Air France revealed its new subsidiary Joon to much fanfare (or perhaps mocking) last summer. The airline rolled out Joon as a low-cost alternative for both intra-Europe and some long-haul flights. Though I initially booked my Paris – Barcelona connection on Air France, the service transferred to Joon last fall. Would the “airline for millennials” match the hype, or fall flat?
Note: this post is part of my trip report series about my recent First Class experience to Barcelona. Click here for the trip report index and introduction.
Joon (JN) Flight 1248
- Friday, April 27, 2018
- Depart: Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), Terminal 2F, Gate F54, 18:09, 14m late
- Arrive: Barcelona – El Prat Airport (BCN), Terminal 1, 19:43, 8m late
- Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes
- Equipment: Airbus A320
- Seat: 2F
Transfer from the Lounge
After Air France shifted my Barcelona flight to Joon, I wondered whether I could still use the La Première ground service. I called, and a (Delta) rep confirmed that I could as long as I connected off of a La Première flight. I remained skeptical, but that information turned out to be correct. So as an FYI, you can use the La Première lounge when connecting to a Joon operated flight.
That, of course, made the boarding process simple. About 30 minutes before departure, my La Première escort drove me over to the waiting Joon A320. Simple as that.
Joon Business Class – Seating, Interior, and In-Flight Entertainment
Seating is the typical (mediocre) intra-Europe Business Class setup. You get the same (terrible) Recaro slimlines as coach, but with the middle seat blocked. At least the interior looks new, and the re-upholstered dark blue seats are fairly nice. Joon planes do not have a dedicated Business Class cabin. Rather, a moveable curtain separates business from coach, allowing the airline to change the size of the cabin based on demand.
I also give Joon credit for focusing on the little things to improve the interior’s appearance. Note the pillows placed in each seat, and the seat belts arranged in a “crisscrossed” fashion. I’m sure that adds a few minutes of prep time, but as a passenger, I appreciate the attention to detail.
Seat pitch measures 32 inches. Legroom felt adequate for 90-ish minute flight. Also, though I loathe the poorly padded seats, it doesn’t make much difference on such a short flight.
Each seat (in both business and coach) includes a USB port in the armrest.
As the legroom photo suggests, Joon offers free streaming through your own device. You can download an app (YouJoon) in advance, but if you forget, you can still access most of the content without it. Simply log on to the “Joon WiFi” from your device. NOTE: the WiFi doesn’t work for internet access, only Joon’s streaming content.
I found the selection unremarkable, with a few foreign films and TV shows I never heard of. So, I just looked at the moving map on and off during the flight.
Joon Business Class – Food & Beverage
Joon provides complimentary meals in Business Class. I figured that meant you could just pick something off the coach buy-on-board menu. But it turns out business receives a separate fixed menu.
About half an hour after take-off, the flight attendant brought out the meal (sorry for the bad photo).
It’s not much, but after stuffing myself in the La Première lounge, it was a right-sized portion. The wrap was fresh, and actually pretty decent, and I love mangoes. I didn’t care for the “mini shrimps bowl”, and there’s a little too much sweet here for my tastes. (The sweet items at least tasted good, especially the clafoutis.) Overall, it’s fine for a flight of this length, though if you’re connecting from a long-haul flight, you probably should fill up in the lounge first. And it does pale in comparison to the full meals offered by, say, Lufthansa on some short intra-Europe flights.
Note that though the menu refers to only tea and coffee, Business Class passengers also receive complimentary soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. After, ahem, overindulging on my last flight and the lounge, I stuck to water and a hot tea.
In case you’re curious about the coach BOB menu, here you go. Joon offers a fairly substantial selection of snacks and soft drinks, but main dishes look uninspiring. (Naturally, since Joon caters to millennials, organic food makes many appearances on the menu.) I tried to ask about trying something from the BOB menu. I was told it wasn’t possible, though my request may have been lost in translation.
Our flight offered a nice view of one of CDG’s terminals shortly after takeoff. I think this is T1, but could be wrong.
A few minutes later, the French countryside looked mighty pretty on this sunny spring day.
