basic ‘surf pass’ was just 5 euro, allowing you to browse the internet, while the 15 EUR ‘stream pass’ also allows you to stream online videos. I though the costs were very reasonable.

Another fun feature of Air France Connect (irrespective of which pass you opt for) is that you can access the flight tracker feature, showing you the route map and major flight details such as altitude, ground speed and such.

There is plenty of more free content on the system, such as city destination guides, online magazines and newspapers.

I didn’t bother much with the internet on my flight, as instead I just relaxed on my three economy class seats, drank my red wine and listened to some music.

wifi internet
On the flight, Air France offered three different WiFi passes. ©Paliparan
air france review airbus a320
Having an entire row to myself, I just stretched my legs and relaxed a bit while listening to some music. ©Paliparan

Arrival

Fortunately, the flight to Bucharest went by fast. After a quick descent, we landed on time at Bucharest Otopeni Airport.

I thanked the crew for the pleasant flight and within minutes after disembarking I already was through passport control and in an Uber on my way home for some much-needed rest after a great trip.

In short

Air France has one of the best short to mid-haul economy class products of any European airliner. With comfortable seats, complimentary meals and (alcoholic) beverages and a friendly service, there is much to like on board Air France.

With the Air France narrow-body fleet now being fitted with USB charging ports and WiFi internet, the advantages over most of its competitors grows even bigger by the day.

If the price is right, Air France has an economy class product which is well worth seeking out. I even think it is worth paying a small premium for Air France flights considering the general comfort, as well as the extra perks I receive.

End of the trip

This Air France flight from Paris to Bucharest marked the end of a fun winter trip in which I managed to visit Dubrovnik, a couple of places in Montenegro, as well as lovely Memmingen and Landshut in Bavaria.

I’d like to thank you for following along during the entire journey. In case you might have missed one of the chapters of this trip report, you can find the index below.

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Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘An Adriatic Adventure: Off-Season Travel to Dubrovnik, Montenegro and a Bit of Bavaria‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: MasterCard Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
2. Review: Aegean Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
3. Review: Aegean Business Lounge Athens Airport Hall A (Non-Schengen)
4. Review: Olympic Air Economy Class Athens to Dubrovnik (Bombardier Dash 8-400)
5. Review: Apartments Festa, Old Town of Dubrovnik
6. A Dubrovnik Winter Trip: Off-Season Travel Away from the Tourist Crowds
7. Review: Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Kotor (Montenegro) by Bus
8. Review: Palazzo Drusko Deluxe Rooms, Kotor, Montenegro
9. Kotor, Montenegro: Old Town Charm in Europe’s Most Spectacular Scenery
10. Cetinje – The Old Royal Capital of Montenegro
11. Review: Ramada by Wyndham Podgorica, Montenegro
12. Podgorica: Is the Capital of Montenegro Worth a Visit?
13. Review: Wizz Air Podgorica to Memmingen (Airbus A320)
14. Memmingen: More Than Just a Low-Cost Airport Close to Munich
15. The Bavaria Ticket: Unlimited Train Travel Across the German State of Bayern
16. Review: Michel Hotel Landshut, Bavaria, Germany
17. Landshut: Bavaria Off The Beaten Track
18. Review: Air France/KLM Lounge Munich Airport
19. Review: Air France Economy Class Munich to Paris CDG (Airbus A319)
20. Review: Air France Business Lounge Paris CDG Airport Terminal 2E – Hall L
21. Review: Air France Economy Class (Airbus A320) Paris CDG to Bucharest (current chapter)

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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