Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

IDEAS: Air France to Celebrate 90th Anniversary With Fashion Exhibition in Paris 

9 months ago

Air France is set to commemorate its 90th anniversary with a fashion exhibition that will take over the window display at the Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann.  

The exhibition, which will run from 28 September to 10 October 2023, will showcase five dresses designed by Xavier Ronze, head of the costume design workshops at the Paris Opera Ballet. 

Credit: Air France

The designer took inspiration for the dresses from the signature hallmarks of the airline, including aircraft and technology, uniforms and fashion, its iconic posters, fine dining and tableware, and design and architecture.

In addition to the window display, the exhibition will also feature a selection of vintage Air France memorabilia, as well as a number of pop-up stores carrying items that have been specially created or reissued to commemorate the anniversary.

Visitors will also have the chance to attend real fashion shows retracing the company’s uniform heritage, with models dressed in the uniforms of pilots, cabin crew, airport staff and mechanics taking over a dedicated area of the store.

Air France boasts a rich history of collaborating with famous fashion houses to design its crew uniforms, encapsulating the essence of ‘French elegance’, as demonstrated in the video below:


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Airlines

Air France Quits Offering Customer Support Via Twitter

1 year ago

Blaming Twitter for changing its terms and conditions, Air France said on Friday it would stop offering customer support via the social media platform’s direct messages for its accounts worldwide. KLM, a sister brand, has yet to make a similar move.

Update: 4pm ET: An Air France spokesperson clarified, “Twitter’s recent change in access to its API has led us to adapt our commercial policy in terms of customer relations.”

Changed pricing terms for accessing its APIs (or application programming interfaces — a way of exchanging data) is a key reason. Twitter recently changed its product offerings for business clients, creating a new “enterprise” level for commercial users that use it heavily. There’s no public price list, but quoted price hikes of thousands of dollars a month, Platformer and The Verge reported.

New York City’s subway and bus operator said on Thursday it would no longer use Twitter to post real-time service alerts because of the new pricing, the New York Post reported.

In recent years, some travelers have found it more convenient to chat via Twitter with the French flag carrier than by phone or online contact forms.

“It would really be a shame if airlines and hotels would have to stop providing support via Twitter DM as I found this to be very effective, and it has saved me on more than one occasion. Especially communicating this way while currently being on a plane works wonders.

—Sebastian Powell, a contributing editor at Loyalty Lobby

We’ve yet to see other travel brands make a similar move. We asked Twitter for comment. Here was its auto-reply:

💩

 

Airlines

Air France’s New Business Class Product

1 year ago

Air France is upgrading its 12 Boeing 777-300ERs with the airline’s new long-haul business class product, a process that is expected to be complete by the end of the year. The aircraft will also get the same economy and premium economy seats as those found on its cutting-edge A350s. 

The first refurbished B777 (named “Fontainebleau”) took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to New York-JFK in January. It has also been serving Rio de Janeiro and Dakar in Senegal. 

At the moment about 90 per cent of Air France’s business class cabins have the latest fully flat business class seats but the remainder will be replaced over the coming eight months. 

New business class on Air France
New business class on an Air France Boeing 777 plane.

So what’s interesting about Air France’s next generation of business class? Originally unveiled in spring 2022, there has been some delay to it entering the skies. In any case, flyers will now find smart navy blue and white seats arranged in a “reverse herringbone”1-2-1 formation and with added privacy thanks to sliding doors to create a fully enclosed suite.

Accommodating 48 passengers in total, each seat transforms into a proper bed that extends to almost two metres in length. High-grade materials that have been used include wool, brushed aluminium and full-grain French leather. 

Air France states on its website: “The seat itself has been reworked for optimal lumbar support. The foam has been ergonomically redesigned for maximum comfort throughout your journey, regardless of the seat position.”

When it comes to sleeping, passengers are given a soft microfiber pillow and blanket. Not only is the lighting intensity adjustable but there is also a “do not disturb” feature to let crew that flyers don’t want to be woken for meals. 

As is expected of business class these days, there is direct aisle access for everyone – and for those travelling together, middle seat pairs feature a central panel that can be lowered by pressing it down, to allow companions to talk or share a drink on a central cocktail table. 

Other improvements to the physical environment include 17.3-inch, 4K, high-definition,anti-glare screens. Also provided are noise-reducing headsets, a Bluetooth connection allowing passengers to use their own headphones and several electric sockets for charging personal devices. 

By the end of the year, the whole fleet will have wifi (up from 97 per cent now). The Air France Connect portal offers three passes, including a free pass for sending and receivingmessages. Surfing the internet for one hour costs €8, while the whole flight costs €18. For those who want to stream content, there is a €30 package for the entire journey.

Airlines

European Officials Uphold France’s Ban on Select Flights Where Trains Compete

2 years ago

The European Union has upheld France’s landmark climate law that bans select flights on routes where trains are time competitive.

The decision, from European Commissioner of Transport Adina-Ioana Valean on December 1, finds that France can ban domestic flights where trains can make the journey in two-and-a-half-hours or less. The law, which aims to cut carbon emissions and promote use of the country’s high-speed rail system, is the first of its kind globally.

The law codified a condition in the state aid package provided to Air France. To date, it has forced the airline to suspend only three routes: Paris’ Orly airport to Bordeaux, Lyon, and Nantes. Flights on the routes from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport are still allowed for connecting travelers, and because train trip times from the airport’s rail station are longer than the 2.5-hour cap.

A TGV train at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport in April 2022. (Edward Russell/Skift)

“We’re never going to go back — we’re not going to go back to the [pre-crisis] levels,” Air France-KLM Chief Financial Officer Steven Zaat said on domestic France capacity in July 2021 following implementation of the law.

The EU noted that flights on three more air routes in France could be barred if rail services improve. Charles de Gaulle to Lyon and Rennes, and Lyon to Marseille currently offer competitive high-speed rail services but have not been suspended due to limited schedules and trip times that are not always under 2.5 hours.

Separate from the climate law, Air France and French state rail-operator SNCF are working to expand their “Train + Air” partnership. These connections allow travelers to book both a flight and train on a single itinerary and, in theory, seamlessly check-in and connect between the two modes at certain airports, including Charles de Gaulle. In practice, the connections are not as seamless as they could be, including limited airport wayfinding and technology disconnects.

Venture Capital

European Venture Capital Fund Picks Up Hospitality and Airline Board Members

2 years ago

Roch Ventures, a European venture capital fund with Boston Consultant Group ties, announced that Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs, Ennismore Brand Chief Operating Officer Chadi Farhat, and former Air France Executive Vice President Amel Hammouda have joined the fund’s board of directors.

Bobby Demri, former Boston Consulting Group software innovation director, and Ludger Kuebel-Sorger, senior partner emeritus at Boston Consulting Group, co-founded the fund in January. It aims to make euro 100 million ($102 million) worth of investments in tourism and hospitality companies over the next few years with a focus on European tech and sustainability.

The fund is eyeing seed stage and Series A investments in Europe. It soon plans to open offices in Tel Avis and Frankfurt.