Air France makes ‘upmarket’ moves as it reveals details of EUR150 million A330-200 cabin refit

Air France last week revealed its new Economy and Premium Economy cabins, highlighting its offer of a new travel experience for passengers flying on its 15 Airbus A330-200s, which will be refitted as from Jan-2019. In addition, customers will progressively discover a new colour scheme and additional products and services to enhance the travel experience on all the airline’s long-haul flights as it continues its strategy to move its brand “upmarket”.


Summary:

  • Air France last week revealed its new Economy and Premium Economy cabins that will be retrofitted onboard its Airbus A330-200 fleet from Jan-2019;
  • The European flag carrier has a 15-strong fleet of A330-200 widebodies, which have been in operation with the airline since Aug-2001;
  • The new products are part of the airline’s continued strategy to move its brand “upmarket”;
  • Air France is progressively installing Wi-Fi on all its aircraft, debuting this year and set to be available across its entire fleet by the end of 2020.

The retrofit of the Air France A330-200 fleet comes following 17 years of operation of the type. The European flag carrier took delivery of its first example in Aug-2001, with its two youngest examples arriving in Apr-2005. They are presently configured in a three-class 208-seat arrangement with 40 business class, 21 premium economy and 147 economy seats.

Air France does not detail if that configuration split will remain in the modernisation, but their will be notable improvements to its offer across both of its economy cabins. “With a further investment of 150 million euros in the cabins of our A330s, this is a major step in our overall strategy to move upmarket, a strategy that has been underway since 2014 and which will result in our 15 Airbus A330s being equipped as from 2019.” confirms Anne Rigail, EVP customer at Air France.

The premium economy will offer “even more comfort and services”, says the airline, where “privacy and elegance prevail”. The seats will be arranged in a 2-3-2 arrangement with fixed-shell seats offering a 130° recline. They will have a width of 48.3 cm and a 102 cm seat pitch, lumbar support, additional storage space, a wider footrest than previously and a 13.3 inch (33.9 cm) HD screen.

In Economy, there will be more space between the armrests (44cm), reinforced ergonomic foam in the seat, a 118° recline and 79 cm legroom. They will also have a larger tray table and a wider, latest generation 11.7-inch (29.8 cm) 16:9 touch screen.

A new design and new accessories are also being introduced. A deep blue monochrome fabric signed with the accent, the symbol of the Air France brand, adorns the new cabin cushions and headrests. A new bright red blanket, the company’s iconic colour, as well as collectible night masks, inspired by the company’s destinations, will also be available.

In both cabins passengers will also be better connected with individual USB plugs and electric sockets allowing them to stay connected with Wi-Fi throughout their flight, which is being progressively installed on all Air France aircraft. Its new in-flight ‘Air France CONNECT’ Wi-Fi offer will allow a free “Message” pass for all customers to send text messages from their favourite apps and two fee-paying “Surf” and “Stream” passes to access the Internet on board all Air France flights.

By the end of 2018, the in-flight Wi-Fi offer will be available on 22 long-haul aircraft and eight short- and medium-haul aircraft, with an aim of equipping the entire fleet by the end of 2020.

The “Message” pass allows customers to send and receive Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage and WeChat messages free of charge on their smartphone or tablet throughout the flight. Customers can also access the airfrance.com website and the Air France app to consult or modify their reservations.

The “Surf” pass enables customers to surf the Internet and consult or send emails. Customers can use this service for a EUR3 charge for the entire duration of the trip on short-haul flights; EUR5 for the entire duration of the trip on medium-haul flights; and EUR8 (2,700 Miles), for one hour or EUR8 (6,000 Miles) for the entire duration of the trip on long-haul flights.

The “Stream” pass is available on all long-haul flights and includes all the benefits of the “Message” pass and the “Surf” pass, plus the benefit from a high speed internet connection to enjoy streaming and downloading throughout the flight for a EUR30 (10,000 Miles) charge. As noted, passengers can also pay with loyalty miles.

The airline plans to gradually extend its offer to provide customers additional services and entertainment such as detailed flight information, shopping and a wide selection of films, TV series and documentaries to watch free of charge on their smartphone or tablet.