An upmarket move for Air France business class

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As part of what it describes as “pursuing its move upmarket”, Air France has unveiled its completely redesigned long-haul business seat, due to be progressively rolled out on 12 Boeing 777-300s from September 2022. Fontainebleau, the first aircraft which will be equipped with these new cabins, will fly to New York-JFK this autumn.

As passengers board the refitted B777-300s they will first notice the backlit winged seahorse adorning the stowage compartments, which the airline says embodies its “founding myth and rich history”. The enhancements in the 48-seat business class cabin are very real though, as the airline has worked with Safran Seats, Design Investment and SGK Brandimage to create an enhanced seat with enveloping curves and extra comfort.

This seat’s design is based on the ‘3 Fs’, meaning it transforms into a fully flat 2m-long, 70cm-wide bed (all Air France business seats will be fully flat by autumn 2023, compared with 90% today), with full direct access to the aisle for all guests, and full privacy. The latter is achieved with a new sliding door that gives passengers the option to create a totally private space, and a panel between the centre double seats that can be raised or lowered.

The new Air France Boeing 777 business-class seat offers a fully flat bed, direct aisle access, and privacy

Comfort is enhanced through the addition of soft padding, with wool, brushed aluminium and full-grain French leather applied for a soft and natural feel, and an embroidered Air France logo in its trademark red reinforcing the brand.

The redesigned seat also features a 17.3in 4K HD anti-glare IFE display, complemented by power outlets, a noise-reducing headset, and a new Bluetooth connection that enables passengers to use their own headphones.

The B777s will also be fitted with Air France’s latest premium economy and economy seats, with each cabin elegantly decorated in the brand’s signature colours: navy blue, white for light and contrast, and hints of red.

The 48-seat premium economy cabin will be fitted with Air France’s latest recliner-type seat model, as launched on its Airbus A350, but with a wider seatback and redesigned seat cushions in a soft, navy blue herringbone fabric. Each seat offers a 38in pitch and 124° recline. Further comforts include a new noise-reducing audio headset integrated into the seat, and USB-A and -C ports.

In the economy cabin, each of the 273 seats has a 17in-wide seat pan, a 119° recline, 31in of legroom, and a USB-A port. The backrest is ergonomically designed, offering reinforced lateral support.

Both premium economy and economy class will be equipped with 13.3in-wide 4K HD screens with a Bluetooth connection, ideal for enjoying over 1,000 hours of on-demand entertainment.

Note the illuminated seahorse motif. In 1933 the airline revealed a log with the bust of Pegasus, the winged horse of Greek mythology and the tail of Annam’s dragon. Quite a combination, but Air France felt it felt embodied its values and ambitions. It was the combination of power and speed, air and water (the seaplane had a bright future at the time) – Europe and the East! Over the years the hybrid animal has lost a few features to become a winged horse, a powerful Pegasus navigating between the sky and the earth, and adorns the front of the fleet’s aircraft like a lucky charm. And to think some say it looks like a wi-fi symbol…

A more responsible catering offer

All Air France long-haul customers on flights departing from Paris will also enjoy a responsible dining offer with nutritious French produce. In the business cabin, France’s leading Michelin-starred chefs will take turns to create a selection of vegetarian dishes as well as meat, poultry and fish dishes. In premium economy, customers will enjoy a dedicated meal. In the premium economy and economy cabins, the meals will be Nutri-Score A or B-certified.

By the end of 2022, on all flights departing from Paris, the company promises that, in all its cabins, the meat, dairy products and eggs will be of French origin and the fish from sustainable fisheries, and there will be a choice of a vegetarian dishes fully prepared in France. The company will also offer kids’ and babies’ menus made from organic ingredients.

In addition, in its fight against food waste, Air France is progressively introducing the option for business-class customers to pre-select their hot dish prior to departure. This service combines the guarantee of customer choice and more efficient food use.

The airline is also eliminating 90% of single-use plastic items onboard its aircraft by the beginning of 2023, instead using inflight items manufactured from bio-based materials such as bagasse and cellulose. Any items that can no longer be used onboard will be donated to charities.

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About Author

mm

Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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