Air France has not only unveiled, but launched its new A330 cabin today, including the award-winning premium economy, new economy cabins and for the first time, a brand new Business Class cabin. A total of 15 aircraft will be retrofitted with 36 seats in Business, 21 seats in Premium Economy and 167 seats in Economy, with all of them being completed in 2020.
“Completely redesigned, the new Business cabin combines comfort and elegance,” states the press release. The new Business seat, adapted to the dimensions of the Airbus A330, converts into a lie-flat bed that is 2m long and 22inches wide.
Now, interestingly, the airline has opted for the same 2 x 2 x 2 configuration as it currently offers, opting against an all-aisle-access product. This isn’t unusual as carrier like Hawaiian have opted for a similar cabin LOPA. However, the airline is operating its A330 on predominantly business routes, meaning that there are are a higher percentage of solo fliers, meaning this cosier seating configuration will be less appealing.
It might be that the airline decides to swap routes on this new product, aiming at leisure destinations in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean which would be more suited to travelling pairs, although this isn’t currently being suggested. Still, business passengers need not worry too much, there is still privacy thanks to a sliding panel separating the seats.
The aircraft is updated with enhanced ambient lighting and the monuments are decorated with the symbolic Air France logo, as well as leather details. One of the greatest enhancements can be seen in brand new 18.5-inch HD touch-screens, offering over 1,400 hours of entertainment. Passengers are also treated to a better handset, Its intuitive interface comes with a new more user-friendly handset.
The toilets and the self-service bar also feature a deep blue colour to the lower half of the space. There is also a large departure from the more sterile white and navy blue cabins found on the 777 and 787 fleet with an injection of a softer Champagne colour scheme.
While we think that the 2 x 2 x 2 cabin might be a misstep, the detailing and new colour scheme could show the start of the airline’s new design palette, which is softer, more sophisticated and residential in approach. Perhaps we might see the same approach brought to the rest of the fleet, and eventually, Air France will adopt a long haul fleet with an all-aisle access product, to remain competitive within the international landscape.