Air France New business class
Air France has unveiled its new long-haul Business seat. The current business class is pretty good in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration. With the ability to earn and redeem Virgin miles and vice versa combined with good regional UK connectivity, Air France and KLM can make good alternatives to flying BA depending on your destination.
The new seat joins the growing trend for doors on business class seats. This seat’s design is based on the 3 “F”s – Full Flat, meaning that the seat transforms into a real bed almost two metres long, Full Access, providing all passengers direct access to the aisle, and Full Privacy, ensuring optimal privacy. A new sliding door allows passengers to create a totally private space, out of sight from the other passengers in the cabin. To create a greater sense of privacy for passengers travelling together, the seats located in the centre of the cabin are now equipped with a central panel that can be lowered by pressing it down, thus creating a space in which to make the most of the flight together.
The seat also features a wide 17.3-inch 4K High-Definition anti-glare screen with a noise-reducing headset, a new Bluetooth connection allowing passengers to use their own headphones and several electric sockets. I love being able to use my own headset without the need for an annoying lead so this is great news.
As you board the aircraft, you will be greeted by a backlit winged seahorse. The seat has soft padding to add a feeling of cosiness. Wool, brushed aluminium, full-grain French leather are the soft and natural materials chosen for its seats. Each seat is also embroidered with the company’s trademark red accent.
The seats will be progressively rolled out on 12 Boeing 777-300s from September 2022, each aircraft will be equipped with 48 seats in Business class.
The company is also installing its latest Premium Economy (48 seats) and Economy (273 seats) seats on board these aircraft
Named “Fontainebleau”, the first aircraft equipped with these new cabins and a WiFi connection will fly to New York-JFK this autumn.
Premium Economy and Economy, for optimal well-being
In the Premium Economy cabin, Air France is introducing its latest recliner-type seat model already available on its Airbus A350, while further improving its comfort. Each seat offers 96 cm legroom. The seat cushions have been redesigned and the navy blue herringbone fabric adds further softness. The seat back reclines to 124 degrees and has been widened to provide greater privacy. A new noise-reducing audio headset is integrated into the seat and is easy to use at any time during the flight. The seat also features USB A and C ports.
In the Economy cabin, the seats also meet the highest standards of comfort on the market. Each seat has a wide 43 cm seat pan, a 119 degree recline and 79 cm of legroom. The backrest is ergonomically designed, offering reinforced lateral support. It is also equipped with a USB A port.
The seats in these two cabins are equipped with a wide 13.3-inch 4K High-Definition screen with Bluetooth connection, ideal for enjoying over 1,000 hours of on-demand entertainment.
Air France is committed to offering all its long-haul customers on flights departing from Paris nutritrious French produce. In the Business cabin, France’s leading Michelin-starred chefs take turns to choose a selection of vegetarian dishes as well as refined meat, poultry and fish dishes. In Premium Economy, customers now enjoy a dedicated meal.
By the end of 2022, on all flights departing from Paris, the company is committed to offering in all its cabins meat, dairy products and eggs of French origin, fish from sustainable fisheries, the systematic choice of a vegetarian dish and meals that are fully prepared in France. The company will also offer kids and babies’ menus made from fully-organic ingredients.
In addition, in its fight against food waste, Air France is also progressively introducing the option for customers to pre-select their hot dish in Business class prior to departure. The company is also committed to recycling and eliminating 90% of single-use plastic items on board its aircraft by the beginning of 2023. To achieve this objective, Air France is continuing to develop eco-designed in-flight items that are manufactured from bio-based materials such as bagasse and celullose. Finally, items that can no longer be used on board are donated to charities.
Emirates Premium Economy
Emirates has now properly unveiled its full Premium Economy offering onboard and on the ground, and that it will go on sale from 1 June 2022.
The new cabin class, which offers a more luxurious seat, more legroom, and a service that’s not far off many airlines’ business class, will be available to Emirates customers travelling on certain A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney from 1 August, and Christchurch from December.
Emirates is currently the only airline in the region to offer a Premium Economy cabin.
Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “As with everything we do, Emirates Premium Economy will be exceptional in its class, with minute attention given to every aspect of the customer experience. Customers trading up from Economy will be getting excellent value.
“Since we first introduced our Premium Economy seats in January 2021, the positive response and demand has been tremendous. We currently have six A380s equipped with this cabin class, which limits our initial deployment, but our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets across our network. This November, we will begin our retrofit programme to install Premium Economy on 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. At the end of the programme, Emirates will have 126 aircraft fitted out with Premium Economy cabins, as well as our latest interiors across other cabins. It is a major investment to ensure our customers continue to have the best experience in the sky.”
Customers will have a dedicated check-in area for Premium Economy at Dubai International airport.
The cream-coloured leather seats have a generous pitch of up to 40 inches, is 19.5 inches wide, and reclines 8 inches into a comfortable cradle position with ample room to stretch out. It also offers calf rests and footrests for additional comfort, in addition to many other touches such as easily accessible in-seat charging points and a side cocktail table. There’s also extra head and neck support for sleeping with 6-way adjustable headrests.
Premium Economy will offer amenity kits and customers will be welcomed onboard with a welcome drink in fine glassware. During meal service, a selection of meals made with seasonal ingredients and regional influences will be served on chinaware, accompanied by stainless steel cutlery wrapped in a linen napkin. The drinks menu will include a selection of beverages including premium wines and a sparkling Chandon wine. There are also liqueurs available after meals, with chocolates. (I could mention some airlines that don’t currently do that in business class…)
Each seat has a 13.3” screen, one of the largest in its class, to enjoy up to 5,000 channels of music, movies, TV, news and other content.
On a four-class Emirates A380, the Premium Economy cabin is located at the front of the main deck with 56 seats laid out in 2-4-2 configuration. On the Emirates Boeing 777, up to 24 Premium Economy seats will be installed in a dedicated cabin section between Business and Economy.
What do you think of the sound and look of the new Air France business class or Emirates Premium Economy? Are you tempted to try it? Let us know in the comments below.