Air France has today unveiled changes to its offering on European flights, with a new two-cabin service and the ability to hold bookings at a certain fare during a “Time to Think” period.
The new European offering will come into affect from April 2010, with tickets on sale in January, and will see the current Voyageur, Premium Voygeur (Tempo Challenge rather than the long-haul product) and Affaires classes replaced by a two-class Voyageur and Premium offering.
The Voyageur cabin will offer checked baggage up to 23kg free of charge, along with a free newspaper and “a snack adapted to the flight time”. From April 2010 passengers will also be able to pay to hold a booking at any particular fare for a preiod of seven days, for an extra charge of €10.
Other changes to the Voyageur product include promotional fares being available on a one-way basis instead of the usual round-trip basis, and the ability to modify all tickets (except promotional fares) for €50, although tickets will not be refundable.
Premium customers will have the choice of a Premium Eco or Premium Business fare, with both being available on a one-way or round-trip basis, and both allowing modifications and refunds.
One of the main differences comes in the seating, where Premium Business passengers will have the middle seat kept free – see diagram below. Premium Business customers will also be able to select their seat at the time of booking, while Voyageur and Premium Eco passengers will only be able to note their preference of an aisle or window seat.
On the ground Premium Business passengers will have access to all lounges in the network, while Premium Eco customers will be able to use those at Paris CDG and Amsterdam Schiphol only. Both sets of Premium fares will allow two pieces of free checked lugagge, priority baggage delivery, and upgraded miles earning.
Air France also says that Voyageur tickets have been reduced across the fare ranges, giving examples of a five per cent reduction in its lowest fare between Paris and Barcelona, and a 19 per cent reduction in the highest fare (available up to the day of departure) on the same route. It also says that published fares in Premium Eco will be an average 20 per cent lower than the current Premium Voyageur fares.
The new offering come hot on the heels of the launch of Air France’s long-haul premium economy seating (see online news September 24), and the unveiling of its first A380 superjumbo (see online news October 30).
For more information visit airfrance.co.uk.
Report by Mark Caswell