Today saw the launch of Air France’s new Economy and Premium Economy cabins, creating a ‘new’ travel experience on board its 15 Airbus A330s which will be refitted as from January 2019. We’ve always found Air France to offer a contemporary economy cabin product, however the traditional sea of blue and cream didn’t inject a sense of Parisian or French Joie de vivre which the airline prides itself on.
However, this new trim and finish adds a new dimension, bringing depth and humour to the cabin. “Today we are celebrating the arrival of our new products and services in our Economy and Premium Economy long-haul cabins, for an even more comfortable and relaxing travel experience. With a further investment of 150 million euros in the cabins of our A330s, this is a major step in our overall strategy to move upmarket, a strategy that has been underway since 2014 and which will result in our 15 Airbus A330s being equipped as from 2019.” said Anne Rigail, EVP Customer at Air France.
In economy, the seat is being upgraded to provide even more comfort with more space between the armrests a reinforced ergonomic foam in the seat and an 118° recline; a 31″ seat pitch; a larger tray table and a wider, latest generation 11.7-inch (29.8 cm) 16:9 touch screen.
Instead of just focusing on hard product, the look and feel is just as important. Both a new trim and finish design and new complimentary accessories are being introduced, currently unique to the A330 cabins. A deep blue monochrome fabric signed with the accent, the symbol of the Air France brand, adorns the new cabin cushions and headrests. But the headrests and cushions offer a wealth of blue tones that bring the cabin to life. Offsetting this and adding drama is a new bright red blanket – the company’s iconic accent colour – as well as collectible night masks, inspired by the company’s destinations, are also available.
As well as power sockets in every seat, customers can stay connected with Wi-Fi throughout their flight, which is being progressively installed on all Air France aircraft, and enjoy a wide range of entertainment with an audio headset available on each seat as soon as they settle in on board.
In Premium Economy, the airline has refreshed the 787-9 seat, offering more storage and trim and finish upgrades include a beautiful new patterned seat fabric. There is still the 130° seat recline within the fixed shell offer one of the widest seats at 19 inches and a generous 40″ seat pitch. The softer seat cushions and wider leather armrests have also been redesigned.
In the upgraded cabin, and contrasting economy, passengers will receive a red pillow and deep blue blanket, as well as an amenity kit that will be updated every 6 months.
But Air France has also invested in details to improve the passenger experience. As soon as economy and premium economy passengers arrive on board, customers are welcomed with an oshibori to freshen up.
At aperitif time, the cabin crew offer customers a complimentary glass of champagne in a brand new glass.
During the flight, the meal is served in a new collection of powder-coloured tableware on a black background and eco-designed in collaboration with Eugeni Quitllet. The tray also reveals a new design highlighting the Air France accent.
A “My Little Gourmandises” gourmet snack is available on a self-service basis on flights longer than 8 hours 30 minutes.
On flights lasting between 8 hours 30 minutes and 10 hours 30 minutes, customers are offered a “Bon Appétit” breakfast bag containing delicious snacks to take with them or to eat on board. On arrival at the destination, customers receive a French-style candy, as a little gesture to say “thank you for travelling with us.”
It seems the airline has understood that making a point of difference within economy and less-so premium economy important, especially when the seat design and LOPA is so limiting. That’s why trim, finish, amenities and creating little moments of magic can make such a difference when it comes to brand retention.