Air France unveiled their brand new business class product today, which looks top notch and is part of their 500 million Euros “Best & Beyond” project. The new business class product will be in a reverse herringbone configuration, offering each passenger direct aisle access. This is similar to what’s offered by American, Cathay Pacific, EVA, etc.
Here’s a short video of the new product:
In total, 2,102 seats will be installed between June 2014 and mid-2016 on 44 Boeing 777 aircraft. That translates to an average of ~47 business class seats per plane. To put that into context, at the moment Air France’s four cabin 777-200ERs feature 49 business class seats, while Air France’s four cabin 777-300ERs feature 67 business class seats. So this will likely represent a bit of a capacity reduction. It’s worth noting that Air France has some much higher capacity 777s as well, with fewer business class seats, though my guess is that some of those planes won’t be reconfigured. After all, they’re reconfiguring 44 777s, and they have a total of 64 of them in their fleet.
This announcement was just made, so I’m not yet sure what Air France plans to do with business class on the rest of their longhaul fleet, including their A330s, A340s, A380s, and 747s. Furthermore, I’m not sure how this impacts their first class cabin, though I do believe they’ll be announcing a new first class product soon as well.
So while a reverse herringbone business class is hardly cutting edge nowadays — it has been around for over four years now — at the end of the day it’s the best business class product out there, so I’m happy to see Air France choosing it, even if they’re “late to the party.” And I have to say, Air France’s seat colors look especially sleek, in my opinion.
Here are some more pictures of the new business class product:
Ultimately this looks quite a bit better than the new business class seat that KLM introduced last March.
Kudos, Air France!
These new seats will also be installed in the KLM's 787-9
@Carl, LAX is serviced by an A388 once daily. I think they add a 777 of some variation during the summer, but I'm not sure. I know KLM adds one. I hope that we can see the new product here in LA, because I won't set foot on AF until we do.
They will introduce the new business class on top routes like JFK, LAX, HK, Tokyo and probably Shanghai or Beijing. These are served by the 777 that AF will keep flying for a long time. Unlike BA they invested on the more efficeint 777 at its launch and started phasing out their 747 10 years ago. As for the A340 it's not fuel efficient enough to be worth the investment, and lost its edge with...
They will introduce the new business class on top routes like JFK, LAX, HK, Tokyo and probably Shanghai or Beijing. These are served by the 777 that AF will keep flying for a long time. Unlike BA they invested on the more efficeint 777 at its launch and started phasing out their 747 10 years ago. As for the A340 it's not fuel efficient enough to be worth the investment, and lost its edge with the extended range of the 777-300ER. Smaller routes will keep being served by A330, it will be interesting to see whether they will upgrade these or not, the plane is less crucial for the airline and these routes are not the most profitable ones. But they will need to keep a consistent offering too... As for the F, I agree with other comments, the new J is to some extent better than their F product, they need a quick upgrade of that cabin, unless they just phase it out. KLM or Delta do not have any F and BA can only justify their current F (quite frankly a super business class) because their super narrow J seats are outdated, they will probably face the same dilemna when they upgrade their J seats as well.
John, the first updated 777 will fly daily to JFK as from June. I don't think that they have given up on the US market!
At the time that they announced the upgrade last year, they said they would not retrofit any of the Airbus or any of the US routes because it would cost way too much. They basically have given up on the US market. Anyone flying business to/from the US on Air France will get the old nightmarish "reclining" seats. So if you fly to Paris from LAX or SFO, do not fly Air France.
Wow this looks nice!
Colors looks nice, I just wish the blue is a little bit darker.
Can't wait to see the new F seats.
From my late experiences with AF F, this is the airlines to keep an eye on.
@ Dave -- Great idea for a future post. Here are the general types of business class seating arrangements, which I wrote about in the context of the best seats for couples to travel in:
Thank god. Looks like a great product. Wish they would start with the 380's...don't really have much access to them from LAX. I think they add a 777 for the summer, but oh well. They look nice enough to actually get me to fly through CDG.
AF usually has the most reasonably priced business fares...I wonder how much it's going to jump when these are installed...
Per anet, it looks like F will be removed on the 772s, reduced to 4 on the 77Ws and TBD on the 380s. Interesting and sadly speaks to the general difficulty in selling F.
Any chance of an explanatory post on different seating arrangements, pros, cons, etc.? I'm not totally clear on what a reverse herringbone pattern is, and what other arrangements may be available.
I don't believe any of the 77W in CIO config (leisure areas- Carribean-Indian Ocean) are getting it as they only have 14 C seats. AF's 744 are also being phased out by 2016, so no retrofits on those either.
They better upgrade their F class soon, even if the ground services are as great as Lucky says, its going to be hard to justify flying F with these seats in J. They seem even more private than the current F seats.
Right? First thought was how horribly it will age. That and while certain carriers like AA offer Reverse HErringbone, it's on so few of their flights...all of 7 or 8 routes now.
They're going to have fun keeping all that white clean.
Better late than never. And hey, it's better than what Lufthansa offers in Business Class, no? Now they just need to work on the food in service in BC...
Looks like finally a competetive product.... they are going to have do something about their first class....
Good job Air France, I guess... Definitely would have been nice to have this a couple of years back, but like you said, better late than never.
Next step is actually making CDG useable ;) First class service for every passenger maybe? XD