â€œWould you fly French Bee again?â€ The question my father-in-law asked me upon our return from Paris; in short, YES! The long answer is still an absolute yes, but the big reason for the question requires a much more detailed explanation. If you’re reading this and havenâ€™t read any of our other posts, I suggest you read â€œChristmas in the City of Lightâ€ to hear about how we planned our Christmas Holiday in Paris with our two kids, ages 4 and 7. It will explain the planning and layout of the trip, from how, why, and where we booked tickets and planned the days. My wife’s follow-up post on how the trip went can be found here (spoiler, it was amazing). As one can imagine, Christmas in Paris is a very exciting trip, but one aspect I was really looking forward to was our maiden experience with French Bee Airlines. If I havenâ€™t said it before, I absolutely love Paris (j’adore Paris), but it can be expensive to fly there with a family of four as often as I would prefer to go. Enter my discovery and the reluctance and excitement of French Bee.
In my earlier years of travel, budget airlines were necessary and tremendously helpful for our pockets; essentially, we were looking for cheap flights. We have flown with Allegiant, Spirit, and Frontier in the less expensive group. While each provided an opportunity for travel that otherwise would not have been possible, being stranded in Georgia by Frontier did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. However, a budget-friendly airline that doesnâ€™t fall short on comfort or amenities seemed too good to be true. So what convinced me to take a chance and book four round-trip tickets with French Bee? One part was HOPE; what if they are what they say they are? What if this goes well, and we can go to Paris two to three times a year for the price it would cost to go once with Delta or American (based on price searches at the time)? It’s worth a shot, right? Well, hope will only get me so far, and it most certainly does not pay the bills. So during my research, I came across an always trustworthy source, The Points Guy, who wrote a review about his experience; you can read it here. So armed with the reassurance of a trusted source, I said let’s take a shot! We booked four tickets to Paris, round trip, on an Airbus 350-900, but the transportation strikes created some travel changes that damaged our plans.Â
Our journey to Paris…
When we arrived at Newark Airport, there were some changes to the trip; the big one was that French Bee would not operate our flight. Instead, it would be Wamos. Have you heard of Wamos? It was new to us, mainly because you canâ€™t just book regular flights with them; it’s more of a for-lease service. Oh, and our flight was delayed! After a few rounds of lining up to the board and sitting back down to wait, we finally boarded our flight. Now we are no strangers to airport delays, it happens, and although disappointing, the situation was better than most, considering the recent travel circumstances. The real disappointment came when we got on the actual aircraft as it was undoubtedly not an A350-900, with nice comfortable seats, a 3-4-3 arrangement, and seat-back entertainment. Instead, it was an A330-300 (see pics) with a 3-3-3 arrangement!…AND of course, no seat-back screens for entertainment. Iâ€™m sure at this point Iâ€™ve painted a picture of a pretty miserable experience for our maiden voyage; you might also be thinking, no way am I going to fly French Beeâ€¦Donâ€™t decide just yet; letâ€™s give the company a chance; hear me outâ€¦.
Our in-flight experience:
Were our seats four across in the row we wanted and paid for? No, but they were all together and relatively close to the general location on the plane. Was there seat-back entertainment? No, but there was wifi with entertainment that you could connect to on your device. Did we pay for the meals and snacks for this trip? No, but they gave it all to use the whole time anyway. Did our flight get canceled like so many other airlines? No, French Bee got us to Paris for a wonderful family experience. We were a few hours late and did miss some planned things, but that can happen with any airline; anyone who travels has experienced delays, and this one was alright. We flew the same A330-300 from Wamos on the way home, so the accommodations were the same, but there were no flight delays. We actually had an extra empty seat next to us.
When I think about how this went overall, I am not disappointed. French Bee took action despite the circumstances. Now I know some people are wondering, what about the seats you picked and paid to ensure you received? Well, French Bee took action for that too. The process was easy, go to their website, scroll down to where it says â€œContact-Claimsâ€ and file your claim. They said to give them 48 hours to reply, and they did exactly that and were very generous. While we are on the topic of accommodating travelers, let me say that while Newark Airport is nothing to write home about, Orly is very accommodating when traveling with kids. There was no shortage of play areas for the kids to occupy while waiting to board.
I persuaded you to go for it if you were on the fence about giving French Bee a chance. If it helps, we already booked four tickets back to Paris with French Bee for June, not even with the credit they gave us! Curious about the changes to our itinerary due to the front-end delay? Read my wifeâ€™s post on how our trip went. It’s already posted as mentioned above, and we hope it may influence you to experience Paris if you havenâ€™t yetâ€¦Take the kids, too; itâ€™s worth every minute.