Air France Takes Delivery Of First A350

Filed Under: Air France

Update: See here for a review of Air France’s new A350 business class.

It’s an exciting day for Air France and Airbus.

Air France Takes Delivery Of First A350

Air France has today taken delivery of their very first Airbus A350-900. The airline plans on taking delivery of a total of 28 of these planes by 2025 (they later increased that order to 38). It seems fitting that France’s flag carrier finally has Airbus’ most popular new widebody model in their fleet.

Air France A350-900

The airline notes that the plane will lead to 25% less fuel consumption, 25% less CO2 emissions, and 40% less noise emissions.

Air France’s A350s feature a total of 324 seats, so what should we expect?

Air France A350 Business Class

Air France’s A350 business class will consist of a total of 34 seats. What’s interesting is that while the airline is installing reverse herringbone seats on a majority of their widebody planes, the airline chose new seats for this aircraft type.

Air France’s A350s have Zodiac Optima seats in business class, which are the same as United’s Polaris seats.

Air France A350-900 business class seatmap

Air France’s A350s will feature two meter long beds with 18.5″ HD touchscreens, giving passengers more than 1,400 hours of entertainment.

Air France A350 business class

Air France A350 business class

Air France A350 business class

Why would Air France install different business class seats on the A350, creating even more product inconsistency? Keep in mind these planes were initially going to go to Joon, Air France’s low cost carrier, which has since been discontinued.

My guess is that they wanted these seats for Joon since they’re more space efficient than reverse herringbone seats, and Air France just maintained their previous order.

So this is a solid business class seat, but I wouldn’t say it’s any better than their reverse herringbone seats.

Air France A350 Premium Economy

Air France’s A350 premium economy will consist of a total of 24 seats. The premium economy seats have 96cm of pitch, are 48cm wide, and recline 124 degrees. They’ll feature 13.3″ HD touchscreens.

Air France A350 premium economy

Air France A350 Economy Class

Air France’s A350 economy cabin will consist of 266 seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration. The seats will have 79cm of pitch, 118 degrees of recline, and 11.6″ HD touchscreens.

Air France A350 economy

Air France A350 Wifi

Air France’s A350s will feature wifi, with three different packages:

  • A free “Message” pass for all for sending and receiving messages
  • A “Surf” pass costing between €3 and €18 (6,000 miles) for surfing the internet
  • A “Stream” pass costing €30 (10,000 miles) for high-speed internet

Air France A350

Air France A350 Routes

Air France has today revealed further details about the destinations to which they’ll operate the A350. The airline has revealed details about the six destinations on four continents that they’ll fly the plane to:

  • Abidjan (Ivory Coast): from October 7, 2019 to December 8, 2019, and as from February 10, 2020 for the 2020 summer season
  • Bamako (Mali): from October 7, 2019 to December 8, 2019, and as from February 10, 2020 for the 2020 summer season
  • Toronto (Canada): as from October 27, 2019
  • Cairo (Egypt): as from December 9, 2019
  • Seoul (South Korea): as from December 9, 2019
  • Bangkok (Thailand): 2020 summer season

Air France A350 destinations

Bottom Line

The A350 is one of my favorite planes in the sky, and it’s a joy to fly as a passenger. I actually even have a preference for it over the 787. It’s exciting to see this plane join the Air France fleet, as it looks gorgeous in the Air France livery.

Air France A350-900 nose

I do find it puzzling that Air France is introducing new business class seats on the A350s, as it means that Air France now has four different kinds of long haul business class seats (and even five if you want to get technical, since they do have two kinds of angled seats).

What do you make of Air France’s new A350?

  1. I’m not too bothered by the inconsistency given that both types are basically equivalent in terms of passenger experience. The much larger issue is the angled seats…

  2. Finnair’s A350 for example has 32 seats between doors 1 and 2, so this layout is 2 more. Given it’s not flying the premium routes so much, this seat is good enough. BKK currently gets a 2-3-2 business angled seat so am super pleased to see it will be put on that route ; a huge upgrade!

  3. @niko_jas Actually BKK is served by the 787-9 with their current awesome business class product, but I am too surprised not to see this aircraft on other premium heavy routes.

  4. This new aircraft will certainly be welcome here in Canada!

    Yesterday I flew Air France from Paris to Montreal on what looked to be a really old 777-300. The food and the service from the superb cabin crew could not be faulted, but the plane (especially the lavatories) felt like a tired relic from the late 90’s.

  5. It’s fascinating the different approaches airlines have to their brand. BA – love it or hate it – constantly emphasises the importance of brand consistency. You know exactly what seat you’ll get on any BA longhaul flight*. That’s why they kept emphasising the importance of converting their whole fleet to the new J class Club Suite as soon as they could.

    Meanwhile, airlines like AF…

    This looks pretty nice, actually. But I still wouldn’t normally book it without checking – and I don’t have time to waste checking.

    * Yes, yes, I know the all-business class flights LCY-JFK are an exception. But they’re the only one.

  6. Once again an airline selects Toronto as the initial destination in NA for trying new aircraft type. Wonder what makes YYZ so special…

  7. I’m no expert but don’t see the rationale for ordering both the dreamliner and the A350 families. Especially in Air France’s case, where you’re matching the 789 and A350-900 which are similarly sized.

    Clearly there’s some value since a number of airlines are doing it (though not US ones, where AA and UA have gone 787 and DL the A350 and A330Neo) but are there enough differences to justify having both in the fleet?

    Finally I hear a lot of people saying that the A350 is more comfortable but is that solely because it’s slightly wider?

  8. Lucky, it may be worth mentioning that there is a TON of award availability on the Toronto – Paris route, including promo awards

  9. @Lucky — “The A350 is one of my favorite planes in the sky, and it’s a joy to fly as a passenger. I actually even have a preference for it over the 787.”

    The A350 is configured to sit in between the B787-9 and B777-300ER in terms of capacity, so is it an equivalent comparison? The B787 line (276 seats on AF) is also designed to be physically smaller than the A350 (324 seats on AF), anyway — could that have influenced your preference between the two models (eg, spaciousness of interior, etc)?

  10. Maybe the wrong blog but that Premium Economy seat looks pretty flimsy.

    I love the AF A380 Premium Economy seat experience. It’s made me consider Premium Economy as a separate and much better class than say KLM’s Economy Comfort. I still AF should market their PE product in a way that highlights this difference.

    Consider KLM’s Economy Comfort. It’s actually just an Economy seat with extra legroom, pitch and location at the front of the cabin
    AF’s A380 Premium Economy is a distinctly different and separate cabin, seat and experience. Like a 90’s Business Class

    But looking at this A350 PE, will it actually be Premium Economy? Or more Economy Comfort?

  11. Actually, I think only the first few A350s (7 out of the order of 28, that were supposed to go to Joon) will be delivered with that configuration, since the seats had already been ordered for Joon. The other A350s to be delivered should feature the “Best&Beyond” cabin with the same Zodiac Cirrus seats as on the 789 in J class.

  12. Yeah, I was wondering whether the later frames will get the “Best&Beyond” business class. I do think think it’s fine to have 2 business class seats but they need to market it clearly in a similar way Singapore Airlines does it (instead of Long-Haul/Regional, more like Flagship/Leisure). But well, they even have another product on the a330 :/

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