Not long after that, the clouds thickened and marred the view for much of the rest of the flight. Things didn’t really clear up until we started descending over the Pyrenees Mountains on the French-Spanish border. What a view of some storms over the mountains, though.
Friday evening in Barcelona was a bit hazy, though otherwise clear, making for a smooth approach to the airport.
We reached the gate about 10 minutes behind schedule. Terminal 1 at El Prat Airport has kind of an oddly designed concourse, with a long, circuitous walk to get from the Joon gates to the exit. That took about 10 minutes, and I made my way to the Aerobus stand to get to the city center. More on that process in a future post.
After a fabulous Saturday in Barcelona, Sunday brought an early start to the day to head home. My flight only left at 10:05, but I wanted to give some extra time to visit the lounge, and pick up a gift or two for my wife and son.
JN Flight 1149
- Sunday, April 28, 2018
- Depart: BCN Terminal 1, Gate B28, 10:21, 16m late
- Arrive: CDG Terminal 2F, 12:14, 19m late
- Duration: 1 hour 53 minutes
- Equipment: Airbus A320
- Seat: 2A
Check-In and Boarding
Joon provides a separate check-in counter for Business Class, but I encountered a fairly long, slow-moving line. It took about 15 minutes to reach the front. Once there, the agent saw I was connecting to La Première, and asked if I wanted an escort through security and to the lounge. Sure, why not!
Barcelona Airport has a priority security line for Business Class/elite status passengers. This checkpoint only took a couple of minutes to get through, so the escort really wasn’t needed. I asked if she could take me to the duty free to buy the gifts I needed. She gladly did so, but walked me past the entrance to the lounge first so I’d know where to go. I certainly appreciated that.
About 15 minutes before scheduled boarding time, the lounge front desk paged me to ask if I wanted an escort to the gate. A Joon representative showed up a few minutes later to walk me and one other passenger over. Annoyingly, the plane wasn’t yet ready for boarding, so we had to stand around for about 10 minutes. Eventually, boarding began, and our escort asked us to board first.
I don’t have much commentary on the return flight, as it was largely similar to the first. This plane featured the same configuration and seats. This time, as I boarded first, a very nice FA offered to take a photo in an empty row.
Otherwise, everything was exactly the same except for the menu. Once again, Business Class passengers received a complimentary fixed menu. I guess you could call it a “brunch” offering.
The FAs served the meal about half an hour after take-off once again.
The bacon and spinach cake was alright, the “mini-bagels” were terrible, and the sauteed bell peppers were quite good. The sweet-to-savory ratio was much better here, and I really liked the fruit bowl. All of the fruits were fresh, and there was a good variety. It certainly didn’t diminish my appetite for my upcoming flight in First Class, though.
The foul weather I expected to ruin my Saturday in Barcelona showed up a day later instead. I did manage a couple of plane shots leaving Barcelona, including an Iberia Regional CRJ-1000 and Wizz Air A321.
After that, pretty much nada until we finally broke through the overcast on final approach to Paris.
Joon Business Class – Service
Service on both flights was fine. Both the ground staff and flight attendants were friendly. The crew on my return from Barcelona were especially nice, offering to take my photo. Meal service was efficient, if not terribly proactive. Joon’s crews did seem noticeably younger than Air France, but actual service levels seemed pretty much the same as my last AF intra-Europe flight in 2015.
Joon Business Class – Final Thoughts
My experience on Joon was fine for a couple of short flights. I received friendly service, reasonably tasty (if skimpy) meals, and a good priority experience on the ground. Intra-Europe Business Class is pretty lame no matter who you fly, and Joon isn’t any better or worse than the competition.
But I kept asking myself, what exactly makes this an “airline for millennials”? I expected some gimmicks like you used to find on Virgin America. A cheesy safety video, tablets to check in, a high-tech food ordering system, fast WiFi – something to make the airline seem hip. Instead, it felt like a plain-Jane airline with a hipster website that tries too hard, and a few lame attempts at hipness like organic food on the menu. I just don’t get what they’re trying to do here.