- French Bee is a French airline that bills itself as "low-cost."
- The airline flies between the Orly airport in Paris and several global destinations.
- I flew on French Bee for the first time. Here is my experience below.
I booked a flight from New York to Paris earlier in the fall to visit friends studying abroad. I used Google Flights and picked the cheapest option I could find among the search results. Without glancing over the fine details, I plugged in my credit card number, and didn't think about the flight again.
The night before I left, I was chatting with my dad on the phone as I packed. In between advising me about my tax returns and my 401(k) he asked, "what airlines are you flying on tomorrow?"
I realized then that I had no idea and began searching through my email for the confirmation code. "Apparently, it's an airline called French Bee," I said.
"French what?" my dad asked, his voice cracking into a laugh. "Bee," I repeated, "like a bumble bee."
We both scanned the reviews online. "I flew this French low-cost airline from LA to Paris and wouldn't do it again," he read with concern over the phone. "That's someone's review."
Trustpilot gave it 1.5 stars. "One star is too much" someone wrote. The Tripadvisor results looked more promising, 3.5 stars.
French Bee bills itself as a "low-cost airline" and has been operating since 2016, according to its website. It's based at Paris' Orly airport, which is often used for traveling within Europe as opposed to the city's more internationally known Charles de Gaulle Airport.
French Bee only flies between a handful of destinations, based on its website. Those include major US cities in like New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, several cities in France, and smaller countries like French Polynesia, Dominican Republic, and Tahiti.
Tickets are priced in three tiers — basic, smart, and premium — with an increasing number of amenities accompanying each tier. 'Basic' flights between major cities in the US and Paris can be as low as $250 each way in off season months between October and March.
I ended up paying $600 round trip for my basic ticket, which only allowed me one piece of baggage. Had I selected the premium tier, closer to $1,400 round trip, I would have received two checked bags, one meal, one snack, champagne, and the flexibility to change my ticket before departure with no hidden fees.
Here is my experience flying on French Bee to Paris.
"You should be getting a refund of $2500 on your taxes," he wrote. "That's at least five French Bee tickets."