Air France to introduce domestic business class

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  MarcusGB 8 Nov 2019
at 20:56
.

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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Air France would appear to be following in BA’s footsteps with the introduction of a domestic business class early in 2020.

    Details of Air France’s domestic business class were announced in Paris this morning by CEO Anne Rigail.

    So far no information of the new product has been provided to UK media.

    Basically it would provide domestic passengers with similar business class benefits (both in the air and on the ground) that they could expect on a short-haul international flight.

    As with BA I suspect Air France wants to protect its market share from the regions seeing as more foreign airlines (especially the Gulf carriers) are moving in and can offer direct flights (which bypass Paris).

    Having domestic business class enables Air France to offer premium customers a better experience if they have to route via Paris.


    EU_Flyer
    Participant

    Thanks for this update. It’s an interesting development and one would expect leading carriers like AF, BA, LH to have a domestic business cabin.

    I guess for AF, ex-France international fares may not increase that much as a result (due to competitive pressure) but the attractiveness of the product will certainly rise. I can’t imagine being happy about buying a ticket in First from NYC to Nice and flying the Paris – Nice sector in economy.

    Still, AF will need to absorb the cost of the empty middle seat / enhanced catering etc provided to long haul First and Business passengers connecting to an AF domestic flight without probably making much of a premium in revenue for that sector. I also wonder what demand for stand alone business class fares will be given France’s excellent rail services.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Yes I would expect something similar to be introduced by Lufthansa when you consider it restricts its long-haul flight (by its mainline division) to Frankfurt and Munich.

    For customers buying a long-haul premium ticket I would think there would be no price increase at all (for the cost taking domestic business class).

    Besides the announcement from CEO Anne Rigail I have only seen details of this new product from a slide displayed at today’s meeting in Paris.

    The slide listed the standard amenities like Sky Priority access, lounge access, dedicated front cabin, blocked middle seat, food and beverages (champagne, wine, deluxe snacks).

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    cwoodward
    Participant

    As I understand it is not a ‘proper’ business class just a front ‘cabin’ with a curtain and blocked middle seat but with a dedicated catering offer.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    But by ‘proper’ cwoodward do you mean in terms of short- or long-haul ? I realise you are based in Hong Kong and European business class is quite different to the long-haul product.

    I have written some copy which will be posted shortly.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Our copy now posted. If and when we receive more information from Air France we shall update the piece.

    Air France to launch domestic business class


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    Distances are not so great within France, but certainly to encourage Customers loyalty, and to connect for Long Haul flights at CDG, it makes good sense.
    The AF/KLM Group, have an excellent 5 year Strategy of change, and this is part, to improve the AF Brand.

    KLM clearly do not have a domestic route, but it has long regarded, nearby countries, and connecting flights into the AMS Hub, is highly valuable. They sort of regard it as their domestic feeding in source.
    The KLM CEO recently described the UK routes as “The Bread and Butter” for their long haul networks, with a variable 75% of passengers travelling further from the UK Regions on KLM. Many Regional airports across the UK have at least 4 flights a day, and London City and LHR, approx 20 a day.
    This then avoids expensive and time consuming travel to LHR, if not by a flight.

    Many times have i heard that the European network for KLM “is our domestic route connection” being a smaller country.
    The CityHopper services on the Embraer jets is very good, as well as the 737 fleets, and superb around Europe. Separated cabin, normally the Purser attending, Dedicated enhanced food, 2 seats in 3, Sky Priority for all airports, Lounges, baggage.
    Hence it has an excellent reputation as connecting to their Intercontinental fleets across Europe.

    Within AF, “Hop” and “Joon” at Are being phased out, they are integrated into the AF fleet.
    But also they have ordered Airbus 220 series to replace their ageing Airbus fleet, within Europe.They are not comfortable or very pleasant, compared to KLM.

    So the aim is to create something on par with the well regarded KLM versions of Business class, whether it is a 45 minute flights or several hours. This would encourage passengers on Business Med/ Long haul to feel that service and journey starts at their Regional entry point.

    The Air France / KLM group have well settled, have clear strategies ahead, and fleets mostly renewed at KLM, on the way for AF.
    Long haul travel is being enhanced with the fleet simplifications with AF now taking the A350’s that KLM would take, and KLM taking the Dreamliner 787-10’s meant for Air France.
    These domestic upgrades are simply a small part of a greater realistic plan, aiming to improve the AF Brand going forwards, to be on par with KLM.
    Their aim is to be one of the strongest in Europe, in terms of brands once more, as AF are well recognised to be needing this for a long time.

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