Details: New Air France La Premiere  First Class Cabin

Details: New Air France La Premiere First Class Cabin

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In mid-2022, Air France formally announced plans to introduce a new first class product. Details were fairly limited at the time, though it’s no doubt one of the most exciting first class products on the horizon.

We should now be well under a year from when this product is in service. While the full experience hasn’t yet been unveiled, Air France has just dropped even more hints about what to expect, so I wanted to go over all the latest in this post.

What we know about Air France’s new first class

Air France is working on introducing an all-new first class product (known as “La Premiere”). The new first class experience is expected to be unveiled in the coming months, and should enter service in the 2024-2025 winter season (which in airline terms means between late October 2024 and late March 2025).

In fairness, keep in mind that airlines have been dealing with major supply chain issues from seat suppliers, so let’s see if that timeline sticks.

So, what do we know about this new first class cabin?

  • The new first class will be “the longest cabin” on the market, with each passenger having five windows
  • The new first class seat will be fully private; we’ll see if that comes in the form of curtains (as Air France currently has) or a floor-to-ceiling wall
  • The new first class seat will have a modular design with three entirely private living spaces, including a seat, a chaise lounge, and a flat bed
  • The new first class seat will have two video screens, as well as a wireless tablet for controlling seat functions
  • The new first class cabin will consist of just three seats, so presumably it will be one row of seats in a 1-1-1 configuration
  • Air France will introduce first class on a greater number of aircraft, though we don’t know which; my guess is that some Airbus A350s will be getting these seats as well
  • According to Air France CEO Anne Rigail, “we aim to position it as the best in the world”

Below are a couple of slides from a recent investor day presentation, mentioning the new product.

Air France-KLM investor day presentation
Air France-KLM investor day presentation

Furthermore, back in mid-2022, the airline had the below slide during an investor day presentation. As you can see, there’s an artistic rendering of a La Premiere seat. My guess is that this was just a possible concept, and not necessarily the product that Air France will go with. Note that the timeline for the product has shifted since then, because at the time the plan was for it to be introduced in the 2023-2024 winter season.

Air France-KLM investor day presentation

Air France first class is currently available on select Boeing 777-300ERs. The current first class product, which was introduced back in 2014, features curtains that offer full privacy. It’s a phenomenal cabin, and personally I rank Air France as having the third best first class experience in the air, and the best first class experience on the ground (and that experience is getting even better).

Air France first class on the Boeing 777-300ER

My initial take on Air France’s new first class

Air France simply does an amazing job with its first class experience, and I’m thrilled to see that the airline is elevating both the inflight and ground experience. We’ve been waiting quite some time for the details, so hopefully Air France finally unveils the new first class in the coming weeks and months. At least we’re well under a year from the product reportedly being introduced.

Based on what we know, I find the decision to just install three first class seats to be interesting on a couple of levels. In terms of passenger experience, having just three seats per row is awesome, and seems to be the new standard for top products.

This is really a trend that was kicked off with Emirates’ new Boeing 777 first class, and it’s now something we’re seeing with Japan Airlines’ new A350 first class. Yes, Cathay Pacific’s 777s also have three seats per row, but that’s because they’re angled, so it’s partially a space saving technique.

Emirates’ new 777 first class

While Lufthansa’s new A350 first class also has three seats per row, that’s because the airline has (a really poorly thought out) double suite in the center of the cabin, so it really has the capacity for up to four guests.

Lufthansa’s new A350 first class

Three seats sure is a mighty small first class cabin. I understand first class takes up a lot of real estate, but that’s a very small footprint.

From a staffing perspective, how exactly do you do that efficiently? Because you’re still going to need two flight attendants working in first class, to be able to offer a good service level, as you need one in the galley and one in the cabin?

Obviously Air France is trying to maximize revenue, and presumably the goal is that the cabin is consistently full with those paying cash for tickets. I do wonder if the airline will almost have an issue with not having enough first class seats in some markets. For example, between Paris and Los Angeles, I can see first class sometimes selling out months in advance.

In fairness, Air France really is skimming the market with its first class product. The airline has continued to increase first class pricing over the years.

What I’m most excited about is that Air France not only plans to reconfigure existing Boeing 777s with first class, but also plans to introduce first class on more aircraft, presumably Airbus A350s. It remains to be seen how many A350s will get first class — will it just be A350-1000s delivered down the line, or could some of the newer A350-900s also get first class? I suspect it’s the former, but only time will tell…

Bottom line

Air France’s new La Premiere first class should be unveiled soon, and will enter service by early 2025. The airline has revealed that first class will feature just three seats, so it’ll be a very exclusive cabin. Perhaps the most exciting development is that Air France plans to expand its first class footprint to more aircraft, so it won’t just be select 777s that have first class.

What do you make of Air France’s first class plans?

Conversations (17)
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  1. Barbarella Guest

    I don't think selling out F is an issue. It makes it more compelling and allows commanding as high prices as you want. Hermès sells out its Birkin bags to the point it can now coerce customers into buying it's other products if they want to buy the Birkin.

    I can see how AF would go the same route and choke the market to be bale to profitably do whatever they want. Air France...

    I don't think selling out F is an issue. It makes it more compelling and allows commanding as high prices as you want. Hermès sells out its Birkin bags to the point it can now coerce customers into buying it's other products if they want to buy the Birkin.

