Air France has unveiled their new A330 business class cabin in a press release today. Exclusively available on the A330, their new cabin promises to be brighter and airier, although direct aisle access has not been designed in.
The first aircraft equipped with the new Air France A330 business class has already hit the skies. Taking off yesterday (Feb 3rd), it left Charles de Gaulle in Paris for Accra in Ghana. The slow demise of reclining seats on business will undoubtedly be welcome news to all Air France long haulers, and kudos for their new CEO.
This announcement of the A330 business class cabin follows on from Air France’s unveiling of the new economy and premium economy products, which they did last September.
What can we expect from the new Air France business class seats?
Air France have completely redesigned their A330 business class cabin to provide a more pleasant travelling experience. Mood lighting and fresh décor have been designed to complement the airy nature of the cabin. The business seat is new, designed purposefully to fit the A330, with high quality fabrics, leather and the inimitable Air France accent in pride of place.
It’s a roomier 2-2-2 layout, although you won’t find direct aisle access from every seat. In all there are 36 seats in the A330 business class cabin, with the expected comforts of fully lie flat functionality. This is in keeping with their business partners at KLM, who introduced lie flat on their A330s last year.
In lie flat mode, they offer enough length for a 6’5” person to fully stretch out. Width-wise, they’re around 22.5 inches, which isn’t the most generous (Iberia, China Southern and South African’s A330 seats are wider), but they’re not the least either (Qatar, TAP Portugal and Air Canada’s are narrower).
Our favorite part of the new Air France business cabin is the superb privacy available in every seat. This is thanks to an innovative retractable privacy panel, which can slide out to give a suite-like experience or retract if you’re in the mood for socializing.
What else is new?
If lying flat isn’t enough to tempt you to fly Air France, the airline has gone a step further to upgrade the flying experience.
All the seats in the A330 business class cabin are equipped with an extra-large touchscreen IFE monitor, measuring 18.5”. They’ve accompanied this with more than 1,400 hours of entertainment and a user friendly handset to enable navigation even when you’re lying flat out.
Apparently, the toilets have had a makeover too, taking their inspiration from the world of high end cosmetics. There’s a self-service bar as well, bedecked in champagne (color, not drink) and blue for ‘customers’ well-being and comfort’.
All the cabins on the Air France A330 feature the new Air France CONNECT Wi-Fi, but it’s not all free. The ‘message’ pass is free, which allows users to access messaging apps to send and receive notifications, but no browsing allowed.
The ‘surf’ pass is the upgrade needed for emails and internet surfing. This costs €3 for a short haul trip and €5 for medium haul. Long haul passengers will have to dig deeper, with an €8 fee for just one hour of surfing, or €18 for the duration of the trip.
Long haulers can further upgrade to the ‘stream’ pass, which offers a high speed connection throughout the flight. This will cost you €30 ($35) and offers unlimited streaming and downloading.
Where can you fly the Air France A330 business class?
Until the end of winter, the cabin will be on limited routes from their hub in Paris (CDG) to Accra (Ghana), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Houston (USA). From summer onwards, the new Air France business cabin will be additionally found on routes to Cotonou (Benin), Lagos (Nigeria), Niamey (Niger), Bengaluru and Delhi (India) as well as Seattle, Chicago and Dallas (USA).
By 2020, 15 of their A330 aircraft will be completely redesigned to feature the new products, a move that’s costing the airline a sizeable investment of €140m ($160m).