LONDON – Air France has unveiled its new Airbus A330-200 Business Class cabin, which will be installed on the wide-body planes starting this year.

In September 2018, the airline introduced to the world its new Economy and Premium Economy cabins, which will be installed onboard the 15 Airbus A330-200s the airline has in its fleet.

The €140 million investment will see all the A330s fully retrofitted with the new seats, with 36 in Business, 21 in Premium Economy, followed by 167 in standard Economy class.

Big Business Upgrades

The new Business Class setup comes in as a tremendous design upgrade. The airline has kept its current 2-2-2 configuration, which differs from its newer 1-2-1 layout present on the airline’s Boeing 787 and 777 fleet.

This could prove bothersome for the regular business traveler, though the enhanced comfort and separating wall will definitely increase each passenger’s privacy during long-haul flights.

The new seats convert into a lie-flat beds, which is around two meters long and 57.1cm wide.

The new cabin also boasts mood lighting and an all-new 18.5 inch HD touch-screen, which will offer up to 1,400 hours of entertainment as well as a more “intuitive interface (…) with a more user-friendly handset.”

The new entertainment suite is, perhaps, the biggest upgrade over the current A330 product, which still operates with one of the first-generation IFEs in the market.

Toilets in Business Class have also been inspired by the cosmetics universe, as well as a self-service bar in a blue and Champagne colour scheme.

A Modern Premium Economy

As shown in our article last September, Air France believes the new Premium Economy will let “relaxation and pleasure prevail.”

The carrier believes that “Comfort is in the spotlight on the Airbus A330 with additional space.”

A 130-degree seat recline in a fixed shell, one of the widest seats at 48.5cm, 102cm seat pitch, lumbar support adapted to different body shapes, additional storage space and a wider footrest are some of the things on offer in Premium Economy.

Continuing with the comfort thing, a red feather pillow and deep blue blanket will come standard with Premium Economy.

A comfort kit that comes with the product, which is renewed every six months is also available to fliers.

On top of this, entertainment will see a 13.3 inch HD screen, with similar IFE options as in Business Class. Personal power outlets and two USB ports will also be on offer in this class too.

Updated Economy Class

“A breath of fresh air on board” is how Air France is describing its new Economy Class.

Based on configuration, the airline has kept its current 2-4-2 setup, with the cabin changing “to provide additional comfort and with more space between the armrests.”

It also offers reinforced ergonomic foam in the seats, with a 118-degree recline, 79cm in legroom, larger tray tables and a wider, 11.7 inches 16:9 touch screen.

Other entertainment options feature a personal power outlet and a USB plug, same entertainment as in Premium Economy and Business as well as audio headsets that you will find on the seats when passengers board.

Deep blue monochrome fabrics signed with the Air France accent will be featured on the new cabin cushions and headrests as well as bright red blankets, collectable night masks inspired by the company’s destinations.

85 Years On

To celebrate Air France’s 85th anniversary, a new amenit kit has been produced for Business and Premium Economy fliers.

The kit contains beauty products from Clarins in Business Class, and travel accessories for those in Premium Economy.

As soon as boarding commences for those tier of passengers, the crew will welcome them with an Oshibori to freshen up as well as a class of Champagne in a brand new glass.

For those in Premium Economy and Economy, meals will be served with a new collection of powder-coloured tableware on a black background and eco-designed by Eugeni Quitllet.

On arrival into said destination will see French-style candy handed out to fliers as a gesture for travelling with the airline.

For dining, Business Class dishes will be featured by Michelin-starred chefs Anne-Sophie Pic, Arnaud Lallement, Guy Martin, and Michel Roth. Gourmet baskets will also be available at the self-serve bars too.

Premium Economy will see starters and desserts inspired by the Business menu.

Economy will see a complete French-style meal, with a starter, main course, cheese and a dessert.

Onto the entertainment side again, Air France’s CONNECT, which is on the Boeing 787 and currently being installed onto its 777s, will also be installed on the A330s by the end of 2020.

A message pass will be on offer to send and receive messages throughout the flight.

The airline will charge between €3 and €18 for a Surf Pass to browse the internet, read and send emails.

For €30, the Stream Pass ensures high-speed internet, streaming and downloads.

The IFE will offer over 1,400 hours of programmes, films, cartoons, music, games, and more, according to Air France.

Mind, a meditation programme for young and old people alike will be available on the in-seat screens as well as Air France Music and Air France Magazine being on offer as standard.

The A330 destinations that will see this new cabin refit will be on services to Delhi, Bengaluru, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Cotonou, Lagos, Accra, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, and Seattle.

Positive Changes Coming

It remains clear that Air France has pulled out all of the stops to modernize its aging A330 fleet.

Author: Eric Salard

It will be interesting to see the level of feedback once the airline’s frequent flyers test the new product, especially those who are used to traveling on the current A330 hard product.