Air France has made a “Best&Beyond” promise to change it’s ways recently, shaking off some of the history it has steeped up over the years, and add a more contemporary ‘luxury’ feel to the airline. The French legacy carrier, like Lufthansa and British Airways, is fast becoming another bastion of European ‘luxury refined’ travel. Each vying for a piece of the luxury market, that is usually associated with either the Asian carriers such as Singapore Airlines and Malaysian, or Middle Eastern carriers, such as Qatar, Emirates, Etihad and Oman Air.
Launching their latest inflight innovation, Air France’s ‘new’ economy and premium economy products ,which will be launched on their long haul fleet, are in short, improved versions of their current products, with small enhancements that will barely be noticed by infrequent fliers, but much appreciated by more regular fliers.
As showcased in their video, both classes feature from improvements in both the hard and soft products. We are quietly humbled by the offerings, which whilst on the surface may seem less than impressive, are actually improvements that will go a long way to helping passengers feel that little bit more pampered.
In Economy class, there is a new fully-revised seat, with more legroom, a new “customised, patterned” seat cushion, more comfortable headrests and a wider tray table. The seat has been ergonomically-redesigned to guarantee optimum comfort. The seat also features new elements including a power socket and nifty features such as a headphones holder, even better, champagne service is now standard, usually reserved for premium economy cabins around the world.
Whilst the premium economy seat hasn’t really changed. In Premium Economy, more comfortable seat cushions and a multi-position footrest further enhance the original cabin class launched in 2009, living by the mantra ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
And the rest…
The biggest changes however, are in the inflight entertainment offerings, large hi-def touch-screens offering hundreds of hours of entertainment will be a great relief to passengers usually huddled over trying to watch on the archaic little sub 10″ screens. From their press releases, the rest of the additions are exciting touches that will really help lift the airline.
The meal service has also been upgraded, with a second hot dish and a new gourmet offering (candies, ice-cream) to make the trip even more pleasant and enjoyable. Available on board since 1 September 2013, this new dining offer will be presented in eco-designed tableware designed by the Catalan designer Eugeni Quitllet.
It is also nice to see families and particularly children are at the heart of Air France’s attentions. Organic produce adapted to the tastes of infants and young children, new tableware and a selection of new games (plane-shaped cutlery, pilot’s badge, colourings) ensure they enjoy the flight in a fun way. (We are in major love with the cutlery that turns into a slot-together plane)
As from summer 2014, Air France will gradually equip 44 Boeing 777 in its long-haul fleet with these new seats and inflight entertainment systems. In January 2014, the Company will unveil its future Business offer. In April 2014, the entire Best&Beyond project will be unveiled around the new La Première cabin.
Check out our hi-res image gallery below:-