Flight review: SF to Paris non-stop on French budget carrier XL Airways

When the French guy plopped down into the middle seat next to me, we didn’t need a common language to express it.

We’re both at least 6 feet tall, and these seats are tight.


Check out how the legroom looks on XL Airways compared to the other three non-stop San Francisco to Paris options:

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 1.58.44 AM

Bold red lettering is never a good sign.

You may have noticed the price difference as well.

I purchased my one-way ticket several months ago on Expedia for $172 total.

Outside of the legroom thing, I couldn’t be more impressed by the quality offered for the price.


Our A330 cowering behind Air France’s B777.

How was check-in?

I didn’t realize until I was trying to check in online that XL doesn’t offer online check-in for all airports.

Here are the airports they apparently do offer online check-in for:


I got to the airport about 2.5 hours before departure, and the check-in line took about 15 minutes to get through.

Even though XL only has a couple of flights per week to/from SFO, they still somehow managed to staff the check-in desk with 6-7 people.


I was hoping to score a window seat, but none were available.

The rep said I should’ve arrived right when check-in started to secure a window seat.

As a note, XL does give you a free checked bag, carry-on and personal item.


It started an hour before departure, and it was a pretty big mess.

Next time I’ll probably stay in the lounge a bit longer instead of standing around at the gate.

Coincidentally we were leaving from the exact same gate as my first ever Alaska Airlines flight.


I’d guestimate about 80% of passengers were French, as were all of the flight crew.


In-flight experience?

Cozy. Very cozy.


Leg room shots. Tacky but revealing.

Friendly flight attendants served the complimentary dinner about an hour into the flight.

Rice with a beef stew-ish thing? Simple, filling, and not bad at all.


Water, tea and coffee is free and all-you-can-drink, but anything else costs money.

Here’s what the à la carte menu looks like:





I tossed and turned for a while after dinner, tried watching some downloaded content on my phone, then finally passed out for four hours.

How could you sleep in that cramped little seat?

Luckily the seat in front of me was empty, meaning it didn’t recline into me at all the whole flight.

Because of that, I was able to use the head-down-on-tray-table position for an hour or two, in addition to the standard head-floating-in-air-with-neck-pillow position.


Yep. Even though we were landing at 4p Paris time, it was breakfast time to us.


French budget airline serving New York yogurt. Nice touch!


No, but they do have an app you can download that has a few in-flight entertainment options:

FullSizeRender 61

The movie and show options were very weak, but they do have the flight map thing:


Yes, no pillows though.



Insanely cheap, non-stop flight to Paris.

Plus, if you’re going to visit France, you might as well get a jump on assimilating into French culture by flying with French vacationers on a French airline.



They didn’t have the personal AC nozzles like most planes have, which was a big bummer for me. I like it cold.

And the XL app made me fill in a bunch of info every time I used it.

I only fly first class. Do they have first class?

They do have a premium class, but word has it they are getting rid of that in favor of economy-only cabins across the whole XL fleet.

But they definitely still had premium seats on my flight:


According to xl.com, XL’s entire fleet consists of four planes, and all of them are A330s.

Thanks for visiting! Here’s a photo from Luxembourg Gardens in Paris:


2 thoughts on “Flight review: SF to Paris non-stop on French budget carrier XL Airways

  1. Pingback: Flight review: Finnair — Paris to Helsinki to SF in economy | easyjourneys

  2. Nice reveiw there. Just flew them 3 weeks ago or so from JFK-Paris , expected online check-in but like you meantioned doesn’t seem to he offered in the US.
    Overall was ok.
    But in JFK boy was there a long wait to board the flight, just check-in took over 1 hr, and I came over 2 hours before the flight, so not much time for the lounge after the waiting needed to be done to check-in our luggage.
    But like you meantioned for the price I paid didn’t complain, very impressed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s