    I can see how AF would go the same route and choke the market to be bale to profitably do whatever they want. Air France used not to make profit on La Première.

    I think they have realized they compete with private jets and can make a profitable product if they position it in a way that people who would fly a jet would prefer/not oppose flying La Première, given the choice.

    From that perspective, they have quite a bit of margin on pricing but are very smart to keep the cabin small as any seat unsold (or "sold" as award) will lose a lot of cash.

    On the curtains topic, it feels very french. French monarchs loved their curtains. So it's fitting the french First class would play with those codes. The sound quality they provide is also better than any hard wall. I can also see how it's a cultural thing so other my like it less, and is more cumbersome to clean.

  2. Icarus Guest

    You’ve recycled the same info from months ago, as nothing has been released

    1. SMC422 Guest

      Sometimes I have to blink twice or more because OMAAT’s posts seem to repeat themselves and contain the same information months later and then realize it’s a “new” post.

    2. StevieMIA Guest

      This is true, it's pointless to re-post the same info over and over again if there's no real updates, there isn't even a render or picture of this new La Premiere Cabin. It would be more useful to write about this kind of improvements and new cabins once the airline releases genuine renders or mockups. It's becoming tiresome.

  3. The Sarj Guest

    Wow - there are some sick minds out there. Great article with valuable information. Keep up the fight.

  4. Peter Guest

    This concept looks and description points to the „acumen. The First Place“. This innovation would set a new standard for European First Class, potentially better than LHs Allegris Frist Product.

  5. Maximus Prime Guest

    It's a pity that more and more Airlines don't have a "couples seating layout" in F

  6. KT Guest

    AF’s 1st is my favorite worldwide (though I haven’t yet tried NH’s) in large part because of the curtains.

    I thought I wouldn’t like it, that curtains would feel like a cheap afterthought by a design team that hadn’t realized doors were a possibility. And yet, the curtains create a coziness quotient that can’t be matched by any other commercial flight experience. I feel safer, warmer, and more comfortable in that environment.

    Combine...

    AF’s 1st is my favorite worldwide (though I haven’t yet tried NH’s) in large part because of the curtains.

    I thought I wouldn’t like it, that curtains would feel like a cheap afterthought by a design team that hadn’t realized doors were a possibility. And yet, the curtains create a coziness quotient that can’t be matched by any other commercial flight experience. I feel safer, warmer, and more comfortable in that environment.

    Combine that with the lounge — admittedly a little gloomy/shabby — with its gentile service and spectacular lunch (breakfast is more meh), and I would go out of my way to fly AF’s current product whenever I could afford it.

    1. Nb Guest

      So good for environnement. Oh I’m sure you gonna say you recycle and have an electric car :)

    2. EXS Guest

      I’m not sure why you think this will be implemented in a 1-1-1 configuration if each of the three seats gets 5 windows.

    3. AD Diamond

      @exs, you are misunderstanding. The seat is 5 windows long. The two window seats will have access to those windows. The middle seat will not. How else would you put three seats in F on a wide-body then three across? There aren't any single deck planes that taper enough to put one suite in the front. Unless you created some sort of square galley and/or lavs and put that across from one seat, you'd have...

      @exs, you are misunderstanding. The seat is 5 windows long. The two window seats will have access to those windows. The middle seat will not. How else would you put three seats in F on a wide-body then three across? There aren't any single deck planes that taper enough to put one suite in the front. Unless you created some sort of square galley and/or lavs and put that across from one seat, you'd have a big open space. And that galley/lav proximity would make for an awesome experience in F for that person. Also, it's a widebody. It has two aisles. I suspect that safety requirements require two aisles be maintained for exiting the plane from 1L.

  7. flying_foxy Guest

    Air France now only staffs La Premiere with one single crew member. The purser or someone with LP training helps out when need be. Apparently it’s extremely difficult for the crew member now when there’s a full cabin.

  8. JustinDev Member

    Why would I want to be completed sealed off? How then can I boast of the fact that I am in F while the great unwashed isn't.

    1. Mick Guest

      True true. You’d still get to boast during boarding etc.

    2. Tom Guest

      That is the dirty little secret of flying F. You massively overpay and do not even get to crudely brag about it.

  9. Mick Guest

    Why don’t more airlines steal the curtains idea? Wouldn’t it work for LH first? At least as a stop go it seems pretty helpful

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Mick Guest

Why don’t more airlines steal the curtains idea? Wouldn’t it work for LH first? At least as a stop go it seems pretty helpful

2
KT Guest

AF’s 1st is my favorite worldwide (though I haven’t yet tried NH’s) in large part because of the curtains. I thought I wouldn’t like it, that curtains would feel like a cheap afterthought by a design team that hadn’t realized doors were a possibility. And yet, the curtains create a coziness quotient that can’t be matched by any other commercial flight experience. I feel safer, warmer, and more comfortable in that environment. Combine that with the lounge — admittedly a little gloomy/shabby — with its gentile service and spectacular lunch (breakfast is more meh), and I would go out of my way to fly AF’s current product whenever I could afford it.

1
flying_foxy Guest

Air France now only staffs La Premiere with one single crew member. The purser or someone with LP training helps out when need be. Apparently it’s extremely difficult for the crew member now when there’s a full cabin.

1
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