Air France Eyes Domestic Business Class Offering

Air France has announced it will extend its business class offering to include flights on its domestic network. Business class will be available on departures from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and French regions such as Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Montpellier and Mulhouse. Air France is the only airline to offer business class within France.

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Air France will now offer business class on short-haul and domestic flights. Photo: Getty Images

Air France’s business class is now going to be offered on almost all Air France flights. In the announcement made this morning, the airline said it would be available on several domestic flights as well as short-haul international routes.

This means that passengers flying within France using connection flights will be able to “enjoy seamless business class service at no extra cost throughout their trip.

Air France business class

Air France has three business class fares; Business Leisure, Business Flex and Business Abonné. The main differences between the options are the levels of flexibility in terms of cancellation and modification. This gives passengers wanting to travel business class more flexibility when it comes to fares. The leisure option is the cheapest but least flexible option. Business Abonné allows passengers to change which plane they take, cancel and modify their flight for free.

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Air France business class passengers will receive special catering options. Photo: Air France

All business class passengers will be able to use the Air France lounges across a range of French airports as well as having access to partner lounges in airports which don’t have Air France lounges. Passengers also have a more generous baggage allowance. Business class passengers can take two checked pieces of luggage weighing 32kg each as well as two carry-on bags and a separate cabin accessory.

Air France Business Class
Air France business class offering. Photo: Air France

There are also all the usual catering refreshments on board as well as priority boarding, priority baggage, priority check-in desks and priority security. Passengers can choose their specific seat and connect to onboard WiFi. However, WiFi is not available on all Air France planes at the moment, but the airline plans to have WiFi on all short-haul routes by the end of the year.

Long-haul service on short-haul flights

Air France’s decision to offer business class on short-haul and domestic flights will bring international level service to their smaller routes. Standardizing the business class offering across their network means the airline can cater to passengers’ needs from the beginning to the end of a journey, including the transfer flights. Truly, all-round service.

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Air France Business class seats on domestic flights. Photo: Air France

The CEO’s plan

In 2019 Air France retrofit all its A330s with new business class cabins using the 2-2-2 configuration. At the time, the airline released a statement saying that “This 2-2-2 configuration also makes it possible to preserve the Business offer (36 seats) on the smallest aircraft”.

The airline used the A330s on long-haul flights to America but this was clearly a first step in CEO Ben Smith’s plans to standardize Air France’s offering, even on the smallest of planes and, now, the shortest of flights.

Ben Smith only came into the top role in October 2018 and very quickly stated that he wanted to take the brand more upmarket. He even rebranded the airline’s budget subsidiary from Hop! to Air France Hop. He commented that,

We are currently the only major company that does not yet offer a consistent product”.

Offering business class on short-haul and domestic flights is the next step in his plan to appeal to “high contribution” customers.

What do you think of Air France offering a business class on its domestic network? Let us know what you think in the comments.