Last year businesstraveller.com brought you exclusive details of Air France’s new premium economy product (see online news April 30, 2008). Almost a year later the carrier has finally unveiled the offering in full, with a launch date of this autumn.
Air France is calling its new cabin Premium Voyageur, and will initially launch it on destinations from Paris to New York JFK, Tokyo and Osaka, before gradually phasing in the product on its entire long-haul network of Boeing 777 and Airbus A340 / A330 aircraft.
On its B777-300ER aircraft the airline will remove 50 economy seats (currently called Tempo but to be renamed as Voyageur), replacing them with 28 Premium Voyageur seats. The business and first class configurations remain the same, although L’Espace Affaires (business) will be renamed simply as “Affaires”, and L’Espace Premiere (first) will become “La Premiere”.
The new seat will feature a fixed shell (which the carrier says is a first for a premium economy product on a European airline), with a 48cm width, 97cm pitch, 123 degrees recline, and a 10-cm wide leather armrest.
There will be a 26-cm TV screen, and the control box for the in-flight entertainment system (IFE) will be integrated into the seat itself, which Air France says will ensure “lots of legroom” for passengers.
Referring to the new class as an “intermediate cabin range”, Air France says passengers will receive the same in-flight meal choices as in economy, but will enjoy upgraded amenities such as a travel kit, bottle of water, noise-reducing headphones, feather pillow and pure new wool blanket. On the ground there will be priority check-in desks, a 30-kg baggage allowance, and priority baggage delivery. Frequent flyer members will receive 25 per cent more miles than a full-fare economy ticket.
Tickets for the new cabin will go on sale on April 1, with typical prices for the Paris-New York route starting from €1,038, and around €1,660 for the Osaka and Tokyo destinations.
Report by Mark Caswell