Everything You Need To Know About Air France’s New A350’s

Air France will be introducing a brand new aircraft to their fleet this coming September. The A350-900 will first operate on routes to Africa before being introduced across the Atlantic. In addition, passengers can expect a brand new business class product onboard: the Zodiac Optima.

Air France will introduce a brand new A350 business class seat. Photo: Safran Seats

The A350 cabin

Air France’s A350-900’s will be outfitted with 324 seats. Routesonline reports that the configuration of the A350-900 will be as follows:

  • 34 Business class seats
  • 24 Premium Economy seats
  • 266 Economy seats

For their business class, Air France has selected an entirely new product. The Zodiac Optima seat is new to Air France and represents another type of hard product onboard. While other airlines attempt to standardize their onboard product, Air France seems to think they will be successful with multiple different products. Currently, Air France offers forward-facing lie-flats, outdated angle-flats, as well as reverse herringbone seats.

It is likely that Air France will maintain the same Premium Economy cabin as other aircraft. However, given that Air France has chosen an entirely new business class seat, they may continue the trend and introduce a new product in the Premium Economy cabin too.  We do know that, on the A350, Premium Economy will be arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration. If Air France does retain their current offering, it won’t be a bad way to hop the pond.

Air France Premium Economy. Photo: Air France

If you think you’ve seen those business class seats before, you’d be right. They are the exact same as United’s Polaris seats! Here is the seat map for Air France’s A350-900 business class cabin:

The seat map for Air France’s A350-900. Graphic: Air France

Where can you fly the A350-900?

Air France scheduled the A350-900 for initial flights in September to West Africa. Normally, when an airline takes delivery of new aircraft, they first place it on shorter, non-flagship routes so that the crew can familiarize themselves to the new aircraft. Air France will initially send the A350 to Abidjan via Bamako on Thursdays starting from September 23rd, 2019.

Then, later in the year, the A350-900 will operate on a daily basis to Toronto starting on November 25th, 2019.

Air France will use the A350-900 to fly to Toronto from CDG on a daily basis this winter. Rendering: Great Circle Mapper

If you’re specifically flying from Skyteam partner Korean Air’s hub in Seoul to Paris on March 29th, 2020, Air France has scheduled the A350-900 to operate that one-off service. It seems that Air France will position a newly delivered A350 to Seoul for that flight.

How to book

If you want to book a flight on Air France’s A350, you have a few different options. Note that one-way economy tickets to Toronto currently are unavailable for booking. Cash flights one-way are pricing out as follows:

One-way cash flights are coming out a little pricey. Screenshot of Air France’s booking website

Round trip is much more reasonable as it is a promotional fare.

Roundtrip economy fares are currently available on promotion. Screenshot of Air France’s booking website

If you want to travel business class, round trip fares are pricing north of $4,000. However, Flying Blue could be much better value if you have some miles or points to spare. While Flying Blue doesn’t have an award chart, they do offer a calculator which estimates your fare. Here are the estimates for one-way travel between Paris and Toronto:

Flying Blue offers a good redemption on a new A350 flight. Screenshot from Flying Blue’s website

If you originate at another point in Europe, say Berlin, your lowest possible cost decreases.

Flying out of a secondary city like Berlin is a better mileage redemption option. Screenshot of Flying Blue’s website

Overall

Air France is expecting their first A350-900 in September. Since the airline won’t have a large number of A350-900s, the initial routes will be few and far between. As Air France takes delivery of more A350s, you can expect to see more routes get this latest aircraft.

It is interesting to note that Air France will be introducing an entirely new long-haul business class product. Moreover, it will be interesting to see if Air France chooses to expand this product on their A380 retrofits that are scheduled in the coming years.

Will you fly on the A350-900 with Air France? Are you booked on an Air France A350-900 flight? Let us know in the comments!

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